Harness your inner negativity

'Harness your inner negativity' was the title of a book my former housemate wanted to write as an antidote to all of those self help books that think any problem can be overcome with a positive mental attitude to the point that emotions such as grief, anger and frustration are see as inherently bad rather than natural and healthy responses to a bad situation.

I've had several good experiences today but, in the spirit of harnessing my inner negativity, I'm going to share some of today's frustrations because they're just as valid.

  • People that say they haven't received an email when they've actually replied to it (no R & M - different one to who you're thinking of). The icing on the cake is when, after I've told them the date I sent the email, they ask for me to forward it to them because that will be quicker than them finding it in their inbox.
  • People that have sent a report a week ago from which I've extracted some information verbatim and put into a new document and sent to them. Whereupon they angrily call me and demand to know where the information came from and why they weren't aware of it. When told it was from their report they reply that they hadn't read the original report.
  • Trying to find any particular thing in the Policy & Communications folder on the shared network drive (not your fault J - you inherited a beast, and sections you managed are so much more tame than the rest). The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy in a closed system never decreases. On a universal scale, this means that as time goes on, order decreases and random chaos takes over. I think the P&C folder is well ahead of the universe in this matter.
  • When people call you with an urgent request for information when you're already really busy with urgent deadlines fast approaching. Then, whilst they're talking to you, they suddenly announce that they've found the information they need by the extraordinarily innovative approach of actually looking for it. And, if that wasn't bad enough, they show their deep appreciation by confusing you with another member of the team and calling you the wrong name. Actually, if I'm honest, this was me - so very sorry S. I know I'm in the doghouse, and deserve to be. I will find some way of making it up to you. And I hope that, in time, you might find it in your heart to forgive me.

So, what led me to think about inner negativity today? I recently got an email about how to manage pessimists in a team. Naturally, I had to email it to my manager (although managing me for so many years has already given her plenty of hands-on experience). But I wanted to find one of my favourite cartoons first (it's the third one down), and I also found a few other gems. Which, in the spirit of sharing my inner negativity, I will now share with you.



Here's the picture I was actually looking for, sometimes labeled 'realists'* ...

Which led me to some excellent practical advice ...

* Which makes me worry about the picture above the realists. The opportunist may have got more than they bargained for!