Dos and Don’ts When Angry At Work


Photo: CREATISTA/Flickr

There’s nothing that can get your blood boiling like an unfair boss. Throw in a smattering of office gossip and a side of passive-aggression and you have a recipe that will leave even the calmest minds silently seething. When you’re feeling angry at work, your job is on the line, and so too is your dignity. Follow these simple steps to keep your emotions in control and ensure you’ll be able to come back to work tomorrow.

Workplace Anger Dos

When you’re feeling angry at work, the key is to constructively manage your anger while taking specific steps toward a happier, more harmonious workplace. To get your anger in check, try some of the following tips:

  • Remind yourself that the way people treat you is usually about them, not you. Your passive-aggressive co-worker and mean-spirited boss likely behave the way they do because of insecurity or life stress, not because they want to harm you.
  • Take 10 deep breaths before taking any sudden action.
  • Meditate or take a break to walk around the office. This can calm your mind and help your react more rationally.

Once you’ve gotten your anger under control, it’s time to work to quell the source of the rage. Try some of the following:

  • Report inappropriate workplace behavior, such as bullying or sexual harassment, to your human resources department.
  • Document each and every instance of workplace abuse.
  • Be kind even to bullies. Mean people have much more trouble being mean when their victims respond with kindness.

Workplace Anger Don’ts

If your workplace is a source of constant abuse or stress, you might be tempted to channel the protagonists of Office Space, or quit in full Jerry Maguire fashion. But if you’re like most people, you need your job, and you probably don’t really want to quit – no matter how gratifying doing so might temporarily be. No matter what happens, steer clear of these strategies:

  • Don’t make threats. If you plan to file a lawsuit or a complaint, just do it. Threats tend only to make abuse worse.
  • Don’t lash out, particularly in writing; doing so could provide a justification for firing you.
  • Don’t stop excelling at work. An abusive workplace is not an excuse to stop doing your job, and neglecting your duties can serve as an excuse for workplace abuse.
  • Don’t gossip or participate in workplace gossip; it only fosters an abusive environment.


No one deserves to work in an abusive situation, but unfortunately, many of us struggle with less-than-ideal working environments. By documenting the abuse and maintaining your cool, though, you can keep your job and your dignity.


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