A few days back I had to interact with someone for some work that I had volunteered for. As luck would have it, we did not exactly get along well and both of us were clearly annoyed by what each had to say. I tried not to take it personally, but beyond a point it was getting over me. I kept myself in check because my priority was to get my work done and a many were dependent on me for this.

During one of our conversations (read arguments), the other person who couldn’t tolerate my incessant questioning, tried to scare me (I guess that was his intention) by saying that he had the power to escalate the issue to some senior and left the sentence hanging abruptly. I gave a relaxed ‘So, what do you want me to do?’ reply. He repeated his words and waited for me to react. He had carefully told me that he had the power to do it and he did not say that he was actually going to escalate the issue. I calmly asked him to go ahead and told him that I wasn’t going to be threatened by that. I also added that it might give me a chance to take it up with the seniors too and give them the complete picture as to what was happening.

Somehow after this conversation we finished our work quickly, provided the required updates to those concerned and left. When I was getting back home, I found it funny why someone would use such a lame excuse to frighten someone. Teachers used this technique on us when we were kids at school and some people think they can get away with it even now. If we are at fault, it makes sense to be scared when someone says they would escalate, but having done nothing wrong why others would expect us to be scared when they say ‘escalation’. (Obviously the Wildcard did not work out for the person with whom I was interacting with).

In the past threats were used to instill a sense of fear in the other person to achieve some purpose. These days, I’m sure it backfires a lot, because people aren’t the ones who shut up and blindly obey what others have to say. They question and feel the need to get things clarified before blindly obeying instructions. And no, that is not being rebellious. If someone asks me to do something, I would. But if they try to use some empty threats I would definitely not. I’m sure a lot of people in my generation would be able to relate to it when I say that these empty threats are extremely annoying, so much so that I’d rather not work just to let the other person know that I’m not ‘threatened’.

Later that day, on introspection, I realized that I’m not frightened by people/authority for two reasons: 

1. I know them.

2. I don’t know them.

It’s as simple as that!