The pen is mightier than the sword - Focus Communications
Sue Heuman

Sue Heuman

Principal at Focus Communications

The pen is mightier than the sword

No truer words were ever spoken. In today’s society, where people feel free to lash out at service staff, call centre employees, and retail clerks, it seems there are simply no boundaries to the abuse they feel entitled to hurl.

Traumatized call centre employee

Yelling, name-calling, insulting people… This might make the person feel, what, powerful? superior? in the moment. They might strut smugly from the store with a self-satisfied “f-u” to whomever was the target of their displeasure. Later, they might regale a friend or family member with the tale a couple of times. And then they forget about it.

But here’s the thing. The recipient of this abuse can be traumatized by it for days. Or longer. Or maybe they never really get over it. They question their actions, what they said, how things went sideways. They relive every detail of what led up to the encounter and everything that happened during and after. Thinking about it makes them feel sick. This is trauma. This is abuse.

So, keyboard warriors, retail customer yellers, call centre abusers, just stop. This is not ok. You do not have the right to traumatize another individual. Period.

There are real people on the receiving end of your insults. And they cut like a knife. Or a sword.

If incivility in the workplace is an issue for you, check out our training program here.

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