Welcome to “Why I Yelled,” Fatherly’s ongoing series in which real guys 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, William, a 36-year-old graphic designer, discusses losing his cool at a recent meeting and having it lead to unexpected results.
Who did you yell at?
An entire room of co-workers.
This day in particular, a lot of the VPs were out of the office and everyone was just goofing off. It was like romper room on the floor all morning long. There was just a lot of joking and running around.
And it just set you off?
I was on my fourth director in almost as many years at this job, and the new one was an absolute beast. We were doing really tight work, and everyone in my department was just short of the chopping block. I was working 60-80 hours a week. I was also in a few hours before start time, and out a few hours later than almost everyone on staff and that’s including the big boss. I was working half my holidays and weekends, and after a couple of years of this, I resigned to the fact that nobody gave a damn.
Ultimately, why did you let loose?
It was just so damn loud and disruptive that day. I lost it. I stood up and called them a bunch of oblivious douchebags. I can’t really remember exactly what I said after that, but the whole room just shut down.
How did you feel at the moment it happened?
I was just pissed. It was just a completely dysfunctional environment. I would even say, at times, abusive. I did feel bad about it with a few of my co-workers, but what was I left to do? Tattle to HR? The VP of our department had a pattern of harassing people who did that, so it was definitely not something I wanted to pursue. I know some of my co-workers were unaware of what I was going through, and I made sure to apologize to them directly later on.
What was the aftermath?
Needless-to-say it didn’t go over well. A chill ran through the room. The way that place ran, I didn’t even realize people were pissed until I was called into an office by one senior employee and he gave me a “talking to”. He said I should have discussed the issue with him in private first. When I gave him a rundown of the situation he said he didn’t give a damn about my issues. So, why should I feel comfortable discussing it ahead of time with him?
Was there any resolution? Did you quit?
Soon after that I worked 29 out of 30 days, 12 plus hours a day, and felt like I wasn’t able to say anything about my situation without getting fired. But six months later, I leveraged a 25 percent raise after roping another gig. I also leveraged for an additional employee under me and told them I was finished with working weekends and holidays. My director even started treating me like a human being soon after. I came in, did the job, and went home. Apparently, my yelling made quite the impact.