Complaining About Complaining

Posted: 2 April 2005 in Uncategorized

The State Department houses its share of bureaucrats, government drones and ubiquitous civil servants. But usually, it maintains the balance by employing a fair amount of blossoming ambition, idealists, and shrewd optimism. However, this job has taken me to a heretofore unseen place where the dismal dark of bellyaching and complaining runs rampant. Like termites in your walls, there’s a constant buzzing undercurrent of noise, each cog whining endlessly as it reluctantly turns.

I’m not sure if it’s due to the shift work, the repetitive filing and copying, the long hours, the company (or lack of it), the supervision or the inconsistent, unreliable “weekends”. It’s probably a combination of all of those things. Regardless, I’d say that the staff in this office spends 90% of their time together complaining about…something. Top 10 complaints?
…It’s cold upstairs
…I’ve worked every weekend for four months
…X has not worked any weekends at all
…I don’t ever have two consecutive days in a row off
…X and Y are dimwits
…The boss is both a dimwit and meanspirited
…No one praises us for our outstanding triumphs in copying and stapling
…X is more of a dimwit than Y
…I haven’t had a day off in nine days

and the number one complaint?

…Everyone around here complains too much.

It’s amazing. I’ve made a persona effort to try and curtail complaining. I always feel sort of heavy and depressed after a complaining session with any of my colleagues. The immediate pleasure of having someone who understands listen to your gripes doesn’t outweigh the greasy feeling that comes with dragging it all into the open. I don’t see much point in trying to play up the positive, either, since it only encourages the complainers to carry on. And, since complaining is the foundation of our relationships to one another, you can imagine how dismayingly quiet it is when there’s no complaining to be had.

Angry Bob is a chief offender. Are you surprised?


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