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Subject:Re: Plays well with others From:Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com> To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Thu, 29 Mar 2001 10:42:23 -0800
Andrew Plato wrote:
> > How do you deal with people who are constantly grumpy and generally have a
> > bad disposition?
> These people probably are just lazy and don't want to work. It takes to much
> effort for them to get their work done correctly and they are used to others
> covering for them. Stop covering for them.
> Its normal for people to have bad days or be out of it sometimes. But there is
> no excuse for permanent grumpiness. Some people honestly think the world owes
> them something and they have a right to take out their frustrations on the rest
> of us. These people deserve whatever negative energy comes to them because all
> they put off is negative energy.
> I'm sorry if you hate your job or life. But that is nobody's fault but your
That's one analysis, and I've had to deal with too many egocentrics
with no sense of decency or restraint to doubt its accuracy.
However, it's not a complete one.
Some people have a bad disposition because they're compensating for
feelings of insecurity or inadequacy. Once they enough experience to
feel comfortable, the problem may end. If you're a manager, you can
hurry the process by helping to build their confidence.
Others may be grumpy because, through no fault of their own, they
have ongoing stresses, such as health problems or a sick family
member. At the same time, they may not want to talk about the
problem, if only because they'd like to get away from it for a
while. Probably, you can't do very much for people in this category
except cut them some slack and maybe listen to them every once and a
while if they feel like talking. However, it's important to remember
that even the best adjusted person can fall into this category, and
that you can't just tell these people to whistle a happy tune or
take up a New Age therapy.
Simply dismissing people as "negative" is an example of what the
communication theorist Gregory Bateson calls "dormitive
explanation." A dormitive explanation is a circular one whose
circularity is hidden by a renaming; the name is taken from a play
by Moliere in which a person says that opium puts people to sleep
because it contains a "dormitive principle." In other words, calling
someone "negative" is basically saying that they're bad because
they're bad. And, while that may make you feel better, it doesn't
really help you to solve the problem.
On the other hand, recognizing that chronic behavior often has a
reason may help you to act. In the end, it's more useful. You may
still want to grind your teeth in frustration, but you might
actually be able to solve the problem short of firing the problem
Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com
"Now the boom's gone to bust and we're down on the dole, boys,
No treasure laid up with family or friends,
It's pull up stakes now or pull up stakes later,
For a laboring man, the road never ends."
- James Keelaghan, "Boom Gone to Bust"
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