Fighting Negativity

Been busy lately.  Writing the blog has dropped to the low priority lately.  However, I do miss working out my thoughts here, so I’m back again.

Recently, I’ve felt that my school has been increasingly negative.  Teachers constantly complaining about administration, new technologies, policies, and students, of course.  The complaining has stretched from lunch time, to hallways between classes, to department meetings and then the final straw was an email sent out to my entire department.  Constant complaints.

I try to be positive.  I’m generally one of the most positive people in the school.  I do it by ignoring complaints, focusing on achievements, and when there are problems, I try to focus on solutions.  I’m the guy who says stuff like “Don’t say why.  Say why not.”

However, when people put their complaints down in words, and these are not constructive criticisms, these are simply complaints that serve no purpose except to bring everyone down.  How do you react to that?  Do you write a response?  Do you tear their criticisms apart?  Do you ignore them and try to rise above?  Do you write your own compliment email and come across all flowers and rainbows?

I’ll tell you what I want to do.  My colleague sent out an email complaining about a new piece of technology that is supposed to help us save time, but ended up costing an extra couple of hours for this person.  It was written as though the person was very magnanimus in trying to use this “new-fangled technology.”  What I want to do is mimic this letter. Only my letter will explain how WELL the technology worked and how much time it saved me.  I’m not sure if I could write it in a way that wouldn’t be sarcastic.  Which would be negative.  Which would make me be exactly like those I’m trying not to be like.

But how do you fight it?  Just let them spew their negativity?  Continue to plug along doing the best I can and hope people follow my example?  It seems to be a loss either way.  How do you fight negativity?

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts.


1 Comment

  1. Scott Erb said,

    March 28, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Oh man, I was Faculty Senate President when we made some major (needed) curriculum changes, and I learned that a lot of people do not realize how insulting, demeaning and negative e-mail complaints can sound. People identified me with the changes (I was sending the info and pushing for them in Senate) and if you read just the e-mail you’d have thought they would smack me if they saw me. But they didn’t really mean the e-mails the way they sounded, or if they did, it was a rant — venting frustration that their work conditions were changing and they didn’t like it. I learned that e-mail is the most easily misunderstood form of communication.

    So I think that kind of thing is often the kind of emotion that never really made its way to public expression (outside of small groups) back when you’d have to write a memo, photocopy and distribute it!

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