In the Book of Ecclesiastes, we are told that there is a time for every purpose under Heaven. This thought came to mind today as I opened my emails, and the very first item is a book offer. The book is titled “How to Complain Effectively.”
Now I’ve been to a lot of seminars throughout my career, and I’ve been propositioned with about every marketing technique known to man. I’ve often browsed through the “self help” sections of book stores and was amused at the volumes of advice available.
Until now, I didn’t know that complaining effectively required training of any kind. I thought we were born with that ability, and perhaps some people were self-anointed with a Ph.d in that discipline. I’m sure you’ve met them ... you know, the ones who wouldn’t be satisfied with a front seat in Heaven.
So Ecclesiastically speaking, I think there is a time to complain, in the mode of the “squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
But given the fact that we are seeing more and more office violence, even to the point of workplaces being shot up, maybe a seminar or workshop is appropriate.
This book I’m talking about addresses such issues as how important are the words you use to express yourself? What words should you stay away from?
Now let’s face it, we all complain. It’s just a matter of degree. My guess is Mother Teresa even had a few pet peeves.
As for words to use and words to avoid, one would think that complaints could be addressed in intelligent conversation. But once again, I refer to The Jerry Springer Show, and so we must allow for those whose vocabulary is comprised mostly of four letter words and they tend to express them naked.
Right off hand, I think the first words that might go on the “stay away from” list would be “kill”, “Ak-47” and “burn your house down.”
Even under extreme situations, I think intelligent people can approach conflicts with predominating calmness. I’m reminded of the Quaker who heard a noise downstairs, so he got his shotgun and flashlight and went down the stairs to find a burglar loading up all the silverware.
The Quaker calmly exclaimed, “My brother, I would not hurt thee for the world, but thou standest where I’m about to shoot.”
In my humble opinion, it would not take an entire book to outline an approach to complaining. At most I could see a pamphlet. Chances are, it could all be printed on a post-it note.
Now the person who wrote this book, Monica Wofford, is also available to do seminars and workshops. She wrote another book titled “Make Difficult People Disappear.” I thought some guys in New Jersey and Chicago wrote that book a long time ago. I’m not sure just when, but I’m pretty certain it was pre-Jimmy Hoffa.
The promotion says that she has been a keynote speaker in 19 countries. My first thought on reading that was: Has she spoken in Syria and Afghanistan? Her qualifications also list her as being a “Certified Speaking Professional.” I didn’t even know that you can be a “certified speaker.” Is that anything like “having papers” on you?
I understand the concept of being certified in cardio pulmonary resuscitation or maybe even notary public, but a “certified speaking professional” is new to me.
Oh well, I try to learn something new every day, and I suppose this will meet that challenge for today. Yesterday I learned not to operate a lawn mower with a leaky fuel line. So whose idea was it to run the fuel line so close to the exhaust manifold? And now I think I’m ready to write another book: “How to Speak in Tongues Without Going to Seminary.”