Positivity is a Career Management Strategy

Man at the work watercoolerStressed over a situation at the office? Having difficulty going with the flow? Are you tempted to hang around the water cooler to whine? I’m convinced, after years of studying business publications and thought leadership about happiness, that kvetching and moaning about something at work is a universal activity. Turns out, it’s true! Pick up a Success magazine, for example, and check it out. This very topic is au courant.

So, do you feel vindicated about your whining?

Not so fast. Public pronouncement of discontent is not a tactic for promoting your brand, job search, or career success. If you find yourself drawn to the cooler, I have a piece of advice:

Knock it off!

 As Cher says when she slaps Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck, “Snap out of it!” Complaining can affect your mood, productivity, and relationships. It’s a huge time waster.

But we’re wise enough to get over ourselves, right?

Consider these solutions for dissolving your compulsion to, well, you know what:

1) Focus on your value to your company. Why not compliment yourself daily on what you’re good at, and rewarded for? If you need to, seek out an executive coach who can help you define your value proposition with confidence.

2) Have you noticed the buzz you get when you complete a project? Productivity raises self-esteem and endorphins. Positive Psychology leader Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D., believes that absorption in a project gives mental and physical satisfaction, as if you’ve been exercising.

3) Striving to win trumps complaining. Brian Tracy once said, “There is no traffic jam on the extra mile.” Adopt this attitude and keep your eye on the prize.

4) Look at pictures and videos that give you joy and make you laugh when you’re caving. A new baby, a fun memory, or a pet’s hysterical antics will help erase angst. Laugher truly is the best medicine, and erases the urge to whine. How can you complain when you’re belly laughing?

5) Perfection in life is constantly coming and going. A challenge-free life is never going to happen. As a friend of mine once said while he was fixing his wife’s flat tire, “There’s always something!” Yes, there is, so go with the flow, and maintain your sense of humor.

My own example of this has to do with my relationship to automobiles and my husband’s reactions. He finally accepted the fact that I constantly drive over curbs, try to back up in “park,” drive with warning lights on, and occasionally run over his tool box in the garage. I’m sure you can think of analogies at work. His acceptance has resulted in no more melt-downs and more humorous discussions with co-workers.

There is one more recommendation by experts in positivity: eat donuts or french fries when you “need” them. Uh-huh. I didn’t make this up!

Okay, I’ll choose the donut while I whine about my to-do list. Yes, I need to snap out of it!

Di Chapman is Chief Communications Officer for Power Connections.

Photo by pictrough @123RF.com


  1. Hi Diane! Remember me, Rebecca? Very good advice and I feel this is so true. Crying at the water cooler does nothing for anyone. That is the advice I needed to face Tuesday!