Conversational Warfare and the Combat Mentality

JANE, A DISTRIBUTION COORDINATOR for a printing company, went pale with anxiety when she realized that a colleague who was now on vacation had bungled the details of an order for Gary, a major customer. Jane was twenty-six, and this was her first serious job. She admired her manager, Deirdre, who was a little older, a little distant, successful with customers, and always busy. Jane wanted to impress Deirdre and hoped one day to emulate her cool, competent manner. But today, with Gary’s order all wrong, she couldn’t.

Gary was already testy over an earlier delay in receiving the packets of material that he had carefully created for a security conference, but Jane knew that he didn’t yet ...

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