Interpersonal Edge: Turn anger into positive energy on a job hunt

Dr. Daneen Skube, executive coach and therapist, discusses how to turn anger into positive energy on a job hunt. She explains how to harness the frustration a worker may feel at a current job into a positive force for finding new work and learning lessons to support a future career.

Q: I work too much and feel pretty much underpaid and underappreciated. Promises were made when I first took this job and none of these promises have been fulfilled. When I try to meet with my manager, he avoids me. I figure it is time to hit the job hunt trail. I can’t wait to see my manager’s face when I tell him to shove this stupid job. Is there a best way to look for a job while still employed?

A: Yes, I’m a huge fan of always keeping one resume out the door all the time no matter how happy you are in your job. However, I strongly suggest you don’t seek your next job with that revenge plot of telling your current manager to “shove it.”

Obviously as a counselor and executive coach I completely understand feeling like telling your boss to “shove it.” You feel betrayed and disappointed in how you’ve been treated and it is completely normal to be pissed off about that.

Putting your anger into the energy to look at all the cool jobs you could do and all the enjoyable companies you could work for is very useful. Putting your anger into feeling victimized gives away the power you need to land a great job.

Feelings in most respects are just energy. Consider a feeling to be a force of nature like water. Clearly the earth needs water. Rain clears the air and nourishes the plants but tsunamis can be very destructive. We don’t have the option not to have water around, just like our feelings, we do have the option to try to use them well.

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I find when I am really mad I often bust open my old boxes of thinking and solutions. For instance, I might go ahead and send resumes. But, I might also Google the names of everyone I admire in my field and find any excuse to talk to them. Can I write an article and interview them? Could I ask for an hour of their time and pay them for that hour. Do we have anything in common that would get me in to see them?

Remember, companies may put out job postings but human beings decide who the person would be who can best solve their upcoming problems. If you can focus more on helping your future employer you will focus less on self-esteem issues like do you I have the confidence or are you good enough?

Other ways to turn anger into positive energy

When I am mad, I also find that I am not very afraid of taking risks. There is something liberating about being truly pissed off. Suddenly whatever you fear shrinks in importance and you become bold and creative. I always think to myself that when I am already on the floor it is hard to fall so sometimes being down can lead to moving up in your career.

Also be grateful that you have learned a critical career lesson. People in business will do whatever they believe is in their best interest at that moment. If you have not gotten a promise in writing with a penalty for not fulfilling that promise, the promise is pretty much worth the paper it is not written upon. Everyone that hired you might have meant what they said when they hired you but that was then.

Be aware also that once you get a good job offer you would be very wise to go to your current boss and alert him that you and he did discuss many possibilities when you took the job that haven’t developed. Let him know you’ve had a superb opportunity and can’t turn it down unless you renegotiate your current position. Now if he doesn’t want to lose you, make sure he writes down his promises.

If he doesn’t make any effort to keep you, then you learned you were never valued at your current job. Please know it doesn’t mean you aren’t valuable, it just means this boss or this company wasn’t capable of valuing you. You don’t want to stay in jobs where your contribution means nothing because all your good work is going into a black hole where gratitude should exist.

The last word(s)

Q: I have been finding it very hard to get out of bed. I’m weepy a lot and feeling hopeless. Everything I read says to just keep trying and think positive. I can’t. Is something wrong with me?

A: No, something is wrong with that stupid advice! Brain chemistry is real and extremely powerful, just like diabetes. See a psychiatrist and realize you cannot change your brain chemistry by positive thinking.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist, and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel’s “Workplace Guru” each Monday morning. She’s the author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.

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