Thursday, February 17, 2011

Check Your Anger At The Door

The other day, I had a job where I was working with a customer and delivering new laptops to the various people in the organization. While most people were more than happy to get their new laptops, there is always the problem child. No matter what you give some people, they will resist through fear of getting something new. When they resist, it is not uncommon for them to push back and become difficult to work with.

While I am quite aware that this will happen, one individual pushed my buttons the other day in a very big way. Imagine having a roomful of 50 or more people coming in to get their laptops and a limited number of techs on hand to make sure all questions were answered. There was a short amount of time that these people were going to be there. One of the first individuals that I got to work with was a man that either was having a bad day or is normally a very angry person.

Asking an innocent question if he needed help, unleashed a furry of words and actions that left me dumbfounded and surprised. No matter what I tried to do or how I tried to help him, he just lit into me as if I was the lightening rod for all his anger. He did this as he assured me that he normally doesn't get this upset and frustrated. As my eyes rolled at that statement, he continued to berate and scream at me. At one point he picked the laptop up and I thought I was going to have to duck because that thing was going to be sailing at me.

Normally, I am pretty good about diffusing situations like this. If I would have had more time to spend just with him, I would have let him unload on me but time was limited and I could not do that. Regardless of what I did or how I tried to show him I cared, he just continued with his tirade. Finally, I went and got someone higher up in the organization and asked them to deal with him because I needed to move on to other people. Unfortunately, they were not able to deal with him either as he just continued his tirade on everyone that was in the room.

After we got a break, I made my exit outside and just breathed and found my center point again because that was a very intense moment. It was extremely stressful and affected the rest of my day. The day actually went longer than expected so by the time I got home I was very exhausted. This was after 13.5 hours from the previous day.

It made me sad for the gentleman though, that he felt he needed to do this to someone else. Maybe he wasn't even in touch with himself in what he was doing and maybe there were other things going on in his life. It wasn't fair to me or others in the room. We were there trying to help and assist, not to be emotionally beat up.

What makes a person lose it in this way? What gives another person the right to emotionally beat up on others? I witnessed events like this all my life and there have been times that I've lost it through holiday seasons or other triggering events. It saddens me when I think of those times. I've been working very hard to release things in my life and rid the source of the anger so that I don't continue any of these things on.

My heart went out to this gentleman. He was actually a sales person in this company and I could not help but wonder how he comes across to people. There is so much anger in our world and like this gentleman, it often spills over into all areas of our world. All you have to do is turn the radio or TV on and see this person or that person screaming out in an angry tone to force others to believe what they think is right. In fact, if you get into the political realm of our country, you see the anger portrayed as "passion" and if you watch other countries, you see the anger spill over into violence and uprising.

I'm not disputing the validity of these events but I am trying to get everyone to see that so much of our communication in this world is from a point of anger. It is not healthy for ourselves or for others and yet it is practiced as the norm in humanity every day. Passion and discussion of ideas is one thing but when anger is introduced into the scenario, we begin to erode the respect away that we have for others and for ourselves.

Anger is a valid emotion but there is a time and place for it. In the scenario above, too many computer techs experience the anger that is not checked at the door. After several years of dealing with it, the computer techs get to the point of saying, whatever and losing some of that passion they have for the job. As many techs may joke, they are a psychologist, punching bag and superman all rolled up into one package. I remember one president expecting me to get an AT&T satellite working so he could have a video conference call. I remember the time this same President of the company called me an idiot in front of a roomful of company employees because the power point projector would not work. There is a time and place but we all need to be mindful of that time and place as well as the person on the receiving end. If we value the other person so little, we value ourselves to the same degree.

Each of us needs to find our own outlet for anger and frustration that we experience in life. It is never okay to take it out on any other human or animal or even ourselves. The healthy thing is to get to the source of it and find ways to release it and let it go.

So the next time you find yourself ready to lash out at someone through your own misdirected anger, realize that they are not the ones that deserve. Yes, if they are the source of it, assertively find a way to confront them, but check your anger at the door. You can assertively confront someone without losing your temper and going ballistic.

We are all on this planet to build a civilization that uplifts and encourages each other. Let us not tear it down by living our life out of anger but one of seeing the good in each other and ourselves. There is a time for anger but not at the expense of someone else.

Blog Post & Images (c) 2/16/11 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

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