Everyone has complained about their job. The question is “how often and how derogatory do you complain?” Let me tell you a story about one of the best, or worst you might better say, complainers.
We will call him Charlie. That wasn’t his real name because his first or real last name would clearly identify him to some. Anyway Charlie was a station officer. I followed Charlie’s shift so I got to hear his rants every morning before going on shift.
Charlie didn’t hold back on his criticism. It usually started in on the fire chief, his staff officers, and what a crappy job they were performing. Charlie would rip into the fire chief like a monkey on a cupcake. But it didn’t stop there.
Charlie was so good at it that you would mention somebody you knew and he would rip into them too. Once he thought they were properly denigrated he would spike them like a football player would a football in the end zone.
One morning after Charlie had his typical rant, he left for the day. One of my fellow firefighters – Ron – commented. Ron said, “There’s a lot of truth in what Charlie said this morning.” I couldn’t believe what he had just said.
I told Ron he was as crazy as Charlie. I explained that there was a method to the madness. Charlie would take a small piece of information that had a speck of truth and he would then spin his web of falsehoods off that one truthful nugget. If you boiled down his whole rant you would find under that intricate web that miniscule piece of truth.
Charlie had an impact on me. First of all I started showing up right before roll call so I wouldn’t have to listen to Charlie but just a few minutes. Charlie also helped me recognize when I too was falling into the trap of complaining. One view of Charlie on my shoulder yapping his big mouth caused me to complain a lot less.
Being a constant complainer harms you. If you have a position of authority it’s likely that those subordinate to you might not say anything. But, it doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking it.
Be careful whenever you find yourself speaking negatively about others. Understand that it can be solely you that’s the problem, not somebody else. Put your positive view on and you will be much happier as will those around you.