EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece appears in the May 23, 2005, issue of National Review.
From “The Blue Helmet”
. . . the United Nations Employee Mental Health Task Force Newsletter, September 2005 issue . . .
Q. I am on the staff of the United Nations Security Council Accounting Management (UNSCAM) task force. Obviously, in our work, we oversee the transfer of vast sums of money from various accounts to literally thousands of places across the globe, including hundreds in Switzerland. And although we all try our hardest to keep track of every little transfer and account, it’s not the easiest job in the world, obviously. We’ve only got about 3,800 employees in our task force, including the various Annans, and it’s very hurtful and very stressful when the new U.S. ambassador, John Bolton, keeps demanding a “list” of checks to this or that payee, or when he sneers at our lack of proficiency with Excel spreadsheets. What can we do about this? I’m almost out of mental-health days.
A. When people lash out, as seems to be the case with the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, it’s almost always because the person exhibiting hostile and/or anti-social behaviors is afraid. Try, if you can, to see things from Ambassador Bolton’s point of view. He’s new to the U.N., maybe doesn’t know his way around the buildings yet, trying to make a good impression on his fellow ambassadors. And maybe demanding lists of checks and accounting documents is his way of saying “Help! I’m frightened! Be my friend!” You and your co-workers might want to defuse the situation by having a “get to know you”-type social event at a nearby Friday’s or something. Maybe “kidnap” the ambassador for the afternoon and take him to Central Park for a picnic and an impromptu scavenger hunt. Be creative! Just remember that all of his scowls and sneers and mean-spirited comments mask a hurt and a loneliness that you and your co-workers can heal. And you know what? You’ll not only create a better working environment, you just might make a new friend. Hugs, the UNEMHTF staff.
Q. I have spent the past two hours in tears. The new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, made what I interpreted to be a very offensive and very demeaning remark about the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. It was during our weekly luncheon, and it was right after one of our most respected and committed members–the delegate from Libya–made a short speech in which he spoke briefly about the events at Abu Ghraib prison. Bolton rolled his eyes and said, “This from a guy from Libya?” and all of us at the table were just aghast. My voice was trembling and I guess the ambassador could see the shock on my face, because he said, “Shouldn’t the U.N. Commission on Human Rights have slightly higher standards?” At which point I burst into tears and left the table. It’s been very difficult to get back to work. What do you suggest?…
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