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To vent or not to vent

HumanergyEmotional IntelligenceTo vent or not to vent

Dec

7

2009

To vent or not to vent

My boss is a controlling jerk. The project manager is an idiot. My assistant can’t think his way out of a paper bag.

Venting about work seems to be on the rise. Maybe it’s because we’re afraid to make waves by bringing up problems directly, for fear of losing our jobs. So we resort to releasing our frustrations via whispered complaints by the coffee machine.

Social networking has also given us new ways to vent our frustrations in cyberspace. We can whine on Facebook, Twitter or any one of the numerous sites designed for that purpose, like jobvent.com and iworkwithfools.com. (No, we’re not giving the links. We do not advocate voicing your fury in such a manner.)

Let’s just say your boss really is a jerk, and you don’t feel that you can rectify the situation. How do you manage your frustrations appropriately?

Don’t suppress your anger. Medical experts warn that internalizing your frustrations can be bad for your health, contributing to high blood pressure, digestive problems and heart attacks.

Don’t express anger frequently. Studies show that people who are angry a lot suffer from the same health problems as those who quietly seethe. If you’re often outraged by daily life, get help.

Don’t vent with coworkers. Venting does nothing to improve your situation, and regular whining labels you as a negative influence. Even if your colleague is also a trusted friend, you are much better off taking the high road. Never say anything to a coworker that you wouldn’t want repeated in public.

Talk to someone outside of work. Talk to your significant other or non-work friends. Monitor the frequency, though. Patience will run thin if you vent with no intention of taking steps to resolve the issue. Use that person as a sounding board to help you develop positive next steps and coping strategies.

Don’t vent online. We’ve said it before; once it’s out there, it’s public. Just say no to email and social networking when you’re mad.

Unless you’d like to leave your job, don’t vent to your boss’s boss. Maybe this seems obvious. But there are people out there who think that if the boss won’t listen, it’s time to move up the chain of command. Unless your boss is breaking a law or violating important company policy, think twice before going over her head.  Never, never whine to higher-ups just because you don’t like something.

You have a choice. Do you use your frustration as fuel for constructive action? Or do you vent, and just allow your anger to feed upon itself? If you have time to whine, you have time to do something to make your life better.

Have a question or want some input from Humanergy about this topic? Contact us and we’ll get right back to you!

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Comments (1)

  1. You’ll never believe what [insert name] did! « Humanergy Leadership Blog

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