Being angry and frustrated at work is its own special brand of misery. Why? Because you can’t lash out at the co-worker or manager or VP that is driving you nuts without risking the loss of your job. Whereas at home, you can probably get plenty angry at your teenager, your spouse, or your mother, without them banishing you from their presence forever.
More often than not, we just stomach whatever frustrations we endure at work. But that’s not good for your emotional or physical well-being, nor for your home life. At some point either your health will suffer (ulcers, back-aches, insomnia, headaches, etc.) or your family will bear the brunt of your unhappiness.
Not only that, but more often than not, your friends and family don’t want to hear about your anger at work. Face it, you don’t like to listen to their litany of complaints either. And a good work-life balance usually implies that you leave work—at work.
Would that it were that easy! Few of us can compartmentalize our lives that effectively. But there is a way to deal with your work anger and frustration without alienating your friends and family, indeed to actually enroll them as allies and willing helpers!
First, however, you must release your fire-and-brimstone emotion. You can’t get your friends and family on your side while breathing flames. So either pound your anger out safely on a pillow named “horrible boss” on your bed, or write it out longhand (I find large illegible scribbles particularly cathartic), or jog it out. Whatever works for you. Just don’t Facebook, tweet, or email it unless you want the world in on your angst.
Then, call a family meeting (yes, teenagers included), or meet with a friend. Tell them the problem: “My boss regularly overloads me with new work at the end of the day” “I never get the vacation slot I want” “I keep getting passed over for that promotion.” Ask for as many possible solutions as your family/friend can come up with. Do not attempt to judge any one of them. Don’t criticize any of their offerings. Don’t offer any “Yeah, but” statements. Just write all the suggestions down. Thank everyone profusely for their input, and tell them you’ll keep them updated as to your progress.
You will be amazed at the possibilities that emerge from a group brain-storming session. Even the outlandish ideas your teenagers, or your friend, or your spouse, suggest will have some grain of wisdom in them. Or their ideas will spur more of your own. From there, you can figure out which is the best course to take.
Plus, now your friends/family are invested in your issue! They contributed to its potential resolution, so they care about how it turns out.
Once you are actively working towards the solution to your problem, your anger and frustration can be re-directed into enthusiasm for the coming solution.
Enthusiasm is much better for your emotional and physical well-being, to say nothing of the benefits to your friends and family.