How to make venting productive

No workplace is perfect, and at times you are going to need to blow off steam by venting to trusted colleagues. That said, when the occasional venting turns into regular gripe fests, it becomes a drain on productivity and morale.

Follow this advice when you feel the need to air your grievances:

•  Ask yourself, “Is it really worth it?” Chronic venting—even when warranted—makes you look whiney or overwhelmed. That can hurt your career potential. Decide if opening up is worth a hit to your reputation.

•  Create boundaries. For example, commit to only venting once a week, or make a pact with a co-worker that you will only vent for 15 minutes during a lunch break. You’ll blow off some steam without spending too much time focused on the negative.

•  Find solutions. For every minute you spend complaining, devote a minute to coming up with a solution. Over time, your mind will automatically search for answers to problems, and you may eliminate the reason to complain at all.

Tough Talks D

— Adapted from “4 Ways to Make Venting at Work Actually Productive,” The Muse,