Poll

How much do you vent on average about work on each work day?

Less than 10 minutes
40 (54.8%)
10-30 minutes
21 (28.8%)
30-60 minutes
5 (6.8%)
1 hour or more
7 (9.6%)

Total Members Voted: 73

Author Topic: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?  (Read 2814 times)

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LadyL

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How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« on: July 17, 2013, 06:06:50 PM »
My question most generally is for those of us who have stressful jobs - how much time do you spend each day venting about work frustrations to your partner? Do you both vent about equally or does one person do it more than the other?

The reason I ask is that I want to set some reasonable boundaries for my discussions with LordL about his work. He legitimately works in a fast paced, fairly high pressure environment with a lot of difficult personalities. But he is also someone who tend to take his work frustrations home with him, especially when they pertain to difficult employees he has to work with. Sometimes he just needs someone to lend an ear so that he can blow off steam about a frustrating situation for 15 or 20 minutes. But frequently, the issue at hand is more long term frustrations and if I don't change the subject or outright cut the discussion off, it can literally go on for hours. He will start to pick apart details of conversation in a way that looks to me like he is persevering on his frustration rather than working through it. I find this exhausting, especially when a productive problem solving conversation about Situation A turns into unproductive complaining about Situations B, C, and D.

For example, LordL has been supervising "Bill" for the past few months. By all accounts, Bill has performance issues - he lies about completing tasks, frequently tries to pawn off his work on other people, defies direct orders, has very poor written communication skills (he writes in text speak), and has a bad attitude to boot. LordL has had many conversations with Bill about his performance, and when that did not resolve the problem he brought it to his boss who agreed there are issues and met with Bill himself. But for whatever reason, LordL's boss seems to want to retain Bill at least for the near future. If it was up to LordL he would never have been hired in the first place, and he thinks the guy should have been fired months ago.

So he's stuck trying to make the best of a bad situation as a manager, not having the authority to fire this guy. I sympathize; Bill sounds maddening. But LordL's frustration at the situation means that I hear all about Bill's glowing personality, from the big issues like "Bill broke the system that the entire company relies on for email" to the small stuff like "Bill rolls up his sleeves when he works and it looks unprofessional" (the office is very old school business formal, so this is indeed informal for the environment, but to me it's small potatoes in the scheme of things). It's obvious that above and beyond how his work performance affects LordL, the guy just gets under his skin, and I'm pretty sure it affects his dynamic as the his manager.

So what I'm looking for are ways to assert a boundary when I am starting to find the discussion of The Bill Situations draining, frustrating, and exhausting. It's like the stress of Bill comes home with LordL and then becomes my stress. I have suggested he find other outlets, like talking to other friends or going to the gym and hitting a punching bag, but other than calling his brother to vent maybe once a week he has not taken my suggestions. Is it reasonable to expect that I shouldn't be his only regular outlet for this frustration? How much of a role do you play in supporting your spouse through these kinds of challenges?

ladyknight1

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2013, 06:12:04 PM »
DH and I equally vent to each other, but we were friends before we were involved romantically, so that is natural for us. Some days, it may be less than 5 minutes on each side, others we may vent for an hour. One thing I do when the vent is a repeated situation, like Bill for your SO, is ask what concrete steps might be possible to deal with the underlying issues. I have noticed that those repeated situations either go away or come to a point where they must be dealt with.

Lady Snowdon

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 06:28:59 PM »
DH and I vent to each other a lot.  We don't each vent every day, but it generally tends to even out, so that a few days in a row DH will listen to me vent, and then he'll have something to vent about, and I'll listen to him.  It's generally about 15-20 minutes per day. 

My DH also tends to perseverate about work issues, and bring them up repeatedly.  When that sort of situation develops, I tend to either cut him off and suggest outrageous solutions ("So Bill rolls up his sleeves at work?  That's really terrible.  Maybe you should tell him, if it's that necessary, to take scissors and cut his sleeves off instead!").  When I'm cutting him off, I tell him that if it's really that bad, he needs to go to HR/his boss/the problem person.  If I don't listen, and understand, and validate his feelings, then the emotional pressure builds up, and he needs to find some way to take care of it.  A way, I might add, that doesn't involve long tedious discussions with me.  I'm sure that kind of sounds terrible.  :-[  I prefer to make up ridiculous solutions ("tell your boss it's either you or Bill!  Hide when you see Bill coming!  Slap him when he defies you!") and tell DH that since I don't know the workplace, it's on him to come up with the reasonable solutions after he laughs at the silly ones. 

Thipu1

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2013, 06:33:19 PM »
When we were both working, we vented quite a bit.

Mr. Thipu did the majority of it and he had reasons.  He liked what he did but his job had moved and his commute changed from about 35 minutes to over two hours each way.    For about three years before he retired he was doing a countdown of how many days he had to go. That got to me after a while.

I vented as well because, while I loved doing what librarians do, I was often put in situations that required me to do things that were beyond my job description and for which I was not being paid.  Dealing with a micro-manager who wanted to do everything via email didn't help. 

We had to figure out ways to do interesting things together that could put my rants about the Uber-Boss and his rants about the 'Brain donors who run the place' on the back burner for a day or two.

It was touch-and-go for a while but we finally worked it out.  Music helped.  Walks together helped.  Leaving each other alone for an hour or two helped.   





QueenfaninCA

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2013, 06:48:20 PM »
I think if you need to vent for more than 10 minutes on a regular basis, that time would be better invested if used for finding a new job.

My husband has a high-stress job and I have a job that definitely can be demanding at times but we don't vent every day and I don't think anyone ever vented for more than five minutes in our house.

*inviteseller

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2013, 07:46:21 PM »
If the venting goes on more than 10-15 minutes and it is the same subject over and over, it gets hard to listen to.  I had a difficult co worker on my last job and I found myself spending way too much time venting to my SO until he finally said "All you have talked about is X..you are obsessing and it is time to find a solution."  Maybe you can set a kitchen timer, tell him to give you the worst details of the day, then move on.  I feel bad for LordL because this is obviously extremely stressful for him, his boss won't listen and he needs to vent, but if he is going on and on all night every night, it is hard for you. 

Library Dragon

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2013, 07:57:03 PM »
DH and I both vent.  It's not every day, but it can be 30-60 minutes because of the background info.  We give each other time to vent, but also ideas of how to deal with situations. 

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JustCallMePat

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2013, 08:02:13 PM »
DH vents endlessly some days.  He'll tell me details that I neither understand not really care much about (to be honest!), but I do try to at least look interested.  Then he'll ask about my day, knowing all I can do is give one of three responses:  1) "It was a good day", 2) "It was a bad day", or 3) "It was ok."  And I say no more.  :-X

I'm hoping he'll get motivated enough to find a new job soon.  ::)

Dr. F.

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2013, 08:48:21 PM »
I used to vent a *TON*.

Then I got laid off and found my new job. Now I don't vent at all.

To reiterate something I said in another thread, when you're in a toxic situation, every little thing will push your button. At that point, you (general) really just need to move on. I *had* to, because I was laid off, but I ought to have done so 5-10 years previously.

BB-VA

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2013, 09:14:06 PM »
I used to, many years ago.  But my husband is more of a fixer than a listener, and a fixer was not what I needed.  I knew the situation could NOT be fixed, I just needed to vent about it.  I got more frustrated when I talked about it than when I kept it to myself.  But HE would talk endlessly and I just listened. 

Now my husband is retired (disability) and I work a fairly high-stress job in a call center, and there seriously is NO point in venting to anyone.  Nothing is going to change, and this is probably my last job (I am 58 and 3/4).  I couldn't bear to read the thread "What I am going to do when I am sick of my day job" (paraphrased)  because I am already sick of it and there isn't a darn thing I can do about it. 

Why waste the energy when it doesn't work?
"The Universe puts us in places where we can learn. They are never easy places, but they are right. Wherever we are, it's the right place and the right time. Pain that sometimes comes is part of the process of constantly being born."
- Delenn to Sheridan: "Babylon 5 - Distant Star"

Dazi

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2013, 09:18:39 PM »
DH vents endlessly some days.  He'll tell me details that I neither understand not really care much about (to be honest!), but I do try to at least look interested.  Then he'll ask about my day, knowing all I can do is give one of three responses:  1) "It was a good day", 2) "It was a bad day", or 3) "It was ok."  And I say no more.  :-X

I'm hoping he'll get motivated enough to find a new job soon.  ::)

I didn't know we share a husband.  ;) Thankfully, he has started putting in applications and seriously looking for a new job.  He used to love his job, but the great manager left and now they are stuck with a really bad one.

I give 10 minutes to kvetch.  If you need longer than that then you really need to find a new job. 

I mostly love my job.  I work with a lot of great people, it can be very entertaining, I'm good at it, and we have great benefits. Sure, there are bad days, but try not to dwell on them.  I try not to be a complainer...it just brings you down.
Meditate. Live purely. Quiet the mind. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine. ---Gautama Buddah





zyrs

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2013, 11:54:01 PM »
My wife would vent for a while before one fellow employee retired. 

Although he was a few cubicles away, he talked very loudly daily about his beliefs, including his belief that everyone that didn't agree with him should be dead.  Since she didn't agree with his beliefs, this meant she needed to spend most of the day with her headphones on.  Then she would come home and vent to get the stress out. 

Since he has retired she just tells funny stories about work now. Takes maybe 5 minutes.

CakeEater

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2013, 01:05:44 AM »
When we both worked and before kids, DH and I would go for long walks about 3 or 4 afternoons per week - for maybe an hour -  and depending on who needed to, we'd both take turns venting for the whole hour.

I guess there'a a difference between venting and discussion about your work. That's where DH spends most of his day now. If he only spent 5 minutes talking about work, I wouldn't know anything about what he does all day. Venting is part of that as well.

Julian

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2013, 02:26:21 AM »
My ex and I had a rule - we worked at the same place, so we commuted together most days.

The rule was, once we were home, the venting stopped.  The usual commute was about 40 minutes, so that was enough time for both of us to 'debrief'.

I was getting seriously burned out in that job, so I was the biggest culprit.   :-[  Once I found a new job I no longer had the venting time, but I also no longer needed it.   ;D

Palladium

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Re: How much do you and/or your partner vent about work?
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2013, 02:37:52 AM »
Oh I feel your pain.

My DH and I both work for a large organisation, but in different areas. Its the kind of place where people tend to move a lot within the organisation. There are some systemic issues in our organisation with management that lead to a lot of frustration, and budget cuts at the moment are adding to the tension, so a lot of people are feeling it. I've been pretty lucky but unfortunately my DH has had an absolute horror run with his managers and workmates over the last few years.

On a typical day, I'd guess that at least half of our conversation is about work, and that's almost all about his problems and how he can deal with them. I do what I can to help, but the problem ultimately can't be solved except by changing jobs, which he's trying to do but is hard right now, and there's a good chance he'd have the same or similar issues in a different area of our organisation. Going to a different organisation might help, but is also easier said than done right now.

It got so bad for a while last year that eventually I had to ask him to stop talking to me about it, because it had become the only thing we talked about, and I'd said everything I could. I had no more ideas or ways to deal, and it was stressing me out a lot as well. He has a good friend who he talks to about these things, but said friend is also doing a really stressful job, so that just becomes the two of them commiserating. I did let him start venting to me again after we'd been on a great holiday and I could handle it again.

I try to make sure he gets to do things he enjoys on the weekends to unwind, and vacations help temporarily. I wish I could do more but we just have to ride it out until he gets another job.