Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Negative Nelly & The Finger of Blame

There’s this guy I know who is the most negative, paranoid individual I think I have ever crossed paths with. If something doesn’t turn out the way he expects, he immediately starts looking for an out, for someone or something to blame. It’s always someone else’s fault, or something didn’t arrive the minute it should have, or someone purposely misled him or didn’t give him all the information he needed. The fact that he never went looking for the information, or hounded the person for what he needed, or asked for clarification, or was proactive enough to prevent things from going awry is completely beside the point.

And here’s the thing, he starts doing this--looking for the out--before things even go wrong. He’s so paranoid the finger will be pointed at him, he starts preparing to shove the blame in another direction before it even arrives, or is even required.

Then to make matters worse, he starts complaining and whining ad nauseam to everyone within earshot to make sure they all know it wasn’t his fault--he couldn’t control these things, people expect too much, he’s only one person, someone else didn’t tell him this, someone else didn’t get him that, the person who asked for whatever it was doesn’t know what they’re talking about or changed their mind or did this, that and the other thing.

At the end of the day, though, what it adds up to is the plain and simple fact that here is an individual who takes no responsibility in their life. Someone who is too afraid to grab life by the nads and say, this is mine, I take responsibility. This is someone who will never truly succeed. Not because they don’t have the intelligence to do so, but because they can never get out of their own way long enough to do what is necessary. They can never progress beyond their paranoid finger pointing to reach their goals. How can you reach your goals when you waste all your time looking for someone else to blame?

The worst of it is that when things do go wrong, it’s usually his own fault, because the writing was on the wall well in advance, but he was too busy lining up who or what to blame that he didn’t see it. And it doesn’t matter how many times you tell him this, he doesn’t hear it. Because you’re just out to get him, or you don’t know what you’re talking about, or a million other things that add up to – not my fault.

If nothing else, seeing this behavior played out on a regular basis makes it that much easier for me to own up to my own mistakes. Somehow owning up and taking responsibility looks a whole lot better when measured against the alternative of turning into Negative Nelly with the ever-pointing finger of blame.

9 comments:

Annie Mac said...

LOL, I think we've all worked with that guy.

I'm with you. Do it right the first time so you don't have to wait for the axe to fall or someone to catch it.

And if you do make a mistake. So much easier to say, Whoops, sorry, let's fix it.

Rene said...

The one thing I like about not working is getting away from people like that. Geez, every office has one, at least.

Melissa Marsh said...

We have one in our office. Unfortunately, they are also in a very high position!

But you've just given us a perfect character sketch. I think you should use him in an upcoming novel.

Dixie Belle said...

Yes, I've worked with him too!

Kelly said...

Hahaha...funny how everyone assumes it's someone I work with. Hmmm...

julia said...

It's funny how people like Mr. Negative can show up in our fictional characters. Not in his current form, but morphed into an original character who seems very grounded in reality. I always run my internal 'record' program when I'm forced to interact with these types. The least they can do is feed my muse.

Christine said...

I so hate working with people like that. Worst of all is when they start to rub off and I find myself bitching about things too! I usually have to take a big step back when that happens.

Julie S said...

Wow, you just described my boss. I thought I was the only one who was so lucky :-)

Kelly said...

Ugh I can't imagine having someone like that for a boss, Julie. I'm fortunate my two bosses are great.