How to Avoid Workplace Complainers & Energy Drainers (Part 1)

The New Global Economy – Finding Motivating and Productive Talent

In the past six years, all of us have experienced the global economic turmoil through layoffs, salary cuts, perpetual unemployment, and have now settled into the new economic norm.  Are we happy with all the changes?  Frock no!  In order to survive, we have been forced to make the decision of either braving the stormy seas or remaining on the shorelines as castaways.  My personal experience re-entering the market after six years away raising our only child was one of shock, humility, and then, relentless determination to pursue a seat within an organization.  It took several months of nonstop applying, connecting, pursuing, and praying before landing a position.  The price paid for making the decision to be our son’s early childhood provider was a significant reduction in salary.  I had also obtained a degree during this time period.  How do you like them apples?  Those of you with similar experiences that have been eating those apples understand when I say, just like in the movie The Help, “Doesn’t it make you want to serve up a shit pie?”

In my spare time, I do pro bono resume writing and career consulting, connecting individuals with hiring managers.  I have heard stories after stories from individuals who are weathering the storms and others that made the decision to remain on the shorelines.  The stories break your heart and make you want to use whatever connections you have to raise someone up again.  The new global economic norm is taking time for everyone to adjust.  But, we are adjusting and evolving into something much better than we were before the post-crisis era.

The Change Agents – Transformational Leaders

How are we adjusting to all the changes?

All of the stress on individuals over the past six years has impacted the daily communications and operations within organizations from the C-Suite level, all the way down to the receptionist.   In order to survive the post-crisis era, companies’ leaders began changing from operating as a transactional leader and evolved into a transformational leader.  The organizations that thrived through the past seven years realized early on that this new style of operating would move their company forward and place them as leaders within their industry.  In addition, they realized that you lead with transformation and adjust with transactional when situations require.  I am very fortunate to work side-by-side with one of these transformational leaders.  He has and continues to guide our company by representing the core characteristics of a transformational leader.  These characteristics are contagious and have infected our entire organization. 

On The Front Lines – Transformational Recruiters

Are recruiters the Lieutenant Kaffee’s of the organization?

As a recruiter, I have a strong passion for building highly productive cohesive teams.  These past several years, I have spent many long hours researching and reading about individual personalities and how each one impacts another.  In 2013, I connected with Linda Swindling who wrote a book entitled, “Stop Complainers and Energy Drainers.”  The book and website ( are incredible resources for guiding recruiters and hiring managers on ‘how to’ avoid the Top 5 Energy Drainers: Whiners, Complicators, Prima Donnas, Controllers, and Toxics.   Linda and I recently had a conversation about the Top 5 Energy Drainers that can destroy and stop progress in the workplace.  Linda states that all of us have the opportunity to contribute our strengths and work in our “Superhero” mode.  We can also use our gifts for evil, like a Super Villain.

This conversation brought awareness that recruiters today are operating as Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee from the movie, A Few Good Men.  During the recruitment process, recruiters have to be skilled at constantly probing the candidates in various areas to attempt to find out if they have a Colonel Nathan Jessup hiding in the shadows, waiting to scream out, “You Can’t Handle the Truth!”  The last thing a management team wants on their payroll is someone that is going to consume all their energies putting out fires created by a Top 5 Energy Drainer.  Can any organization afford to have a Super Villain or someone not pulling their weight on the payroll?  I think they would rather pull a tooth out manually than deal with the headaches caused by a complainer or energy drainer.

Avoiding the Top 5 Energy Drainers – Next Week’s Blog Part II

Needless to say, the stress from the economic downturn played a role in many individuals shifting into these negative personality modes.  Some have moved passed their evil ways and back into their Superhero mode, while others are still finding their way into the new economic norm.  And others simply for whatever reason stress or otherwise, choose to operate in the negative mode.  The biggest role of a recruiter now is figuring out in the initial interviewing stages which candidates will be your productive Superhero and which ones will sabotage and cause destruction.

How do recruiters spot the Complainers and Energy Drainers during the sourcing and recruiting process?  (All Five Defined)

How do they determine which ones are operating in their Superhero mode? 

How to avoid the negative complainers and energy drainers?

How do they use their own transformational leadership style to determine the motivators and performers? 

Please come back next Monday, February 3rd for Part II to find out how Linda teaches us to answer these questions.

Note to the job seekers:  I am a rare recruiter who was positioned in the c-suite (executive assistant) for fifteen years being coached by executives.  After obtaining a psychology degree, it ignited a passion to use the new and old knowledge in a recruiting role to connect individuals with hiring managers.  I have interviewed many times over the past two decades, worked for several corporations, and have a rare understanding of both sides of the table.  Both my husband (laid-off) and myself (re-entry to workforce) endured the pains of the economic downturn.  Some of the things in these blogs might be difficult to hear (we know!), but keep coming back over the next couple weeks.  Give me your patience, especially for Blog III.  And a personal note of hope (from my husband and I), if you are still battling the forces of economic evils and other stressors, may you have the strength to ignite your Superhero and find your seat within an organization in 2014.

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Monica Miller

Monica Miller, CIR-PRC has worked in the healthcare industry for 12 years and transitioned from a C-Suite Executive Assistant into a Corporate Recruiter after completing a psychology degree. Her recruiting experience includes working with small and large businesses focused on behavioral and performance based interviewing. In her spare time, she offers pro bono career advice/resume writing to job seekers, connecting candidates with hiring managers via social media. Connect with Monica.


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