A friend has just resigned from the Complaints Department of a vast national organisation. As she says, it ‘got the better’ of her. I’m not surprised. Think of working in such a negative environment every day. You’d need the skin of an ox. The organisation in question is in such a parlous state that it naturally generates large numbers of justifiable complaints. It also attracts complaints from the growing number of professional complainers: people who need to express their bile at any available target.
I’ve suggested we set up a counterorganisation, The Office of Fair Dreams and Laughter. She immediately saw its marvellous acronym: TOOFDAL. Almost up and running, it’s of course staffed by optimists. People ring in with positive stories which are broadcast to the world at 5 pm daily (5 pm being the time when negativity-resistance is at its lowest in the average person). Mid-morning and mid-afternoon there is a statutory break for R&R. Each staff member can choose what they want provided during each long break; for instance, re-runs of Some Like It Hot, Fawlty Towers, the Brandenburg Concerto, or an Ayurvedic massage to the sound of waterfalls. On offer is a constant supply of excellent coffee, tea, fruit juice, sparkling wine, spring water, take your pick. Anyone who can eat jam-filled doughnuts without putting on unwanted weight can order bucketloads of them. The staff conduct the business of the day lounging in soft armchairs, with their feet resting on footstools.
Seriously though, there is so much wrong in so many parts of the world at the moment that optimism is in very short supply. It’s no wonder that complaints departments are overloaded. What can anyone do to turn things around?