When you’re at work are you a complainer? Think about the first things you say in a meeting or to other people. Is the room too warm or the room too cold? Is every other department suffering from poor management and execution? Are you the only one who knows how things should be done well and right? If this is you, then you’re a kvetch–a complainer. If you are one, then you need to be aware of what you’re doing to your career. You’re making it harder for you to succeed.
I worked with a guy like this. Two companies were merging and he never missed an opportunity to tell anyone who would listen that his company knew it all and had better people, policies and results than the other company. Then he would launch into his own personal opinion of everything. What a disaster! He became the reverse magnet. People would see him coming and would be repelled in the opposite direction. Management and staff universally disliked him. How did this lone ranger survive in business? Barely.
When the organization reorganized he was out of a job. No one from any department wanted him on their team. Why would they? He had such a reputation for being a complainer that he wore out everyone around him.
I remember one situation that was typical for what this complainer did and created. It was the company Christmas party. Mr. Gloom arrived at the party, found a group of people who weren’t especially good at avoiding him and he began to complain. A senior manager’s wife was part of this group. She quickly turned to Mr. Charm and said, “Sorry, Jim, I’m not taking any complaints today!” That quick retort was enough to silence Jim. He had nothing to say for the rest of the evening. Soon after the party, he was gone from the company.
Do you know that there’s real danger in being always associated with negative messages? Think about the weathermen in San Diego, California. Every day is another day of perfection–beautiful blue skies and the warm temperatures of paradise. Now think about the weathermen in Buffalo, New York. Unless you’re there in the few days of summer you’re going to be announcing another cold, gray day of frigid temperatures and a lot of snow.
Now think about how people feel about each of these people. You’re probably not getting the warm fuzzies for those forecasters in Buffalo. Did you know there have been actual death threats against weathermen in Buffalo, New York? That’s as if they have anything to do with actually creating the weather.
It doesn’t matter. They’re giving the bad news. You might not get death threats at work if you’re the complainer, but I’ll bet people won’t like you very much. Good luck when you need someone’s help.
There’s one situation where complaining is acceptable. In fact it’s the only time that you can complain. That’s the time when you have a complaint and also a solution for that issue. Then you actually begin to implement the solution.