Career Anger Interfering With Your Relationships?

Screaming Businessman
Getty Images

Many people are dealing with some serious career anger today. The ongoing recession, unemployment, underemployment, low wages, unsatisfying careers, working too many hours, demanding bosses, etc. It all adds up. Some studies say as many as 70 percent of Americans want to change jobs because they are unhappy. Yet, we all have bills to pay. Quitting isn't an option. We must keep the job and cope with the anger.

But, do we?

I found this article very interesting: How To Stop Taking Your Anger Out on Others.

The author, Martha Beck, provides some excellent perspective and suggestions for helping us recognize when we are showing signs of "displaced aggression" - the act of taking our anger out on others. We've all done it. Yelled at a friend or family member after a long (BAD) day at the office. According to Beck, the first step in dealing with it is recognizing it in others. Well, I'm pretty sure we've all seen it. In fact, I would argue some of the people that hate their jobs do so because someone (i.e. a manager or co-worker) is displacing aggression on them during the workday.

QUESTION: Anyone have a manager or office mate who seems to blow up at the dumbest things and makes you feel uneasy for the rest of the day? (I bet a lot of us are nodding our heads right now!)

Don't Let Their Displaced Aggression Push You to Get Angry With Your Loved Ones!

Beck says once you see it in others you can start to catch yourself. I've definitely found myself apologizing for a raised voice only to hear myself say, "I'm sorry. I had to deal with someone today at work that set me off. I didn't mean to take it out on you." However, Beck says sometimes we don't catch it. Instead, we get upset with ourselves for getting angry, leading us to get even more angry and to "stress-roll" a/k/a keep taking it out on others. Yep. I've done that once or twice too. But, eventually (hopefully!) we recognize the need to quit stress-rolling and to find a real solution to the career anger we are dealing with.

Solution: Stop Going It Alone

This has to be my favorite part of Beck's advice. Why? As a career coach, I've been telling clients for years the only way to improve your professional situation is to let go of your career anger and surround yourself with people who want to help you and can keep you in a positive mindset. Beck shares an amazing quote about the power of humility and knowing when to seek and accept help.

Lao Tzu said, "All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power." Every time you avoid rolling your negative emotions downhill, and instead admit the places you feel lowest, you'll find your power paradoxically growing. As you feel less overwhelmed and more balanced, you'll lift the people who look up to you until they, too, stop stress-rolling and start leveling with you about their own issues. In time, the very people you once dumped on may join you in solving any problems you face. Rolling on together, you'll be unstoppable.

Here's the way I see it: passing our career anger onto others is giving power to those that displaced their aggression onto us. They don't deserve that power. They shouldn't control us. We need to fight back by learning to deal with their inappropriate behavior and not let it affect us. I realize that's not easy, but for the sake of all the relationships that really matter to us, we have to find a way.

So, tell me readers? How do you cope with managers and co-workers who displace their aggression at work? I'd love to hear your stories and tips in the comments below. Together, we can roll together and become unstoppable.

PS - Can I help you here on AOL? I write for AOL on a number of career subjects. Feel free to email me a topic or question you'd like answered at

And, if you enjoyed this post, then perhaps you'd like another I wrote here on AOL:

How to Get a Raise in 60 Days