SHOW DATE: MAY 28, 2014
Elliot Rodgers, who killed 6 people and injured 7 more near the University of California on a shooting spree, has left us thinking.
It’s disturbing what Rodgers did. But we get angry too. Really angry. And we fantasize about doing things to our co-workers.
Truth is, there’s a little bit of Elliot Rodgers in all of us. And if we don’t acknowledge this, our negative thoughts will fester, take form, and boil over
Elliot was indeed insane on some level. But we all daydream in the office, we all have that little bit of psycho. Everyone gets to a place in their heads where they get fed up. Dan Savage, the popular sex columnist and podcaster, admitted that the Columbine massacre was terrible. But, as a gay man in high school, he admits that if he had a gun, he wouldn’t know what he would have done.
We’re half-sane, and we’re not looking to hurt anyone physically, but we do sometimes rage. We do get angry. We get crazy inside and we want to do things to hurt people, verbally.
It’s not just about pulling out a gun. It’s the gossip we tell behind people’s backs, the lives we destroy by stealing jobs, spreading rumors, ruining careers. There’s a lot of ways we Elliot-Roger people.
To just sit and avoid the issue that you have a little bit of crazy, to watch the news and dismiss the fact that you have a bit of Elliot Rodgers in you, is just letting that anger grow.
It’s easy not to take anything away from this debacle, to say “I’ll never pick up a gun and point it at a human being.”
But we lash out and make mistakes all the time.
How can you stop your own version of Elliot Rodgers?
Here’s a few quick tips to quell that top before it blows:
1) Ask somebody else to speak to the co-worker: Don’t rely on this one too much. But if you’re overly emotional and can’t think straight because you’re mad at your co-worker, ask a third-party to intervene. Get them to send a moderate response over email, or get them to talk to the co-worker in person. You’re doing two things here: you’re letting go of your ego by not proving how “wrong” the other person is, and you’re allowing yourself time to cool.
2) Rehearse what you will say out loud: “You’re an asshole.” Sounds better in your head, doesn’t it? Now look at your face as you say it in the mirror. Rehearsing out loud is always a great indicator of whether what you’re about to incur more fury than pacify the conflict.
3) Wait a day or two: Let yourself cool for a day or two and you’ll find the issue losing importance in your mind. In the moment you’re crazed. Two days later you forget what you were even angry about.
Elliot Rodgers felt like the world was unfair to him. We feel like that in the workplace sometimes. Acknowledge it. Shine light on it. Don’t keep it in and let it fester, or it’ll end up hurting you and those around you.