Shouting Into Phone

Venting In Public

I’m always amazed at the number of people who understand that they shouldn’t criticize past employers in the context of a job interview, then proceed to complain about all sorts of things at networking events or in postings to various groups. Do they really not understand the impression that venting is making on people who might otherwise be influential contacts?


I’ve written on this in the past in Career Tips:

Don’t Vent In Public


One time I then received this comment:


“I respectfully disagree with you. There are many reasons that we should vent our frustration about the way employers exploit their employees or prospective employees. First, It helps the person to avoid having stress and related health problems. Like, high blood pressure, ulcer, or anxiety. Second, it also show everyone the unethical and inhumane behavior of employers and how they are exploiting employees and prospective employees … I think employees should speak their mind so that we can improve our business environment and behavior of senior management. However, any criticism of employers must be true and done in an honest way.”


My response was this:


I agree that we all need outlets to vent our frustrations, but you have to be very careful about where you do that, which is what the article was about.  Doing it in a public forum is almost never appropriate – you show yourself to be a complainer and turn off both current and potential contacts.


For example, a colleague told me about meeting someone at a networking event who I had previously observed doing just that.  He said that within 5 minutes, he knew that “Jim” was one of the smartest engineers he had met, and that he could never introduce “Jim” to any of his contacts.  And this colleague had started Novell’s R&D lab, and had influence with many C-level executives at leading hardware and software companies.


You need to create a small cadre of people with whom you can vent privately.


What do you think?

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