Why do we complain at work?
There are loads of reasons to moan at work, even if you are still working from home. In fact, it’s practically normal to complain about your work when you spend all day there. We have to deal with other people, loads of them. Colleagues we see all day but who are neither our friends nor our relatives, customers, suppliers, managers. Lots of people who don’t always react and often not how we would like them to, and sometimes we run out of patience and can’t tolerate them. And then it has to be said that work infringes our desire to be free. Even if we’ve chosen our job, it can still be too demanding or boring, not very fulfilling or badly paid. Above all, we are accountable to a hierarchy that we haven’t chosen. If you add communication problems, the feeling you’re not being listened to or that you’re not being recognized, then discontentment at work is a big problem and the reasons to complain are plenty.
>>> Discover why complaining feels so good.
Am I a natural moaner?
We all have in mind the image of our grumpy colleague who doesn’t miss an opportunity to complain about anything, but we’re all someone’s grumpy colleague. How do I know if I’m a moaner? It’s easy!
- When I talk about something, I use a bitter and stinging tone. Watch out, I’m on a slippery slope!
- I’m the victim. My boss, HR, my colleague, my client, the company itself, the whole world is mad at me and is trying to punish me. Now I’m heading for big trouble!
- I exaggerate my words or often use the famous, “whatever, it’s always the same”. Now there’s no doubt, I’m a moaner and if I pay attention, I realize that I moan a lot more than I think. Oh yes, complaining is often a habit that is well entrenched in our daily lives, and that fosters a feeling of tiredness and a need to remain on the defensive.
Is giving up complaining the key to happiness at work?
Moaning has its advantages. It’s a way of offloading your frustration, at least for a few moments, but also it brings people together. Indeed, we often complain in small groups at the coffee machine with our gang of work friends. But the problem is that by grumbling, we don’t take action and we try to avoid our responsibilities. We victimize ourselves, pointing the finger at the culprits, but we end up wrapped up in negativity that leads to even more complaining and negativity… basically, a harmful vicious circle! Nothing good comes out of this behavior. We waste energy and lose motivation. We even lose our colleagues’ esteem, who end up complaining with us out of obligation rather than out of kindness or empathy. That’s why it can be interesting to change strategy. Let’s try to see our work as a place of creation, expression, collaboration and fulfilment for a while. By adopting a more constructive stance, two things will happen:
1. I’ll be able to determine whether I’m the only one unhappy at work or if it comes from something or someone else.
2. I’ll manage to be happier in my current job.
There’s nothing to lose, so take action!
I’ve decided, I’m taking action: I’m going to be positive!
>>> Discover how to find your purpose in life
Now that I’ve stopped complaining and I’m becoming more positive, how should I go about it?
I do something I like every day:
Sport, reading a book, playing video games, taking a bath, etc. Whatever activity makes you feel good, do it every day. Your well-being doesn’t just depend on others, it comes from you too.
I let go:
Stop thinking you can control everything, you know it’s impossible, especially at work. Instead of complaining continually about things you can’t do anything about, focus on what you can do and what you can change.
I give a purpose to my work:
You’re not that interested in your job? If you are, it’s because it corresponds to some of your values, to a need. Find something that fulfils your work and comforts you in the idea that you’ve made the right choice.
I learn to be grateful:
At work, we often don’t get recognition, so don’t get into that game. Between colleagues or for yourself, say thank you and congratulate each other. In this way, we gradually realize what we are capable of doing and encourage others to complain less.
>>> I have no ambition in life, but is it a problem?
Editor’s note – Look on the bright side of life with a bit of helpThe world in general and the world of work in particular is not all roses. Even if you stop complaining, you’re still allowed to be hurt, angry or sad and to make it known. Looking on the bright side of life doesn’t mean looking through rose-tinted glasses, but is about making the choice to move on, to take back your life and assume your choices, rather than locking yourself up in a position of infernal stagnation. To do this work, help is basically essential. This can come from a group project among colleagues or help from a therapist or a professional coach.
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