Knowing when to get angry

“You have to learn what’s worth getting angry about.”  Lester said to me  in his gentle way.

I was 16 years old, had just unleashed a string of profanities.

That conversation took place over 40 years ago and  I can STILL remember it to this day.

I remember thinking, “You know, he’s right.  Nobody pays too much attention to me now when I get mad.  That can’t be good.”

Lester  reminded me of Ben Franklin….

Retired farmer,

Bib overhauls…

Here’s an early crew photo…Lester is in the middle and I’m to his right:

Work crew from back in the day.  We had just finished pouring a basement wall.

And yes, that was a can of Old Mill in my hand.

________________________________________

These days, it does take a lot more to light the fire.

The fuse got lit on Tuesday.

I’m temporarily working with another construction company…

My work load had slowed up, and this crew needed some extra help.

Win win.

Tuesday night  on the way home, my cell phone rang,  it was the boss…He’d just got off the phone with the customer of the job I’ve been at the past month.    It was implied we were taking too long to finish the project and we needed to start putting in 10 hour days.

You’ll have to take my word on this one, but I have been busting my chops the past 5 weeks  with a crew of 2 (just myself and a helper.)

The week previous I  picked up some  little clues the boss thought we must surely be about done, he had sent Dave to round-up the screw guns, and extension chords .  I could see we had at least another 2 to 3 weeks, assuming there were no more change orders.  To compound my frustration, the boss has not personally set foot on the job site for two weeks,…. he personally hates detail work   (which is what we have left to finish)…

Fast forward to this phone call….

After I hung up, Jack, who was riding in the truck with me and  who had heard my side of the conversation asked what that was all about?

I repeated what I’d been told.   He reacted with “That is bull@#$%”   (which is German for “That is not fair!”)

We both felt unappreciated and misjudged.

I could feel the anger start to build.  Rather than just stuff it, I wrote a punch list (things yet to do) when I got home.

The next morning I was @ the shop 30 minutes early, with the intention of talking to the boss one on one.

When  I got there,  the crew was already starting to trickle in. I asked to talk  with the boss in the office.   He said he didn’t  think it was necessary so I gave him the punch list in front of the assembled.    I told him  someone else could finish those items because I had my hands full,  framing walls and installing glass board.

He told me I was  quote “over-responding” and made light of my frustration.

(This is in front of others mind you.)

I told someone later, the mind games, the  passive – aggressive behavior, in the midst of conflict no longer works on me quite like they once did.

Anger in and of itself, is not always a bad thing…..it all depends on what you do with it.

Anger reminds me of rocket fuel.

If you’re not careful, it can ignite, blow up and you’ll have a bigger problem.

Anger can be a wonderful  motivator for change and conflict resolution.

____________________________

Update 2/23/17.  I posted this for a specific group of people.  I realize most of you didn’t know me when I was younger, but I entered adulthood as a hard core people pleaser, with a very low self image. One of the issues that dogged me back then, was an inability to stand up for myself in a healthy way.  People would take advantage of me, even older family members. I would be manipulated, talked down to, on and on. Internally, I would seethe, but NEVER, EVER< give voice to any of it….

And then, through the efforts of a friend, I addressed the low self esteem head on, and ever so gradually, my life began to change…so by the time this event took place I wrote about, my response was a 180 degree flip from the old DM….and the boss I wrote about, didn’t know what to do with me.  He was used to the  old compliant DM…so I wrote this to give hope to the people pleaser, the person with a low self esteem.  You do not have to live there.  There are greener pastures.  I am not talking about turning into a mean spirited abusive person.  I am talking about wholeness in your inner person…it is radical stuff..and it is good.

 

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10 thoughts on “Knowing when to get angry

  1. I remember when the bank put Hubby overdrawn by transferring money from his account to a new one with a different bank. They told him it was normal banking procedure. I knew it wasn’t, they had no authority and certainly no right to charge him. I suggested that he didn’t let the manager take him into a room, but to stand his ground at the counter, not to get angry or raise his voice, tell him in no uncertain terms that it was not normal procedure to transfer funds from one bank to another without written instructions, they could sing for their charges as it was their error, not his request, and to hand over his cheque book and credit card (cut in half) to close his account. Apparently the couple filling out the application form at the desk alongside him tore it up and left it there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. did you quit? or just be quiet after he blew you off?
    and why did you take the scripture off?
    Ephesians 4:26English Standard Version (ESV)

    26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.
    need me to come take care of this problem for you? I know peeps…. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an important message! I remember doing something very similar once…I was feeling terribly overwhelmed at work (probably because I was always compliant, a people pleaser, problem-solver, constantly saying things like, “oh, don’t worry about it, I can do that,” or, “I’ll fix it”–and I was valued for that!, piling things onto my own plate, never saying no) and I was starting to get some pressure about not being done with this or that thing. (This was administrative work, for both “the big boss” and for an entire department, so there was just a huge assortment of tasks of all kinds). My initial reaction was to work harder and harder and harder and certainly not to complain…and then it was to stew during the day, alternating with crumpling inside. (And the crumpling on the inside was probably beginning to leak into some crumpledy-acting behavior on the outside sometimes, which really detracted from my usual sunny work-personality).

    Well, I was working on being more assertive (it was a multi-year process for me, and still not entirely over!) but it suddenly occurred to me that my boss really didn’t have a CLUE what I did. So I listed EVERYTHING, and going against my usual inclination (not to list the little things, to make it look like I had everything “handled” and make it seem magically that I always was calm and fine and in control), when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. And I took it to her and said, “this is why I have been getting stressed. I do a LOT”. Including a LOT that no one even knows I do. And I left it there. ( I am not sure but I may even have asked for a raise– I know I ended up getting one that year).

    It doesn’t sound like such a big deal now, but it was REVOLUTIONARY to me at the time. That I could just advocate for myself and leave the emotions out of it! That I could advocate for myself, period!

    I agree. Totally big stuff. And I’m glad you added the post-script saying WHY you posted this. It’s a good reminder even to me– a person who has been working on this stuff now, consciously, for a good 25 years (in one or another area of my life)– to keep at it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Working a 82 hour week on a major networking job I developed Deep vein thrombosis.
    At that time you were hospitalised.
    3 days later I discharged myself worried about the job as I hate to let those I work with down.
    I was the linesman charge hand cum electronic trouble shooter and the rest were really good wire pullers. A close group of lads.

    The boss was there when I arrived on crutches and was berating my team.
    On seeing me he drew himself up to his full 63 inches (in high heels) and told me I was a skiving s###bag.
    Anger? Not a lot was said by any of the guys.
    Actions speaking louder than any words, everyone just walked off the job and I quietly returned to hospital. After that word got round fast and no one would touch that job, and I do mean no one.

    Three weeks later I was discharged to find the firm has closed down, crashed, never to rise again. The nice bit was the gang was quietly waiting for me to lead them in finishing the job. Hired by another but all waiting for me. That was their deal with the new boss.

    Wanna know what humble felt like? That was me almost in tears.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a great story! I have worked on a couple of crews where we had that sense of teamwork. It didn’t matter what the job…thanks for sharing! BTW, how are you two feeling? I seem to remember reading something earlier in the week you were sicker than a dog…(I may have my weeks mixed up) 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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