The world’s largest support group


While I have no hard data or extensive research to back this up, I recently realized that if we DID do that math, we would probably see that people who hate their job (or like to complain about their job, their co-workers, the weather and traffic) has to be the largest support group ever!

Which could explain why so many people remain at jobs they don’t like, instead of taking action to find something better.  All of the complaining is actually supported, and encouraged, by fellow employees.  It makes it all okay and oddly comforting – so we stay.  As humans, we tend to stick with something (a job, relationship or task) until the pain of staying the same outgrows the pain of changing.

Let’s break that down.  Is there pain (real or perceived) to changing?  You bet.  There is pain, fear and all sorts of unknown nastiness that is associated with change.  It’s only when the pain, fear and nastiness of staying the same is WORSE than the pain, fear and nastiness of changing, that we take action.

If we go back to our story, think about a “case of the Monday’s”. (If you haven’t seen Office Space, run, do not walk to your nearest Red Box or Netflix and put in the order!)  A case of the “Monday’s” was the accepted tag line for “being down in the dumps because you are back to work after a glorious (or even not-so-glorious) weekend.  Back to the grind stone, crack the whip, fun’s over!”

The more people buy into this, the more they are supporting the behavior, saying it’s okay to complain about being at work… saying it’s okay to be unhappy, miserable, and downright frumpy.

And that’s the people who actually don’t like their job.

Then there are the people who LIKE their job, but want to be supported too, so they find something complain about.  How crazy does that sound?  Yet is happens everyday.  Happy people complaining because according to their corporate culture, that’s what gets attention!!!

Well I say phooey on that.

Unfortunately, simply saying phooey isn’t going to change your company’s culture or the people around you.  We have to change the support group.

You can start by making small changes in the things that YOU support.  When there is a glimmer of positivity, a ray of light for good – praise it, recognize it, make it known that that is what you support.  After a while people will likely either join your support group or stop complaining around you.  At least you’ll know that you’ve done your part.

If neither of those things happen, and you just can’t stand the negativeness anymore, then maybe it’s time to find a different place to hang your hat.

The pain of staying the same just got worse than the pain of changing.

Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “The world’s largest support group

  1. Matt–I just have to thank you for your timing on this post! This exact conundrum has come up in not one, but FIVE separate conversations I have had today regarding employee attitude/morale! We are on the bumpy road to change, and I agree with you whole-heartedly: change at this point is far less painful than staying the same.

  2. You’re welcome, Erin! And WOW – 5 separate conversations in one day! Speaking of the bumpy road, are there some who would rather stay the same out of comfort and security, no matter what the pain?

    Thanks!

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