The Asshole with A Fire Extinguisher

Circling back to the days before I got let go from my position with this company that bought our local site; I remember fondly of an experience I had at fire extiguisher training. It happened every year, no matter if you had went to fire fighter training school that year or not. (Please note: Until right before the new company took over; I went to the firefighting school every March). A contractor had a small controlled fire which to demonstrate proper usage of a fire extinguisher. The contractors and the demonstration were not the problem. It was some of my fellow co-workers.

Everyone went; it didnt matter if you were administrative, finance, maintenance, logistics, or operations. In my group; I saw a collection of them all. I was technically on the clock and I was enjoying a break from sweating my ass off. I exchanged pleasantries and jokes with a fellow co-worker. We were both dismayed to see a mistrusted loudmouth from the human resources world; Karen.

I had a run in with Karen at her turn. Our company had an open door rules, although hers was never open (she was the lead HR person at the company). At meetings and events, she was very standoffish. This was a joke in itself. She was angry when people asked her questions. We were told to call a 1-800 number. She hated dealing with people and it shows. I seldom if ever know anyone that had a pleasant experience with her. Within the company, she made the rounds. Her ability to respect our time is something you need to remember.

I put out my fake fire with relative ease. My co-workers in my unit did as well. Most of us have either had training or have blasted someone with an extinguisher before. But Karen, “took the cake”. She was a few people ahead of us. I could see her pacing. Karen had her usual scowl. No one had a lot to say to her, (and people not talking to you is a sign at that workplace that you arent exactly welcomed company).

She never got an opportunity to show her prowess. She yelled “Do I really need to do this crap? I dont have time for this!” and she stormed off. I, with my motley band, enjoyed a good laugh. Her track record lent to today’s lesson:

Be The Asshole With a Fire Extinguisher

She was the last person to show a maintenance man where the A/C unit or electrical problems were. She would rather walk into the parking lot in her A/C’d car. But she was the first to complain when you werent doing your job. She wouldnt hold the door for a firefighter or an EMT. She would rather call it a day and go home. Being the one person who can spray the flaming copier or opening the door and pointing can earn you the respect you want. Dont be the high and mighty person. Be the person people want to work with.


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