posted by Matt W on May 20th, 2015

At work every Monday morning an employee is asked to present on a topic generally related to safety or greater workplace effectiveness. Over the years I have presented on topics ranging from Carcinogens in the Workplace, to our company’s Occupational Medicine standard, to my last one on how to properly use a fire extinguisher. Basically I pull our company’s (or OSHA’s) standards on the topic, or maybe find something on the internet, review the material for a bit and present a 5-10 minute overview of the information. This week I presented on Stress Management tips. Apparently I need to keep my regular job.

So I lay out what I thought was a well-organized, well thought out presentation on stress management. “Have a good understanding of your stress triggers…, stay in good health…, blah, blah, blah.” As I finished (thinking I had done a pretty good job with a difficult topic), I asked if anyone had any questions and then turned the floor back over to the site manager. The room exploded.

For the next 15 minutes everybody released pent up stress in every way possible, except in the ways I had laid out so well just minutes prior. We have never had a more stress filled, angry, more vitriol filled employee meeting the entire time I have worked there.

Apparently it wasn’t quite as powerful as I had led myself to believe. I think I will put my speaking career on hold.

As everyone finally started to calm down and we were about to leave, one of my fellow employees caught everyone’s attention for one last comment. “I would just like to thank Matt W. for his excellent presentation on stress management that everyone so obviously took to heart this morning. Excellent stuff, and everyone continue to take what you learned here from Matt back to the job.” I whispered “Bastard” in his ear as we left the room together.

We had a good laugh.

It’s funny how often ironic things like that happen. Now I know that no matter what I had presented on there would have been a stress filled explosion that morning, but it was hilarious that the topic was indeed “stress management in the workplace.” I guess if I’m going to have an ironic outcome to my speaker topic I should just be glad the building didn’t actually catch on fire during my extinguisher presentation.


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