A Reason for Ranting: Vent Your Problems to Find Solutions

By Clarke, Robyn D. | Black Enterprise, November 2005 | Go to article overview

A Reason for Ranting: Vent Your Problems to Find Solutions


Clarke, Robyn D., Black Enterprise


We've all started a conversation with comments that turned into hour-long gripe fests--about our jobs, our relationships, our kids, or just our bad day. Mostly, we just want to be heard and release some stress. Sometimes, we want some feedback. But how often do we use our seethe sessions to resolve our concern or problem?

In August 2004, Tiffany Wynn faced a dilemma. She contemplated quitting a high-paying but unsatisfying branch operations management position in Chicago, taking a $20,000 pay cut, and moving back to her hometown of Milwaukee for a job in journalism--her true professional passion.

"Though I made good money, I was completely unsettled with my job because it really wasn't leading me in the direction I wanted to go," says Wynn. 25. "I had always wanted to [be] in journalism, and felt this was my big break." She was also feeling homesick and longed to return to Milwaukee after a string of sudden deaths in her family.

Wynn approached a mentor for some advice, but also offered some solutions of her own. This kept her ultimate purpose in mind--and the content of her chatter in check. This should be the goal when we approach others to sound off, says Loren Ekroth, a Las Vegas-based business communications consultant (www.conversation-matters.com). "If you don't make problem-solving the intentional goal, it is unlikely that you'll resolve your concern," maintains Ekroth, who holds a Ph.D. in communications studies. "Otherwise, you are just transmitting your frustrations, which serves no productive purpose."

A failure to set this communication goal can result in unpleasant consequences. "Eventually, you will be shunned as a whiner and complainer. You'll stay stuck in a 'ain't it awful?' frame of mind," states Ekroth. On the flip side, constructive ranting on your part can only help your cause. …

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