A few days ago, an interesting tweet popped into my timeline. It said something about how annoying it is when people constantly brag about their questionable talent of always ‘telling it like it is.’ I giggled when I read it and remembered I’d been meaning to write something about that very subject. Being the unholy procrastinator that I am, I waited a few days before I picked up a laptop and got going. My vices are annoying, but I’m working through them, so stay with me here.
Lets begin with a confession:
I’m totally one of those people who will warn you that they are forthcoming even when asked questions of a sensitive nature with potential negative consequences.
I concede; that’s totally me and it’s totally annoying. Nevertheless, I understand where the annoyance seeps in. Dealing with someone who constantly blurts out their every thought is trying and grating. This is why, In Real Life (IRL) I aspire to something called tact. It is a work in progress because I still say stupid shit, with little poise, on a somewhat regular basis.
Communication fascinates me nonetheless and I like to speak up when bad times are going down; take that how you will. A lot of times, if I see someone being an asshole, jerk or what have you, I’ll speak up because inaction infuriates me with it’s cowardice. I believe that if people could talk through things effectively, we’d be living in a happier world. While trite, it still holds true, at least for me:
Communication is key.
Statistically I’ll be one of the first to ‘keep it real’ in a group, that’s true. But, as both Uncle Ben and Peter Parker said, with great power comes great responsibility. Or, as I like put it:
Be prepared to take a punch for what ever it is you’re about to say, because it can and might happen at any time.
With that said, you still can’t raise hell every time something is unfair. If you do, eventually you’ll come off as an oversized toddler throwing yet another embarrassing tantrum. This holds true, especially in the work place. I’m old, so I’ve had a few jobs out in this Sick Sad World. I’ve also been fortunate enough to experience markedly different industries and work environments. Few things remain constant in environments as diverse as these and one of those constants is:
No one enjoys the song of an unyielding complainer, a naysayer.
As a matter of fact, the song of a complainer becomes inaudible over time. If you don’t believe me, take a step back at the office and watch.
Communication may be the answer, but constantly vocalizing every thought about each and every problem with the current state of the situation, never helps. As a matter of fact, doing so makes you invisible and ultimately, a liability.
If you want a proposal to stall, a meeting to lose complete value, a brainstorming session to go south, let the Constant Complainer ride out their momentary tirade on whatever ticked them off enough to open their mouths today. The same is true IRL. If all you can do is tell me what is wrong with this party, this girl’s outfit, that guy’s teeth, my taste in movies, your family, your marriage, I don’t want to listen.
As mentioned previously, communication really does fascinate me. This fascination was one of the reasons I chose to study language. Moreover, my passion for the written art of communication is what led me to give this whole writing thing a go. You could say I respect words and understand the impact they have. It is out of respect for the power of communication that I choose my battles wisely now.
Several different times in my office career I was asked why, if I was such an effective communicator, did I not ‘say anything’ to management about the myriad obstacles that were keeping our department from excelling. Like I’ve said before, if I were to have raised hell every time something was unfair or rude I would have been fired in a blink. Painting a bull’s-eye on your back and being careless will often result in termination and what good are you to an organization if you are no longer a member?
Ultimately that stranger I follow on Twitter is right...
It is no talent to constantly run one’s mouth. If communication is your passion however, do it well and do it when it matters. Otherwise, all you are is full of shit and complaints. I suppose the true talent lies not in speaking one’s mind, but in using one’s thoughts and talents to make this enticingly screwed up world of ours, a better place.
Recycle and be good to animals, guys. Happy MLK Day.