Anger in the workplace

I felt like this yesterday:


When I started in this job three years ago, my boss (who happens to be Catholic, even though my company isn’t) walked into my office, handed me a piece of paper, and said, “I call this the editor’s prayer. You’re going to want to recite this–daily.”

It was the Litany of Humility.

I sort of got it back then, at least in theory. An editor’s work is hidden, only noticed when the editor messes up. Getting overlooked is par for the course. But back then I was inexperienced, unknown, unproven, and therefore bound to be humble in general anyway. I’d recite the prayer sometimes, but circumstances kept me humble enough; I didn’t feel I really “needed” it. Still, I’ve kept that piece of paper–it’s taped to my office wall, and I do glance at it now and then…though admittedly, I don’t say it nearly as often as I should.

I said it this morning.

Yesterday I responded very badly (very non-humbly) to a situation here at the office. I was overlooked on an issue in which I should have been consulted–at the very least informed–and I threw a fit. Okay, it was an interior fit, but a fit nonetheless. I spent the entire afternoon seething, crying, and pacing by turns. I just kept thinking, After all the hard work I’ve put into this job, into this company, into this specific project, you’d think they’d at least nod in my direction. Is that too much to ask?

Honestly: no. It’s not too much to ask, and I’m still furious…and even a bit hurt.  But there’s nothing I can do about it right now; I can only roll up my sleeves and get on with things. For some reason, at least for today, I’m going to have to deal with being invisible. So I said that litany this morning as I powered up the computer and sat down at my desk to begin the day. Suddenly it makes so much more sense. “From the desire of being consulted…from the desire of being approved…from the fear of being forgotten…deliver me, Jesus.”

Aside from all that, though, I also need to pray for the courage to stand up for myself and my work. I think too often in the name of “humility”–a corruption of true humility–I bow my head and shuffle along. What’s the proper professional response? I honestly don’t know. But sitting on top of this simmering rage for too much longer is, I think, not the answer.

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4 thoughts on “Anger in the workplace

    • I mean, that your coworkers totally neglected to talk to you about the whatever it is. I think you have a right to feel angry about it! You have a duty to yourself and to God to take a breath and move past it, but don’t do it until you’re ready. Feel angry for a while. There is nothing wrong with the feeling, as long as you don’t particularly relish it . . . and really, who does?

  1. That prayer definately spoke to me today.

    But, never let others take advantage of you by claiming work you did or lead was their own. It always happens a little bit, but stand up and be ‘proud’ of what you’ve done and contributed. Always be ready to turn it over to someone else though, that’s the sad/frustrating thing about working for someone else (or a company in most cases). After you ‘turn in’ your work, it’s really not yours anymore. You should be credited for it, but it’s not yours and you don’t really deserve anything, other than acknowlegement that you worked on/created it.

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