Stage 3: Anger & Bargaining of The Break-Up Series

17 Sep 2019

Anger & Bargaining

Truth: It’s only natural for anyone to feel angry or upset when circumstances are going south. From our previous blog on Part 2: Denial and Guilt, the emotion and/ or reaction, anger and bargaining commonly follow after. 

Anger [Definition]
: a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism 

A negatively-associated emotion that may be directed inwardly or outwardly. These pent-up emotions over a period of time can cause the individual to erupt, having little to no control over circumstances. These emotions can be directed towards anyone. 


Bargaining [Definition]
: Negotiate the terms and conditions of a transaction

An action of desperation where the individual tries to make a deal to regain what was lost. Many try their best to cling to what they have already lost even though they are well-aware that it will never come back. 


Who’s to blame – the employer or employee? 

  1. Salaries (42%)

    Anger or Bargain? – Anger

    Who: Employees

    It’s a controversial topic but employees do get angry or upset over the feeling that they are underpaid for the infinite workload that comes their way.

    Just as the scenario is depicted in Part 2: Denial and Guilt, are you harbouring the feelings that you are not compensated for your worth? Get your research done before getting riled up by looking at websites that have conducted surveys on the average pay grade of a similar profile as yours or speak to a trusted recruiter to get first-hand knowledge on market trends. There’s not much room to bargain here for employees as there’s always a specific band that companies work around with each title, hence many decide to take the easier route out – leave their existing firm and negotiate for a higher salary elsewhere. However, if you have a good working relationship with your direct manager and genuinely enjoy your work – don’t rule out accepting a counter-proposal! 

  2. Mismatched Expectations (5%)

    Anger or Bargain? – Bargain

    Who: Employers

    Mismatched expectations between employers and employees will eventually lead one to cave in – throwing in resignation letters (usually by employees).

    This is not helpful if the organisation is beginning or in the midst of one of their biggest projects or there’s an overwhelming level of work that the employer already has to juggle on top of this resignation exercise. Employers may begin to get frantic over the lack of manpower to tackle the infinite workload and may even begin to bargain on tough (sometimes impossible) grounds such as “Can you stay till we find someone to replace you?”, “Can you stay till we complete this project?” or “Why are you unhappy with your current role? Maybe I counter offer you with a more attractive compensation package?”. Typically, bargaining is the first reaction for employers before getting angry at employees for leaving them in the lurch during a stressful period.

  3. Under-appreciated work (22%)

    Anger or Bargain? – Anger

    Who: Employees

    Feeling constantly under-appreciated negatively-affects motivations and dampens morale levels – while it also proves to be a hefty invisible cost to the company when good employees leave.

    Before throwing in the towel, there’s always an accumulation of events prior to talented employees detonating in anger – such as seeing other colleagues get credit for the work they have done, or taking on more responsibilities without a pay raise, etc. From here on, trust and loyalty slowly dissipate and jaded employees begin to explore alternatives and entertain offers that are more appreciative of their efforts and aligned with their interests.

  4. Role Redundancy (18%)

    Anger or Bargain? – Bargain

    Who: Employees

    Spiralling further down the denial lane, the reaction of bargaining surfaces from employees who have already been imposing self-guilt on themselves since hearing the news, “Can I keep my role for a lesser pay?” or “Can I clock in more hours instead?” are common train of desperate thoughts that goes through employees’ minds.

    After a couple of unsuccessful attempts of trying to bargain for their livelihood, some may feel anger for a temporary period of time until they find a new place to begin their careers again.

  5. Lack of Business Processes and Systems (7%)

    Anger or Bargain? – Bargain

    Who: Employers

    This reaction of bargaining often occurs when employees and employers are unable to meet eye to eye on certain workflows and processes which constantly affect their productivity.

    Similar to Part 2: Denial and Guilt, some may have the perspective of “if it’s not broken, why fix it?” while others may perceive it as “we need to be prepared for the next step.” Anger is not present during such scenarios, however, the pent-up frustration harboured in each individual does create friction amongst individuals and sours relationships.

  6. Others (6%)

Stay tuned to Part 4: Reflection in the next part of our series!