Do you have to “Bark” and “Meow” about everything?
Posted on August 4, 2014 by TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd)
Every so often, I find myself complaining and while I believe you have to have someone as a sounding board, it’s wise to do this only once in a while. There are those who are unhappy, either with their work or their private lives, and they tend to complain about everything – ALL THE TIME. Nothing is positive and the glass is always half empty.
If/when I think I’m complaining too much, I have to make an immediate self-assessment. Me first because all else reflects what I am thinking or doing.
1. Did I get enough sleep last night?
2. Is it a “crabby” Monday morning?
3. What’s going on at home that I’m bringing to work and taking it out on everyone?
4. Is it money problems?
If I’ve answered any of my self-assessment questions, then I know I have to regroup, take a deep breath and think before I complain again to anyone. Be careful with the coffee too, though I need it to stay awake if it’s self-assessment #2.
What about those who continuously complain regardless? I’ve worked with some who didn’t like anything the company did for us. There was always a flaw whether it was the company picnic, the Christmas bonus, the hams at Easter, Mother and Father Day gifts, company luncheons, and tchotchke gifts. Nothing satisfied them.
I believe these folks were disengaged at work, not by any fault of the company, but because their home lives were shambles – OR – there was something in their nature that made them negative even if their job was great and their home life okay. Instead of being grateful, they acted like spoiled brats.
A particular case I recall, was a gal I worked with at the telephone company, named Joy. She was hired after I was as an instructional designer and top of her class – very smart. Joy wrote up the operator” instructions and I typed them into Word. I loved my job. Joy hated hers. I couldn’t figure out why. She was making a ton of money.. around $75k/yr. What’s to complain about? We would take cigarette breaks and Joy would complain about everything she thought our boss, Donna, was doing wrong. I would try to turn her negatives into positives, but she was unrelenting. It turns out her grievance wasn’t so much the company, but mostly about Donna, who was a well-seasoned employee with beaucoup tenure.
I figured it out one day when Joy was talking…err.. complaining. She wanted Donna’s job! Joy was jealous of Donna and her position. That’s why she was always complaining and in retrospect, I bet she figured if she had an ally in me, we might be able to complain together and boot her out. I would never have done that to Donna. She hired me and we were amicable.
Well, I left before that could ever take place and Joy left shortly after too. I never heard from Joy again. I have a beautiful pewter Christmas ornament of a Santa Claus that Donna gave to all of us one year and I will cherish it always. She was a great boss. When I told her I was leaving, she was very disappointed.
I guess you have to be careful about complainers too. Sooner or later, they are discovered by the higher-ups as trouble-makers or what we called rebel rousers. The negativity is almost palpable and if a company is doing its darnedest to create a positive environment for employee engagement, these people are thorns in everyone’s side.
Will a complainer change? Should they be spoken to? Are they cautioned about their complaining all the time at annual reviews? Are they good enough workers to keep around?
I’d like to know what supervisors do with constant complainers. Write me and let me know.