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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > Archive: Career Complaints can lead to bigger problems — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

Archive: Career Complaints can lead to bigger problems — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

January 31st, 2014

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Over the course of any career, you are sure to have complaints both large and small. It is a simple fact of life that our work is not always perfect. That said, some people can fall into the role of the constant complainer – someone who always has a complaint at hand, ready to toss it into any conversation, whether appropriate or not. Worse still, these people can lead others down the wrong path and enable them to become a constant complainer, as well.

Now, this is not to say that you will never have anything to complain about, but complaining without thinking or attempting to resolve your problems first is absolutely worthless. Complainers that rebut any attempt to help them out of their situation, or those that constantly find one problem after another, will soon find themselves outcast by both their co-workers and possible even their company. You need to make sure that if you have a complaint, you are the first one to offer up possible solutions to the problem. Your initial solutions might not work, but they pave the way for others to get involved and work on the problem with you. Constant complainers can sometimes get their problems resolved, but it is usually out of the frustration of others than any sincere attempt to solve the problem itself.

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Complaining can be dangerous to everyone in a company, as well. It has a way of spreading throughout a company if left unchecked. Even the smallest complaints can take on a life of their own, especially if there are some accomplished complainers to keep the issue alive. Complaining can also be dangerous to you individually, too. There have been times in my career when I have had to actively avoid some co-workers in order to remove myself from a bad situation. You have to be aware of what is happening and short circuit the complaint cycle if is becoming unproductive. Otherwise, you run the danger of being lumped together with the complainers when management decides to address the issue. The fact is, management could decide to remove the constant complainers rather than address the source of the complaints.

Due to all these issues, it can be very helpful to have outside resources to discuss your career and work complaints. In this way, you can work towards resolving your issues without effecting your day-to-day reputation. I consider this the best of both worlds. In some cases, this might be your friends who work for other companies, your mentor or anyone with a kindly ear. I know I often call upon my friend, Sam, when I am facing a difficulty with a client. He knows me well enough to offer good advice and knows that I will accept that advice without reservation even if I can’t act on it, at the moment. Sometimes, the most important thing we need is simply someone to listen.

To offer up another resource for discussing your career issues, I recently started a regular Career Complaints topic on the Career Opportunities forums at forums.friendsintech.com. Here you can discus your career issues, work issues, fears and wishes with a dedicated group completely disconnected from your workplace. I only have one stipulation for this forum, beyond the usual requests to be professional and polite. If you have a career complaint, you have to have one thought, one idea, one plan on how you can address the issue before you bring it up in the forum.

I know, sometimes it can be difficult to see your way out of a problem when you are buried inside it, but by looking for one possible change, no matter how small, it forces you to think about your problem as unemotionally as possible. It is in this conscious thought that you find the beginning of a solution. This is as true for life as it is for your career. Don’t worry, though, I will respond to any posts to this forum area and your fellow Career Opportunities readers and listeners are sure to chime in, as well. You won’t be alone. I only ask that you take the first step in building your own personal solution to your problem.The next time you are tempted to gather around the water cooler and complain about your job or your career, I hope you will turn to your friends and family, or the Career Opportunities forums, so you can develop the solutions you need without damaging your reputation or your career.

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