4.3 Critical Events to Inspire Discussion

Brianna Doyle; Deirdre Maultsaid; and Simrenprit Parmar

The situation

GCS bank branch #023 is busy due to two nearby branches closing down for renovations. The lineups for the tellers are long, and the schedule for appointments with loans officers is full. Shaleen, the supervisor, is encouraging the bank tellers and loan officers to finish each transaction as quickly as possible. Patricia is now trying to keep up with the fast-paced work environment but is going home with headaches each night. Patricia believes the expectation is for her to “power through” this busy time, and she is afraid to complain.

The event

Patricia is in a meeting with a client who is applying for a small business loan. The client has been abrupt and rude throughout the meeting—he is likely frustrated, as it was difficult for him to get an appointment, and he is now asking many rapid-fire questions. Patricia becomes flustered and starts making calculation errors and is unable to answer the client’s questions about locked-in interest rates and so on. The customer starts to speak loudly and angrily: “Come on. This is a big deal to me. You don’t seem to get it.”


Figure 4.3: Angry Customer

Upon hearing the client’s raised voice, Shaleen enters Patricia’s office. Shaleen invites the client into her own office to complete their loan application. After dealing with the aggressive client, Shaleen shuts her office door and carries on with other work. Feeling nervous and wanting to debrief, Patricia knocks on Shaleen’s closed door.

Dialogue between Shaleen, supervisor, and Patricia, loan officer

Patricia: I am so sorry that happened. You know I have a brain injury and get stressed. I need short timeouts and then I am back! No problem! 

Shaleen: You told me before, so I solved this situation for you. I guess I am willing to do that once in a while, but breaks don’t look good to clients in the middle of the meeting. We are under pressure here, you know that. At this point, I am sorry, but I have to ask you—Isn’t there anything else you can do? For work? Like medication? I have a friend who goes to a homeopathic guy and says it is amazing. I can get their contact info for you. Or maybe counselling?

Patricia: I don’t want to get into my list of medications, but I do go to counselling, of course. But is it actually ok for clients to be yelling at me?

Shaleen: No, needless to say. Thank you.  (Shaleen turns back to her computer).

Subsequently, at work, Shaleen ignores Patricia. Most days, there is another supervisor posted on the roster for Patricia’s section. No one discusses this change. The other supervisor does not go out of his way to connect with Patricia and swiftly and neutrally answers any of her questions about client matters without encouraging her to learn anything new or improve her job skills. It seems that Shaleen is hostile to her, but Patricia struggles to interpret what is going on. Patricia feels increasingly worried, isolated and sidelined.


Figure 4.4: Office worker criticised holding up a HELP sign

Media Attributions


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Cases on Social Issues: For Class Discussion - 2nd Edition Copyright © 2023 by Brianna Doyle; Deirdre Maultsaid; and Simrenprit Parmar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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