At a past job, I started to have major concerns about the company where I was working. These apprehensions went far beyond my specific job; they related directly to how the business was run and how employees were treated.
And, yes—you better bet it’s scary to publicly admit I disliked (and sometimes loathed) the place that provided me with a salary and health benefits. As a naturally optimistic, silver-lining-seeking individual, it just wasn’t a comfortable situation to be in. At all.
I found myself complaining incessantly, listing off every single aspect I disapproved of. I did eventually choose to seek employment elsewhere, but it took a long time to make that decision. And, the truth is, even if you’re in a toxic relationship with your place of work, parting ways just may not be in the cards for you any time soon. But hating on the organization non-stop? Well, that can end up leading to one (or more) of these three undesirable situations.
1. You’ll Become a Problem Child
Unfortunately, your employer doesn’t need you as much as may think. It’s nothing personal; it doesn’t mean you don’t matter. You do. What it does mean is that, like it or not, your company would be just fine without you. And, frankly, if you become a bad seed, it’ll probably be even better off.
Because “these days, corporations are placing more and more importance on company culture. If you make it a habit to speak negatively about your company or its management, you are not doing yourself any favors,” says Steven Tulman, founder of DWOM Media. And Tulman would know—he was once fired because his “toxic attitude became a liability to the company.”
Even if you do eventually want to go somewhere else, you don’t want badmouthing to unnecessarily burn some bridges along the way. And trust me—it certainly has the power to do just that. “Whatever the situation,” shares Tulman, “you will get further ahead in life by communicating respectfully and effectively with others,” rather than allowing your gloomy demeanor control your behavior.
2. Your Co-workers Won’t Want to Be Around You
There’s only so much whining you can do before your colleagues start tuning you out and dreading your presence. In a Forbes article, Selena Rezvani, author of Pushback: How Smart Woman Ask—and Stand Up—for What They Want, says “Not only is it bad for others’ health and welfare to listen to you,but you’ll find that colleagues will think twice before being linked to you. They know they don’t have a lot to gain from being partnered with a glass-half-empty kind of thinker.”
In addition to not having a lot (or anything) to gain, you also won’t be that fun to be around. Because even if they share the same views as you, your co-workers may choose to not obsess over them 24/7. And, if their views are different altogether, then you’re just forcing your negative ones upon them. (Which is rude. And annoying.)
For example, think about a time you really liked a movie, told your friend about it, and he went on to rant about how horrible he thought it was. The actors were the worst, the plot was see-through, and watching it was the most painful two hours of his life. That doesn’t feel so great, does it? No—it doesn’t.
Bottom line: No matter how others feel, it’s just not enjoyable or beneficial to spend time with someone who’s always shrouded in pessimism.
3. You’re Standing in the Way of Your Own Success
If you devote too much time talking everyone’s ear off about how awful your firm is, or even if you dedicate too much of your brain space to thinking about it, then you’ve taken your eye off the prize. You’ve chosen to let your grievances consume you, and that will divert your focus from more important things. Like doing your job well, being a reliable team member, and most importantly, figuring out the next step in your career.
“There is one main key to finding success in today’s market that applies, no matter what field you are in, or what you are looking to accomplish,” says Richard Lorenzen on The Huffington Post, CEO and founder of Fifth Avenue Brands and co-founder of AchieveIconic.com. “This is a positive attitude. If you have a positive attitude and maintain a positive way of thinking, you can end up finding much more success than you ever imagined.”
“Unfortunately, many people are plagued with negative thoughts, and are constantly thinking negatively and letting these thoughts and ideas hold them back.” According to Lorenzen, this constant stream of cynicism can prevent you from achieving ultimate success. And that’s no good, is it?
Just like me, you may have to come to terms with the fact that you simply can’t stay positive because you’re that unhappy. And if that’s the case, you’ll just need to start planning your exit strategy. But remember: Even if you’re planning on leaving, you want to make sure you quit with grace. In other words, don’t spew disparaging verbiage all over the place from now until your last day. That won’t do anybody any good.
As Rezvani says, “It’s not that there’s no place for disappointment, anger, or annoyance at work. But I can guarantee you that your complaints are not doing you or your career any favors. If they were, people would label them ‘proposals,’ ‘negotiations,’ ‘solutions,’ or ‘suggestions.’”
Abby is a writer, career coach, and health educator living in Portland, Maine. When she’s not trying to make the world a happier and healthier place, you can find her cuddling with her cats, hunting down the city's best coffee and grilled cheese, or dipping her toes in the Atlantic. Say hi on Twitter .More from this Author