Screaming at a Coworker Almost Cost Me My Job

"I don’t regret anything I said to him, but I do regret losing my cool — that’s for sure."

Welcome to “Why I Yelled,” Fatherly’s ongoing series in which real dudes discuss a time they lost their temper in front of their wife, their kids, their coworker — anyone, really — and why. The goal of this isn’t to examine the deeper meaning of screaming or come to any great conclusions. It’s about yelling and what really triggers it. Here, Mike, a 46-year-old magazine editor, discusses how losing his temper on a coworker almost cost him his job.

Who did you yell at?

I yelled at my co-worker while I was working at a magazine for a major league sports team.

Did you dislike this guy?

Yeah, but it was all a culmination of a lot of different frustrations with this guy after working with him for about six months or so. We were both working late that night and we were the only two people in the office. Basically, I just didn’t trust this guy with anything. He had a certain attitude and that really rubs me the wrong way. He thought he was intellectually superior to everyone, especially me. We were working on a video and I told him I was going to have someone else work on it and he got mad.

What did he say?

Basically he said, “I’ve been putting in the time and learning, I think I should have the shot at doing this.” I said, “No. We need to get this video up quick and this other guy can get it done faster and better.” He said, “How am I going to learn?” I said it wasn’t a question about learning, it was about getting this done before the weekend’s game. And we got into a fight.

Now, a little backstory, I had free reign to do freelance work at my job. And he threatened to report how he had seen me working on freelance content that morning and he was going to report that to my boss. I said, “…And? How is that any of your business?” It was that going back and forth and then I just lost it in his face.

What happened?

I said something like, “Is this what you want? You want me to hit you? You fucking little pussy! That’s what you want, right?” I was yelling at the top of my lungs. To this day, I’m not sure what stopped me from outright hurting him right there. He put his hand on the phone and said he was going to call security. He was that scared.

Sounds like it.

I can still see his face, and I don’t mean this as a joke or anything, but he looked liked he knew he was going to get his ass pounded. I was ready to beat his ass down. I grabbed the phone and I ripped it out of the wall and threw it onto the floor and I said, “Enough! You’re not calling anybody and I’m going to stop yelling at you. Sit your ass down!” Then, we sat down and talked.

How did that go?

I’m not saying things got better, but they deescalated. He wanted me to hit him so I could get into trouble and I wasn’t going to let him get his way. Truth be told, me ripping the phone out of the wall is proof that I did something. And I could’ve lost my job. We ended up working together for another 6-8 months. I never had another blow-up with him or any other coworker ever. Not even close.

You lost your temper in a bad way. Was that common for you at the time?

At the time I was going to anger management, and, honestly, if I didn’t calm down, I would have hurt him. I don’t regret anything I said to him, but I do regret losing my cool — that’s for sure. And my reptilian brain knows that’s not how you diffuse a situation like that.