Lawyers: How to Get Upset at Work Without Getting Fired
Of all the places to get angry, work is probably the worst. Granted, you can't believe the partner just said you have to come in over the weekend. And look at this: Opposing counsel is categorically denying all your interrogatories. They can't all be vague, overbroad, compound, and burdensome!
It's times like these when you just want to scream, or hit something, or both. Stop for a second, though: There are better things you could be doing than preparing to get fired. Here are five suggestions:
1. Take a Break
If you can get out of the office for just a few minutes, do it. A change of scenery can go a long way toward calming you down. Go to the park and let the soft quacking of the ducks wash over you.
2. Write an Email, Then Delete It
OK, you want to let the client know what you really think? Open up a blank Word document, write down all the things you want to say, and then delete it. Sending a pointed email while you're angry is going to do two things: (1) Temporarily make you feel better, and then (2) Permanently make you feel much worse when the partner marches into your office, email in hand, vein throbbing on his forehead, saying, "Tell me why the client just forwarded me this email from you."
"Yeah, right," you're saying. "I don't have time for yoga!" Even if you don't, meditation can be as simple as stopping what you're doing, closing your eyes, and breathing for a little bit. In just a few minutes, your body will back down from its primordial fight response and you'll be able to think rationally again.
4. Pump Up the Laughs
Believe it or not, laughter might be the best medicine. Fire up YouTube and watch Flip Wilson tell his "ugly baby" joke on "The Tonight Show" in 1965. A little humor will reset your mood, calm you down, and make you realize that everything's going to be fine.
That's right, if going out to the park and watching the ducks isn't your thing, take a jog around the block instead. A 2010 study from the American College of Sports Medicine suggests that exercise can reduce anger levels. Just don't go to the gym, where you can get even more enraged when someone changed the music on the speaker system.
Editor's Note, October 13, 2015: This post was first published in October 2014. It has since been updated.
- Coping with Office Anger (Chicago Tribune)
- Anger Management: How to Keep Your Cool at Work (Forbes)
- 10 Dos and Don'ts for Law Firm Happy Hours (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
- Why You Need to Learn to Say 'No' to Partners, Senior Associates (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)