If you're a ChronicComplainer
, realize that your complaining may be the root of many of your problems.
On the other hand, meekly accepting things that are clearly broken merely because you "have it really good" in general just makes you part of the problem. I would like my kids, and their kids, to have it really good as well.
moved from CorporateGovernment
"Gosh, life sure does suck here in the Western world in 2001, what with all this capitalism and CorporateGovernment
. I sure wish we had the RomanEmpire
back, or the Middle Ages. Or maybe I'd be a lot better off in one of those communist countries. Not sure why everyone tries to escape from those places just to come over here and get exploited."
Someone in Rome could have made the same case - things being bad elsewhere doesn't mean they are perfect here. Are we so limited in our vision that the only political systems we can imagine are Imperial Rome, Medieval France, Stalinist Russia and Corporate America? There are other political systems in existence today, even!
Actually, the point is only that, while of course things always can and should be improved, we have things
spectacularly good, so all this grousing seems out of place.
In general, overall, we have things REALLY REALLY GOOD here in the West (even though further improvement is of course a theoretical possibility). For people to complain this stridently, almost as if they were being tortured in prisons, suggests that they are complaining for some other reason than genuine mistreatment at the hands of government or corporations. What do you think it might be?
Well, everyone's experience is different, I guess. I agree that some people are over-the-top in their complaints, and fail to appreciate what they *do* have. On the other hand, just because it's easy to find people less fortunate than yourself doesn't mean the system you're in is anywhere near optimal. I (or anybody going just by their own experience) don't know what industry averages really look like.
I do know what it's like to work in a place where the average work week is > 70 hours. On bad months it was > 80 hours. There's not much space for a life there, even if you have enormous wealth to leverage. This is broken on so many levels, it's hard to know where to start. People simply aren't efficient with those hours. I'm certain that over time they could get more done in less hours. But the culture insists that if you aren't putting the hours in, you aren't pushing hard enough. With a more sane style of work, people and companies could be more productive, create more wealth, *and* have more 'free' hours.
I guess some people just get frustrated about that. Wealth isn't a guarantee of a good quality of life. Large amounts of money aren't ever required. Too much focus on wealth necessarily means less focus on other, *equally important* aspects of quality of life. I hypothesize that this has something to do with why, as a whole, the UnitedStatesOfAmerica
isn't a contender for the best quality of life in any meaningful study I know of.
are not about accepting what you have and being happy with it. Rather, they point out that someone who constantly complains about a lot of things loses credibility in the eyes of those who might be able to address the complaints. Constant complaints are often an activity of people who want to avoid responsibility or who don't have any ideas for improving the situation.
If you really want to make things better, consider these actions:
- Set priorities, and concentrate on the really serious problems first. Don't waste your energy, or the energy of people who can help you, on trivial matters. If you complain about everything, people won't take you seriously.
- Suggest a realistic solution. If you don't know how to fix the problem, or only have unrealistic solutions, then people won't take you seriously.
- ActInsteadOfComplain! If you don't like the sloppy coding of your teammates, then don't just whine about it: write up a CodingStandard or critically review some of their work. If you don't like the UnitTests, write some tests of your own. LeadByExample.
- Show respect for the other side. If you tell people that they are idiots and liars, they tend to ignore you. You'll get more accomplished if you act as if you are all working together toward a common goal and as if the others are as competent as you are. AssumeGoodFaith.
- Talk to people who can help. Sharing your complaints with co-workers and friends in the break room may be a useful emotional outlet, but if you really want to change things, you'll need the courage to bring the issues up with people in charge. HelpYourManager.
- If you can't convince others that you are right, then let it go. Continued complaints will only reinforce others' opinions that you are being unreasonable. Instead, find someone else to complain to, or wait until an opportunity comes up to reintroduce your complaint in a different way.
There's a difference between
- idle complaints (WouldntItBeNiceIf)
- mean-spirited complaints
- complaints about actual problems, made in a spirit of encouraging fixing of those problems
- complaints meant to stimulate discussion about something perceived to be a problem (but others may think is not).
People often don't distinguish between these when they hear a complaint.
"To complain is perhaps to repair" -- DonaldNoyes