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Don’t make the mistake of falling in love with your grievance

Workplace grievance?

I meet a large number of employees on a daily and weekly basis. The vast majority of them have something bothering them in connection with their job or workplace. 

A small number are simply seeking clarification about an aspect of employment law or their contract of employment or something related.

But most of them have some issue that is eating them up and causing them stress and anxiety. Some issue which causes them confusion and uncertainty and maybe even damages their confidence and sense of self worth. 

This may go so far as to have the employee questioning whether to stay in the job or move on or take some other course of action such as a career change.

Occasionally, however, I encounter a small number of employees who seem to have fallen in love with their grievance. They appear to have developed a highly attuned sense of being wronged. 

These persons appear to be happier being in conflict with their employer, especially if they have actually been wronged as a consequence of the employer making some mistake in dealing with them, rather than sorting out the issue and moving on.

These employees, rather than being committed to a quick resolution of the problem that has arisen, want to prolong the situation and want to nurture their sense of being ill used. Some even want to watch the employer squirm and bend over backwards to accommodate them.

Fair enough. Human nature is human nature and we all, from time to time, take satisfaction from watching the other party abase themselves to try to make amends for some slight or wrong.

But this can be a dangerous game, one which can backfire. The long term relationship between employee and employer can be damaged beyond repair, especially if the employer has taken great steps to sort out the problem.

I only encounter this on an infrequent basis. But there appears to be a healthy number  of individuals who would rather drag their grievance around with them like a clanking chain than arrive at a solution and move on to normal resumption of the employment relationship.

This is a mistake which should be guarded against. You need to pick your battles and ensure that you do not make the mistake of winning a battle and losing the war. 

It is the long game you need to keep in the forefront of your mind, not some short term win which may carry hidden costs.