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A is for anger, p is for procrastination

Let's Get to Work2005-05-05

A is for anger, p is for procrastination

This month our career coach works through workplace anger and provides a couch potato a swift kick in the pants

This month our career coach works through workplace anger and provides a couch potato a swift kick in the pants

By Ed Vladich is proud to feature advice columnist Ed Vladich. Send your career-related dilemmas via e-mail to, with "Dear Ed" in the subject line.

Dear Ed,

Please help me to get past my anger.

During the past 13 years I worked as a college student affairs administrator for a state university. My duties included coordinating the nonacademic portion of student life from orientation through graduation. Another of my roles was supervisor of fraternities and sororities: I coordinated intramural sports and residence hall activities, and sponsored antidrinking and antidrug campus initiatives. I really loved my work and worked passionately at it.

Everything came to a crashing halt when I was informed at the end of the Spring 2004 semester that my position was being eliminated due to state educational funding cutbacks.

It's been nearly one year since my termination, and although I'm supporting myself through part-time work, I get angry whenever I think of those who let me go (i.e. the system and its agents). I recently realized that I'm holding on to some serious anger and rage over my termination and that it's holding me back from moving on in my life and career. Something you said in one of your responses to a recent inquiry triggered my thought processes, and I don't want to stay frozen in time and become bitter and jaded in life.

Please release me,

Mad as Hell

Dear MAH,

Time to take a break from victim mentality--it doesn't serve you or your highest good in your life work. You're eating yourself alive while "the system and its agents" go on about their own business without a thought for you.

Allow me to provide you with some practical solace:

It's OK to feel anger. Everyone gets angry at the loss of a job. Everyone.

It's OK to feel anger towards the individual who terminated you--the system that took the work away from you, the economic conditions that contributed to the loss. Allow yourself this temporary anger.

It's not OK to blame yourself or act upon your anger in a detrimental way.

Let the anger out in a safe and supportive manner. Seek professional help, i.e. counseling or therapy. Get active in a physical sport. Beat a pillow with a plastic bat. Once the anger is channeled and dissipated in such safe and supportive ways, you'll avoid things that do not serve you and your optimum well-being.

It's OK to forgive and let go. To forgive does not just mean to pardon, it means to let go. That is a full release and a complete closure. When you release another or a situation, you free yourself to do the same. In this process you give yourself the liberating gift of freedom to move on.

The following is a simple yet remarkably effective process for dealing with anger and forgiveness . One of my clients with the same issues came up with it in our work together. First, imagine in your mind's eye the individual, event, or thing that caused your loss. Then, say, "I cut the cord between us, and I release you to your higher good and me to my own higher good." See yourself in your mind's eye cutting the cord and letting you and the individual or event of loss drift apart.

Your anger will pass as your healing unfolds.

Dear Ed,

I was laid off from my job after the bank I was working for merged with another bank. I was eligible for unemployment compensation and decided to take some time off between jobs. Now I find myself putting off until tomorrow what I should really be doing today. Meanwhile, unemployment checks won't last forever, and it's making me feel anxious about my future. I need a kick start, or maybe a real kick in the pants. Can you do that?


Couch Potato

Dear CP,

Let me give you a little equation to ponder while you sit eating chips and watching Oprah. Procrastination = Unrest. What do I mean by that? Stop putting off things that will effect change and take care of you. When we know what is the right action to take but we keep putting it off, we miss being our best. Quit making excuses and distracting yourself with addictions. That's right: Any distraction is an addiction, whether it's sticking a needle in your arm or watching daytime television.

My friend, "one day" or "some day" never comes. It is today for you (and for all of us). Negative and unhappy is a day wasted. Live in the now--the power of now. Today is the day to do it, whatever it may be. If you think, I'll do it when it's more convenient, you keep getting in your own way and holding yourself back. Human nature is to put off doing things. Believe it or not, the number 1 reason for putting things off is the thought I'm too busy. Instead of turning on the TV, may I make a practical suggestion: Spend the time reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It is a great book to combat procrastination, and I highly recommend it to clients like you. No excuses--procrastination is a trap.

The Power of Now

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