Archive for July, 2010

The best way to be stagnant at work, in your career, or in life is to be a complainer. I’ve learned this the hard way. Trust me when I say, no one likes a complainer. As a complainer-in-recovery, I can tell you that if you want to be consistently marginalized, overlooked, dismissed or excluded, be a complainer.

Yesterday I was browsing in my local Barnes and Noble. Two aisles over, a manager was complaining to a co-worker about a third co-worker whom she felt was milking an injury, slacking off work, and forcing others into covering her shifts. There is a place for theses kinds of conversations, preferably the manager would speak first to the offending employee and then to the regional manager about the issue, and all in confidence. But that’s not what happened. This manager, whom I know, found herself in full-throated complaint mode on the Teenage Fiction aisle. Honestly, it made me want to leave the store. I didn’t need to hear it. So I left knowing that this manager would likely never be a regional manager, and why she probably burned through employees.

Here are a three reasons why your career may be static because of complaining:

1. Complaining puts your preferences over organizational goals. When you complain, what you’re essentially saying is that your way is the one that should carry the day. If the compliant truly regards missed opportunities and the betterment of the organization, then there are likely modalities within the community to address those needs. Complaining about what you don’t like isn’t about the organization, it’s about you. Sooner or later, your superiors will notice your misplaced priorities and they will find someone else to do your job.

2. Complaining stokes unnecessary negativity. Both in work and life, disruption and setbacks create their own negative energy. No one wants to work with people who create and nourish unneeded negative feelings. Over time the negativity engendered by constant complaining grants the complainer a poor reputation. You become the “negative” person and in meetings and other setting you can speak freely, but everyone has long stopped listening. Not being listened to, your ideas are dismissed. When you happen to be correct in your assessment, you’ll complain, “They never listen to me.” And you’ll be right.

3. Complainers go to the end of the line. When organizations begin looking for new hires or to promote from within, the last person they want to hire is a known complainer. In all likelihood, regardless of your skill level, someone else has the same skill set. Why hire you and the complaining that comes with you, when someone more cheery is available? I wouldn’t. If you’re a constant complainer, plan on finding your career on hold. You’re just not good enough at your job to overcome the ill-effects that comes with your complaining.

There you have it. Begin now to re-work your complaining nature and you’ll see much of your life and work turn around.


Posted: July 27, 2010 in church, family, leadership
I think you’d like to be happier. Regardless of your current level of content, nearly everyone I’ve ever known would like to be happier than they are. Recently, I heard researcher, Richard Florida discuss some emerging trends among younger professionals. In a discussion with some young adults after Florida’s presentation, his findings appeared to be true. I know they are true for me — if not in practice, they are at least true in desire. Ruminating on Florida and with a H/T to his books, “The Great Reset” and “Who’s Your City”, I’ve come up with 4 steps you can make to increase your personal happiness.
1.  Move Closer to Where You Work. When we lived in Houston, I burned 2 hours a day on I-10. Not only did this cost me precious time with my family, it could have cost me my life. The drive was so long and motionless, and after a tiring day, I’m confident I fell asleep behind the wheel several times. Currently, I live in a house that’s not nearly as nice as my previous home, but I was committed to walking or riding my bike to work. I’ve gained 2-hours a day with my kids, plus I walk to work, and my neighbor’s — whom God insists that I love — know me and see me daily.
1. A.(Or Move Your Work Closer to You) Don’t hesitate to ask your boss for flexibility (work-at-home, a 4-day/10hr per day work  week, etc…) and freedom (to begin new projects or work on something outside your job description, but something you’re interested in). As a boss I can attest, if a co-worker is producing and behaves professionally, you’ll almost always get a “Yes.”
2.  Find Meaningful Work. If you’re just collecting a paycheck (which is a big deal these days), you need to find a way to add meaning to your work. That doesn’t always mean quitting your current job and traipsing off to something new. It may mean being reassigned or       re-tasked in your organization. It could also mean finding a local non-profit to partner with. Simple fact: If you don’t have meaning in your work, you’ll burn out, hate your job and everyone there, and eventually end up hating yourself and your life.
3.  Invest In Relationships. This needs to be both real and virtual. Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare have their place, but you need to meet with the same people regularly. I suggest getting involved in a small group or ministry in a local church. All people need connection — deep connection — to live their best existence. One of the first things people say when a celebrity gets arrested or finds themselves ensconced in a scandal is this: “Where were there friends?” Find them, use them, you need them.
4.  Buy Smaller Stuff, If You Buy At All. We didn’t have a large house when we lived in Houston and we deliberately moved into a smaller home when we moved to California (which wasn’t difficult). Anyhow, a smaller house means less time spent paying for and cleaning-up a larger home. The average American family is smaller than it ever has been. Cell phones and laptops tout how small they are. The only things getting bigger are bellies, TV’s and houses. And guess what? Most of us don’t need all that space. We’re whittling our lives away — money, time, etc… — getting BIGGER things that we don’t need. At the very least we can buy the nano version of optional items.

I’ve been thinking for a while about what to do with this space. I took an extended break because blogging had changed so much in the past 6 years, since I began. When I started there was no Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare or other means of social networking. Blogging itself was in it’s infancy and a blog like mine covered subject matter from theology to my daughter’s ballet classes. Blogs don’t do that anymore. They’re much more narrow.

So what am I to do?

Honestly, I still don’t know. But I am going to return to writing more often. Randy and Donny at Marketing Twins have offered some good suggestions, and I may follow.

At any rate, my intent is to narrow my focus to three areas: preaching, leadership, and the ministry of reconciliation — with an occasional book review. These are areas in which I am learning a great deal very rapidly and want to test new ideas, processes and theories and/or areas where I feel I have a unique lens. Hopefully, you’ll find it useful, add it to your Google Reader or drop by to read and comment a few times a week.

I want to reconnect with those readers and friends who were so faithful to The Palmer Perspective in our heyday.

Summer Reading

Posted: July 1, 2010 in Uncategorized
Some summer reading suggestions for thought-leaders.