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"Complaining About Clients & Playing the Victim" (Creator's Block, Ep. 61)

Liz Murphy

Director of Web & Interactive Content, Speaker, Host of 'Content Lab' Podcast

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Complaining About Clients & Playing the Victim (Creator's Block, Ep. 61) Blog Feature

Published on February 13th, 2018

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Last week, while I was in the office, I remember saying to someone as a joke, "Our jobs would be perfect if it weren’t for clients, am I right?"

We were feeling a little stressed, and we had a good laugh about it. But later on, I regretted saying it -- even though it was said in jest.

This may make me sound like Pollyanna, but while I think venting is healthy, especially in an agency environment -- or heck, any work environment with insane deadlines and lots of collaborators -- I also worry about where we draw the line.

At some point, letting off steam in a totally normal way about clients -- or even the coworkers we’re partnering with on projects -- can devolve into something that’s really toxic, if you don't keep it (and yourself) in check.

It can drag everyone down, create opportunities for people to play the victim instead of taking responsibility, tarnish your reputation, or even completely subvert the positive culture your company is hopefully trying to cultivate.

So, that’s what we want to talk about today.

Why does this happen? Why is it a bad thing? How do we know when we’re crossing a line? And what do we do about it if we’re surrounded by it?

Enjoy!

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What We Talked About

  • How and why do these moments of stress occur?
  • What's the difference between healthy venting and unproductive, victim statement-laden complaining?
  • What are the real consequences of being the unproductive complainer, and how does it impact your reputation?
  • How do you handle those stressful moments productively? Should you not talk about it to anyone?
  • How have we struggled with this in the past, and how do we deal when we need to vent?
  • Why is situational awareness so important?
  • How do you handle situations where others around you are being toxic with their negative statements?

Resources We Discussed

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