YOUR BUSINESS AUTHORITY
Working my first summer job at 14 years old involved sorting pop bottles at grocers. I regularly complained to my boss about the cramped space of mechanical rooms and the abundance of broken glass – not to mention the spiders! On top of it all, I thought the sweltering heat was unbearable.
When Larry, my boss who worked for the pop company, had heard enough of my complaints about the job, he told me something wise: “Stop complaining about the heat; you’re only focusing on how uncomfortable things are which makes you feel even worse, and it affects your work.”
I initially resented his advice, but eventually I realized he was right. Complaining didn’t improve anything.
There’s too much complaining these days. Some studies say the average person complains 15-30 times daily. If that’s accurate, that’s about once every 30 minutes – and one could say we’ve turned into a nation of complainers.
We complain about the weather, the economy and politicians. We complain about work – grumbling about the pay, lack of information or how someone’s error caused us problems. We complain about shifting deadlines and difficult customers. Continual grumbling and complaining, though, can hurt us and our workplace.
Recently, I was doing communications and customer service training at a company out of state. The CEO said employees and supervisors complained nonstop about other departments, team members and customers. And all the complaining was hurting communications, morale and customer service.
As I sorted through the core problem, I realized their complaints were actually about the work itself, which involved continually working together. Since complaining will never solve the world of imperfect people and imperfect organizations, their complaints were mostly hollow and terribly damaging.
Chronic complaining at work also can lead to dissatisfaction with your life. If you’re constantly unhappy at work, that unhappiness often will carry over into other areas of your life, leading to an overall sense of gloom.
Enough with all the complaining. Here are five ways to minimize complaining about work and be more content with life:
The next time you are frustrated with a co-worker, your boss is driving you nuts or your customers are a pain to deal with and you’re moved to complain about work, think again.
Consultant, professional speaker and author Mark Holmes is president of Springfield-based Consultant Board Inc. and MarkHolmesGroup.com. He can be reached at
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