53 votes

Advice for anger management when dealing with frustrating technology?

I'm curious how you tech oriented people handle this and whether you react in the same way to tech frustrations as I do. Advice is welcome.

I hate hate hate the black box aspect of dealing with computer technology. When I try to do something and it fails to work for reasons that are opaque or inscrutable it causes me to react with rage. I haven't quite thrown my computer out the window when something fails to work as expected, but I want to and it ruins my mood and makes me irritable and difficult to deal with until the problem is solved.

Do other people react the same way? How do you mitigate this? I'm currently needing to learn and use more tech skills and interact with more programs than I have in the recent past. What advice do you have?

Thanks

83 comments

  1. [8]
    simplify
    Link
    I can’t speak for other highly tech-literate people, but when something doesn’t work correctly it just puts me in problem solving mode, which is something I enjoy and the entire reason I’m skilled...

    I can’t speak for other highly tech-literate people, but when something doesn’t work correctly it just puts me in problem solving mode, which is something I enjoy and the entire reason I’m skilled in technology. It’s fun to fix things.

    58 votes
    1. [6]
      CannibalisticApple
      Link Parent
      I am moderately tech literate and also go into problem solving mode. Did not help when my dad's laptop was acting so slow, it would take something like 5 minutes just to clicking something on a...

      I am moderately tech literate and also go into problem solving mode. Did not help when my dad's laptop was acting so slow, it would take something like 5 minutes just to clicking something on a browser because the mouse would freeze in the pointer-finger shape after clicking stuff. This was after taking 20 minutes to boot, another 20 minutes to open Chrome, and 10 more minutes of Chrome being frozen and not letting me click a pop-up about new changes to Chrome.

      I am still wary of touching that thing because it was NOT that bad the last time I'd used it. I think I was on the verge of a meltdown from the sheer frustration. Already told my mom that when it's time to get rid of it, I'm just smashing it with a hammer.

      13 votes
      1. [5]
        simplify
        Link Parent
        Sounds like a failing drive. Yank the drive, mount it on another machine, and get whatever data you can salvage from it. Install a new drive, install the OS, transfer the salvaged data, and baby...

        Sounds like a failing drive. Yank the drive, mount it on another machine, and get whatever data you can salvage from it. Install a new drive, install the OS, transfer the salvaged data, and baby you got a stew going!

        10 votes
        1. [3]
          CannibalisticApple
          Link Parent
          I figured it had to be either a hardware issue or a virus. Honestly don't think it's worth fixing it though. My dad died last year, and we're hanging onto it mainly in case it has any photos or...

          I figured it had to be either a hardware issue or a virus. Honestly don't think it's worth fixing it though. My dad died last year, and we're hanging onto it mainly in case it has any photos or documents we might need. I was only trying to see if his email was logged in because my mom was struggling to get into it, was definitely NOT worth the amount of stress I got from that one interaction. (And of course she got the password reset after I spent over an hour just trying to get Chrome to do anything, I don't remember if I even made it to the email page.)

          6 votes
          1. [2]
            simplify
            Link Parent
            I'm sorry to hear about your dad. It's probably important to get any data you want off of it as soon as possible. If it is a failing drive, and you let it sit for a long time, it might not spin...

            I'm sorry to hear about your dad. It's probably important to get any data you want off of it as soon as possible. If it is a failing drive, and you let it sit for a long time, it might not spin back up again. If it's a virus, it would be best to run something like Malwarebytes (if they're still good; I've been out of the IT game for a while now) on it before you go scavenging. I might even suggest booting to a Linux distro to do the copy job to further help mitigate a virus jumping to your machine. But yeah, if you feel there might be something you'll need or want on it, I'd take a deep breath and jump in soon because you might not get another chance. Get what you need off the drive, destroy it, and send the laptop to an e-waste scrapper.

            5 votes
            1. CannibalisticApple
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Thanks for the heads up! His laptop has been slow to boot for a long time, so it's been on its last legs for a while. I'll see if I can boot it up and browse files normally for now. I mainly...

              Thanks for the heads up! His laptop has been slow to boot for a long time, so it's been on its last legs for a while. I'll see if I can boot it up and browse files normally for now. I mainly remember the lag impacting Chrome whenever trying to click links and such, so the file browser itself might not be quite as painful and I might be able to just use a flash drive to save them.

              I'm leaning towards it possibly being a virus though since in the days before that, his laptop left sleep mode at some point after I forgot to shut it down. We only noticed because a connected monitor was suddenly awake. I've done the MBAM/rkill routine many times over the years and have a flash drive somewhere with a couple programs for it, so depending on how this goes I'll give that a shot in the next few days if I can find the drive. Even if I can browse the files fine, I'll probably try to run a scan before doing any transferring, just to be safe.

              Edit 20 minutes later: Confirmed that the file explorer runs fine and does not give me murderous urges. Still not touching Chrome, and will still run a virus scan at some point. For now, just glad to confirm the entire computer won't spur me into indescribable rage.

              3 votes
        2. bitwaba
          Link Parent
          That's exactly what I did for my mom's computer 2 years ago. I copy and pasted a 50mb file and it wrote at 5mb/s. Old spinning disk that had been in there since 2016. Bought a 512g SSD for like...

          That's exactly what I did for my mom's computer 2 years ago. I copy and pasted a 50mb file and it wrote at 5mb/s. Old spinning disk that had been in there since 2016.

          Bought a 512g SSD for like $70, mirrored the old drive to the new one. Powered off and unplugged the old one. Everything worked perfectly.

          A year later she somehow deleted her email address book from Outlook. Plugged in the old drive, exported the address book to a thumbdrive, unplugged the old drive, and imported the address book.

          It was dying but worked well enough to get everything off of it. Definitely the best option.

          2 votes
    2. papasquat
      Link Parent
      Well, unfortunately sometimes there are problems that you just cannot solve. Your work requires you to use some piece of software that logically should be able to do something, and it seems very...

      Well, unfortunately sometimes there are problems that you just cannot solve. Your work requires you to use some piece of software that logically should be able to do something, and it seems very obvious, but the vendor decided to not support that thing. A piece of hardware you use just straight up isn’t compatible with your operating system anymore. So on and so forth.

      There’s no problem to be solved there. You either don’t have enough power to make the decision that would need to be made to solve it, or you’re in the wrong organization entirely to solve it. You just have to deal with it.

      That’s super frustrating.

      8 votes
  2. [10]
    qob
    Link
    Most of the comments so far make technical suggestions about solving computer problems, but to me it sounds like you're asking about psychological coping skills. This sounds like a regular anger...

    Most of the comments so far make technical suggestions about solving computer problems, but to me it sounds like you're asking about psychological coping skills.

    This sounds like a regular anger problem to me. I don't have any expertise whatsoever, but I would suggest to remind yourself that your rage has no purpose in that situation, it only makes things worse. Stop what you're doing for a few minutes and get a coffee or look out the window or something else that lets you consider your current state of mind. Force yourself to think rationally. Calm yourself. Count your breaths. Something like that.

    There are probably a million books, online classes or even blog posts about anger management that should have better advice.

    48 votes
    1. [3]
      boxer_dogs_dance
      Link Parent
      True. The anger in large part comes from the tasks not being ones I choose or particularly want to solve. I want to move through the technology to the required result and then on to a different...

      True. The anger in large part comes from the tasks not being ones I choose or particularly want to solve. I want to move through the technology to the required result and then on to a different part of my day that I will actually enjoy. Having the tech process then not work feels like a traffic jam on the freeway.

      16 votes
      1. chizcurl
        Link Parent
        Maybe ask yourse why you're so frustrated in that instance. Based on what you wrote, the "real reason" could be many things. For example, do you hate feeling like things are out of your control?...

        Maybe ask yourse why you're so frustrated in that instance. Based on what you wrote, the "real reason" could be many things. For example, do you hate feeling like things are out of your control? Feeling like time is being wasted? Or maybe it's the principle: it just feels unfair that it doesn't work when it should be working in theory. Acknowledging how you feel and why makes it easier to let it go and move on.

        If your solution is bad, but it works, then maybe it's fine.
        If it's bad and will cause problems later, then it's probably not fine. Find another way to do it, or find another person to do it.
        If there is no other way or no one else to do it, then make the case for why it can't be done at this time. Your team might want you to implement it anyways, so then leave a paper trail showing how you explicitly said not to do it lol.

        9 votes
      2. ewintr
        Link Parent
        Nothing worse than getting put in an uncomfortable situation and having no control. I think the solution needs two parts: One is getting more control by a better understanding of how technology...

        Nothing worse than getting put in an uncomfortable situation and having no control. I think the solution needs two parts:

        One is getting more control by a better understanding of how technology works and how you can manipulate it to your benefit. Also using that knowledge to avoid getting sucked into traps. Example: because I am aware of how shitty cloud dependent devices are supported, I will never in my life buy something that does not work without internet access (unless that is the purpose of the device). I'd rather have no device than be the subject of some foreign multinational that can disable functionality whenever they feel the need to cut costs, etc. This has saved me an incredible amount of frustration.

        However, knowledge will only get you so far. Because the world is too complicated and one can never know all root causes of all the problems one might encounter. There is just not enough time in a day for that. So the other part is getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Making sure that you have enough space, both mentally and in hours, to put up with the hassle of something that is not working well.

        If you are more resilient, then you don't get blown off track with the first problem that arises and then you are in a position to observe and to analyze. This occurrence of the issue is unfortunate, but not a huge problem and you can think of ways to avoid it in the future.

        This is of course very easy to say and very hard to do. But I think this is how over time I have managed to deal with this anger and rage. On most days, anyway.

        5 votes
    2. Johz
      Link Parent
      I agree with this, but I'd like to add that anger and frustration are completely valid and normal reactions to these sorts of issues. I spent most of the last week trying (and mostly failing) to...

      I agree with this, but I'd like to add that anger and frustration are completely valid and normal reactions to these sorts of issues. I spent most of the last week trying (and mostly failing) to update the tools used in a project at work. It has made my grumpy, frustrated, and angry. But now I've eventually solved the problem, and now I'm happy, buzzing, and looking forward to the next challenge.

      The important thing for me is to recognise and acknowledge these emotions, but not to let them take control. My work can be frustrating, but it will still do me good to set that frustration aside and chat with colleagues over lunch, or enjoy an evening with friends, or play a game with my wife. OP mentions being "difficult to deal with" when frustrated by work, which is definitely something I can identify with! But it's not useful, and it is worse for me in the long run.

      Specifically, the most useful thing I've found is to notice situations where I'm making decisions because I'm frustrated, and then try and reason through what I'd do if I weren't frustrated, and then do that. Which is easier said than done, and it's not something I've done great at this week specifically, but the habit of thinking "what emotions am I feeling, and are they driving me?" is something that I've found great to practice.


      Apart from all that, and as a specific solution to tech difficulties, have you tried ChatGPT? I've had mixed results, but I've only tried it a couple of times, but I've got colleagues who seem to really find a lot of use out of it. Think of it as a search engine, but one where you can ask more complex questions, and follow up on the results with more questions to get more details. I get the impression it takes a while to learn how to get the best out of it, though.

      14 votes
    3. BusAlderaan
      Link Parent
      OP's rage actually does have a purpose, it's his nervous system pumping out the discomfort they feel when being confused by technology. It's a sign there's something deeper at play that's...

      OP's rage actually does have a purpose, it's his nervous system pumping out the discomfort they feel when being confused by technology. It's a sign there's something deeper at play that's resulting in as much feedback as physical rage. If OP could just casually convince themselves that their rage is pointless, they probably would have done that by now. What they need to do is make space for that rage, the negative feeling they're feeling when confused by these situations and remind themselves that the manifestation of problems while using a program isn't a reflection of them. Sometimes stuff just doesn't work and we can't be all knowing, sometimes we're just confused. Being confused isn't bad, it just is.

      Trying to squash down rage with a "Well you don't make sense, so you shouldn't exist" mentality doesn't help you remove it all together.

      4 votes
    4. [4]
      honzabe
      Link Parent
      Let me disagree here. I remember that many many years ago, I had to commute to work very early when it was still dark. And I had a "moody" light on my bike - every time when I tried to fix it at...

      rage has no purpose in that situation, it only makes things worse

      Let me disagree here. I remember that many many years ago, I had to commute to work very early when it was still dark. And I had a "moody" light on my bike - every time when I tried to fix it at home, it worked. On the road, not so much.

      One day, I'd had enough. I quickly looked around - no one was there - I grabbed that insolent light and smashed it into the road with all the force I could muster. It shattered into a thousand pieces that went flying in all directions. I can't even begin to describe the satisfaction I felt when the damn thing paid for its sins. That was like 20 years ago and I can still feel that warm feeling when I think about it. Even now, as I write this... áááááh

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        qob
        Link Parent
        So what is the purpose of rage? Give into it, make the world deal with your aggression, just so it goes away? Are you suggesting that OP should start smashing things? And how did rage solve your...

        So what is the purpose of rage? Give into it, make the world deal with your aggression, just so it goes away? Are you suggesting that OP should start smashing things?

        And how did rage solve your problem? You could've just thrown the broken light in the bin and buy a new one. Instead, littered microplastics and then had no light at all, not even a moody one. I fail to see the advantage of a calmer response.

        If you really need an outlet for your rage, I'm sure there are better ways. Maybe buy a punching bag? Join a boxing club or a gym?

        2 votes
        1. honzabe
          Link Parent
          I was telling that story to an old lady I met in a coffee shop, and she laughed. I guess my acting out the situation with exaggerated facial expressions gave away the fact that it was not meant as...

          I was telling that story to an old lady I met in a coffee shop, and she laughed. I guess my acting out the situation with exaggerated facial expressions gave away the fact that it was not meant as a serious treatise on the utility of rage.

          4 votes
      2. caliper
        Link Parent
        Good for you! It can be nice to sometimes blow off some steam in a not too rational way. Great to have this as a fun memory, teaching that damn light not to mess with honzabe.

        Good for you! It can be nice to sometimes blow off some steam in a not too rational way. Great to have this as a fun memory, teaching that damn light not to mess with honzabe.

        2 votes
  3. [2]
    NoobFace
    Link
    I generally just set a hammer on the table. Don't acknowledge the hammer. Don't look at it. Just continue working as if you set down a cup of coffee. If the computer asks about the hammer, ignore...

    I generally just set a hammer on the table. Don't acknowledge the hammer. Don't look at it. Just continue working as if you set down a cup of coffee. If the computer asks about the hammer, ignore the question and keep trying to accomplish what you set out to do. The computer will become unnerved and start cooperating. If it doesn't, you're already prepared.

    39 votes
    1. Sodliddesu
      Link Parent
      This works for performance counselings with humans as well!

      This works for performance counselings with humans as well!

      8 votes
  4. [10]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    Working in IT for decades has inured me to that sort of frustration, since it's par for the course when it comes to regularly dealing with most technology... especially networked printers, which...

    Working in IT for decades has inured me to that sort of frustration, since it's par for the course when it comes to regularly dealing with most technology... especially networked printers, which I'm convinced were a tool developed by Satan to drive us all mad. But I think it helps that I actually really enjoy the IT related problem solving process, so have never really gotten to the point of anger when dealing with technical issues.

    So I can't really help you with the anger management problem, but for general tech support advice:

    Google is your friend. Learning how to craft your google search to accurately state your issue, and find the advice you need to solve your problem, can save you a whole lot of time trying to troubleshoot an issue yourself. And one of the best ways to do that is to utilize the advanced search functions (e.g. quotes "" around exact terms, minus - in front of terms to remove results related to that term, site: to search specific sites, etc).

    And if google can't find an answer for you, forums are also your friend... if you can wait for a response. So just find an appropriate forum related to the specific product, or a general tech support forum, and ask for help there. E.g. Plenty of tech support questions get posted here on Tildes, and I generally try my best to help people with their issues.

    But if you can't wait for answers, or don't get any answers via google... I would recommend first identifying all the potential variables that could be causing the issue, then trying to remove them one by one until you identify the culprit. E.g. From a previous comment of mine trying to help someone with a HDD enclosure issue:

    In this instance, see if the same issue occurs with another SATA drive (if you have one handy) in the same enclosure. If it does, remove the drive from the enclosure, and plug it into the dock using a SATA to USB adapter (make sure it supports 3.5" drives, since they require external power). If it still happens, try using a different dock (if you have one handy) or by plugging the drive directly into the iMac. If it still happens, it's probably something in the OS.

    p.s. That's the thorough approach, but you could probably just start by buying the powered SATA to USB adapter and plugging the HDD directly into the iMac. If the issue persists, then it's either the HDD or something in the OS. If it doesn't persist then it's likely your enclosure or dock. My money would be on the enclosure, BTW, since a lot of them come with built-in, poorly designed, power saver / auto sleep bullshit.

    17 votes
    1. [4]
      boxer_dogs_dance
      Link Parent
      Thanks for the advice. I think of all the answers so far, yours comes closest to addressing the use cases I run into. Today's problem was being asked to embed a photo into a remote asynchronous...

      Thanks for the advice. I think of all the answers so far, yours comes closest to addressing the use cases I run into.

      Today's problem was being asked to embed a photo into a remote asynchronous discussion thread on a piece of education software. Google offered a solution but I couldn't quite make it work. I did eventually hack a solution but it was clear that everyone else found a better, more aesthetically pleasing solution.

      I frequently find that the designers of technology act as if instructions and UX are or should be intuitively obvious when for me they are opaque and confusing if not totally impenetrable. Also the process is simply an obstacle between me and the desired result. I have no intrinsic interest. The magic of distance communication is great but I want the simplicity of pen and paper and a postage stamp.

      9 votes
      1. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Despite working in tech, I think I'm a redneck at heart. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It don't matter if it's pretty, so long as it works. And there is also the Is It Worth the Time? factor to...

        everyone else found a better, more aesthetically pleasing solution.

        Despite working in tech, I think I'm a redneck at heart. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It don't matter if it's pretty, so long as it works. And there is also the Is It Worth the Time? factor to consider as well. :P

        13 votes
      2. elight
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Want a bit of a laugh while developing some insight into how screwed up human interfaces are? Read "The Design of Everyday Things" by Donald Norman. You'll feel better because it will help you see...

        What Want a bit of a laugh while developing some insight into how screwed up human interfaces are? Read "The Design of Everyday Things" by Donald Norman. You'll feel better because it will help you see that almost nothing is obvious.

        Things that are frustrating are often just hard! People who think they're "easy" are taking for granted their previous experiences that led these tasks to become easy for them.

        6 votes
      3. patience_limited
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        If memory serves me, you're a lawyer or law-adjacent professional (working for a public school system?). In your use case, text or image content, and communication tools, are paramount. If you can...

        If memory serves me, you're a lawyer or law-adjacent professional (working for a public school system?). In your use case, text or image content, and communication tools, are paramount. If you can spare the time during lunch hours or otherwise, spend 10 - 30 minutes/day just clicking things in the applications you use daily. Rehearse what you might need to accomplish. Open every menu and get familiar with where things are in the UI. Read the tool tips or any context-sensitive help screens.

        Sometimes, building familiarity and even muscle memory helps you maintain a sense of control when you're under more time pressure or in a potentially embarrassing situation. It doesn't help manage rage/frustration, but avoids circumstances that might trigger those feelings when dealing with technology.

        Pens, paper, and postage stamps are the products of centuries of development; personal computers are more powerful and general, but they've only been around for a few decades and still need a great deal of refinement.

        3 votes
    2. [4]
      SeeNipplesAndDo
      Link Parent
      Sadly, Google fails to honor search operators much of the time now. Enough that they can't be relied on. :-/

      Sadly, Google fails to honor search operators much of the time now. Enough that they can't be relied on. :-/

      7 votes
      1. [3]
        cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Which operators? I don't think that's ever happened to me. Although I sometimes do have to make sure to combine some of the functions with exact term qualifiers to get the results I want. E.g....

        Which operators? I don't think that's ever happened to me. Although I sometimes do have to make sure to combine some of the functions with exact term qualifiers to get the results I want. E.g. -"term" instead of just -term, since otherwise Google's semantic search functions messes the results up by trying to guess what I meant by also including synonyms of the terms, and their various other methods they use now, like using my search history to prioritize results from sites I've previously visited, or factoring in other related terms I've frequently googled in the past.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          DeaconBlue
          Link Parent
          Google really doesn't seem to honor long search terms in quotes lately. If I search something like "Error Code 12345 - Not enough widgets to complete action" I will often get results that include...

          Google really doesn't seem to honor long search terms in quotes lately. If I search something like "Error Code 12345 - Not enough widgets to complete action" I will often get results that include similar errors from other software but without the correct message, like "Error Code 12345 - Authentication Failure".

          4 votes
          1. cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I'm pretty sure it only does that if there are no results found for the exact long string you specified. It usually warns you that is the case with "No results found for: ..." and "Results for ......

            I'm pretty sure it only does that if there are no results found for the exact long string you specified. It usually warns you that is the case with "No results found for: ..." and "Results for ... (without quotes):" messages at the top of the page though. That way you know the results it's showing don't match your exact string, but instead are merely what they think is similar to it based on their semantic search functions.

            p.s. And in my experience the way to solve that issue is by breaking the string up. E.g. "12345"+"Not enough widgets"

            Or using an OR operator in between so you get results that match either string independent of the other. E.g. "Error Code 12345"|"Not enough widgets to complete action"

            Or even using a mix of the two methods. E.g. "Error Code"+"12345"|"12345"+"Not enough widgets"

            5 votes
    3. adutchman
      Link Parent
      This really elegantly explains what I wanted to say.

      This really elegantly explains what I wanted to say.

      1 vote
  5. RoyalHenOil
    Link
    I can get frustrated pretty easily, and I used to have a lot of issues with temper tantrums as a child. Nowadays, everyone who knows me regards me as extremely patient and even-tempered. The truth...
    • Exemplary

    I can get frustrated pretty easily, and I used to have a lot of issues with temper tantrums as a child. Nowadays, everyone who knows me regards me as extremely patient and even-tempered. The truth is that I do still experience anger very easily when dealing with a frustrating task, but I have found ways to work past and through it. My biggest suggestions are this:

    1. Learn to recognize the first tickles of anger before it gets out of control. These may vary for different people. They may even be physical (like feeling the tips of your ears getting hot) rather than emotional in nature. If you get angry a lot, this should be an easier task than for someone who gets angry infrequently.
    2. When you can tell that you are about to get angry, drop what you are doing and go do something completely different, ideally in a totally different setting. Go load the dishwasher, take a nap, take a walk — anything that removes you from the situation that is triggering anger. Give yourself a good break (I'd suggest at least 10 minutes, but you may need more time if you didn't catch your anger early enough) where you don't think about the anger-inducing activity at all. Worst case scenario, take the rest of the day off from the activity and don't attempt to tackle it again until the next morning. (Note, if this is an activity you have to do for work, I recommend juggling multiple projects so that you can always switch things up if one is starting to get to you. In the longer run, you might consider changing jobs or even careers.)
    3. When you are fully calm again, don't jump immediately into the task. Instead, take some time to think about it and consider the problem that was making you angry. Try doing a rubber duck exercise. Do you have any theories as to what is causing the problem, and do you have any ideas for addressing them? I find that formulating a plan and a list of steps to try really helps take the edge off; if it's a particularly tough problem, I will seek advice from people who might have some other ideas for me.
    4. Start implementing your plan, and pay close attention to any signs of rising anger. You may have to repeat the whole process several times. I find it is common for me to take 5-10 anger breaks a day, but the breaks really do help me and make my day a lot more productive than it would be without them.
    5. When you finally have a solution, write it down in an easily searchable spot (e.g., a document on Google Drive) with a lot of keywords to help you find it again later. I find that this saves me potential pain in the future — but, more importantly, it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction: it feels like planting a flag that proves I conquered the fucking thing. Having a document of prior conquests helps me remember that, however frustrated I might feel in the moment, I will persevere if I just beat my head against it enough times.
    6 votes
  6. [2]
    first-must-burn
    Link
    There have been lots of comments about how to deal with the technology that generally echo my sentiments and experience, but fewer addressing the anger. I struggle with anger, and one of the...

    There have been lots of comments about how to deal with the technology that generally echo my sentiments and experience, but fewer addressing the anger.

    I struggle with anger, and one of the biggest problems for me is that I find myself at 11 before I realize I am angry, and by the time I'm there, it's hard to act rationally until I can calm down. At least with technology there's no escalation like there can be if I get angry with another person that makes them get angry back. However, not being rationale is a big obstacle to solving a technology problem.

    The advice I have received is to try to learn what the early signs of that anger are -- how does it manifest in my body? In the jaw? In the neck and shoulders? In the arms? By being more aware of these signs, I have a chance to head the anger off and try to deescalate before I am past the point of no return.

    8 votes
  7. [8]
    Grumble4681
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm more like a power user to an extent than a professional IT person, just to give an idea of where I'm at tech-wise. I've been employed and paid to do some IT tasks, though I was not that in an...

    I'm more like a power user to an extent than a professional IT person, just to give an idea of where I'm at tech-wise. I've been employed and paid to do some IT tasks, though I was not that in an official capacity of a capable organization.

    For me, what permeates situations where I get frustrated is an expectation that something will just work or expecting it to be easy, and it isn't. The mismatch in expectations and reality is what causes me frustration.

    When I tried Linux Mint many years ago, people kept telling me how much Linux has improved and how easy it was these days and you barely need to use the terminal for anything anymore and so on and so forth. So I switched to try using it as my daily driver. It felt like a non-stop Google-fest. The reality was that I was probably able to do most things, even if its 95% or 99% or whatever, if you determine the amount of things you might do in a given period of time, 1% or 5% can be quite a lot in terms of failure. It's kinda like saying 1% failure rate of something is good, until you realize 1% of a billion of whatever it is you're measuring is 10 million, then it's like oh 10 million failures isn't really that acceptable.

    It was frustrating me, because I was told it was easy at the time, and here I am googling one thing after another. And a lot of the results are often assuming a certain foundation of knowledge and it skips over some underlying things so I feel stupid when I read an answer that I can't understand, and then it only gets more frustrating.

    I've noticed this in other aspects of life too, not just computers or electronics or software, my expectations often influence my reaction or feelings about the situation.

    It's also a bit different if you're kind of forced into a situation, whether it be a job or living situation or what not, you can't easily just step away or stop interacting with the thing causing frustration. In the Linux Mint case above, I just ended up going back to Windows. There was nothing forcing me to stay on Linux Mint.

    I think with some aspect of computers, it is hard to adequately set expectations because many things are that easy. You click an icon, an application opens. That happens so frequent and often, it is the expectation. That's what is supposed to happen. But then on occasion you click a button, an application doesn't open, and expectation is broken. It used to be web pages took a lot longer to load, and now they load more quickly than times in the past, and if a page takes as long to load today as it might have 20 some years ago, I might pull my hair out. My expectation for how long it should take to load changed. I think what I'm beginning to incorporate into my own mindset is that the rare failures that do occur are rare, but in the moment they don't feel rare. We just interact with them so frequently and so often the chance of encountering the rare failures does happen to us more often. 20 years ago, I didn't have a smartphone that could do something unexpected to frustrate me, I just had a desktop computer. 15 years ago I didn't have a smart TV that could do something unexpected and frustrate me. 10 years ago I didn't have a VR headset that could do something unexpected and frustrate me. As time goes on I'm just interacting with more and more things that all have their possible failure points. In a way we just have to take the bad with the good. It should be expected that we will encounter some problems.

    I nearly bought a 3d printer a few years ago. I kept seeing Prusa Mini was great and easy compared to something like the Ender, like you didn't have to mess with things so much. I actually placed the order, and they charged me the money and told me it would be 4 months before I'd ever get it. Then I was reading more and more, and I ended up cancelling and asking for my money back before they ever shipped it to me. I started to see that 3d printing was more of like a constant process of tweaking things and adjusting things and possibly fixing things. Researching what types of filament to use and different nozzles etc. and I was like, alright now my expectation is set more appropriately and I'm just not prepared to put that kind of investment into it. It's not a tool for me to use, it's a hobby to learn and one that could likely take a lot of time and energy. I realized I wasn't ready for that.

    I've started to take into account an expectation of failure or difficulties with things when thinking about buying them or getting into them. Setting the expectation that it won't always work correctly and that I'll have to spend time learning about it or figuring something out and then really deciding if I want to buy that thing knowing that. I think it helps a bit because you factor it into the cost at the time you get into it. It's not $400, its $400 and some amount of hours of your time at some point not getting what you want out of it but having to figure out how to get it working again when it near inevitably gets into a state that it doesn't do what it should.

    6 votes
    1. [7]
      adutchman
      Link Parent
      A really insightful comment. I myself use Linux as a daily driver and I am curious to hear some of the problems you may have encountered. If you don't want to answer that's fine as well.

      A really insightful comment. I myself use Linux as a daily driver and I am curious to hear some of the problems you may have encountered. If you don't want to answer that's fine as well.

      1 vote
      1. [4]
        cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Not who you asked, but I can tell you exactly why I still haven't migrated over to Linux yet. When I tried a bunch of different distros a few years ago, only Mint successfully recognized my...

        Not who you asked, but I can tell you exactly why I still haven't migrated over to Linux yet. When I tried a bunch of different distros a few years ago, only Mint successfully recognized my multi-GPU, multi-monitor setup out of the box. All the others required a ton of very frustrating googling, troubleshooting, and tweaking to get everything working properly, some of which I never actually did get working properly even after hours of trying (Arch).

        But even after I got the various distros working properly with my system, every single distro was still severely lacking in multi-monitor features, and none of the multi-monitor/window/taskbar management apps I could find were anywhere close to as feature-rich or user-friendly as DisplayFusion, AquaSnap, and PowerToys FancyZones, which I use on Windows.

        Not to mention the fact that I'm a gamer, so all the games that still don't work on Linux yet are a bit of a deal breaker for me too. I wouldn't mind having to occasionally switch to Windows to play those specific games, but since Linux is still a massive PITA to get working for my particular setup, I just don't see the point in migrating over yet.

        5 votes
        1. [3]
          adutchman
          Link Parent
          Very fair point. Some more niche systems just don't work so you are completely justified in that (sick set-up btw). I simply don't have an answer for the multi-gpu stuff, but if they are Nvidia...

          Very fair point. Some more niche systems just don't work so you are completely justified in that (sick set-up btw). I simply don't have an answer for the multi-gpu stuff, but if they are Nvidia GPUs, the work on the new NVK drivers. The multi-monitor problem has definitely improved with Wayland. The old Xorg system was notorious for having terrible multi-monitor support. I could also recommend Kubuntu for you, but if you use a tiling windows manager, you might want to look into Wayland based WMs like Sway or Hyprland. I've heard especially good things about Hyprland. It is in early development but the dev is insanely active: I've seen video where they name some bug and in the next video they mention that they maintainer has fixed that bug a day after the video came out. Hyprland also has limited Nvidia support, but does have a page about multi-monitor support.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            cfabbro
            Link Parent
            Thanks, I'm pretty proud of my particular setup. :) And yeah, I knew about the switch from X to Wayland, but didn't know if it had solved any of the multi-monitor issues yet. I'm glad to hear it...

            Thanks, I'm pretty proud of my particular setup. :) And yeah, I knew about the switch from X to Wayland, but didn't know if it had solved any of the multi-monitor issues yet. I'm glad to hear it has, or at least is making progress. So next time I decide to give Linux a try, I'll make sure to give Kubuntu another chance, and check out Sway and Hyprland too.

            2 votes
            1. adutchman
              Link Parent
              Great :). I personally use Feodra KDE, because I like the balance of leading edge tech, but not bleeding edge updates.

              Great :). I personally use Feodra KDE, because I like the balance of leading edge tech, but not bleeding edge updates.

              1 vote
      2. [2]
        Grumble4681
        Link Parent
        I don't think I could honestly recollect any specific things anymore, this was many years ago, I'd venture a guess of 10ish years ago. I didn't mean to make it seem like a realistic depiction of...

        I don't think I could honestly recollect any specific things anymore, this was many years ago, I'd venture a guess of 10ish years ago. I didn't mean to make it seem like a realistic depiction of the landscape of Linux today, as I'm sure things have improved. In fact, I've almost decided to switch a couple times in part because I've seen good things, though I also recognized that I'd potentially end up in the same situation I was in before. So I've decided to only switch when I feel like it, which is getting closer because I dislike some of what Microsoft has done with Windows, especially 11 though even Windows 10 has some things they try too hard to force on users.

        I vaguely recall some of it being related to command line interfaces. Conceptually I think I struggle with command line interfaces, I can understand some things but other things I don't seem to grasp, which is true on Windows CLI too but I just generally don't need it as often and in situations where it is needed, Windows users aren't often expected to be proficient in CLI and there's better documentation or instructions when it comes up.

        2 votes
        1. adutchman
          Link Parent
          Ah, I understand then. If the CLI was your problem, I can safely say that I never have to use the CLI (I am a software developer so I use it because I prefer it sometimes or I have to use it for...

          Ah, I understand then. If the CLI was your problem, I can safely say that I never have to use the CLI (I am a software developer so I use it because I prefer it sometimes or I have to use it for spftware dev). The only exception might be people on forums giving you commands to try out because that is easier than saying what button to click. Linux has improved leaps and bounds in the last 10 years and even in the last year I have noticed annoying problems going away. If you want to try it out again, I would wait until march and try Kubuntu because that is when a major version of KDE has been out for a while which fixes many quality of life features. Do look up how you enable "Flatpak" though: it is a way Linux apps can be packaged and it makes installing apps a one click affair like on mobile. One problem that persists is Nvidia driver support, but that is being worked on. If you have questions, I will happily answer them.

          3 votes
  8. [3]
    kacey
    Link
    I got into software development, then tried to use as much open source tooling as possible. That way, most problems wind up becoming both transparent and scrutable. That said, work often forces me...

    I got into software development, then tried to use as much open source tooling as possible. That way, most problems wind up becoming both transparent and scrutable.

    That said, work often forces me to use proprietary tech which — now that I fully understand how pointless closing source code is — is even more frustrating when it inevitably catches fire.

    So, uh, what I’m saying is that I’ve probably not materially improved my situation and I’ll be watching this thread to see what other folks have done.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      adutchman
      Link Parent
      Another advantage of open source is that it often has better debugging tools and, ironically enough, more professional support than paid for software. Any time I have problems on Linux, I get an...

      Another advantage of open source is that it often has better debugging tools and, ironically enough, more professional support than paid for software. Any time I have problems on Linux, I get an answer that suggests some setting I can change or a command that I can try. Windows problems always leads you to a page where a "Microsoft power user" or something asks the equivalent of "have you tried turning it on and off again" and when that inevitably fails, they never respond again. If you're lucky, a fed up poweruser joins the thread and finds some obscure registry hack, if not you can reinstall Windows if it is a big problem. Really used to grind my gears and it is one of the advantages of Linux for me.

      2 votes
      1. papasquat
        Link Parent
        I think a lot of it is that windows caters to the lowest common denominator in terms of technical skill. Not that you have to be an expert to use Linux, but the people on Linux tend to be way more...

        I think a lot of it is that windows caters to the lowest common denominator in terms of technical skill. Not that you have to be an expert to use Linux, but the people on Linux tend to be way more tech literate.

        The absolute worst is issues related to video games. Any forum search for any issue around any popular game is full of “have you tried updating your Nvidia drivers?”, “try reinstalling the game” or “I have that problem too! Except <completely different symptoms that would strongly indicate a totally different problem>”!

        Not only is that kind of software a black box, it’s user base is mostly filled with people that don’t know how computers work, and plenty of them are happy to try to just take uneducated guesses.

        1 vote
  9. elguero
    Link
    In my twenties I worked as a stage hand/sound tech for a concert club. That experience taught me trouble shooting a signal chain. Hear a crack where there shouldn’t be one? Go to the start of the...

    In my twenties I worked as a stage hand/sound tech for a concert club. That experience taught me trouble shooting a signal chain. Hear a crack where there shouldn’t be one? Go to the start of the chain and stoically work your way through. Systematically. You will eventually find the faulty piece.

    Troubleshooting code or tech is the same. Identify the start and work your way to the output. You will find the problem.

    Additionally, one thing that Zen buddhism taught me about people applies to machines as well: Sticks in the water.

    Imagine you are rowing your boat through a river that has sticks in it. You don’t get angry at the sticks, or?

    5 votes
  10. stu2b50
    Link
    To be honest I don't get mad easily or very often, but in general I think it's about expectation management. Technology is just often finicky. Do I get angry when the printer bugs out? When weird...

    To be honest I don't get mad easily or very often, but in general I think it's about expectation management. Technology is just often finicky. Do I get angry when the printer bugs out? When weird education software just doesn't work? No. I don't expect any of them to work all the time. I always anticipate that they may not work, and plan for that.

    That means leaving a generous time buffer for essential tasks so you can debug or find alternatives, having alternate solutions, and sometimes just accepting you can't do something, and that's OK.

    This goes for a lot more than just technology as well.

    5 votes
  11. nrktkt
    Link
    There are two kinds of problems in my mind. One can be solved by tinkering, trying different things, and inference. This is the sort of thing that makes "tech literate", literate. I'm usually OK...

    There are two kinds of problems in my mind.
    One can be solved by tinkering, trying different things, and inference. This is the sort of thing that makes "tech literate", literate.
    I'm usually OK with this.

    The other is akin to bureaucracy (which I also respond poorly to, but with depression rather than anger like you). In this case there is simply nothing you can do because the tech hasn't surfaced enough interfaces for you to get at what you're trying to get at, or there is a step or requirement that there's no way you could know about or infer. This is typically found in automated customer service of all kinds. Also in parts of products that are supposed to "just work", but have no fallback or recourse when it does not, in fact, work.
    This tires me out and there's only so much of it I can deal with in a day.

    5 votes
  12. [9]
    patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    I regularly work with highly intelligent, not necessarily technical people (doctors and nurses) who have much more important things on their minds than wrangling with software, and aren't shy...

    I regularly work with highly intelligent, not necessarily technical people (doctors and nurses) who have much more important things on their minds than wrangling with software, and aren't shy about letting that be known.

    Your rage and frustration are completely understandable. I put black boxes together in hope that the end result won't be horrible to use for people like you. I truly empathize, every time I have to gulp down a new tool suite (Azure KQL? Really?) and pretend to be expert enough to make things work for other people, while masking my disgust at how janky it all seems.

    I'm working with products from early alpha through obsolescence. I have to translate gibberish documentation into English, speak in Windows to one team, cloud hypervisors to another team, Terraform-managed containers on Linux to a third, API calls to still another, with side helpings of Linux-based hardware, Macs, tablets, and browsers. The complexity keeps escalating on a daily basis. It's no wonder that end users are faced with all of the bugs, poor planning, last-minute UI's, and other endlessly frustrating things that don't work as easily as promised.

    A very wise person once told me that it's harmful to avoid feelings, but you can put them in a box and let them out when they're not in your way. I manage rage and frustration by staying rigidly focused on the end goal. All of the "why is it like this", "who should have done things differently", "how do we avoid this in future", "will living in a cave make me feel better" and other questions are shunted aside in favor of "what do I have to do to make this work so I can get to the next thing". That next thing may be writing pointless screeds online, sitting zazen, screaming into a pillow, or a long hot bath, but the necessary got done in the meantime.

    5 votes
    1. [8]
      boxer_dogs_dance
      Link Parent
      Sounds like you live with stress, while trying to help other stressed out people. I hope people say thank you.

      Sounds like you live with stress, while trying to help other stressed out people. I hope people say thank you.

      5 votes
      1. [7]
        patience_limited
        Link Parent
        I was hoping to help you! More to the point, people who work with technology don't have special gifts that mean they never deal with rage or frustration. We do have a weird knack for finding the...

        I was hoping to help you! More to the point, people who work with technology don't have special gifts that mean they never deal with rage or frustration. We do have a weird knack for finding the problems of our profession satisfying to solve in their own right, most of the time. However, we can easily lose sight of the fact that those same problems offer little or no opportunity for fulfillment to people with other needs, as shown by quite a few of the responses in this topic.

        4 votes
        1. [6]
          boxer_dogs_dance
          Link Parent
          When your mission, or job description, is to solve those tech problems, you get primary satisfaction when they are solved, plus you get to learn patterns, build expertise and background knowledge....

          When your mission, or job description, is to solve those tech problems, you get primary satisfaction when they are solved, plus you get to learn patterns, build expertise and background knowledge.

          When I solve the tech problem blocking me from my work, I get to move on to the actual problem I am supposed to be solving... but more tired. Also when the specific tech demand comes from beauracracy rather than my mission, it's even more frustrating.

          But that's enough complaints for now. Your replies have been kind and gracious and helpful.

          I'm not in the habit of deleting threads that might be useful to others, so I'm not going to spell out more personal details at this time. But yes, I work in law.

          4 votes
          1. patience_limited
            Link Parent
            Back in my paralegal days, I learned that judges are unforgiving bastards who expect others to bow before their whims. And with the thousand other obstacles to securing a just outcome for a...

            Back in my paralegal days, I learned that judges are unforgiving bastards who expect others to bow before their whims. And with the thousand other obstacles to securing a just outcome for a client, IT problems are entirely too burdensome and wearying. I'm sorry you have to deal with this - as I said, rage and frustration are more justified under the circumstances.

            In penny-pinching organizations, there's far too much burden placed on people to be their own administrative assistants, computer technicians, drivers, legal assistants, etc. I don't know if you have any dedicated IT support available. If you do, never hesitate to make it their problem to ensure you can do what you're expert at.

            5 votes
          2. [4]
            Gaywallet
            Link Parent
            Out of curiosity, why does that problem hold more value than the problems that come from others, such as bureaucracy? I mean, nearly everyone hates red tape and a good deal of people would like to...

            the actual problem I am supposed to be solving

            Out of curiosity, why does that problem hold more value than the problems that come from others, such as bureaucracy? I mean, nearly everyone hates red tape and a good deal of people would like to see efficient systems, but why is optimizing the system as it exists, today, any better than working towards an imagined fully optimized state to your preferences? Furthermore, what of the feelings and concerns of others - the tech problem you are solving which is 'blocking you from your work' is precisely the problem that's blocking someone else from their work, or worse multiple people from their collective work. While you may be removed from the effects of that work in that you don't see the value, other people do and you should celebrate that work just as much!

            But I also wonder here, how much of it is about framing in general. Job descriptions tend to be very factually based - work on these things, with these skills, to accomplish x. They tend to gloss over all the other parts of working collectively or working at an organization. Often, skills of mine that aren't in my job description are called upon to accomplish tasks that aren't iterated in my job description. This provides value to my company in one form or another. While many executives and business professionals like to focus on hard numbers like ROI with respect to job performance, that's not the only way to provide value to a company. Imagine, for a second, that you had an assistant who was absolutely excellent at communication and could easily convert your thoughts into the perfect email every time and manage all your connections for you. Would this not make you happier to work where you work? Would this not provide value for the company, despite it being incredibly hard to actually measure in terms of dollars saved or profit generated?

            Perhaps one of the major issues here is that learning to recognize and value the work that you do, even for trivial things like maintaining the status quo or even work that could be considered overhead is also valuable to your employer and not just a roadblock to you getting to 'your work'. After all, some of these processes may be rather inefficient or not what you value, but they were implemented to offer a level of control. In fact, we often celebrate functionally identical jobs in fields that are chastised in others. Someone who's job is to safety check a spacecraft is celebrated for ensuring safety and consistency in the field of aerospace engineering, yet quality control on developing code is often perceived as overhead or unnecessary work in the field of technology. However, both of these jobs ensure a consistent output, which ultimately ensure that a company is working efficiently. While it can be hard to shift perception, especially when certain processes just happen to bug you specifically and how you like to work, we can find at least some modicum of relief knowing that the process exists for a reason and is providing value to someone else. In the cases where a differing process would be ultimately better, you can find solace in making a suggestion to change things, but keep in mind that change often involves a lot of effort and the effort to implement that change may outweigh the outcome of a more efficient process depending on the time scale it would take to reap the benefits.

            Hopefully the philosophical rambling here will help, even if just a little, to spend less of your mental effort on what task you're working on precisely for a job. Ultimately they are paying you to do work for them, and in most cases to do the work they tell you to do. The healthiest way to approach this is to disconnect on some level from the outcome, because you are not being paid to decide what people should be working on and concerning yourself too deeply on issues which are out of your control doesn't lead anywhere healthy.

            1 vote
            1. [3]
              boxer_dogs_dance
              Link Parent
              I generally appreciate your posts u/gaywallet. I'm a lawyer. If tech issues put me behind on a deadline that impacts my client's case, I'm going to be unhappy and frustrated. Also, the court is...

              I generally appreciate your posts u/gaywallet.

              I'm a lawyer. If tech issues put me behind on a deadline that impacts my client's case, I'm going to be unhappy and frustrated. Also, the court is going to have no sympathy. It's on me to manage administrative bullshit and provide effective representation. If I'm already spending many hours at work, then I am going to be at minimum less patient attempting to decipher tech requirements because I am fatigued.

              u/patience_limited and u/cffabro provided the most helpful answers, but I received many comments here that were less judgemental and more practically helpful than yours this time.

              6 votes
              1. [2]
                Gaywallet
                Link Parent
                Apologies, the intent was not to judge you but rather to provide alternative ways of thinking about the outcomes of a job as I've seen it helpful to others. It appears I didn't have a great grasp...

                Apologies, the intent was not to judge you but rather to provide alternative ways of thinking about the outcomes of a job as I've seen it helpful to others. It appears I didn't have a great grasp of the struggles you were dealing with. If it is your job to manage administrative bullshit, then you do have actual control over setting process (or at least some buy-in) and your frustration is both understandable and of a significantly different nature. I'd offer different words but it sounds like I've wasted any faith you had in my words so instead I'll apologize for wasting your time. I'm glad, however, that you were able to find other comments more helpful. I hope things improve!

                3 votes
                1. boxer_dogs_dance
                  Link Parent
                  Thanks for living up to Tildes' culture of civility. I saw your message and plan to get back to you. Best.

                  Thanks for living up to Tildes' culture of civility. I saw your message and plan to get back to you.

                  Best.

                  3 votes
  13. [2]
    Laihiriel
    Link
    Perhaps I’m a bit late to the party but I wanted to sympathize with you. I’m a graphic designer and one of my previous roles was a designer for a litigation consultant company. My job is not tech,...

    Perhaps I’m a bit late to the party but I wanted to sympathize with you. I’m a graphic designer and one of my previous roles was a designer for a litigation consultant company. My job is not tech, nor IT, nor anything adjacent, but I was bound and trapped by an uncaring and unsympathetic system with archaic setups that I would need to solve on the fly. I completely understand how insanely frustrating it is to be forced to resolve things that should work and just… don’t, because a cloud passed over the shadow of Saturn while a spider farted outside of a courtroom or whatever. I had to control and manage things I had no control over, and the pressure and anger one may feel when thrust into that role with no good/easy/rapid solution is real. I see you, I understand.

    My solution to that overwhelming frustration/anger is simple: 1 min break from the computer. 99 out of 100 times, you can afford to do so. I like going to a window, looking out at nature, standing tall, stretching, or even just doodling on paper instead of looking at a glowing box. The break can shut off the anger/frustration spiral and when I am ready I can try to resolve and move on. Sometimes doodling on the margin of a sheet of paper caused me to think about the problem differently: maybe it’s a file size issue instead of an image issue, that’s why it’s not working, etc etc. It’s about breaking the cycle.

    If, say, it was an instance where a bad cable set-up caused a display to drop during my side’s arguments and I couldn’t get them back up, I would just count to 5 internally and remind myself that feeling angry can come later, finding a solution was the priority. Giving myself permission to have that moment of “this sucks, this isn’t fair” would usually be enough to get me to put emotions to the side and be able to troubleshoot.

    The other thing that I realized is that sometimes things that SHOULD just work sometimes broke. All I could do was tell myself that I did the best I could with what I had for my clients and their cases, and that was enough for me to hold my head high.

    I dunno, I’m rambling a bit, but I wanted to chime in to let you know that is is hugely frustrating when you are under implacable deadlines for something to go wrong with tech that should just function. You’re 100% not alone and you absolutely shouldn’t need a comp sci degree to be able to do something as simple as “add a picture.”

    5 votes
  14. [4]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [3]
      boxer_dogs_dance
      Link Parent
      The frustration comes from being required to use the confusing technology. Thanks for the reply.

      The frustration comes from being required to use the confusing technology.

      Thanks for the reply.

      1. [2]
        DeaconBlue
        Link Parent
        I assume by "required" you mean in context of your job. That's the easiest frustration for me to deal with. I just accept that I'm being paid to deal with it, and the company has decided that...

        I assume by "required" you mean in context of your job.

        That's the easiest frustration for me to deal with. I just accept that I'm being paid to deal with it, and the company has decided that "staring at an error screen and searching for answers" is a valuable thing for me to be doing.

        5 votes
        1. boxer_dogs_dance
          Link Parent
          Sadly, deadlines don't change in response to my success or failure as they are set by the court system, not my employer

          Sadly, deadlines don't change in response to my success or failure as they are set by the court system, not my employer

          1 vote
  15. Notcoffeetable
    Link
    Honestly, I don't really get mad about tech stuff not working. It's either a skill issue, just not designed to work that way, or broken and outside my scope as a user to fix. Generally I just move...

    Honestly, I don't really get mad about tech stuff not working. It's either a skill issue, just not designed to work that way, or broken and outside my scope as a user to fix. Generally I just move on. If it's something I have the access to fix but can't diagnose, then I it's time to fire up google.

    I suppose the overwhelming feeling is perplexed, that resolves into satisfied whether I fix it or just move on.

    What gets my temper up is when I'm trying to implement a solution and things just keep getting in my way. Could be physical or software. Last example was when I noticed my left/right rear speakers were swapped. Lamps and coat racks kept falling over, couch was on a cable, another cable was pinched between the wall and a lamp. 3 minute task turned into 20 minutes and a lot of slow deep breathes.

    4 votes
  16. Carrow
    (edited )
    Link
    Rage management has been a struggle of mine historically. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Slowly exhale and hold my breath a moment at the end. If I'm still frustrated, I walk away. Engage...

    Rage management has been a struggle of mine historically.

    I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Slowly exhale and hold my breath a moment at the end. If I'm still frustrated, I walk away. Engage with something else to entirely take my mind off the issue. Once I've felt the tension in my brain relax for a bit, it's a lot easier to go back and tackle the problem at hand.

    I'm fortunate enough to work from home. My Aussie shepherd has learned to identify when I'm frustrated. Like if I curse, she comes and sits on me. Cuddling her really does help.

    Oh, and there's the rubber duck debugging. The original idea is for programming, but it's generalizable. The idea is that by explaining what you're doing, step by step, you catch something you may have otherwise missed. Similar to reading your writing out loud to catch mistakes.

    4 votes
  17. feanne
    Link
    Happens to me when the internet at home stops working. Drives me nuts! I just try to go do something else because I know that I can't actually do anything about it (it's almost always an ISP issue...

    Happens to me when the internet at home stops working. Drives me nuts! I just try to go do something else because I know that I can't actually do anything about it (it's almost always an ISP issue and there's nothing to do but wait for them to fix it).

    3 votes
  18. bloup
    Link
    Something that helped my rage problem a lot was deeply introspecting about all the stuff I take completely for granted. It doesn’t completely eliminate rage, but it balances it out with a healthy...

    Something that helped my rage problem a lot was deeply introspecting about all the stuff I take completely for granted. It doesn’t completely eliminate rage, but it balances it out with a healthy sense of wonder and appreciation, which can be a great tool for stopping rage in its tracks.

    3 votes
  19. caliper
    (edited )
    Link
    For me, working on cars and other tinkering has often let to rage towards inanimate objects. I’ve started to embrace it and I’ll cuss out the object to let off steam. It has become a fun game of...

    For me, working on cars and other tinkering has often let to rage towards inanimate objects. I’ve started to embrace it and I’ll cuss out the object to let off steam. It has become a fun game of coming up with silly insults for tools and parts. So just give in to rage and make it into a spiel you have with computers and software! And please share stories, I love hearing new insults.

    3 votes
  20. [4]
    slothywaffle
    Link
    Scream at it! Get a printer or something from Goodwill and go Office Space on that shit! Sometimes it's good and healthy to take it physical.

    Scream at it! Get a printer or something from Goodwill and go Office Space on that shit! Sometimes it's good and healthy to take it physical.

    2 votes
    1. Protected
      Link Parent
      I've attended university for many years and learned exactly how computers work all the way down to the circuitry, so there is no black box; I know exactly what to do when they're being...

      I've attended university for many years and learned exactly how computers work all the way down to the circuitry, so there is no black box; I know exactly what to do when they're being frustrating.

      Kick them a few times and throw them out the window.

      2 votes
  21. [3]
    Thomas-C
    Link
    Typically when anything inspires what I think of as rage, what it means is that I am unloading a bunch of feelings on something that isn't actually the source of the feelings. As in, perhaps I get...

    Typically when anything inspires what I think of as rage, what it means is that I am unloading a bunch of feelings on something that isn't actually the source of the feelings. As in, perhaps I get really mad at the computer - it's not really because the file format of the mod I was working on stopped working in the editor. That's a solvable problem, as is just about anything to do with the computer. The reason I'm losing my shit at it is because this thing I was working on means a lot to me and I'm nervous about fucking it up, for example. I usually try to read moments like that as my mind telling me I need to express something or reason something out, because I never really intend to get that mad at anything, much less a computer, a thing which will never understand that anger.

    I'm not meaning to imply you're avoiding a deep issue or something like that. Rather to say how it goes for me, because "rage" is a very strong word in my book and denotes a very specific sort of feeling. Possible too that what I'm thinking of just doesn't line up with what you were thinking of. But if that all above sounds about right to you, the simple truth is you have to face whatever the source of the feelings is. To go back to my example - I'd need to take a step back for a minute to uncover the source, and if it's something like "I'm nervous about screwing up something important", remind myself what my actual next steps are. The file format is being weird, so I need to find a way to open the file elsewhere/otherwise, or change the editor in some way. Or maybe it's as simple as a typo in the file format. Either way, that's what I need to do, look at the thing and see why it's not working right this time. Nothing can proceed until I do that. And from there I'm in problem-solving mode, and the anger is gone.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      boxer_dogs_dance
      Link Parent
      My work includes decision making with a lot at stake. Serious consequences for getting things wrong. Tight deadlines that I don't set or control. It's a recipe for stress. Thanks for the...

      My work includes decision making with a lot at stake. Serious consequences for getting things wrong. Tight deadlines that I don't set or control. It's a recipe for stress.

      Thanks for the thoughtful reply

      2 votes
      1. Thomas-C
        Link Parent
        I definitely didn't intend to trivialize the stakes, and I feel my example does that a bit when I look over it. Maybe a better way of saying it, to me the computer is an always-solvable-problem....

        I definitely didn't intend to trivialize the stakes, and I feel my example does that a bit when I look over it. Maybe a better way of saying it, to me the computer is an always-solvable-problem. That isn't always true but most of the time it is. Doesn't mean I know how right now, but the nature of it means more likely than not there is a way through my problem, I just need to find it and/or figure out the design limitation stopping me. The goal is always to get back to problem solving because it's a machine. Sometimes being mad at it can fuel the problem solving, but I feel any advice I have for that would be too tailored to me to be useful. Whatever it takes to return to that mindset, however temporarily, while I have to use the thing.

        (I will say, taking a troublesome one after its use is done and hurling it does feel pretty good. Not recommended as a regular practice but One Good Time can be pretty cathartic)

        2 votes
  22. Reapy
    Link
    I think a lot of people have answered but I'll go ahead and throw in my two cents. My day job is writing code but when I run into anything in my life I would describe as an "IT" problem I am very...

    I think a lot of people have answered but I'll go ahead and throw in my two cents. My day job is writing code but when I run into anything in my life I would describe as an "IT" problem I am very fast to anger. I would attribute it to the fact that I want to reserve my brainpower for one task but am being forced to apply it to another task which is typically more opaque than just reading source code.

    I also have recognized early on that when I was a child I was very fast to anger and have worked heavily to stop doing that to the point that many that know me would be surprised to hear me say that (excluding family because they are present for all failures as families are want to do). What I tend to do is learn when I am starting to get angry and take action. In a way I could think of it as a debuff bar in a video game where I know that engaging in that task is a huge growth multiplier for that negative stat, so I'll disengage till calm, then toe in until I'm getting past the point of no return where your actions are shaped by the anger.

    In the case of it being work where I can't afford to spend time away from the problem, I'll basically try to hold it tight and focus it out by taking more angry stabbing actions at my keyboard as I type, the whole 'furiously googling' is a good analogy for it. Nicer when I'm working from home and can curse freely at everything honestly. The problem is the pressure gap, the solution is the release valve, the faster it is solved the faster the pressure drops back to normal, no other way around it sometimes.

    Honestly I find that the more I understand about technology the more likely I am to get frustrated and have a strong opinion on things that are intentionally designed away from open, documented, and accessible. I think we can get really frustrated with IT style work because it is opaque or requires specific knowledge of the program.

    IRL people think that I can solve their computer issues because I write code when the truth is I have no clue how that software was written that they are struggling with and am much more of a beginner than they are at figuring out the issue. Maybe I can guess a little faster at it when I get into it, but really knowing how to use tools doesn't mean I know what is behind the walls.

    But yeah anger management is an ongoing process and it is a useable emotion sometimes.. Ultimately there are just conditions where you will be mad and the solution is often to get off the train tracks before you start letting the anger define your behavior and words.

    2 votes
  23. BeanBurrito
    Link
    At a job I had there was a well seasoned system administrator. On his desk about where he would look down to type, he had a thin piece of paper covered in scotch tape. It was just high enough of a...

    At a job I had there was a well seasoned system administrator.

    On his desk about where he would look down to type, he had a thin piece of paper covered in scotch tape. It was just high enough of a strip of paper for a sentence in 12pt font.

    "Frustration is not a solution."

    2 votes
  24. [2]
    karim
    Link
    In my experience, I've found (and learned from therapy) that one of the core reasons behind us getting angry is that we don't accept reality. We don't accept the rules, terms, and conditions of...

    In my experience, I've found (and learned from therapy) that one of the core reasons behind us getting angry is that we don't accept reality.

    We don't accept the rules, terms, and conditions of life. We treat some unverified claims as scientific facts, and then get angry when reality does not conform to those facts. The Root is rejection.

    In this case, your false belief is that software is supposed to work.

    When I try to do something and it fails to work for reasons that are opaque or inscrutable it causes me to react with rage.

    Because you believe they shouldn't be allowed to do so, that if they fail, they should at least provide you with a clear reason, but unfortunately, life just doesn't work this way. We weren't promised perfect software when we were born.

    In the end, Bad, misbehaving software is a product of human nature.

    The reality is that your misbehaving software is behaving normally, in a way that all developers experience. You aren't alone in that experience, you aren't the only miserable dev who's forced to deal with shitty software. You aren't in an unfair situation, you're facing a situation we aaaall go through. In fact I might even say the rules of reality dictate that we all must go through such a shitty experience :P

    Just like bumpy roads, spotty internet, a broken plate, a malfunctioning microwave, etc... there are no rules that say things will just work, that's how life goes, how it has always been, and how it will always be.

    Thousands of years ago, old farmer Ka-Het was probably angry his farm cats were sleeping all day while mice were running his harvest.

    Hundreds of years later, when we're colonizing exo-planets, u/space_dogs_dance will be mad that the Focal Concetrator powering his sub-ice Europan exploration drone isn't aligning itself properly, and isn't showing any clear reasons why.

    tl;dr: Rage might be a sign of false expectations of life.

    2 votes
    1. boxer_dogs_dance
      Link Parent
      I'm not a dev, nor a tech person, I am a consumer trying to get on with doing my job. I suspect farmer x with the rat problem could have also used anger management skills when looking at their...

      I'm not a dev, nor a tech person, I am a consumer trying to get on with doing my job.

      I suspect farmer x with the rat problem could have also used anger management skills when looking at their ruined harvest and wasted effort.

      1 vote
  25. Pavouk106
    Link
    I use Linux on my desktop and Windows on my work laptop (home office). Laptop almost got thrown out of the window many times. Desktop not that much - well, it' heavier :-) Reasons I have troubke...

    I use Linux on my desktop and Windows on my work laptop (home office). Laptop almost got thrown out of the window many times. Desktop not that much - well, it' heavier :-)

    Reasons I have troubke with laptop keep going to how closed the programs and OS are. You can't really do much with some stupid UI or some preset setting that can't be changed anywhere. This is what is frustrating about using it.

    The Linux desktop is tweaked to my usage and liking because I'm able to do that in this OS. You don't like something about UI? You can probably change it. If you can't, you can switch to whole another UI.

    But even Linux has problems. Ie. I couldn't find reasonabke GUI program for just re-encodin video files to another format or bitrate. There are many, but one lacks this functionality, the other lacks that and so on. And because many, if not all, are just graphical interfaces for ffmpeg, I got to know ffmpeg in command line and I use it like that - I have full functionality and I can do whatever I want including muxong video file with sound from different video file with sound shifted 0,3 seconds. All in command line.

    So the main frustration comes from not being abke to have control. Sometimes you can gain control, sometimes you have to live with completed lroduct that has bugs. I prefer finding such things that I can use to my liking, this is how I deal with frustration. If I can't fond/use alternative, then I get frustrated just as everyone else :-D

    2 votes
  26. RheingoldRiver
    Link
    Not read all the comments, so this may have been said already, but when I have some deep frustration with an install or config not working, the root cause is really not anger but fear that I'll...

    Not read all the comments, so this may have been said already, but when I have some deep frustration with an install or config not working, the root cause is really not anger but fear that I'll never be able to solve it, which causes anger. This happens a lot less over the years because I keep having experiences of solving frustrating things, and my expectation has become "this is frustrating but I'll solve it" rather than "this is frustrating and I'll never solve it."

    There's two main ways you can change your expectations, imo:

    1. Do more technical stuff. Read subreddits where people are answering questions, debugging things, etc; the more times you see solutions, the more you'll feel secure when you encounter a problem. Maybe learn some coding (Python is a good place to start, or basic HTML/CSS); "coding" and "config/installation" are a bit different from each other, but both of them involve a lot of running into problems and then having to solve them. Try to improve how you use search engines & LLMs to find solutions to things.
    2. Find someone who can reliably help you when you encounter a problem. Maybe it's a family member, maybe a friend, maybe you even find someone you can pay to help you troubleshoot every time you encounter a problem. When you know you have someone reliable who you can trust to help you, you won't feel as alone.
    2 votes
  27. [2]
    mild_takes
    Link
    If you hit a roadblock you need to realize when you're beat and either switch tasks, walk away for a minute, or ask a colleague if they're having the same problem/how to solve it. At work we have...

    If you hit a roadblock you need to realize when you're beat and either switch tasks, walk away for a minute, or ask a colleague if they're having the same problem/how to solve it.

    At work we have phablet that are terrible hardware running bad software that crashes all the time. If I'm at the point where I'm even thinking about throwing it, I set it down. I've seen otherwise calm and rational people loose it on these things.

    When I try to do something and it fails to work for reasons that are opaque or inscrutable it causes me to react with rage.

    If you can't see why it fails then try to make it fail or not fail on something that doesn't matter. Make small changes and see if it acts differently. Do all this when you're not trying to get something important done.

    1 vote
    1. boxer_dogs_dance
      Link Parent
      This sounds like good advice except that choosing to work with it when nothing is at stake is not pleasant and I generally have competing obligations where something is at stake. I don't have a...

      This sounds like good advice except that choosing to work with it when nothing is at stake is not pleasant and I generally have competing obligations where something is at stake. I don't have a lot of time available to tinker. Still, you made me think.

      2 votes
  28. Woeps
    Link
    I have gotten to the point that except for my "modern" gaming needs (using game pass) I'm steering away from as much blackbox as possible. With the downside that this sometimes has me tinkering a...

    I have gotten to the point that except for my "modern" gaming needs (using game pass) I'm steering away from as much blackbox as possible.

    With the downside that this sometimes has me tinkering a lot while blackbox stuff just works (till it doesn,t and then it gets worse).

    But I rather thinker some hours away and learn/give it my best then just blindly accept whatever is being pushed to us

    1 vote
  29. [2]
    Comment removed by site admin
    Link
    1. boxer_dogs_dance
      Link Parent
      I sympathize with you. I have also done technical support for parents. It's frustrating. On the other hand, I feel that something sold off the shelf should work, and should come with physical...

      I sympathize with you. I have also done technical support for parents. It's frustrating.

      On the other hand, I feel that something sold off the shelf should work, and should come with physical documentation including complete and sufficient instructions to make it work without having to search online. Technology companies take customers/end users for granted and I hate it.

      5 votes