“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….
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.
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.