I was the chairperson for a disciplinary hearing at work today. For those uninformed coach potatoes out there, a disciplinary hearing is basically a corporate court where people are held accountable for stepping out of sync with the rest of the monotonous drones running amok. It’s where accusers can face their insubordinate delinquents and a chairperson plays lady luck. Or judge, depending on how power-hungry said chairperson is. And no, we don’t use whips, sticks and stones, but verbal and final written warnings and sometimes the golden gig: Dismissal.
The guy was negligent. He caused a minor cadenza, which fortunately for everyone involved, were immediately contained. He claimed personal problems for this slight oversight in his daily duties. Blamed his lack of attention on a situation outside of the work environment, which he had difficulty in controlling. When asked what, he said he’s wife is expecting their second child.
I almost adjourned the meeting, wanting to give the guy a hug. We all know how hormonal our loved ones become whilst carrying unborn angels around. It’s as if they are not just sucking nutrients, blood and vitamins through that tube, they call the umbilical cord, but also vanquishing joy, humour and personality from the woman carrying them. Especially when you say stuff like: “Jeez, you’re getting huge!”. (Only did it once)
The reality of trying to control things is shared by everyone on the planet, but the fundamental understanding that it is actually impossible to do, is a secret shared only by the privileged few. The masses still paying school fees whilst acquiring that life lesson, are enduring what modern medicine would call “stress.”
And stress destroys worlds. It unmasks our faces leaving us bare and exposed. It cracks the facades we are trying to uphold. It forms little tweaks in the pedestal of composure that we like other people to believe, we live on. Breaking the neon sign that’s flashing our fake motto of “Everything is under control”.
Sadly, stress wins eventually. It would be so much easier to just throw your arms up and call for a buoy, but instead most of us prefer to drown slowly, because that’s what modern human beings are programmed to do. Rather swim until you die.
Stress appears when it attacks your attention; as was the case with this specific employee. Causing your mind to get stuck on a problem like a horse in quicksand, sinking deeper, for trying to hard. Resulting in mindless acts of stupidity like cruising through an intersection with a red traffic light blinking violently, or neglecting to pick up the kids from school, finding them two hours later, annoyed and hungry.
Stress might appear and attack your health, causing heart palpitations and aneurisms. Feeling despondent and depressed with barely enough energy to get out of bed in the morning. Not to be confused with normal feelings of depression on Monday mornings and then not wanting to get out of bed.
Stress might appear and attack your emotional state. Resulting in endless rivers of tears released by the smallest innocent triggers. Like seeing a new baby or being called out for the beautiful person you are. Senseless emotion, with no obvious reason whatsoever.
Stress might appear and make you drink, and drink and drink and… hic! Then rehab, then AA. Which is those meetings in community halls where people starts their life story with the sentence: “My name is…
Stress will even attack your self-control. Ensuring that you run around wildly flapping your arms, like a windmill on wheels, screaming and shouting at the imbeciles you have working with you. No, it never happens to me. I don’t lack any self-control… Sorry, just wait a minute, the phone’s ringing again…
“Shit Mike, I said I’ll phone you back later for goodness sake. I need the information from finance. Yes, I know, you shithead. But which part of I. need. the. information. from. fucking. finance do you not understand? I’m busy. Yes, fuck you too…”
Sorry about that, it’s just when you have idiots roaming earth then.. Where was I?
Oh yes stress. And self-control. Which I don’t have a problem with…
“Oh Stress, you’re a heartless bitch and I hate you for destroying innocent lives everywhere!” said the man with the final written warning lying ominously on the passenger seat.