I’ll see that you never work in this city again!
I’ll have your job for that!
Just wait until I talk to your supervisor!
Usually, these are empty threats, meant to get the attention of some public servant or service employee, whether they did something deserving of the threat or not. While I’ve asked to talk to someone’s supervisor, and have expressed displeasure at someone’s performance, I’ve never threatened anyone’s job. On several occasions, I’ve had angry parents threaten my employment as a teacher. As a recipient, I can tell you, such threats are rarely effective, and those making them come off as pompous blowhards.
That being said, I have seen my comments result in someone’s dismissal. Such was the case today. A construction company hired to install fiber optic cable between our schools cut a data line. This wouldn’t be so bad, except that the same crew cut the same cable on Friday, not 100 feet from where they cut it today. On Friday, one of the crew members said that BellSouth had given them the wrong location for the existing cables. I don’t know what their excuse was today. They took off for lunch before I could confront them. I guess they realized what they had done.
So here’s the record for these guys…
- Tuesday – main data cable cut, all schools lose connection to the district office, several phone lines cut, irrigation system for the district office damaged, fiber optics connection to display sign cut.
- Thursday – one lane of traffic closed due to repairs, on the first day of school. Traffic is backed up to the interstate.
- Thursday again – irrigation system at one school damaged, shutting off water for two hours.
- Friday – several data lines cut, four schools lose connection to the district office, including one that was trying to do registrations. Several residential phones are also cut.
- Today – same data lines cut, with loss of connection to district office and loss of residential phones.
The manager of the construction company called me to apologize profusely, and to say that the crew had been fired. He may have been saying that to placate me, but as long as they are no longer in their district, I’ll be satisfied. I don’t care for anyone to lose their jobs unless absolutely necessary. Just as long as I don’t have to deal with them anymore.
I think of other cases where a comment has resulted in someone losing their job. We were at one local restaurant (no longer in business) and the waitress simply forgot about my entree. Laura’s came out, and I told her not to wait for me and enjoy her food while it was hot. The waitress had the audacity to come out and ask us about dessert, and my meal still hadn’t arrived. It did eventually arrive. The manager/cashier asked about our meal on the way out, and we gave an honest answer. She was appalled and stated that the waitress would be fired that evening.
That bothered me. The correct procedure would have been as follows, for both the waitress incident and the cable cutting: Apologize. Ask how to correct or make up for the mistake. Make sure that someone else is available to take care of the customer – in the case of the construction, bring in a different crew. If employee discipline is necessary, take those steps away from the customer. Some may need to see heads roll, but I don’t really need or want to know about it. I just want it fixed. Knowing your comments brought about a firing may satisfy a need for revenge, but it doesn’t correct anything.