How do you deal with people at work who get nasty when under stress?

koolkurlkoolkurl Posts: 252Registered Users Curl Neophyte
I work with two people who get VERY irritable and nasty towards me when they are under stress/pressure. One is notorious for saying "it is not my job" if I ever ask him to do anything that he considers extra. After the stressful time is over they seem nice again and I am not feeling very positive toward them.

Has anyone here dealt with these types of issues at work? If so, how do you handle them?

Sometimes I think the workplace brings out the worst in people!

Comments

  • gagirl09gagirl09 Posts: 2,316Registered Users
    Honestly unless they do something that is just outright disrespectful I will avoid them when they are stressed. Some situations that deal with people that you care about( in terms of close friends and family) or people are "in power" over you I feel maybe something should be said. However for a coworker that you probably don't hang out with outside of work and don't worry about once you leave work, I wouldn't even bother. I know that may seem weak but I feel everyone does not deserve my energy. I let people have their bad days to an extent.
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  • secret_karmasecret_karma Posts: 438Registered Users
    I can get nasty at work sometimes but I actually hang out with some if my coworkers so I'm only that way with those that are my friends. Because they know me, they know that if I'm stressed they need to give me space. I can identify, so if I see that someone else is stressed I wouldn't bother them or I'd send them maybe a motivational email or song or something to help get them out of their funk.
  • koolkurlkoolkurl Posts: 252Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Thanks for your responses. My thoughts are that people should treat each other with respect and it is unacceptable to snap at people and get nasty when under stress. It can happen once in a while but if it happens frequently I think it is unprofessional and borderline abusive. It also concerns me that it can snowball into bigger issues that could eventually get upper management involved. I think my coworker has some emotional problems. I am not sure how to navigate the situation...
  • PerriPPerriP Posts: 6,613Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    "Get nasty" is a little different than snapping in my thinking. I think there are very few people who don't get a but snippy at some point with people (in general, not just in the workplace). But there are few people who are truly nasty. When I think nasty I think abusive, demeaning, etc.
    Nasty and abusive are not acceptable in the workplace. A little snip here and there is life, I think. (And I say this with hopes that all parties own their snippiness - and apologize afterwards)

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  • gagirl09gagirl09 Posts: 2,316Registered Users
    Agreed that's why I said as long as it's not outright disrespectful I will let then have their human moments
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  • fraufrau Posts: 6,130Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    omg, this thread is so timely that is freaky.

    someone said something crazy to me yesterday, but then apologized today.
    this is the second time this has happened; act poorly but then apologize later.
    i've ignored this person's behavior but i'm thinking i need to address it.
    on the other hand i don't want to even let that person know i was fazed by their spaz-out. clearly it was irrational behavior.
    i'm torn:
    let them know they crossed the line in hopes it won't happen again (for the second time!)
    continue to ignore it since they apologized (but won't it happen again if i say nothing??)
  • claudine191claudine191 Posts: 8,221Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I'm in a similar boat. Ad agencies are typically pressure-cooker-like places, but it goes much further than I'm used to where I am now. And our supposed HR person is one of the worst offenders.

    For small stuff that doesn't get addressed, I let it go, but I kind of stop liking that person, and quit being nice and/or generous in sharing food or volunteering to answer their many grammar or spelling questions. Instead, I make them approach me outright, which is contrary to my "can do" work ethic. It's not ideal, but here, at least, there's not much to be done.

    I hope others' situations have a better resolution.
  • DaniGirl88DaniGirl88 Posts: 1,583Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I try to remind myself that they aren't necessarily angry with me, but are stressed out. When that doesn't work, I try to be nice and ask them not to take it out on me. But, even that doesn't work sometimes. For some people, it takes me getting snappy right back for them to calm down.

    I have this one lady at my job who is just plain rude. She'll ask you a question and then walk away as you're answering. Also, she talks down to you and looks you up and down when you are responding. And of course, interrupts you whenever she feels like it. So rude and so annoying. Dealing with her is the hardest thing I've ever had to do at work.
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  • Fifi.GFifi.G Posts: 15,490Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I work a very stressful job. Deadlines, if you will, can quite literally mean the difference between life and death. Most people we deal with are upset, stressed, and often verbally abusive. For some it is one of the worst moments of their life. For many more, they have no idea how to handle anything and are melting down. It's inevitable that people in my office will blow their top and have moments. We go through major up's, downs and blood pressure spikes in a matter of minutes. They can hang up the phone and cuss all they want to. I laugh it off and ask if they are feeling better afterward. It's absolutely nothing personal. Occasionally they get a bit snappy with someone else. That's usually reserved for people who are honestly not pulling their weight in that moment, or sometimes it's a rare bad day. And then there are the others who always direct their frustration with everyone else toward the people in the room with them. How I react depends on the situation. I shrug the first two off. I would rather people not snap at co workers but it happens sometimes. I'm more of the type to calmly tell someone they are slack and of no help, and then vent about it here later. Now, when it comes to the co workers who snap and scream at everyone, I have always addressed it immediately. I was luckily aware of who might do it when I started my job. I had heard some stories. So, the first time she turned to be and started screaming, I looked at her and said "Do we have problem?". She said no, and never yelled at me again. I was well aware that if you let her, she would roll over top of you any and every chance she got. I remained calm but let her know exactly where I stood. No need for HR.
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  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,898Registered Users Curl Virtuoso
    koolkurl wrote: »
    Thanks for your responses. My thoughts are that people should treat each other with respect and it is unacceptable to snap at people and get nasty when under stress. It can happen once in a while but if it happens frequently I think it is unprofessional and borderline abusive. It also concerns me that it can snowball into bigger issues that could eventually get upper management involved. I think my coworker has some emotional problems. I am not sure how to navigate the situation...

    I agree that it's unacceptable to berate, go off on, scream at, mock, belittle, etc. other ppl at work. I don't give ish what they're mad at or what kinda day they're having.

    Just put your hand up to signal "stop" and say, "I'm not the one" or "don't take your frustrations out on me" or "I wld suggest you stop shouting at me for no reason."

    If anything, I think it's best to overreact slightly than underreact. And let everyone hear you check the person. Then they won't try it again.

  • sixelamysixelamy Posts: 4,157Registered Users Curl Novice
    koolkurl wrote: »
    I work with two people who get VERY irritable and nasty towards me when they are under stress/pressure. One is notorious for saying "it is not my job" if I ever ask him to do anything that he considers extra. After the stressful time is over they seem nice again and I am not feeling very positive toward them.

    Has anyone here dealt with these types of issues at work? If so, how do you handle them?

    Sometimes I think the workplace brings out the worst in people!

    Are you his supervisor? If so, I would consider some discipline. If not, maybe he feels you shouldn't be the one to tell him what he should do. If that's not the case, then I would bring it to his supervisor's attention. I have a lazy a$$, actually a couple where I work. I tend to avoid them and let my supervisor know what is going on so she can handle it properly.

    Or you could simply ask them, "Why are you snapping at me? Why do you not feel it is your job?" and see what they say and go from there to have a real conversation.
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  • claudine191claudine191 Posts: 8,221Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I went to one of my bosses (the nice one) after an episode today. I can't refuse to work with her, but I'm mighty sick of her sarcasm, eye-rolling, and occasional outbursts.

    The sad thing is, all of this is easy to fix: treat people the way you want to be treated. I do it — why can't others?
  • MooshvilleMooshville Posts: 111Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    If you don't need them to do your work, stay away and ignore them. If you do and they are hampering your job, then call them on it. If they are still a pita, then time to go to the super in the name of needing them to chill in order to do your job. Many supers/managers don't care about attitudes but if you say it is hampering your ability to do your job and point out how, they should care.

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