Are You a Complainer at Work?

by | Jul 23, 2015

This week I came face-to-face with one of the most common, expected and frustrating elements of life and work … complaining. We all do it, often unknowingly, and we all have disdain for those who do it.

Unfortunately, the face I came face-to-face with was my own! Here’s how the story unfolded. I was recently honored to be asked to serve on the Board of Directors of an organization in northwest Arkansas (where WorkMatters is located). When I talked to my best friend, aka my wife Theresa, about investing the time in this commitment, here’s how she responded. “That’s fine with me David. Just make sure you have a real heart for it and don’t complain about having to invest the time.”

That statement launched us into an interesting discussion about complaining. Apparently, I complain about certain activities that I actually enjoy doing. But, I complain because they don’t happen in the natural flow of my day. They feel like extras or add-ons, when in fact they may be strategic to my life.

In other words, we all lead very busy lives and we may actually complain about doing the very things that enrich our lives or our work.

So what is it for you? What do you complain about? And why do complain about it?

Give this some serious thought. Is it possible that you complain in order to receive encouragement or compassion? Is it possible to get/give encouragement or compassion without complaining?

Complaining is a natural human tendency, and a very difficult habit to break. But if we want to live a flourishing life, if we want to close the gap between our faith and work, we need to come face-to-face with this issue and work to resolve it.

Theresa shared this scripture with me from Philippians 2:14 (NLV) as inspiration and I especially loved this translation:

  • Be glad you can do the things you should be doing. Do all things without arguing and talking about how you wish you did not have to do them.

Tucked away in this verse is an interesting and thought-provoking nod towards being thankful for the very things you may be complaining about.

Do you want to do something about your complaining at work? Then try this one-week challenge:

  • Make an effort to “hear” yourself complain.
  • Take note of how many times a day you complain.
  • Take note of the types of things you complain about.
  • Then, read Philippians 2:14 (NLV) every morning as inspiration to break the habit.

Thank you God for making us aware of the things in our lives that are not pleasing to you and giving us the inspiration to change them!

We also recommend:

Becoming a Change-Maker at Work / Brad Lomenick
How Will You Be Remembered / Tom Verdery


Changing Your Thoughts at Work
Office Politics: Using Your Influence for Good 

Photo of David Roth

David Roth

David Roth has been the president and CEO of Workmatters since October, 2003. Workmatters is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in Northwest Arkansas in 2003 with a mission is to help people pursue God’s purpose for their work. Since then, Workmatters has been used to impact thousands of leaders in Northwest Arkansas and across the U.S. Prior to leading Workmatters, Mr. Roth was vice president, sales and marketing for J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. Before joining J.B. Hunt in 1999, David was the senior vice president of marketing for Manugistics, a supply chain management software provider in Maryland and vice president of marketing for American Software in Atlanta, Ga. He also has nine years of supply chain management experience with McKesson Corporation in San Francisco, Calif. and Harrison, Ark. David has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Arkansas. He resides in Fayetteville, Ark. with his wife, Theresa and has two sons, Dylan and Tyler.