Parking Lot Therapy

First, a disclaimer: We never actually did this! [Who's "we," paleface?]

ParkingLotTherapy is reserved for those individuals who are such jerks that conventional means, even extraordinary means, cannot influence them to change their destructive behaviors and attitudes. Finally, the only hope is to waylay them in the parking lot and beat the living crap out of them. Also known as ArgumentumAdBaculum, SignificantEmotionalEvent, WallToWallCounseling?, CodeRed, or TurretCounseling.

Yes, I know this sounds terrible, and no, I am not advocating violence, but haven't some of you fantasized about doing just this to some troublesome character in your career? How about that person who mistakes condescending BrutalSarcasm for wit and employs it at every turn?

-- DonOlson

An extreme AttitudeAdjustmentTool.


There are invariably better ways to effect change than this. Some of them include:

In short, if you're lying in wait for someone in a parking lot, the real problem is that you aren't thinking clearly. Go have a drink or a smoke and think about how to use the above. Both cooperation and contention involve more than one person.

But a caveat: sometimes you do meet a true monster. A genuinely cruel or mad person. I haven't had much experience with such for many years, but the above strategy will often work with them too. Still you may one day be faced with the choice of fight or flight. When that happens, it's sometimes better to fly. -- PeterMerel


Peter is right, of course. But there are people, and this does amaze me, that are so malignant that nothing is beneath them in their quest to reign triumphant. An organization that tolerates this behavior, and may even reward it, is no place I ever want to be. Such places do exist, though I found refuge from the one I had the misfortune to experience some years ago. The happy truth is that most cultures are far kinder and pretty good at correcting people with mean streaks and brutal agendas. Or maybe it's just that I love where I work so much that I'm becoming a real softie. -- DonOlson


StBenedictsRule (circa 547 A.D.) (really an UrbanLegend - see TwoStoutMonks)

-- DaveSmith

Dave, that's so good I promoted it. -- RonJeffries

Hah! I knew there was a precedent! Thanks for setting it, Dave. -- DonOlson

Ow! Look you guys - Ow! Hey, watch where you're - Ow! Okay, okay, I can take a hint ... -- PeterMerel


"Live and let live: often, combative people will only fight so long as they have someone who fights back. Turn the other cheek a few times and see if that works. Nod and smile and get on with the work - that's what you're being paid to do, after all."

This seems related to SetTheBozoBit. -- OleAndersen


See the discussion of the CornCob AntiPattern in Brown, Malveau, SkipMcCormick, and Mowbray[1998], AntiPatterns: Refactoring Software, Architectures, and products in Crisis, ISBN 0471197130 . Some people claim that I'm a perfect example. -- EricJablow


As far as acceptance goes and determining if the problem lies with me, I believe in the "Saddle Theory". If one person calls you a horses ass, you can blow it off. If ten people call you a horses ass, it is time to buy a saddle. - John Collis


See also: CreamPieTherapy, MicromanagingSadist

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