How to Vent at Work (The Right Way)
When stresses and annoyances at work build up, many of us complain to our co-workers. Venting can be a good way to blow off steam, but you should make sure you aren’t disrupting your colleagues or spreading too much negativity around the office. When it’s done the right way, venting can be a way to “Get Your Shift Together,” something we call RespectfulDo #5. Here are some good suggestions from The Muse on how to vent in a productive way.
Minimize the impact. Don’t risk being thought of as a complainer. Try not to vent too frequently or to the same few people. Think about how you can create limitations for yourself, like forming a pact with a co-worker that you’ll only vent if you walk to their office for a closed-door conversation. It’ll make you think twice about if it’s worth the trip, and reduce the risk of being overheard.
Think about solutions. Venting may blow off steam, but it won’t fix any problems. Make a commitment to spend the same amount of time coming up with solutions to your problems as you do complaining about them. If you’re venting about how people won’t return your emails, consider talking to them in person or over the phone to eliminate the issue.
Write it down. Keep a “stress journal” and write down what upsets you. It’ll help you to understand what is causing you stress and how to anticipate it better. Stressors often seem more manageable once you’ve written them down.
Be on the lookout for good things. It’s easy to find things to complain about, but try to notice positive things that are happening around you as well. We call this RespectfulDo #4, “Look for Diamonds in the Rough.” Being just as verbal about the good things as you are about the bad things can help you feel more positive. Next time a co-worker does something well, compliment them.