There’s always a choice

“But I have to …” is the core message I hear from many in the wine industry when they are privately complaining about their job. It might not be those exact words, but the essence is that there is no choice for them in the matter.

Three examples:

  1. The wholesale rep who has to do yet another ‘stand behind the barrel’ kind of tasting for four hours on a Friday night for a retailer. “But I have to, or else they will buy less / not buy at all / kick me out.”
  2. The restaurant wine buyer who can’t get rid of the weakest wine by the glass because of some agreement between the distributor and the restaurant owner. “But I have to keep it there because the boss said.”
  3. The retailer who gives floor space for a brand and product that is being driven down in price in a war through advertising all over town. The race to the bottom wine, in which their margin gets continuously cut in order to keep up with the competition. “But I need to have that wine. It’s one of the most popular in the country!”

In all three of these examples there is a choice. The choice is do something brave and remarkable, to stand out from the crowd, to be original, to say something back, to propose something better, to plan ahead to make sure it doesn’t happen, to have confidence in what you do, to develop plans and outlines to help move the needle even a little bit toward the correct and right even if it takes time.

Or you can just complain and say “But I have to.”

Complaining is weak and passive. It’s also corrosive and will eat away at both your work attitude and your private at-home attitude. If your partner starts saying you’re complaining about work too much or always mad, that’s a serious problem.

More on solutions to these problems in the coming days.

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