It's just a TPS Report: How to step away from your Desk Rage

It's just a TPS Report: How to step away from your Desk Rage

Summary: Much of the advice on handling desk rage might, at best, be hard to apply and at its worst, entirely misses the mark. Listen instead to the IT Grind's Three No-Nonsense Steps to Stepping Away From Your Desk Rage.

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TOPICS: CXO, IT Employment
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Workers Gone Wild! Like Office Space, but less funny.
If, perhaps, you shared my weakness for the 2008 Olympics Women's Gymnastics All-Around Competition and watched the event all the way until the very end last night and then continued to watch NBC long enough to catch the late late news, you might have caught a report on the "newest serious workplace threat"--drumroll--Desk Rage.

Type these words into Google and it will return over 60,000 results with headlines ranging from "Workers gone wild!" to "Workers: More and more out of control" and "Is there one in your office?" NBC's on-the-ground reporting found a few gruff-looking guys weighing in with their own on-the-job war stories: "I've seen someone pick up the phone and beat someone over the head with it" said one, while another "once saw someone throw a chair at a window and break the window."

First there was road rage, then there was air rage and now there is desk rage? Is desk rage truly the newest "workplace killer" or is this just a contrived story to fill out news hours in the dog days of summer when most of America is more deeply engrossed in Phelps Fanticism than whatever those news anchors are going on about in South Ossetia?

Not to make light of the real-life scary workplace headlines this week such as "Arkansas Supsect Quit Job on Day of Killing" but it seems that much of the advice on handling desk rage might at best be hard to apply and at its worst, entirely misses the mark. Dr. Kerry Sulkowicz of the Boswell Group told NBC news that "rage can be avoided when workers can talk about what's wrong in the office." In an illustrated slideshow, Forbes suggest that one go as far as to drive their troubled coworker to a therapist's office to get them help. And Career Builder, via CNN.com, suggests that employees dealing with an enraged coworker apologize for anything they might have done to set him or her off. Hm, okay then.

The next time you're at work and something has gone down that you have decided is the last straw consider instead The IT Grind's Three No-Nonsense Steps to Stepping Away From Your Desk Rage (TM)

1. It's. Just. A. Job.

As difficult it may be to remember when your blood is boiling because consultants you hired have delivered yet another shoddy product and are all offline when your CIO wants it fixed yesterday, this thing you do from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.? It's just a job. You might be there for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is to put food on the table. And if it makes you miserable, or if the stress is too much to bear, there are probably other jobs out there that are less inclined to make you fly off the handle.

2. Seriously, you look ridiculous when you lose your temper.

If you're the kind of person who likes to look and act professional at work--and you should be, as it will get you further--you might want to consider not gritting your teeth, flaring your nostrils and white-knuckling your mouse every time something irks you. All you're doing is guaranteeing that the next time the big shots are looking for someone to promote to a more important or customer-facing role, they're going to pass right over the person they can't trust to keep his or her cool.

3. You're not going to get what you want.

No matter how satisfying you are sure it will be to actually hurl that Blackberry at the person who keeps knowingly and/or intentionally pushing your buttons, you might want to instead consider the arduous conversation you'll be having with police and then your lawyer and then your boss or supervisor and then the bureaucrat at the unemployment office, because it the only thing that is actually certain is that following this gut instinct will not have its intended result.

Topics: CXO, IT Employment

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28 comments
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  • Desk Rage?

    you want desk rage?

    go to YouTube and search for "Angry German Kid"

    you might laugh - you might cry - you might just shake your head and wonder if some critical meds got lost under the fridge
    internot
    • Angry German Kid is just an actor...

      From the video description:
      Angry German Kid (a.k.a. Der echte Gangster, Slikk or Leopold) is a talented actor of age 15 from Bergisches Land, Germany. He plays a character, Der echte Gangster, a parody of a wannabe gangster.

      But, yeah, I guess there are some real people with real problems like this.


      Regards,

      MV
      MV_z
  • I Bet With Windows Vista

    Incidents of desk rage have increased tenfold ;).
    itanalyst2@...
    • Really?

      I mean, and I only say this 'cause I honestly want to hear your answer: Really?
      GuyAlanDye
      • No you don't

        [i]I mean, and I only say this 'cause I honestly want to hear your answer: Really?[/i]

        No you don't. I know it's like watching a train wreck... you can't take your eyes off of it, but in the end it's just a jumbled mess.
        Badgered
    • I think you need to re-read #2...

      [i][b]2. Seriously, you look ridiculous when you lose your temper.[/b]

      If you’re the kind of person who likes to look and act professional at work–and you should be, as it will get you further–you might want to consider not gritting your teeth, flaring your nostrils and white-knuckling your mouse every time something irks you...[/i]

      In your case ItANALyst2, it is the mere mention of anything Microsoft.
      Scrat
  • RE: It's just a TPS Report: How to step away from your Desk Rage

    Stop using Windows and the rage goes away. It's really simple. Since implementing Linux at my job I have been working stress free and happy. It's amazing what a little change can do for you. Seriously Windows is to blame this time. ]:)
    Linux User 147560
  • It???s. Just. A. Job.

    That's as untrue as it is irresponsible.

    Well, maybe if you flip burgers for a living, it's true, but some of us have highly specialised careers that can't be replaced at whim. And I strongly suspect my wife and three kids would object strenuously to the disruption in their life-styles that would result if I suddenly decided that high-level hacking wasn't my thing anymore and was going to take up professional knitting or some such.
    Henrik Moller
    • .....

      In the end game it is just a job. And your quality of life doesn't need to suffer due to a job change. But your priorities on what is real and what is really important would have to shift. Eventually you will realize this... or not. But staying in a stressful job because of money is really silly. But that's my opinion. And while I may not make 6 digits a year, I am debt free, own my own home, have a close family that not only spends time together but communicates beyond "Hey". And that is worth more than a million dollar home or a porsche. And that is what Americans have lost sight of.

      Too bad to. Look at what it's doing to our civilization and our children. And really look, below the surface. People are miserable. The more stuff they have the less satisfied they are so the more they crave to fill an empty void. Americans are hungry ghosts... what a shame. ]:)
      Linux User 147560
    • hmm

      When you turn 80, are retired, sitting in a rocking chair on your front porch looking out over the lake. Return to this thread and tell me if you still think it was more than a job.

      Just because It's Just A Job, does not mean it's not important or something you shouldn't do your best at or something not worth caring about. But when all things are tallied up, in the end it is just a job.
      Badgered
    • it is untrue - just a job

      When you are with work people more than your own friends and family, it becomes a part of your life. When the things you do at work directly affect 400 employees and can cost the company 100 thousand dollars, it is more than just a job. The people,the situations and the financials at a job are real.
      MIS Master
  • I don't mean to whine and go off-topic, but...

    This entire website is more if a personal blog/white papers or whatever more than just news...

    I always check for non-blog news in the past, but then this website is all about blogs, which is the main focus of ZDNet.

    Gradients are overused and that I prefer green instead of red for main menu. Red menu is okay back then before the overhaul of the entire website.

    It's hard to stop remembering "ZDNet," as I've always got myself into habit of visiting ZDNet's website for news very frequently.

    So long, ZDNet, for providing news before being blog-centric.
    Grayson Peddie
  • Quit and start your own company

    Although you might want to bank some cash and plan your transition. Best move I ever made. Although, perhaps ironically, it led to getting an executive level job. But that's a long way from a day job. Life really is different at the top.

    One of the programmers we're hiring did the same thing. Ran his own business for a while, he was making a go of it, and it gave him the flexibility to wait for the right job, not just any job.

    The bad news for those of you working a dead end cubicle job, the outlook is not promising:

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/08/14/news/inflation.wages.fortune/index.htm

    You can't even ask for a raise right now without taking your working life in your hands. And DHS just authorized tech students to stay in the US another 2 1/2 years after graduation without an H1-B visa. Imported student labor.

    We interviewed some cubicle dwellers but none of them made the cut. They answered the questions right but had limited ambition. Almost all the cube dwellers were gamers. I'm not downing games, but if your idea of ambition is going home and playing video games, that's not going to impress anyone. The guy we hired was out taking classes, learning new programming languages, doing things and meeting people. Just like I was and our CEO is same type person. That is not a coincidence. And it wasn't just my opinion. The interview panel was unanimous.

    So, if you really want to channel that desk rage, put it into learning skills with marketplace value, banking cash and get out and meet people. Do something besides playing video games when you get home.

    Which reminds me, I should look into finding one of those foreign tech students. :)
    Chad_z
  • August is a slow news month, but this slow?

    We knew August was a slow news month, but this?
    scott1329
  • RE: It's just a TPS Report: How to step away from your Desk Rage

    dont you think that rage in any of these situations are unexcusable?
    stdo57@...
  • No such thing as "Desk Rage"

    Every time you see something reported as "road rage" or "air rage" or "xyz rage" it is just giving people an excuse for violent behaviour. Let's stop using these words that make it sound like a medical condition "I could not avoid attacking the other driver with my 3000lb vehicle, I was suffering from road rage..."
    Grow up, take responsibility for your actions, you attacked them because you felt like it and you thought that you could get away with it.
    RW27
    • Desk Rage

      Couldn't agree more. It's just pathetically, childish behavior. Thanks for saying so.
      Bruj
    • re: Desk Rage

      [i]Every time you see something reported as "road rage" or "air rage" or "xyz rage" it is just giving people an excuse for violent behaviour.[/i]

      Odd. I never saw it as an excuse. More like a term for being a violent idiot (i.e. giving it a label). Oh well, different strokes....
      Badgered
  • RE: It's just a TPS Report: How to step away from your Desk Rage

    I would agree only with the no such thing as Desk Rage. However no matter how anyone looks at it. Tempers flair and some object goes flying across the room, by definition that is rage. The only question then does the person admit they have an anger issue? (taking responsibilty for ones actions), or do the blow it off and blame some one else. Either way rage does exist and can't be denied, unless someone has their head buried in the ground to avoid the reality of this messed up world.
    mburton325
  • RE: It's just a TPS Report: How to step away from your Desk Rage

    Throwing the computer at a co-worker requires local administrative privileges. Click continue.
    cgarrett@...