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No excuse for grown-up tantrums at work

Temper tantrums might seem liberating, but self-control is a better choice at work, says Jane Bates
Several cartoon figures having tantrums

Temper tantrums might seem liberating, but self-control is a better choice at work, says Jane Bates

Wouldnt it be liberating, we all agreed. Just to let rip once in a while. Properly.

We were referring to one of those grown-up temper tantrums, otherwise known as grantrums, when an adult who should know better behaves like a frustrated toddler and throws a full-on spectacular paddy.

Most of us who work in the NHS will have witnessed a colleague having a grantrum. It is usually at a time of maximum stress, in an operating theatre for example, when that person loses the plot and then shows no embarrassment or remorse afterwards.

If you are lucky, the equipment is the butt

...

Temper tantrums might seem liberating, but self-control is a better choice at work, says Jane Bates


Picture: iStock

‘Wouldn’t it be liberating,’ we all agreed. ‘Just to let rip once in a while. Properly.’

We were referring to one of those grown-up temper tantrums, otherwise known as ‘grantrums’, when an adult who should know better behaves like a frustrated toddler and throws a full-on spectacular paddy.

Most of us who work in the NHS will have witnessed a colleague having a grantrum. It is usually at a time of maximum stress, in an operating theatre for example, when that person loses the plot and then shows no embarrassment or remorse afterwards.

If you are lucky, the equipment is the butt of their wrath and not you – I once saw a senior member of staff destroy a telephone by throwing it at the wall and then stamping on it because there was a fault on the line.

Lack of self-awareness

Occasionally, a grantrum can be productive. A surgeon once lost his rag and deliberately broke all the instruments – they were substandard and no one had got round to replacing them.

But often a grantrum seems to come from nowhere, from deep subterranean rumblings in that person’s character, and taking out one’s irritation on well-meaning colleagues doesn’t help the team spirit one little bit.

Being in the same room as someone exhibiting a grantrum – there is definitely something of the exhibitionist in the grantrum-thrower’s personality – can be frightening or hilarious, depending on where you are standing.

If all you can manage when you are cross is a minor huff, which no one notices, it’s hard not to envy them their panache and sheer lack of self-awareness.

But no, we decided, self-control is normal. A tantrum when you are beyond nursery age is not.


 

Jane Bates is an opthalmic nurse in Hampshire

 


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