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I’m worried about the future of corporate culture. It’s been getting worse for a while now and with self-entitlement at an all-time high, it appears to be rearing its big ugly head more often in the workplace. What am I referring to? I’m alluding to the increase in “first world work” problems. Colloquially referred to by yours truly as “crybaby syndrome”

OMG! Are we really in the midst of first world work problems?!

Ok, Ok… So maybe it’s not as serious as my above pun makes it out to be, but I still believe we’re fighting battles that don’t need to be fought. Things get blown out of proportion too often in the workplace and quite frankly, people need to chill, take a step back, and look in the mirror.

What are First World Work Problems?

A battle with first world work problems is one that is mainly fought with yourself. It’s pure entitlement and lack of perspective. First World Work problems can only have a single outcome – silliness. When we list out the common complaints of the workplace, we start to see just how ridiculous and laughable they really are.

Oh no, you don’t! Don’t pretend like you don’t pull a few of these! We all do it at one time or another without even realizing it!

Let’s list a few out, shall we…

1. The first world war was a real problem. Your gluten-free doughnut choice is not. Sorry Karen, we know you’re trying to shed the last few pounds, but the meeting can’t always have fruits and vegetables.

2. “Milk instead of creamer? Are you kidding me? How am I to enjoy my venti, non-fat, no foam, extra hot vanilla latte, sans whip?” … This sounds too ridiculous to be true. Yet, I kid you not, I hear this too often.

3. “An iPhone 8? Where’s my iPhone X?! I thought this was a Fortune 500 company, not a charity?!” … Oh brother.

4. “My work laptop is so damn slow… what is this nonsense?” … The guy downstairs is making do with a fax machine and a ‘99 Mac. At least you don’t have to buy a new one yourself!

Do we really have problems?

Do you see a pattern here? These are all tangible items that only serve to make our lives SLIGHTLY easier. These exaggerated issues more often than not decrease productivity and instill a false sense of entitlement that can prove toxic in the workplace. We should continually remind ourselves not to let fluff distract us; often we get lost in our own reputation, influence, and material well-being. And this serves no purpose but to limit our productivity and effectiveness.

Where Do We Go From Here?

As someone who’s always looking to maximize performance, I spend my days empowering leaders and teams. We want to make sure we’re focused on the right things, and we must keep perspective when it comes to the workplace. Our standard of living and quality of life are high! And we would do well to relieve our stress by eliminating insignificant minor issues and complaints.

This is my biggest takeaway from our earlier list - I believe we should rebuild our corporate culture from the ground up, and place a higher emphasis on maturity and professionalism. After all, the more we focus on our work AT work, the more healthy, happy, and productive we’ll be.