Critical Thinking at Work Analysis – Philosophy Essay

In 2001, I was working for target as a Logistics Executive in their Spartanburg, SC store. I was in charge of the flow or truck push process where thirty-five people reported to me. One morning a team member that I had been having performance problems with was being exceptionally lazy. I took him aside and told him that after repeated counseling and warnings, his services were no longer needed and he was fired. He began to yell and then pushed me into some shelving. Luckily, my other team members were standing close and yelled for him to leave. He stormed out but not before turning and yelling, “I’m going to kill you!”

I reported the incident to my human resource representative and she looped in her boss the regional representative. Two weeks later we received a notice from the state that the employee had filed for unemployment claiming he had been fired without cause. I had all my documentation from his performance issues and of the final termination. Supplying these to my HR manager, I was shocked to hear that we would not be fighting this claim.
My initial thoughts were that the company did not support me even though I had great documentation and had followed all company policies and procedures. I did not feel supported and because of the severity of his actions on his last day of employment, I became furious that the company was not willing to put the time and resources into fighting an obvious bogus claim. How could they treat an executive like this when I had done everything right? Why would we pay money to a man that had not performed well and had threatened my life? These were questions that I needed answers to if I was going to continue to work for Target.
I went to my HR manager and we had a conference call with the regional HR representative. She listened calmly as I talked of my frustration and disbelief of not being backed up by the company I thought was so wonderful. When I had calmed down some she told me the reality of the situation. We were not going to fight the claim as a benefit to me. I couldn’t believe my ears; how was this a benefit to me? She explained that the company did not want to put me in further jeopardy by angering this man any further. I few had to pay unemployment for three to four months to keep him from becoming more agitated with the situation then that’s what we would do. She said that the company had far too much money invested in me and concern for my well being to allow such a relatively small amount of money to be a concern. In a phrase, “I was worth every penny.”
I was taken back. I had misconstrued my company’s intention thinking all the time I wasn’t being supported when really they were going above and beyond the call of duty. They truly had my well being as a first priority.
The reason there was such a difference in what I thought was happening and what was really happening was emotions. I allowed my emotions from the situation to cloud my critical thinking. I wanted revenge for being pushed and threatened and planned to take the revenge by denying this man unemployment. My emotions had they been Target’s viewpoint as well could have put me in much more serious danger. Had I used critical thinking and thought through the logical progression of events that might have come from going to the unemployment meeting to denying the claim, I would have realized just as my HR representative did that my safety was much more important.
I learned that critical thinking is not only extremely important but it must happen in the right conditions. Just as we talked about in chapter three, the setting in which you do your thinking can affect the outcome. I was emotional so my response was emotional. My HR representative was calm and unbiased so her solution was the one that made the most sense. Another great learning experience from this was that an outside person’s opinion and their critical thinking may also be a good resource if you are too involved with the situation.
From this experience I have changed my critical thinking process by making fewer and fewer spontaneous decisions. I think through the problem from beginning to end. I ask myself clarifying questions and look for alternative routes and solutions. I will run the possible solutions past a colleague for their thoughts. This different process has lead to more and better outcomes. It prepares me for what might happen in different circumstances. Instead of the situation just happening to me, I am in control of the situation.