The Wall Street Journal:
One evening, after a frustrating chat with his boss, Jason Bauman sent an email to a co-worker. He wrote that his supervisor never praised him, only criticized, and said he found this frustrating.
He went on for several hundred words. Mr. Bauman, the manager of a cellphone store at the time, complained that his boss was bad at his job. He said the man was jealous because he made less money than his employees. He insisted his boss had no right to give him what he called “a hard time.”
“It felt really good writing the email and hitting send,” says Mr. Bauman, a 30-year-old who lives in Souderton, Pa.
Not for long. Mr. Bauman says he regretted his angry email shortly after he sent it. “It kept me focusing on the issue much longer than I should have, mulling it over and over all evening,” he says. He felt worse the next day, when he learned his co-worker had forwarded the email to his boss.
“Just because something makes you feel better doesn’t mean it’s healthy,” says Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University in Columbus.
A bad vent can come back to hurt you. You could alienate friends or family, or get pegged as a whiner or someone with anger-management issues. And because what happens on the Internet stays on the Internet—forever—you could do lasting damage to your reputation.
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