My sister and I had a really great conversation recently where we talked through her perception that I've become critical, negative and whiny. It was one of those hard/good conversations. The interesting thing to me was how surprised I was. Not that she'd bring it up, but because in most of my circles here, I'm one of the more positive, cheerful, encouraging people. I started to wonder if I'm surrounded by whiners and have adopted the communication pattern as a default.
Two days after the sister talk, our department interviewed a potential creative director. He asked us questions about our department and our company. The list of frustrations and negatives came pouring out. All the 'us' vs. 'them' mentality that the guys in the department have. I've worked on a team where the account exec made EVERY team member sit at the table. She ran a very tight ship, the meetings were over in an hour and a half, but it fostered a team. I tried to counter their perception by talking about that experience, but they kept on going. Then the creative director candidate asked, "What brings you into work each day?"
I chimed in, "I like to learn new things and I like fixing things and making things better."
A little later he asked, "What do you like about working for this company?"
Silent stares around the table. I waited.
"Good benefits." "A paycheck." "The people here in the studio."
My two-cents, "Everyone here works very hard. I respect the people in this department and love working with them."
Hmm... I can see why I've become a negative whiner! Anything else is so cross-cultural that I sound like a ditzy Pollyanna.