Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Complaining vs. Bragging

In one of my college psych classes, our professor asked us to go around the room and each name a pet peeve. A couple of students said that they don't like it when people complain and brag at the same time, like they are only using the complaining as an excuse to brag about something.  Our professor wasn't familiar with this and asked them to give an example, so they gave the example of someone complaining about having an interview.

I understood exactly what my classmates were talking about, and I saw a lot of that at Colby. Particularly, people would complain about being too busy when they wanted to brag about how many things they were involved in. I found this to be more than just a pet peeve - this kind of communication caused lots of problems for those of us who didn't engage in it. See, I don't use complaining as a way of bragging because I have no reservations about saying, "Yay I have an interview today and I'm so excited! I hope I get this job!" If I'm complaining about having an interview, I am legitimately complaining. I'm not using complaining as an excuse to brag or bring up the subject of the interview. This Colby method of simultaneously complaining and bragging was so common that other people assumed I wasn't serious about my complaints. When it's commonplace to complain-and-brag about being too busy, it's harder to find people who will listen when you say that you don't want to be so busy and this is a serious problem for you.

This has been on my mind for a while now, with all the job interviews I've dreaded, all the recruiters who wouldn't leave me alone, my new hour-and-ten-minute commute that was only supposed to take forty minutes according to Google maps, my new nine-hour days because I'm required to take an hour lunch break, this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I might have made the wrong choice....I just wanted to let everyone know that I don't do the complain-and-brag thing, that when I talk about issues with my new job, or with anything, I'm not using these issues to brag about the fact that I have this job. I am actually serious.

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