Complaining

Wonderful and amusing BBC discussion of complaining as a cultural aspect in a British bank. (Click on the Listen again link.)

One thing I find amusing about this was that the researcher was an American. My impression has always been that the British have raised complaining into a national art form, a sport. This sport is best played with a pint in one hand. It’s name is whinging. American’s tend to be suspicious about all that. While meanwhile others tend to be quite suspicious about the enthusiastic nature of American attitudes.

He mentions, at least two kinds of complaining. Deprication – complains about which nothing is expected to happen. These are good for getting everybody together on the same page and provide something to talk about. Derogation – complains about which something should obviously happen but framed in a manner to assure it’s unlikely. This avoids offending those who might do something.

The tail end of the show has a nice enumeration of what makes people happy in the job. Nothing very surprising; but always good to have another list.

  • Control over one’s work.
  • Working for customers or coworkers.
  • Control over small details in the work.
  • Minimization of hierarchtical control.
  • Higher pay, particularly relatively.
  • Rank
  • Achievements relative to one’s asperations.
  • Smaller rather than larger firms.
  • Women are happier than men.

In Britian the blue collar workers are happier than the white collar ones.

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