Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Time For a Coffee Break! => Topic started by: Amanita on June 27, 2013, 03:10:12 AM

Title: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: Amanita on June 27, 2013, 03:10:12 AM
So I'm working on a story, and it involves a confrontation between a bully and her intended victim- the victim ends up fighting back, kind of like that scene from "A Christmas Story" where Ralphie loses it and goes off on the bully.

So here's what happens- Our victim is very worried about a sibling of hers, who is in the hospital. Bully and her two siblings come over and start teasing her, making jokes at her sibling's expense. Needless to say, she loses it and attacks the bully.

So I'm at the part where it's time to hand some some discipline. I've got the bully and her two siblings facing five  days of punishment akin to grounding, for instigating the confrontation. And the victim gets three days grounding for escalating things by getting physical. After all, the adults understand how stressed the victim was, but don't want to encourage the practice of lashing out with your fists when offended.

Does this sound fair to you? Or would you handle it differently?

I'll throw another one in here for the heck of it- say you work in an office and are doing job interviews. You work in a secured building where people have to go through security to get in (anyone here who works in an NYC skyscraper will know what I mean by secured lobbies)
Unbeknownst to you, one of the people you're interviewing makes something of a scene in the lobby, cursing at the security guard, and somebody from building management who gets involved- perhaps the interviewee thinks building security rules shouldn't apply to them, or that the rules are dumb.
Now, you happen to be on friendly terms with the person from building management, who got some of that cussing directed at them. If that person figured out that the bozo who cussed them out in the lobby was the same person you were interviewing, how would you react if they told you about it?
Would you thank them for the heads up, or think they were out of line for saying anything?
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: RingTailedLemur on June 27, 2013, 04:27:26 AM
1. Seems fair enough, depending on what you mean by "attack".

2. Thank them for the heads up and cross that interviewee off my list of candidates.

(Disclaimer - I do not have children although I work with them, nor have I ever interviewed people for jobs).
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: atirial on June 27, 2013, 04:47:32 AM
1. I'd probably consider reducing the punishment for the victim since the bullies were three on one, but some people disagree.

2. I've been in this situation. I thanked the receptionist for the notice, and I did not hire the candidate. If they can't follow basic security rules, treat potential co-workers badly, and handle conflict resolution that poorly, they aren't a good fit.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: StarFaerie on June 27, 2013, 05:54:41 AM
In my experience bullies seldom actually see much parental punishment if they get retaliated against, especially if it is bully and siblings, as:
- it is the bully's word against the victim's;
- the bully has siblings to back them up;
- the bully has actual physical injuries to show (the victim only has emotional injuries);and
- the bully's parents, like most parents, want to believe the best of their children.

So it seems a bit unrealistic to me, but it's your characters.

In terms of harshness the victim's sibling is in hospital, so in that case as a parent I'd be very unlikely to punish her until her stress level was much lower; plus if my kid was in hospital, I probably wouldn't have the time or mental energy to enforce a punishment of any kind on my other child.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: oogyda on June 27, 2013, 06:14:37 AM
I agree with StarFaerie in regards to the first situation.

As to the second, I would thank the friend/building management person for the heads up.  Her behavior in the lobby is an indication of an attitude that isn't easy to work with.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: WillyNilly on June 27, 2013, 09:39:17 AM
In the first situation - I'm presuming there are two separate sets of parents here, so regardless of what's "just" or who the aggressor was, or what the fight was about, etc, of course the punishments are going to be different. So anything you pick is fine. From my personal point of view I think your chosen punishments are fine. But if you changed it to 3 days of labor cleaning the house (or some other punishment) instead of being grounded, that'd be fine too.

In the second situation, having worked in NYC skyscrapers with lobby security, I can't imagine the interviewee getting cleared to enter for his interview at all. I think in every case, security would call up to the person the interviewee was there to see, briefly explaining the situation and then sending the person on their way at the instruction of the interviewer, the interview never happening. I imagine the building management person might at some point stop by the interviewers office though and have a chat and perhaps a chuckle over the crazy person later on then.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: Venus193 on June 27, 2013, 09:59:02 AM
I agree with the three days of hard labor.  As for the bullies, I would ground them a week.

As for the second situation, I completely agree with WillyNilly.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: rose red on June 27, 2013, 10:24:06 AM
#1: I think that's OK, but I would also talk to her to let her know she's not alone.  Also, coach her on how to handle it in the future without physical fighting.  (Though I would secretly think the bullies deserve it.  Sorry I'm not a bigger person, but as long as it's kept secret, that's how I feel.)

#2: I would thank them for the heads up.  If they treat people like that even before getting the job, it will only get worse.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: Winterlight on June 27, 2013, 10:46:17 AM
1. I'd still punish my child if they started the physical fight. However, I would probably cut the victim's punishment to two days.

2. I would definitely want to know. I work in a secure building. Yes, the rules are annoying. I don't care. You follow them like everyone else, and if you're going to pick a fight on the way to an interview I would hope to find that out before hiring you.

Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: cwm on June 27, 2013, 01:01:15 PM
As for the first situation, it looks good to me.

The second one, if the person called up to me rather than see me in person, I would have them escort the person causing a scene from the building and not even interview them face to face. If they can't follow safety rules before they even get into the interview, not someone I'd ever want working and representing my company.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: Amanita on June 27, 2013, 02:42:30 PM
Thanks for the feedback everyone..I'll add a little more detail to my story since the characters are a bit unique, and I didn't want that to derail things.

Some people here have seen my Skyscraper-avatar characters, and read some of my writing, and in the first example, that's who the characters are. When it comes to raising Skyscraper younglings, their way of doing things can be likened to an extended clan or tribal structure, where the elder members would have the authority to discipline any youth who misbehave, which is why I have the same elder disciplining both bullies and victim. And in the victim's case, she also has witnesses who were there when the conflict began. (It also helps that these beings are psychic, which can help unravel things when it would otherwise be one person's word against another's)
The actual fight looks a bit like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvijyBIgazE

And the elder who assigns the victim to three days of grounding has a bit of an ulterior motive for assigning that particular punishment. She knows how stressed the poor young girl is, and figures a few days of quiet time (with assigned meditation exercises and time allowed for hospital visits) might help.

As for the second, it's a similar idea- special snowflake enters the lobby of a large skyscraper, and cops an attitude when building security explains the procedure. They don't want to show ID, or don't want to wait for an escort from the office upstairs, they want to be let through. And when the avatar of the building emerges and asks the SS if there's a problem, they cop an attitude with him too, like they think they're better than he is. Possibly racist towards his species, or perhaps a superiority complex towards anyone they think of as "beneath them", and anyone wearing a Building Management ID badge might fall into that category. I can definitely see the now-offended skyscraper-avatar heading right upstairs and informing their tenant of the situation, perhaps telling a bit of a white lie to the snowflake- "I'll check in with the office, perhaps they forgot to send that escort".
"You're doing a round of interviews this afternoon, right? You've got one scheduled with a Mr or Ms Snowflake? Well, he's in my lobby now and it seems he's not a fan of our security procedures- (insert description of sucky behavior here). Did you want me to send him up, or send him packing?"
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: EllenS on June 27, 2013, 03:06:34 PM
Frankly, in a NY-style lobby security setting, if someone was yelling and cursing at the security guard I'd be surprised if the building management would even ask the tenant if they "wanted" the visitor allowed in.  Some of the buildings I worked, in the security team had WAY more power over those things than the tenants.  Angry cursing visitor would be banned, and they would have to do their own explaining about the missed interview.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: Amanita on June 27, 2013, 03:51:14 PM
In which case, I'd have my Skyscraper-incarnate tell that special snowflake something like this:

"You abuse and insult my security guard here, just for trying to do his job. And now you abuse me, on my own territory? Oh, I don't think so! In fact, consider yourself banned from my premises! It's not like they would have hired you anyhow, given your behavior."
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: StarFaerie on June 28, 2013, 02:11:06 AM
In that case, I think the first one is absolutely fine and seems reasonable. I'd be interested to read your book if you publish it. Let me know if it gets a Kindle release and I'll be buying it.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: Amanita on June 28, 2013, 12:55:43 PM
I wasn't planning to publish that particular short story, it's something I'm writing for fun and practice..but I'll be glad to email you a copy if you like.

Here's the real-life incident which sets the stage for the story:
http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/emergencies/fire-breaks-out-at-tamweel-tower-in-jumeirah-lake-towers-1.1106387
It takes place a couple of days afterward. If you look closely at the pic in the article, you can see that the damaged building has two siblings. One of these is the young lady in my story, who goes ballistic when a couple of others of her kind make jokes at her brother's expense.
Title: Re: Hypothetical questions- child discipline and job interview faux pas
Post by: Virg on June 28, 2013, 12:59:22 PM
I have to agree with EllenS about the person raising a ruckus with building security.  I don't know of any checkpoint that would allow someone to bully their way in or would tolerate abuse of the staff to the point where they wouldn't be ejected or arrested.  The point of door security is to prevent trouble in the building, so troublemakers wouldn't be cleared to go upstairs to an interview, at least not without someone coming downstairs and clearing them in, and especially not if they never submitted to the security check.

As to the punishment levied surrounding the girls fighting, whether the punishment is "realistic" isn't as important as its place in the story.  There are plenty of times when punishments are imbalanced or the victim gets worse than the bullies, so the real question is, are you trying to set up a situation where the punishment is "fair" in the reader's mind or a situation where there's an injustice to drive part of the story?  If it's fair you seek, then having one of the other characters (possibly the ones levying the punishment) take her in hand to explain what happened and sympathize with her reason for fighting will make almost any reasonable punishment seem a lot more balanced.  Your description of "time off with visiting rights" works well for that, as long as some character actually describes it in the story, either by telling the victim or thinking/telling someone else (although most sympathy derives from someone telling the victim so she feels better about why she was "punished").

Virg