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November 10, 2022 | 5 min read
4 Ways To Make Venting At Work More Productive


Over the course of your career, there will come a time when you’re feeling so frustrated at work you need to vent about it. When that time does come, it’s important to remember that there’s a productive and ineffective way to talk about and address your concerns. If you’re venting at work in an appropriate and respectful manner, you’re more likely to see changes made for the better. If you come across as unprofessional, these conversations may not only be unproductive—but your reputation at the company might also take a hit.

Need to voice your concerns, but unsure how to get started? Learn more below:

Identify the right person to talk to

In most instances, you want to follow the “vent up, not down” rule. Instead of going to someone like a direct report or peer, you should go to your supervisor to constructively voice any frustrations or concerns.

If you don’t feel comfortable addressing your concerns to your supervisor, consider going to a professional mentor instead. Listening to you (and giving career advice) is part of their role as a mentor, which makes them the perfect person to talk to. They’ll likely be able to give you a more objective perspective than someone on your team would. Read also: 4 Reasons Why You Need A Professional Mentor.

Don’t make it personal

It can be very easy to complain about peers and other colleagues in the workplace. Someone annoys you. You don’t like how someone approaches a process. There was a communication issue. When feelings of frustration build up over time, it may feel good to let it out by venting to another likeminded person. However, lodging personal insults or letting off steam in the moment could ultimately put you in a more negative light and lead to more conflict in the workplace. Instead, frame your concerns as a business issue. For example, if you’re frustrated with someone on your team who is failing to meet deadlines, focus on how this affects the team’s overall output. By taking the emotions out of it, you can keep the conversation more focused on gaining a new perspective, identifying the main issues, and moving forward.

Remain calm

When you’re venting at work, it’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you. To have a more productive conversation, it’s important to take a step back to ensure you can clearly and constructively communicate your concerns so they will be taken seriously. In order to remain calm when wanting to discuss your frustration, follow the 48/24 rule. If something is still bothering you after 48 hours, talk to someone 24 hours after the 48-hour period. Not only does this give you time to cool down, but it also gives you time to come up with a strategy for how you want to approach this conversation.

Provide actionable tips for improvement

If you’re venting at work, you don’t want it to seem like you’re complaining for the sake of complaining. Instead, you want to make it clear that there’s an issue you want to address and see resolved. When the time comes, be sure to provide actionable tips for improvement. For example, let’s say you’re frustrated about an outdated system you’re using. Instead of only complaining about how ineffective the system is, talk about how either investing in an upgrade or switching to a different system could be a major improvement. Better yet, come to the conversation prepared with some research on new solutions! This not only makes it more likely for change to occur, but it also indicates that you’re resourceful and forward-thinking.

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