It was a lousy day at work. People who love to fight were looking to engage. Monotonous projects continued to drag on and on. Even my lunch was an unexciting tuna sandwich.
Uncharacteristically, I carried my work frustration with me out of the office. I normally do a good job of compartmentalizing work. But not today. The signs of stress were lurking below.
I went straight from work to the supermarket. With my wife working late, I was on dinner duty.
As I filled my cart, I played back the work events of the past few days. With each dinner ingredient I added, the more agitated I became.
I was suddenly hot. On the precipice of perspiration.
With negative work thoughts swirling around my head like vultures hunting prey, I approached the checkout counter.
I scanned for the shortest line. After all, I just wanted to get home. I still had a dog to walk, dinner to make, plus, I was exhausted.
As luck would have it, I got on line behind the slowest woman in the world. You know the type. The shopper with 15 coupons, half of which are expired. The shopper who is still confused that they have to swipe their own credit card. The shopper who does not bag a single item until the transaction is complete. The shopper who keeps their cart in your way.
This was the last thing I wanted to deal with.
On the verge of reading this woman the riot act, she finally finished up. I was seething. As she walked away, she turned to me…
I thought, here it comes, she’s going to say something about my huffing and puffing and I am going to lose it.
“Here sir. You might be able to use this.”
She handed me a $4.50 coupon to use on my purchases.
AND THIS WAS MY WAKE-UP CALL.
Instead of vilifying this woman and taking out my work frustration on her, I should have been a better person.
My negative work thoughts led me to be impatient – and dare I say – angry. And this was 20 miles from the office!
I need to restore my work equanimity. The signs of stress should be used as a reminder on how to fight office anger. Here is a Jobacle roundup of posts dealing with workplace anger and how to curb it. I better go back and read some of my own posts!