By now I am sure that most of you have the seen the video or heard about the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush during a press conference in Baghdad. A friend of mine sent an e-mail out asking which of us, in our professional roles, was more likely to get hit by airborne shoes. This got me thinking about the type of work that I do and the number of people I have pissed off over the years in the course of doing my various jobs. There are a lot of them. And some of them have retaliated. I don’t know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, it simply comes with the territory. Two of the greatest hits include:
The preacher who said that I was a liberal because I wouldn’t pimp Christian colleges as the only option for kids in the youth group. I asked him what he thought would happen to our campus ministries at state schools if parents in the church sent their kids exclusively to Christian colleges. He said, with a straight face, “Who cares? All of our state school ministries are liberal.” Always a pleasure to work with folks with open minds. It lifts the soul.
When I was running a group home, the sister of one of the residents was obsessed with the notion that we were allowing her sister to live in squalor and go without bathing. The truth is that my staff helped each resident clean their room, change their sheets, and do their laundry on a weekly basis. In addition, every resident showered daily and those that needed assistance bathing received it from my staff. After a year of these groundless accusations, she brought the issue up again in a service planning meeting that included me, the client’s family, the client’s case manager, and representatives from her sheltered workshop. I said to the sister, “You’ve been running your mouth about this for a year and done nothing about it. Your sister gets the same level of care as the rest of the ladies, and I am sick of you saying otherwise. You’re slandering me and my staff. If this is really a concern for you, you need to file a complaint with Adult Protective Services. Otherwise, I don’t want to hear about it again. Put up or shut up.” My boss had my back when she called to complain about it, but chewed me out in private. She also said that I threatened her in the meeting, which was soundly refuted by everyone else who was there. It was still worth it. And I never heard about it again.
I share these not to elicit a response, but to be honest. And since I have shared, I want to hear from you. What is the worst/stupidest thing that someone has said or done to you in anger at work? What was your response?