Wood Words

Frustrated at Work? Don’t Complain; Do This Instead

Can’t remember your last raise?

Annoyed by an obnoxious coworker who talks incessantly about themselves?

Ready to hurl your broken desk chair out the window?

You may be tempted to whine and complain – but that won’t get you anywhere.

Complaining doesn’t work.

It rarely has any positive effect. It antagonizes coworkers. And honestly, complaining does little to make you feel better.

It can also undermine your career.

At work, becoming known as a whiner can:

  • irritate colleagues;
  • pit managers against you and sour the attitude of your whole team;
  • damage your prospects for inclusion in desirable projects, raises or promotions;
  • lead to bad reviews and references when you move on.

Want a better alternative?

When you’re tempted to complain about these things at work, resist the urge – and take the high road:

  • Think you’re worth more than you’re being paid? Most of us do. If others around you are being paid more than you are for similar work, then maybe it’s time to ask for a raise. But before you do so, take a good hard look at yourself and your work through your employer’s eyes. Are you adding value? If you deserve a raise, quantify your accomplishments and make your case to your employer in a professional way. Focus your energy not on complaining about your pay, but on earning that raise.
  • Tired of being overworked? Outwardly, people will sympathize when you tell them how overworked you are. More than likely, however, they’re thinking that you manage your time poorly or that your priorities are out of alignment. Instead of complaining about your workload, try to do something about it. Make better lists. Eliminate time-sucking distractons. Leverage technology to increase your productivity. Learn how to selectively say “no.” Tackle your highest priority work first, so you don’t get dragged down by feelings of failure—even if you never reach the bottom of your list.
  • Frustrated with you workspace? Whether it’s uncomfortable, poorly equipped, cramped or just plain ugly, throwing a pity party will just make you feel worse. Don’t gripe about what you can’t change; fix what you can. Dress up your cubicle with posters and a plant. If you don’t like the temperature, bring in a fan or a heater. Chip in for a coffee maker and take turns bringing supplies. Set up a rotating cookie calendar. Making positive changes and taking care of each other builds community.
  • Can’t stand your boss? This should go without saying, but bite your tongue. There is just no way that you can derive any benefit from complaining to coworkers about your manager. If you don’t like your boss, find a coping mechanism. Exercise is a good outlet. Competitive sports can work wonders; join a league or a club. Journaling can give you a place to express your frustration and often relieve the stress in the process. Meditation or deep, intentional breathing may help, too.

Frustrated with your job?

Take the bull by the horns and try the ideas we share in this earlier post, “Not Loving Your Job? Here’s What to Do.”

If you follow those suggestions and are still unhappy in your job, resolve to find a better one. Wood Personnel is here to help! We will meet with you to identify what you’re looking for in your career, and then confidentially represent you to employers while you continue working. Best of all? Our services are free to you. What are you waiting for? Apply with our Gallatin employment agency, or your local Wood Personnel office, today. Or, search for administrative, light industrial, technical and professional jobs here.