'Top Chef All-Stars' Temper Tantrum Reminds Us to Relax

Amy Kuras
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Top Chef fans are reeling in shock after Jen Carroll, one of the favorites to make it to the finale of Top Chef All-Stars, was booted after what can only be described as throwing a total fit at judges' table during the last episode.

Jen apparently saw herself on TV during her first season and decided her problem was being too likable .... While she was funny and humble in her first season, she came into All-Stars with a lot of swagger and seemed generally kind of brittle and egotistical. And as often happens, her mouth started writing checks her, um, food couldn't cash. She had pretty much a full-out temper tantrum at Judges' Table and then a major, expletive-laden meltdown when she was off-camera but still miked. Predictably, her bad dish and unprofessional behavior got her cut.

Although it makes compelling TV, that inability to control her temper could cost her dearly in terms of her career, her relationships, and her health.

A very short fuse and inability to accept criticism have sounded the death knell for more than one previously promising career; supervisors and coworkers need to know they can ask for changes or criticize performance without someone losing their mind.

What the ill-tempered person might consider to be standing up for themselves or an unwillingness to get pushed around, others perceive as mean or hotheaded. Same goes for relationships. People with more even keels eventually get fed up with the hothead's volatility or feel like they have to walk on eggshells all the time to avoid setting them off (did you see the nervous looks on the other contestants' faces when she went back to the stew room after being cut?).

However, the biggest victims of a bad temper are usually the ragers themselves. Not only do they have career and relationship setbacks because of their temper, but they have higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, and ulcers. They're also sick more often and have a higher risk for depression.

It's really important, if you find yourself frequently blowing up, to learn to chill. It's incredibly difficult, but take it from one who's been there: you will never regret taking a moment to get yourself under control. You will, however, regret blowing up at your boss, your kids, or your spouse.

The key is, when you feel your rage rising, to stop before you say or do anything you'll regret. Take a few deep breaths or leave the situation if you have to. Another really good piece of advice, corny as it sounds, is to depersonalize the situation: This is not some jerk who is personally bent on making your life difficult ... instead, there's a problem and you both need to find a way to solve it. It also helps me to take a minute to see the other person as vulnerable and human, just like me -- empathy is a good antidote to anger.

Or, imagine yourself on TV and exactly how bad you're going to sound later.

Do you struggle with your temper? What's your most effective way to calm down?


Image via 10ArtsBistroLounge

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