I'm feeling a lot of anger right now. I received a letter yesterday that my employer has denied my intermittent FMLA case. That's never happened to me before. In 20+ years of working at Fortune 500 (this is a Fortune 100 company) companies, I've never been denied. In fact, this was just a renewal of my previously approved intermittent case.
Here's what FMLA is about, for me. The Family Medical Leave Act protects your job in case a medical condition prevents you from working, either for a block of time (such as surgery) or intermittently, as in this particular case. So, on those days when my pain is such that I cannot tolerate working a full day, or at all, and I call out sick, the company cannot legally put my job in jeopardy through the usual disciplinary process. For me, that's very important. With Rheumatoid Arthritis, you never know how you are going to feel. One day you may feel great. Next day you may not be able to get to the bathroom without assistance. So having the peace of mind that I can call out sick without penalty (although, after my paid sick time runs out, it is without pay - another reason this disease costs me money) is vital to me.
So, now I'm upset. And I'm angry. "Why did they deny me? What are they trying to do to me?" And many more questions.
But this is a good time to talk about a common origin of anger. In my philosophy, anger derives from a lack of empowerment (you knew it would get back to empowerment, didn't you?}. Here's why I believe that.
Many times we feel anger, it is because something didn't happen the way we wanted it to, or, more likely, someone didn't behave the way we wanted them to behave. And the result of that behavior has caused us pain, embarrassment, discomfort, delay, money, etc. When we don't feel empowered in life, we get a temporary "fix" of feeling empowered by controlling a situation, a person, a child. If I can't control that situation or person, then I don't feel powerful. And I get angry.
Think for a moment about someone you know who does feel empowered in life. They have created a life that they love and enjoy - through their job, relationships, living circumstances, etc. Now, think about how that person handles moments like these. Are they prone to anger quickly? Probably not.
An empowered person recognizes that, while we can control many things in our lives, there are times, situations, people that we won't be able to control. And that's OK. By deriving a sense of empowerment, and thus satisfaction, through many facets of their lives, when something happens outside of their control that they do not like, they do not get angry. This momentary lack of control is ok because they know they mostly are creating the life they want.
So. My anger. It's frustrating. Generally, I feel empowered, but obviously, there are ways that I don't. My life is a constant struggle (as is everyone's), mostly revolving around pain that I cannot completely control. Being denied the decency of calling out of work when I'm in pain frustrates me.
I will take steps to correct this situation. It will take time. I just have to work through pain. Literally, go to work and work through pain. Frustrating.