The psychology of the Peace and Beast personality in the workplace



After over a decade in the non-profit world I have met quite a cast of characters.   I have heard it all as well. There have been instances in the past where I would be talking to a colleague on a call when all of a sudden I hear their toilet flush. Yes, I am not kidding about that. I suppose that one can say these are committed individuals who can’t even take one minute for a potty break. Although, this has happened to me more than once, I still don’t know how I am supposed to react. I mean, I just ignore the whole background noise and keep going about my business. And by business I do mean work.


I have faced opposite types of situation as well. I did once, while on maternity leave, get yelled at by a woman (an academic) who hated that my newborn son was crying in the background.  I was doing a favor by coming onto the call to help with a grant write-up. However, instead of gratitude I got yelled at for having a newborn that cried. I never worked with that woman again. Surely, she must have had better people to reach out to for help in the future. I snark.  All this to note, I have seen quite a cast of characters.


One particular character that I have had a good laugh with in the past, is that staff member who is all about “peace” and just wants to help the world. Of course, they fail to mention at first that they wish to help the world on their own terms. Look nothing wrong with that as long as you leave me out of your midnight drama with gangsters you decided to cut off at the local gas station. An acquaintance recently described said characters as “peace and beast.” And, it couldn’t be more appropriate.


One such P & B person, railed against government at every turn and noted how oppressed people were. Then one night this individual cut in front of some NYC gangsters at a gas station and proceeded to go postal on them for being in the way of getting to the pump. At another point, they got severely upset at feedback and decided to throw a temper tantrum of epic proportions at 4:30pm. By 8am the next morning, they resigned. I have seen this scenario play over and over again. Another similar colleague constantly tried to get me to do yoga with him talking about the whole body, mind, spirit connection. Yet, they consistently lied at work and nearly threw the work desktop against the wall when the financial accountant didn’t quite believe the submitted expense report.  They quit/were fired in a storm of obscenities. In NYC we have heard it all, so we all kept working. But I definitely kept that scene in my head.


I am not too sure how these individuals go from 0 to 110 in terms of emotional rage but it sure happens more often than I care to witness. The first few peace to beast rages I saw, I was amused. By the 10th one, I was done. and not at all amused. Here is hoping I manage to avoid witnessing any more of those funny, yet disturbing rages.

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