Anger at Work

Recent research indicates that people lash out at work to regain a sense of competence.* Shaking my head, I think: “Humans. We tend to do exactly the wrong thing to protect our fragile sense of self.”

That trading boss you had – the one you left your job over? Turns out she was feeling incompetent. Your old boyfriend who put his fist through the apartment wall? Also saddled with that taxing incompetent vibe.

I don’t know about you, but I cannot think of a time when I went off because I felt incompetent. But so says the study, and here’s what to do.

Do NOT pitch a fit at work. Really. Do not. You want yourself branded as a ranter? No. You want HR to have an excuse to fire your butt? No. such displays of emotional ignorance tend to dog people for years, and often place a steel ceiling on their chance of advancement.

While you’re at it, do not pitch a fit at home either. As one who has a strong temper, I can tell you that letting anger fly does not help. In fact, it gets you revved up and makes the anger worse. Plus, it scares the people you love. So chill.

Try breathing. Try meditation. Take a walk. Call a friend. See a therapist.

If you’re feeling incompetent or otherwise like things are stringing out of your control, stop. Most of the things you think you need control over, you don’t control anyway—like all humans over the age of eleven.

Instead remind yourself of how you got where you are—competence. You’ve done things well and are on your way to the success you want. You worked hard to earn a competent skillset, and now you get to keep refining and building it. If you need more, better, or just different skills, get them. No excuses; start learning, feel competent, and skip the tirade.

*Source: Psychology Today, Oct 2017.