October 11, 2007, 7:00 am

Speak out!

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career
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This is something I recently understand when I came back to work: People like to complain. I was away for six weeks on paternity leave; I had a chance to completely disconnect form my work environment. It was a great opportunity to come back to work at the same place, but with a different set of eyes. Then, I noticed how we spend time on complaining about our job, our clients, our computer that is not working properly, our boss, on this new product or on this new procedure that is completely stupid and so on.


speak out



Just do this simple exercise at work: stop working for five minutes. Just pretend to look at something on your computer or reading some paperwork. While you are not working, observe what people do and listen to what they talk about. You will notice the same thing: People like to complain.

I found it very funny because we are all part of the same boat. I remember easily the last time I complained about something… it was ten minutes ago! However, while criticism point out what is not going well into an organisation, it must be followed up by something else. I call it a solution while most managers call it “constructive criticism”. Basically, complain as long as you want, but provide solutions to problems you are bringing up. If not, it is useless.

Our human resources department offer us once in a while to meet them and explain what we like and what we dislike about the organisation, the work environment or other details that may bring our motivation down for some reasons. I was shocked to learn that very few individuals are participating. However, almost everybody complains on a daily basis. Then, I think of reasons why people were so shy about what they talk about all the time.


They don’t believe in the system

This is generally one of the most spread excuse to not do anything about a problem: “It won’t just work” ”There is no point as nobody will do anything about my comments” “What? I’ll be the only one who will put his head on the line?”. You might be right, but have you ever try it before saying those things? Give the management team a chance and you will be able to determine if it was pointless or not. You might be surprise by the result.

They think their career will be finished

Let me tell you this; if you are constantly frustrated by your work and you think that if you try to improve the situation, you will be confined at your desk by you boss for the rest of your life, well your career is already finished anyway. In fact, many people see manager as evil doers waiting for any mistakes to get on your back and fire people. Have you ever though that your boss is a human like you. I spoke to many managers in my life and they all told me the same thing: “The worst part about managing is that sometimes you have to lay off employees. You know that they are counting on this money to live but you have to do your job, it is very painful.” On top of that, if you are always frustrated and you don’t believe you can get any help, tell me how you will be able to perform and succeed to obtain a promotion in such work conditions? That goes against all motivation rules!

They are lazy or have other things to do

You laugh but that may explain why people are not taking the time and the effort to meet with their HR and share their issues. It is so much easier to get around the coffee machine and complain!

I do not know if there are any other reasons why one would not point out problems at work. The only way to improve your condition is to speak with your boss or your human resources department. If you don’t do so, well you will continuously live in what you are complaining about. Then, there is no point for such complains… maybe you like it after all?


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[…] Speak out!: The Financial Blogger just returned to work from paternity leave (not working in America, is he?) and has a new perspective on office complaining. I am trying very hard these days not to be a complainer myself. (@ The Financial Blogger) […]

I am just beginning in my career, and I see the exact same thing. No one is willing to work to change a situation that is obviously not working. I take a half hour or so each week to discuss things with my manager and have come up with several solutions to problems she didn’t even know existed — because no one told her.

I should also mention I am only 22 and have already been promoted, due to this exercise, above someone 10 years my senior with more experience who just sits there and complains, as opposed to constructively criticizing.