An Ode to Whiners

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We all have one friend who’s a whiner. That person complains about almost everything. Nothing is sacred, and this person’s view point is notoriously narrow in scope and depth. The only reason you’re probably keeping the person around is because you haven’t found a way to easily drop them and whining doesn’t quite seem like a good enough reason. Yet.

I was listening to such a friend recently go on and on about how his career just wasn’t going anywhere. He felt underappreciated at work, had no idea what his next move or role in the company might be and he wanted a raise but was hesitant to ask for one. When the repeat conversational loop started I cut him off. I felt a headache forming and the answer to his long, bulleted tale of woe seemed pathetically simple to me: Take a proactive approach to your own career! There are very few people out there in careerland who will give you anything. At least not with some kind of price tag attached. The movers and shakers in the world get up, and make a grab for what they want. Or they grasp for what they want, and make small, concentrated, proactive steps forward on a career development plan.

I asked my whining friend if he had such a plan. He said no. I asked him what training and/or certifications was he pursuing? He said he’s not in school right now, but he’s looking at a few. I asked him what would he like to do at his current job? He wasn’t sure. I asked him how in the hell he thought somebody was supposed to know what he needed, let alone give it to him, if even he didn’t have a clue? He just frowned and stared at me, affronted. I asked him why he thought he deserved a raise. He rambled off a few reasons. I asked if he’d written them down in preparation for his next performance review, as this would be an excellent time to present his case for a salary increase. Another no, and that was pretty much it for my questions. I just rolled my eyes, and told him to read my blog, especially today’s entry on whiners who want everything handed to them on a plate by some mythical career fairy. Notice the word “mythical.”

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