May 21, 2007
A recent study on road rage placed New York City as the second highest risk just below Miami.
Anger is a very powerful and destructive emotion that can lead to unethical behavior. People do things when they are angry that they would never even consider doing in a normal state of mind.
Anger often results from a perception of injustice or unfairness. Revenge is a legitimate feeling because it is a reaction to perceived injustice. In primitive societies revenge was the only option to discourage and sometimes punish wrongdoers, because of the absence of a justice system. Today we do live in a society of law. Our legal system does not allow citizens to take the law in their own hands. We have courts where each one can make his case before a judge and sometimes before a jury.
Nevertheless, when we feel we are the victims of injustice or unfairness, we may be tempted to get even and, in our mind, to correct the perceived injustice. An employee who feels that he or she has been short-changed by the employer may feel justified in retaliating by taking questionable actions. Most companies have structures in place to address grievances. The HR department sometimes has that function. Speaking to our supervisor or management is also highly recommended.
Even when we feel that we have been treated unfairly, we should remember that we are doing ourselves a favor by not retaliating. Not only we are protecting ourselves from serious consequences, but more importantly, we can have the satisfaction of knowing that we are maintaining our dignity and taking the high road by keeping our own moral standards.
Asher Meir, the Jewish Business Ethicist says that “very often the best way to overcome the temptation to unethical behavior is to free ourselves from slavery to anger, vindictiveness and suspicion and conduct ourselves with generosity and dignity as befits free and noble human beings.”