My tolerance for those in business that harp on problems…endlessly explaining what’s wrong or what can’t happen..is waning. For some reason, I’ve been thrust into many uncomfortable but much needed conversations about strategic plans or processes that have led to nowhere. I’ll consistently attempt to bring things back. "We know the challenge exists and what the ramifications are…but what plan do you (the manager of that department let’s say) have to fix it or address it or make things happen over time?" (chirp….chirp….."But the X won’t do Y because of Z!" End of Conversation (EOC).
This probably hurts me more now because I was one of these chronic problem dwellers early in my career. My youthful exuberance and inexperience led me to believe that of course my boss was an @#$@#$%@$% and that I actually knew exactly what to do. I also understood that everything in the company that I disagreed with was a problem to bitch about over lunch. "The man is out to get us". Of course not every organization fosters an environment where one can affect positive change…but that’s not the point.
I’m privileged to have my very first boss as a close friend and financial adviser now (he switched careers quite some time ago). I used to complain incessantly to him about "the man keeping me down". Sometimes, he had to take the "look some things are the way they are and you’ll have to find a creative way to get around them or work within them or quit" approach. I took that advice to heart much earlier than many I still encounter who’ve been professionals for 30+ years. Today, we can laugh about those days.
Those days provided some valuable training in how to deal with uncertainty, change, factors beyond one’s control, and the simple fact that small companies are often owned by folks who’ve mortgaged their houses and missed 124 dinners at home with their kids this year…while your paycheck cleared as planned.
Learn this global perspective early in your career and you’ll avoid needless years of lost productivity and growth. If you are the disenfranchised malcontent, stop and look around. You’ve probably acted like a sun, attracting many negative "cling-on" moons orbiting your brilliance. Bust out of that orbit and engage career warp factor 9 and create a new solar system that breeds growth and change. Engage.