The holidays, stress, and workplace violence. Be Careful, it will kill you

by todaystrainingblog

We have all heard the news reports from the various media outlets that are available to us, including the dwindling number of printed papers. I think we can all agree that the amount of personal stress is extremely high over the holiday season. For some people it will be harder on them than others, which can lead directly into workplace violence (WPV).

So you say “How can there be stressors during the holidays? It’s such a joyous time of the year!” Here is a small list of the ones I came up with, in less than 2 minutes:

  • Trying to find money for gifts-difficult if you’re out of work or very low income
  • Find a gift for a special someone that has the WOW factor-see the first one it gets magnified
  • Company parties
  • Decorating the house or apartment
  • Finding time to actually enjoy the season
  • Finding time to do everything necessary in this season of light speed movement. Sometimes it seems that time gets compressed and you can’t even find the time to breathe!
  • Family, friends, co-workers, and employers demanding your attention and time
  • In the northern climes snow, ice, and cold


But the question is what does any of this have to do with WPV? Actually a lot. And much of it depends how well you handle stress of both a personal and professional nature. Then there is how well others are handling it. And of course how much time compresses for you, your employees/co-workers and your family.

We’ve all heard the expression, especially around the holidays, “ARRGH, I could kill that (insert whatever expletive and gender you wish)!” Not that we really mean it, but the stress gets to us and we have the need to explode at something…or someone. Therefore, that certain disliked someone pushes our buttons in the wrong way at some point and…

For some people, it’s just too much. The fuse gets lit and suddenly BOOM, WHOOSH, KABLAM! They then, literally in an emotional sense, explode and take aggressive action against that someone. Whether that is a verbal dressing down or an actual assault, we won’t know until the fuse burns down to the powder and goes kaboom.

Being honest, it may not be the exact person or objects that has been pushing the buttons and getting to the individual. It could be a random shopper in the mall who accidentally nudges them, think you, and they stumble. Or it could be the clerk who has had a long and harried day. But whatever it is, you, or the individual is ready to explode. And sometimes they do with deadly results.

The following is an excerpt from a blog post by a friend that illustrates this perfectly and what could happen:

To me there is a double meaning to the term of black Friday. In literary terms something that is black is insidious and evil or possibly something bad is going to happen. Black is what widows and those in mourning wear. Simply put the term black Friday, to me, means possibly death and destruction.” Look at the results of Black Friday shopping in the past few years…

Thousands of people assaulted both verbally and physically in fights over various electronics toys, and even dinnerware. Hundreds of thousands injured, distressed, and otherwise traumatized by other kinds of assaults. Fists, trampled, punched, gouged, kicked, and it goes on and on and on.

Studies have shown that the best deals of the Christmas season are usually on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. That means one thing to me… Shop early and don’t fight everyone looking for a .99 cent television. Do your work, go home, have a shot of whiskey, vodka, or wine and listen to some good Enya or Barry White music. Or if this doesn’t work for you do what  you have to do to relax and ignore everyone else out there acting like fools fighting over saving a few pennies over the latest electronic gadget or toy, in this happy joyous season of goodwill to all.

As I recently told a friend about stress and getting upset, she’s blind also, ‘you’ve got to let others hostility roll off your back. Like water rolls off a duck, you’ve got to let the anger and stress of others just run off your back. You’ll take less Tylenol, tums, and you will have less stress in your life. Learning what relaxes you and sticking to it will help you and your employees avoid incidents of WPV

Will it prevent all of it, especially for your employees who are in the mire of customer enraged WPV? Not at all. But it can help in several ways.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                                     I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear