Catch and release

In life there are those that sit on the sidelines and those that get in for the big play.  I have been having a moral dilemma for a while now in dealing with a co-worker who is having personal issues that have spilled in to the workplace.

On the surface it looks very cut and dry.  They broke up with their ex that they had been 2nd flinging it with, had two subsequent car accidents a month apart, and now had a problem with pain and pain management pills.

Unfortunately being embroiled in the situation, it goes deeper I think and that is the dilemma.  There are anger management issues that have arisen in their dealings with customers, reaching an apex when the police had to be called in after a customer assaulted him and he had to restrain the customer until authorities arrived.  There are issues with coming to work in an altered state while on prescription pain management medications that have impaired their judgment.

There are conflicting stories around every bend with this person and credible evidence is becoming harder and harder to find.  An underlying issue of the lasting effects of a concussion cloud matters as we are not sure if the violent mood swings are a lasting after effect or signs of an addiction.

There are lost days, lost parcels of time in memory, wildly inaccurate stories that are easily verifiable, and now culminating with accusations of co-workers stealing pain management medications from their desk.  I have no proof either way as to whether they were stolen from the desk or in an altered state, either lost or taken in an abusive pattern.

To compound the situation further, the owner of our business is an absentee owner and has to rely on our observations and facts gathered to make judgment calls.  I don’t have a knowledge base to understand properly what I am seeing play out on a daily basis.  I know what an impaired person looks and sounds like and that is what I have to base daily decisions on.  I know this person in a rational state and that is what I have to base opinion on.  What I do not know is are these lasting effects, are these signs of a personality disorder, do I think this person can become violent and put co-workers or customers in danger?

This person is an ex law enforcement professional, owns weapons, knows jiu-jitsu, and scares the crap out of me when I have witnessed the outbursts.  Yes, I have felt threatened by their behavior, and yes, I have contemplated just walking away from the whole situation.

What I have done on days that this person was obviously impaired, is to try to step-in in a non-confrontational way.  I have sought out assistance from larger male co-workers and the owner to get this person safely home and off the road.  This has not helped.  This person refuses assistance, and is stuck in a spiral which becomes obvious when anyone tries to step in.

I have tried to get in the game and help in various ways; I have sat on the sidelines trying to be a cheerleader to those who are in for the big plays.  Neither has worked.  What I know is that only when this person is ready to accept the help, will they finally take it.  Until then the best we can all do is stay close with the fireman’s net and catch them when they fall.


About Lori

Life's about being social! Live in the SF Bay Area.
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