“What Should I Do With My Anger At Work?”

Thought for today:

When taking an inventory of character defects, “Resentment is the ‘number one’ offender.” says the book, “Alcoholics Anonymous”.  So too with compulsive debtors!

“[Resentment] destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” (page 64, Alcoholics Anonymous).

A resentment is a continuous “re-feeling” of old anger.  The Twelve Steps, particularly Step Four, can help us identify and process it.  Otherwise the feeling can start to wear away at our job performance, and can start to threaten our financial future.

Lashing out in anger is never productive, especially in the work environment.  It’s destructive.  Left unchecked, it can come out in sarcasm, gossip, or negative confrontations.

To safeguard our livelihood, we need to work on our anger before we address the situation that provoked it.

A member shares:

“I had to give myself a ‘time out’ today, just like the time outs I gave my kids when they were small.  A manager of another team in my company really pissed me off, re-assigning an employee who was working on my project.

“It was the sixth issue I had with this manager in a week, and I felt like this person was doing it on purpose.  Of course that wasn’t the case – they just weren’t thinking from my perspective as the project manager.   How could they not think about me?!

“The first thing I had to do (after pushing myself away from the keyboard and the email I was about to send, and giving myself a time out at a local coffee place) was to write a Fourth Step list of everything that this manager had done to my project that caused such a resentment in me.

“Putting my anger in writing made me see the need for forgiveness – first to myself, for reacting so visceral, and then to this co-worker, for judging their motives.  Reflecting more, I realized that I had rather ruthlessly been judging other people’s’ motives all month without feeling the least bit guilty over it.  Who did I think I was, doing that?!

“When I got back to my desk I found an email had arrived from this same person, asking me for help in finding more work for their employee, because the employee was getting near the end of their work backlog.  I nearly fell off my chair at how quickly the situation had reversed itself!

“I’m glad I waited to send off that email until after my ‘time out’.  When I finally did respond, I was able to leave out all the vitriol I had felt earlier, and I wrote only a simple message – that I would think about what their employee could do to help reduce the work backlog.  I also mentioned that I felt it was important to finish the immediate work at hand, which would probably take the rest of the week.

“Anger is powerful energy.  It can either hurt, or it can to inspire change.  Giving myself some space to process it thoughtfully, I received all the answers I needed.”


Have I looked at the root causes of my resentment?  Have I put enough space between my perceptions of others and my reactions to them?

Meditation for today:

“When I feel disappointed I must remember that I have set an expectation in my mind of what reality should look like.  It is that perception of expectation which is causing my grief.

When my “radar” alerts me to an issue of anger, I can realize that, especially when money is on the line, people can easily feel threatened, even where no real threat exists.

“Old tapes may replay in my head automatically, but I can stop actively repeating the old mantra, and instead seek coffee with a friend.  When I return, I am usually in a better place!”

Affirmation for today:

“Today I will not hold on too much, when what I  really need is space to process something.  I will push away from my compulsion to lash out, and seek a good friend to share with.”

“I detach from upset before it ruins my day.  I do not judge others’ motives, I leave that to Providence.”

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