Q: I'm a female manager for a large high-tech company. I often find myself annoyed at situations and people when the same problems occur...

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Q: I’m a female manager for a large high-tech company. I often find myself annoyed at situations and people when the same problems occur over and over. I feel bad that I’m so grumpy, but it doesn’t help. Is there a better way to deal with my annoyance?

A: Yes, use your grumpiness to find solutions for the situations that are bothering you.

Anger is like gasoline. If we use it to motivate necessary changes, anger can fuel our success.

If we store it up, the first time someone flicks a cigarette in our direction — kaboom!

In coaching female managers, I find women are socialized to demonize and pathologize their anger. Translation: We think we’re “bad” girls if we feel mad. However, I find that the older and crankier I become, the more my life improves, in part because I will not put up with hogwash.

This doesn’t mean you have license to say the first thing that comes into your head. Impulsive utterances are a sign of poor impulse control, not wise use of anger.

Write a list of the predictable events that exasperate you and look for themes. Do you smile when people criticize you? Do people keep canceling commitments at the last minute? Do you end up doing all the work?

Now, ask yourself, who is the person making all these situations possible?

Answer: you. Hopefully, this will make you even madder.

Now use that frustration to do some creative thinking. How can you make it painful for others to keep acting this way? Could you frown during criticism? Develop cancellation policies? Stop volunteering to do everyone else’s job?

Anger is designed to focus our attention on a problem we need to solve. When we pretend we’re not mad, it’s as if the office fire alarm is going off and we’re still trying to work.

The alarm should make us focus on finding the fire and putting it out. Your anger isn’t your enemy but your ally.

If you befriend your grumpiness, you’ll find it a powerful partner in creating needed changes in your life.

The last word(s)

Q: I’ve worked hard, finally have a job I love and am making good money. I sometimes wonder if I’m cheating to get paid this well to have fun. Could it be true?

A: Nope. Money isn’t about how much you suffer.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com.

Sorry, no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube