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What to do about immaturity?

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Question: Immaturity in our small office has caused a big problem here from the top down. One co-worker shot another with a BB gun in front of the company president. They were just being silly & clowning around. These people are older than 22 & younger than 45.

Any advice?  -- Anonymous


It all comes from the top. If the president allows herself to be shot by a BB gun, with putting a stop to it, or making clear that's not acceptable behavior, you as an employee don't have much chance to change the tone of the office.

I'd get out while there was still time! Levity and informality is one thing, but a business needs focus to succeed.

I have to agree with anonymous' suggestion because unless HR comes up with a safety policy regarding this type of issue, and the company president didn't take action, the remainder of the employees are in danger. I know a man who completely lost his sight because of someone clowning around shooting a BB.

First of all, what is a BB gun doing in the office????? I agree with Anita, it comes from the top down. The employees follow the lead of the leader. Is the president/ administrator trying to be buddy/buddy with the employees? I personally came from an office of 30+ women who gossipped, gripped and simply goofed off and did not carry their work load. I approached the manager and director MANY times, even to the point I thought they would get rid of me because of my vocalizing the problem. I even told the manager at one point that if that were to happen there would be other people going down with me. I would leave work many days in tears because of the lax atmosphere. I kept looking at job posting within the orgainzation, because I wanted to stay within, and finally there was the perfect position so I applied and went thru the interview process and someone else got the job. I hung in there and kept up with my work and even got to the point I would wear telephone headset just to block out the whispering,giggling and gossiping. The day I finished a big fiscal year project and felt a personal accomplishment I received a phone call from the VP I had applied for earlier that year. She invited me to stop in that next week "to talk". I left that meeting with a job offer. I accepted and am now in the "perfect" environment (for the past two years) doing work I love and working with professional people I enjoy working with. Patience pays off!!! If you can't stand to stay where you are at is there any way to move elsewhere within the company? If not, move out. Until you find an environment that you are comfortable with the work alone will not give you the job satisfaction you deserve. Remember it is easier to find a job if you already have a job so don't just up and quit. Make it your personal goal to do the best job you can while you are at work and keep looking for something better. You deserve to enjoy your work.

Anita C. states: "If the president allows herself to be shot by a BB gun..." Just curious: How does Anita know the president is female?

First: Are you SURE they are older than 22? Does your company have a Safety/HR Dept.? If so, I would seriously be meeting with them. It is unbelievable that anyone would bring a BB gun into a work setting (especially in this day and age). It is dangerous on so many levels, not to speak of the liability the company is being put in. Annie is not the only one that knows someone that lost the sight in one of their eyes because of clowning around with a BB gun. Hey! Maybe you should consider printing these responses and posting them on the company bulletin board. If nothing else, it would show them that you are not the only one that thinks their behavior is infantile, risky and dangerous. Lastly, I would have to say: "Just how much do you enjoy working with a bunch of delinquents?"

Is there no one in management in the company besides the President who understands the consequences of this action? Certainly, your HR/Personnel Manager must know about the incident. If he/she is unwilling to take action, have you spoken to your manager about this, emphasizing the "safety" issue? I would send an anonymous letter to the Department of Labor where you live and describe the incident. Explain that you have to remain anonymous for fear of losing your job, but they can contact the company and any number of employees can verify the incident. Be sure to give them the names of the people involved, clearly identifying who shot whom. In addition, report it anonymously to the local police department. Hopefully, one or both of these reportings will get the attention of management. (In fact, why not make sure management gets a copy of each letter.) Granted, if any of the above is going to point directly at you as the author of the letter(s), then they probably aren't options. What it boils down to is that if no one in management sees this as a major, major problem, you need to seriously start looking for new employment.

I agree with Cindy. The other thing you can do is talk to your HR department about establishing and implementing a safety policy if there is not one in place already. If you do not get a positive response, write a letter about the incident and the HR response, have it notarized and mail it to yourself at home (so there will be a postmark) and put this letter in a safe place. This is to protect yourself in case your company wants to get rid of you for complaining. In the meantime, start looking for new employment because you should not be working in an unsafe environment. What if it were you who had got shot by the BB gun?

I was recently taken aback myself when I overheard one Exec greet another with "Whattup Beyotch?!"
Shudder to think...

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