Barney Stinson has a theory about releasing anger called the pyramid of screaming, for those of you who watch how I met your Mother you know exactly what I’m talking about, for those of you living under a large heavy rock, here is an excerpt from his blog explain the pyramid of screaming:
THE CHAIN CIRCLE PYRAMID OF SCREAMING
HEY STUPID BLOG READERS!!! WHY DON’T YOU READ MY BLOG MORE?!?! Sorry. My boss screamed at me over a few missing schematics and I had to release some steam. Why didn’t I yell at my boss and not at you? Because that would be dumb, idiot.
You see, we all learn as children that screaming leads to results, and it’s no different in the workplace. America was built on the backs of men and women who were yelled at to work harder, and the tradition has been screamed from generation to generation. But you can’t just scream at anybody… that would be counter-productive. That’s why it’s imperative you understand where you stand on the Pyramid of ScreamingTM.
What exactly is the Pyramid of ScreamingTM?
The Pyramid of ScreamingTM is a societal rubric that dismisses the parlor tricks of the Chain of Screaming, Scream Ladder, South Beach Screaming, and other methodologies and focuses on the golden rule of scream etiquette: You can only scream beneath you.
To illustrate how it works, here’s the scream pyramid for a professional football team:
I bring this up because I’m not a huge fan of screaming but I am a proponent of this whole
circle chain pyramid idea… I believe that it’s healthy to pass on the annoyance you get from one party onto another party – that way you don’t let all that angst get pent up inside of you…
Let me illustrate with my own example:
When I was in my early twenties (just a couple years ago) and lived in California I belonged to 24 hour fitness, perhaps the most annoying gym on the planet. I had the cheapest membership they offered and could only get into the gym on something like Tuesday and Thursday afternoons (perfect for me – built in excuse not to work out). But, the people that worked there were most exceptionally annoying. Every time I checked in I was bombarded with requests to upgrade my membership, or to buy their shirts, or to sign up for their towel service or some way give them more money.
And it wasn’t just the front desk – trainers would walk around and interrupt me on the Stairmaster and give me great advise about how more effective my work outs could be if I signed up for personal training sessions… Personal training sessions at $99 an hour (clearly these people didn’t understand I was bringing in $9.00 an hour and riding my bike to work because I couldn’t afford to put gas in my car). I was constantly annoyed the entire time I was in that place and since I didn’t want to be full of angst all up inside me I would call them… I would call and have conversations like this:
Me: “What time are you open?
Them” This is 24 hour fitness”
Me: “So… you’ll be open when I get out of work?”
Them: “24 hours ma’am”
Me: “But I don’t think I’ll be able to leave until late tonight – like probably around 6:15, and then I might want to eat dinner, do you think I should eat dinner before I work out because I might be pretty hungry by then”
Them: “I don’t really know”
Me: “So, if I decide to eat dinner I probably won’t get there until 7:30, will you be open then?”
Me: “Is Doug working today?
Them: “He’s out on the floor in a personal training session”
Me: “I really need to talk to him”
Them: “Are you just going to ask him how late me are open?
(repeat above conversation)
I would do this over and over again – calling back to get different receptionist. My theory is they annoy me, I should return the favor – and I didn’t feel like I should pass this annoyance onto my friends and since I was making $9.00/hour there was clearly no one ‘under’ me which I could do this through work.
Which brings me to yesterday.
Yesterday I had an exceptionally bad day at work and left the office with angst building up like a pressure cooker inside of me. On my way home I thought & thought of people who deserve to be annoyed in return and immediately I decided upon the local 7-11 that I often go to while at the office.
You see this 7-11 is staffed by people bordering on hostile. I have had several altercations with them – once resulting in them chasing me through their parking lot… that’s a whole different post. But let me assure you they deserve to be in my pyramid.
So – I called and asked them to look and see how many hot dogs they had on their grill. It turns out they only had one lonely one leftover from lunch – so I politely asked if them would please put 3 dozen more on to cook because my son’s peewee hockey team just finished their last game and I was going to surprise them all with 7-11 hot dogs (their favorite!). I would be there in 20 minutes. I assured them I was for real and that I would see them soon…
See? Don’t you feel better? I do.