Work rage

WORK RAGE - is your workplace becoming like a battleground?

TEKST: BRUCE WENHAM

Roger picked up the heavy computer monitor and held it high, where it swayed ominously over his boss's head like for eternity - before sending it crashing in slow motion through the 86th floor window of the skyscraper he plodded to work everyday. Then suddenly Roger woke up, drenched in sweat. Sweet relief - he was safe (for now), back in the real world.

That's just a repeating dream Roger has every morning at 5.32. Reason? - his computer has been crashing all the time recently - and his boss has been shouting at him because he got Anne, his personal assistant, to order powdered coffee creamer instead of real cream for the coffee.

How is your workplace? Is it quite calm or is it seething with rage? When was the last time you swore in frustration at your monitor, tears running down your cheeks - just because Internet Explorer froze again? Or when your boss shouts at you, do you in turn shout at your subordinate and give him the most sadistic tasks (something like what you did to your cat when mum shouted at you).

The 90s were a decade characterised by stress, especially in Britain, when we first encountered the phenomenon of "road rage". Drivers began shouting, fighting and even killed each other over minor disputes on the roads and motorways. What was going wrong? Were people watching too much EastEnders? Then they even started doing it on 747s in Business Class between London and New York at 20,000 ft and we had "air rage". In the office - stress, competitive pressures, poor communication and uncomfortable working environments have given us "work rage".

Well, if a repeating dream comes hauntingly to you at 5.32 in the dim light of dawn like Roger's - there's help on the way.

A growing industry of anger consultants are offering companies the option to send a really bad-tempered employee on an anger management course. But what would you learn on such a course?

Well, when your colleague has made a cock-up, never shout at him: "you useless idiot! '. That's humiliating and frightening! Besides - as soon as you get angry you've lost the argument. Instead explain calmly what they have done wrong. Next, very seriously say 'I'm feeling very angry at this moment'. Finally admit 'Yes, well, I too sometimes make cock-ups'.

In this way you're showing that your human as well! (don't worry - the Men in Black aren't in the neighbourhood yet)

The best way of dealing with anger is to understand and decipher your deep, inner emotions. You have to come to terms with that remaining anger originating from your childhood (every morning you had to put on that silly Harry Potter school uniform).

VOCABULARY

747 - the 'Jumbo Jet', the world's largest commercial passenger jet from Boeing

cock-up - a muddle, mess, confusion

come to terms with - find a way of living with some personal trouble or difficulty

crashing - 1. making a noise by breaking (glass) or being crushed by falling; rushing to destruction 2. a computer system/program/application completely breaking down

EastEnders - a very popular (and very stressful!) BBC soap, based on the lives of characters (EastEnders) living in Albert Square in the 'East End' - the eastern part of London, inhabited by poorer people.

hauntingly - repeatedly coming back, visiting frequently

humiliating - injuring self-respect or pride

ominously - pertaining to or containing an omen; portending evil

plodded - walked heavily and laboriously

powdered - reduced to powder e. g. (of food) through dehydration and crushing

rage - madness, overpowering anger

seething - agitated (by anger)

skyscraper - a very high building designed to maximise office space due to a lack of ground space, increasing cost of land and the growth of modern cities

swayed - moved swingingly or sweepingly from side to side

workplace - the office or factory etc where one works



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