What Do You Want?

I hear a lot of people complain that they aren’t getting what they deserve, that management doesn’t recognize their contributions, and that their compensation or opportunities aren’t in line with their expectations.

Everyone feels like they are working hard and everyone feels like they should be getting more. And its easy to look around at what someone else is getting, whether its a promotion, another deal, get picked for a team, or get a raise, and feel like they should have been the one to get that recognition.

And once the griping starts, its almost impossible to stop. Complainers look around for ways to suck other people into their vortex. And as soon as they find a receptive audience, the cycle starts all over again, but amplified by the additional voices. In some cases, it even feels productive. “Look! We got together and identified all the problems!” But the only thing that’s actually happened is that the negativity has expanded. Nothing is closer to resolution.

But to these complainers, when they approach me, I ask, What are you doing to improve the situation? Are you getting involved? Are you adding value to someone else’s life? Are you contributing at least as much as you are expecting to take. Frequently, the answer is “No.”

This is true in a business organization, volunteer sports league, or community committee. I understand that life isn’t always fair. And that sometimes people get screwed over. And I know that sucks. But sitting in the cheap seats, demanding that someone in charge make the situation better is easy. Rolling up your sleeves, donating time, contributing positive energy is hard. Before you start complaining, I encourage you to look around and ask what you can do to make it better. Be the change you want to see happen.

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