Angry? Count to ten — more than once

Assistant Maintenance Supervisor Gerry Street was one of the most experienced and conscientious people in the department. Past tense. Street was gone, resigned, at age 36, with a seemingly bright future ahead of him.
By Raymond Dreyfack April 1, 1999

Assistant Maintenance Supervisor Gerry Street was one of the most experienced and conscientious people in the department.

Past tense. Street was gone, resigned, at age 36, with a seemingly bright future ahead of him. Plant Engineer Jeff Harding wanted to know why.

Street’s boss, Maintenance Supervisor Tony Kramer, shrugged. “His resignation took me by surprise; it was totally unexpected.”

Harding glanced down at Street’s exit interview form Personnel had persuaded him to fill out.

“‘Reason for leaving: To accept better job offer’,” Harding read. “Do you believe that? What kind of job offer?”

“He didn’t say.”

“I didn’t think so. After 6 yr, Street was getting top money here. He’d find it hard to equal that elsewhere.”

Kramer didn’t comment. He shifted uncomfortably.

“Tony, let’s stop skirting the issue. I heard via the grapevine that you and Gerry had another big argument last week. You blew your stack and said some things you probably regretted later. Is that true?”

Kramer lowered his eyes. It was answer enough.

His boss nodded. “All right, Tony, I’ll get back to you later.”

Question : It hurts to lose a good man like Street. In Harding’s place what would you do about it?

Harding’s response: That evening the plant engineer telephoned Gerry Street at home. As he suspected Street had accepted a less desirable job at lower pay. He was reluctant to poor-mouth his former boss, but Harding finally got him to admit that his wife and doctor had talked him into making the change.

“Kramer was always blowing up at me for one thing or another. Not just me, everyone. He can’t control his temper. The tension was getting to me. My blood pressure was too high. It was beginning to affect my health.”

Harding thanked him for his candor. Next morning he summoned Kramer to his office. “Tony,” he said, “I’m going to give it to you straight. Excessive tension produced by continued anger and temper outbursts of the kind you are noted for, are counterproductive from both a health and work standpoint. In your department it’s been responsible for unwanted turnover in general and Gerry Street’s resignation in particular. You’re an able and talented supervisor with an excellent work record. I would hate to lose you. But unless you can keep your temper in check I’ll have no choice.”