by Rosina Pzena, M.S.
I am writing this blog immediately after having a confrontation at my graduate assistantship. I work in the disability services office, and exams get dropped off here for students who have testing accommodations. Someone just brought in an exam and when I asked him the standard timing of the exam, he became short with me. He said “Why should you be asking me that? Don’t you know how to do your job?” I tried my best to stay calm and explain why I needed to know, but he exclaimed that I was being rude and stormed out of the office.
I am now feeling very angry, and I haven’t been able to calm myself down to get back to my office duties. So, I am going to use some REBT to help myself in the moment. Right now I am thinking that person was a complete jerk and had no right to be so when I was just trying to do my job. My REBT training helps me acknowledge that just because I think people should not be rude, they still have every right to be. People have the free will to act however they wish, regardless of my demands on them. I can also stop and see this man as a human being, rather than labeling him globally as a jerk. I did not like his behavior, but that does not mean he is completely bad. Now that I have humanized him, I realize I am not sure whether he was the professor or just a messenger from the department. If he was a messenger, it’s probably unlikely that he understood or knew the answer to my question. Even if he was the professor, he might have been in a rush or having a bad day, and that’s why he was on edge. Having disputed my irrational beliefs, I do feel considerably less angry. Thanks for coming along for the ride!