Do you control your anger or does your anger control you?
September 19, 2012 | Jewish Tribune
I’m afraid that I will be fired from my job as a customer service/order desk representative in a small manufacturing company. I admit that I have lost it a few times with a co-worker on my team because she has come in late and I have covered for her several times. She has yet to apologize. I get so angry and it’s unavoidable. Last week when I shouted in anger at this colleague at the office, the manager called me into her office. She read me the riot act, and said that the next time I raise my voice in the office, I will be fired. What do I do? I CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE THIS JOB. Please help me.
Need to control my anger
I’m curious to know how many outbursts you have had in the past in this position and if this was the first time your manager read you the riot act. The fact that she will fire you the next time you let out your anger at your co-worker means to me that you are on probation and you will be watched like a hawk by your manager. So your letter is perfect timing – you have an opportunity to save your job.
The famous self-help book author Harriet Lerner in the Dance of Anger, a must-read for you, describes anger as a signal and worth listening too. Anger is a universal feeling. Everyone gets angry. You are only human. The issue here is that it’s all about your behaviour and how you handle your anger. In your situation, it sounds like your anger takes control over your work life, if not your personal life – and you could sabotage your work and even be fired. The good news is that you can avoid angry confrontations with co-workers, customers or managers, and handle this volatile emotion/feeling/behaviour on the job.
The JVS employment counselors recommend some tips to help you manage your anger and hopefully keep your job. They recommend that you read their advice when you are in a calm, quiet moment and space.
Start out by finding out what are your hot buttons? What physical signal do you feel when you are about to launch into your anger? Does your face get red for example? Does your heart pump quickly? I’d take a break when I feel the anger rising. Ask for a few minutes to get control over your emotions. Move away from the stressful situation or person. If you feel that you are going to start yelling, then take a break. This action could save your face and your job. One thing you want to avoid is having a bad reputation at work for being uncooperative, difficult and unprofessional. Some counselors suggest counting to 10 if you have to. Other counselors recommend identifying the cause behind your anger. Leading psychologists posit that often people get angry and upset with others who are not the true targets, they just happen to be in the room. Consider taking courses in anger management or self-awareness life skills training on this issue. The more you understand yourself, your triggers, your anger, its cause, the better you will have control in responding to this emotion.
Remind yourself how important your job is in your life. Remind yourself that you are in control of your emotions; your emotions are not in control of you. You are the only one responsible for handling your anger in a way that allows you to keep your job.
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Joanna Samuels, B.A., B.Ed. is a certified Life Skills Coach, Career Management Fellow and Personality Dimensions Facilitator, who is a team lead of employer services and job developer/job coach at Jewish Vocational Services (JVS Toronto).
EMETemployment, a division of ©Jewish Vocational Service (JVS Toronto) is a free confidential employment support and referral service for job seekers from the Jewish community. In addition, EMETemployment offers employers recruitment services at no cost. For more information, visit www.emetemployment.ca.