Lesson 030: Public beatings of loud cell phone users
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 7/2 ('Liaisons')


Worf is given the task of liaison with a visiting exchange alien ambassador.

Worf, usually an aggressive personality, tones down his usual temper to fulfill his duty in escorting the ambassador around the Enterprise.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Worf, the ambassador is intent on learning about the human qualities of rage and anger and, thus, continually tests Worf's patience with belligerence and antagonism.

The ambassador continually provokes Worf by being extremely rude and dismissive. Worf manages his best to curtail his frustration and anger at every turn.

In discussing the intolerable situation with Troi, Troi tells Worf to stop being so patient and accommodating, and to let the ambassador know that there are limits and boundaries to bad behavior, and that some behavior is just not acceptable in a civilized human society.


Dealing with adversarial, offensive and rude people is one of the basic functions of Management.

We see this function in practice first as children. As a child, and later as a youth, we try to push the boundaries of behavior as set by our parents. Some obviously push harder than others, as evidenced by public displays of outbursts and tantrums of some children.

Later in life, based on our respective parental up bringing, and in some degree to our inherent qualities, we may decide to push the borders of proper behavior as set forth and deemed acceptable by our societies.

In some cases, there are adults who may even try to push such envelopes of conduct in their work places.

In all of the aforementioned instances, there must be a place, where those in charge - parents, law enforcement and work place managers - must draw a definitive line which is not permitted to be breeched by anyone, without incurring severe penalties.

For breaking the parents' rules for proper behavior, the children can be disciplined by eliminating their access to all electronic devices (TV, phones, computers, video games, etc.) and canceling all extracurricular activities, including going out with friends, i.e. grounded.

For breaking society's rules of proper behavior, unfortunately, the authorities cannot intervene until a specific written law has been violated.

The unacceptable behavior of smoking in clearly marked non-smoking areas or parking a car in a no parking zone can be dealt with by the authorities with citations; however, the sheer rudeness of the inevitable arrogant insensitive idiot who must talk loud on their cell phone in public places is not a punishable act…yet.

Fortunately, most work places can be managed much better as the rules and regulations of office etiquette and proper behavior are clearly stated in writing. Violations of such rules and regulations usually results in verbal warnings, followed by written warnings and finally, dismissal.

Once we have clearly and openly defined the limits of acceptable behavior for all concerned, we are then empowered to first advise, then admonish if need be, people who are being offensive and rude.

Worf serves his admonishment to the ambassador with a 4-hour expert-level physical combat training session, where Worf gets to take out all of his pent up aggression by severely beating the ambassador.

If only our laws allowed us to do the same to the publically loud cell phone user!

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