I learned this lesson was 18.
Straight after school I landed an incredible job working for a company called Mark Warner, working on a beautiful beach in Greece and teaching sailing and windsurfing all day every day.
In so many ways it was a real dream job, but there some parts were incredibly tough too. We spent hours each day shifting heavy sailing boats in and out of the water, carrying them up and down the sloping beach, always trying to give the best possible service to our guests.
During those summer months I learned many life lessons, out of all of them, ‘don’t complain’ has perhaps been the most helpful in the world of business.
(Before I get any further too, I know that there are serious injustices and situations in everyday life that you most definitely need to stand up and complain about. This article focuses on the tiny, non-serious annoyances of everyday life. I strongly urge you in any unjust situation you truly can’t accept to speak up).
Like any company you’ve worked in, as a part of the beach team there were great jobs and those that were much more arduous. Some afternoons you’d be assigned to drive an expensive powerboat around the sailing area, sitting around soaking up the sun, on others you’d be expected to be up to your neck in water, fighting against the strong waves of the shore break, bringing boats safely back in and lugging them up the beach.
We had incredible managers who did all they could to make sure jobs were assigned and rotated around fairly, however often you’d get weeks in a row where you ended up with the short straw and spent all your time doing the tougher, less glamorous jobs.
I was a shy, nervous 18 year old (some things don’t change, well the age has) and always too afraid to speak up and complain, but after a few times seeing colleagues complain that once again they’d been handed a less preferable job I quickly realised that you could complain all you wanted but you were still going to have to do the job anyway.
So you could either moan for half an hour, get yourself in a really negative mood, and then have to do the same job anyway. Or just get on with it.
Since then, everything I’ve seen in business has reinforced this idea. My intuition says that in every job there are going to be less glamorous parts for the day to day operation, what’s more as humans we have little sympathy and empathy when people complain, especially about day to day banalities.
Next time you’re faced with a small task that’s not your favourite, just grit your teeth, get it done and put the time and energy you’d use to complain into getting the job done faster.
So remember, don’t complain and I wish you every success.