No Complaining at Work: Myth or Reality? Part II
It seems to me that to be able to stop complaining at work, it is important to understand why we complain in the first place? Then, we can identify the changes that we can make to EXPERIENCE our life at work differently.
So why do we complain at work?
We complain because we need acknowledgement. We whine because we want others to realize all that we do. Nowadays our need for acknowledgment is not always easy to be fulfilled because with the use of computers our work load is less noticeable in the eyes of others. In reality, we complain because we’re going through a hard time and we want everyone to know about it. Isn’t that right?
We complain because we need to connect with others. Have you noticed how when we complain there is always someone who joins in? This is why we start complaining the minute we arrive at work. We complain about the weather, about public transportation, about our emails overload, about our never ending list of things to do …. sometimes even before simply saying good morning! Complaining is like a low frequency/low engagement conversation so its easy to vent around the coffee machine at break time.
We also complain to be seen and heard and to put ourselves on a pedestal. We complain to be right and to make the other people wrong, we say that they don’t understand, that it’s not our fault, and that the others are guilty ( sometimes we conveniently omit a few details to make ourselves look good and take no responsibility)
It’s easier to complain than to take action. I notice for myself that it’s easier to complain to accuse and blame others and prove that we are victims than to roll up our sleeves to create change! It’s easy to complain, easier than to take a stand. When we complain we are often like the spectators on the benches at the sporting event commenting the game. ( and judging the qualities of the players and their strategies) It’s so much easier to be seating in the stands than to dare get up from the benches and go on the playground.
Let’s be clear, when we complain we are not doing anything wrong. We are not hurting people after all. We all have in our surroundings a colleague who is always complaining and gets on everybody’s nerves. I would like today to address everyone else. All those who like me have a tendency to complain without being aggressive but who complain by habit. Those who have a tendency to endure all the little petty annoyances and ruminate all day long under their breath, among friends having coffee and even sometimes all in good fun!
The problem is that complaining doesn’t make things go any faster or smoother. We may think that complaining makes things happen and helps us get what we want but the truth is that when someone is complaining at me I have only two possible reactions: I either get away and plug my ears (to protect myself from the annoyance) or I defend myself and start a fight ( who likes to me made wrong ? not me)
Complaining prevents our emotional intelligence to kick in. Rather than looking for solutions, to use common sense and to try to communicate our needs, we choose the strategy to accuse the other and to blame them for our misfortunes.
I noticed that when we complain we think we are punishing others when in fact we are punishing ourselves. We hold on to our frustrations like a precious treasure. We transform our problems into dramas instead of looking at them like they are problems that we can overcome. We exaggerate, we amplify, we cannot find the right words…and in the end we spend our day with a grey cloud over our heads which prevents us from noticing the blue sky. In the end, we go to bed exhausted and as if we’ve had to endure the whole day instead of living and enjoying it.
It’s as if we get to work in the morning with the illusion that everything is going to go as planned without any obstacles, without any delays and that everyone around us will comply and act according to our desires whether it be our colleagues, our suppliers, or even our work tools. So when things get sidetracked, we start to complain and have a breakdown sort of speak. We are in the end the first ones to endure our bad mood ( and our bad will)
What about you? What do you get out of complaining at work ? Need more concrete tips?
Share it with your friends or colleagues 🙂
Love and Respect,
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