What’s The Point Of Yelling?

Bev Potter
3 min readAug 9, 2022
Photo by Morgan Basham on Unsplash

My boss is a yeller.

He likes to say that he’s not yelling, it’s “just the way I sound.” Except, presumably, when he is, in fact, yelling.

I left the office today when he started screaming at a client. Yes, a client — you know, a person who pays him. You’d think this would not be a person you’d scream at. But you would be wrong.

The screaming happens on a fairly regular basis. If it’s not a client, it’s a member of his family. And if it’s neither of these, it’s me.

Of course, I scream back, which makes for a restful work environment. But today I just left. Grabbed the dog, got in my truck, and headed to Dairy Queen. I figured by the time I got back, the client would be gone and silence would reign.

But no, the client was still there, and more screaming ensued.

My mom always asks why people put up with it. That’s a good question.

Here’s the problem from the client’s perspective. You’ve sunk how many thousands of dollars into this guy and your trial is next week. What are you going to do? Courts don’t let you just switch horses mid-stream when your case has been pending for a year or more and you’re already on your second attorney.

You’re stuck.

It’s like deciding you don’t like your surgeon when you’re already on the table. What are you going to do — operate on yourself? No. You’re going to grit your teeth and hope for the best.

The problem today was that another attorney in our building had a client in his office while all the screaming was going on. So everybody was suitably embarrassed.

I don’t understand the point of yelling.

I suppose it’s a form of assault, a verbal beating meant to compel compliance.

But if you have to intimidate somebody into agreeing with you, have you really accomplished anything?

They probably still don’t agree with you, plus now they hate you. You can’t change somebody’s mind just by yelling at them.

I say this as someone who used to yell. A lot. I’d hazard that most yelling is driven by frustration and/or an overwhelming need…

Bev Potter

Legal secretary by day, insomniac by night. Ally. BA, MA. Humor, pop culture, and things that make you think. My weekly-ish newsletter is bevpotter.substack.com