“Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.”
-Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
I have to raise my hand and admit that I am nowhere close to perfect on this one. It is so easy to let something “slip” out, and, when it does, the river usually doesn’t stop flowing. Everyone has something in their life that they may not agree with. When I was much younger, I used to get upset that my brother only had three hours of chores in a specific week while I had five. I didn’t think that it was fair. Instead of just doing the chores and getting on with my life, I would make sure that my parents and brother knew that it wasn’t fair. I would try and argue my point for at least an hour, trying to get my mom to even out the allocation. And you know what happened? I still had the five hours of chores. And worse than that, I was down an extra hour if you count the time I spent convincing my parents.
Everyone reading this, whether you’re going into public accounting or not, will have a moment in your life where you have too much on your plate, where you are stuck working with someone that you simply do not get along with or where you simply don’t think that life is treating you fairly. Complaining about it is not going to help—at all. In fact, in most cases, complaining will make the situation worse. Complaining makes the task or person or situation even more unbearable than it was to begin with. And more often than not, when you are angry or frustrated, you are likely to say something that you might regret later on.
I know that sometimes you can feel like your head is about to explode. In these extreme situations, I think that it is important to find someone that you trust (maybe a best friend, parent or spouse) and let yourself vent; BUT, give yourself a time limit, maybe 10 or 15 minutes max, and once you express your frustration, stop. This shouldn’t be done every day. I would reserve these moments for when you feel like you’re just going to go crazy. When you stop, finish whatever it is you need to do and cross it off of your [imaginary] to-do list.
I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting that you buy rainbow and smiley face stickers and place them on every inch of your workspace, but, instead, to remember that little rule that you learned when you were five: “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Instead of complaining, remind yourself about the people in the world that are worse off than you. You can count the items or events in your life that make you feel appreciated and/or successful. Ask for help if you need it. If you still feel yourself about to explode, take a five-minute walk outside or surf the web for ridiculously cute puppy pictures. Your last resort should be to vent to a loved one.
You don’t want to be that person that no one wants to work with or [even worse] hire, and attitude really comes into play here. You have 100% control and responsibility over whether or not you choose to complain. Don’t let it affect your success.