Welcome to “Why I Yelled,” Fatherly’s ongoing series in which real dads 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, Joel, a 31-year-old father in New York City, discusses why he thinks screaming at coworkers makes him a better father.
When was the last time you yelled?
The other day at work, probably. I’m in a yelling profession.
Let’s see. Well, this isn’t the most recent, but the most severe yelling I’ve done was at this Junior Exec in my office who screwed up a big account. I don’t want to get too much into this, but my firm had been trying for four or five months to get this deal set up and the kid fucked up, enough so that we lost the client. He messed up some paperwork and also just pissed off the client by acting like his errors were no big deal. That, of course, made them lose confidence in him and us.
Where did you scream at him?
In the middle of our office. I’m of the mind that if you mess up publicly, you’ll get screamed at publicly. Our office is in a bullpen format, with all the desks out in the open — no cubicles. Anyway, I went over to his desk and screamed until I was red faced. Said some things about him making me look stupid, making us look stupid, and said some things about how I should fire him. I didn’t though. The client was looking for a reason to say no.
What was the reaction like around the office?
I work in an industry where screaming is part of the culture. So, some people ignored it; others poked their heads up to see the show; some people even got up from their desks and enjoy the fireworks. I mean, if there was popcorn around, they would’ve been shoveling it in. Chewing someone out just happens.
How did he react?
He looked shaken. The guy’s probably 25, maybe 26, so that’s to be expected. When I was his age, I got some good shellings. It’s just part of it. I didn’t fire him, though, so he’s still got a chance. I know some of the other workers took him out for a drink the next day. I’m sure he’ll be okay.
Do you ever feel bad about this?
I do sometimes. But in this instance, I didn’t because he fucking deserved it. It was a boneheaded move. Plus, he probably screamed at one of his assistants. The hierarchy of screaming is a real thing in my profession. Some people call it the drizzlin’ shits because when one person gets shit on it hits everyone else somehow.
Now, does your love of yelling affect who you are at home?
Yeah, for the better. I don’t yell at home. I may have a high-stress job, but I rarely have any take-home work and so, when I’m home, I’m home. I never unload on my kids – or at least, I haven’t yet. I mean, I’m their dad, so I raise my voice sometimes when they’re not listening or I need them to pay attention. But I don’t yell at them. I’m pretty patient and available. I’ve worked it out so that I get out all my aggression out at the office or during a workout, have a little time to unwind on the train ride home, and then I’m daddy. Sure, I need some time every once and a while to de-stress, but I’ve worked hard to carve out a routine that helps me shed the aggression before I get home. The shits don’t drizzle there.
So, would you say yelling at work helps you be a better father?
No doubt about it.