American Humorist Josh Billings popularised the idea in his poem the Kicker.
“The Kicker” (c.1870)
I hate to be a kicker,
I always long for peace,
But the wheel that does the squeaking,
Is the one that gets the grease.
Literally the person who is always complaining, shouts the loudest, gets the most attention.
Or needs the most attention!? If you have ever line managed staff in an organisation – it is always the staff who are least effective who generate the most work. If the work culture is changing usually under the premise where cost cutting or more rigorous accountability is required, under performing staff become the “kickers”.
Perhaps worn down by long service. Unsupported without being skilled up to deal with the ever changing demands of IT, & a funding criteria demanding more accountability. The “kickers” resort to passive aggressive tactics of going slow, and not adapting to new ways of doing things. Or taking out grievances, and going off work because of stress.
It is unpleasant for both sides: staff and managers. But the same thing happens in families. Perhaps it is a “difficult” member of the family who needs to be coerced into attending family gatherings and there’s always Christmas. Is this a person who is genuinely an awkward character who doesn’t want to play ball, or the person carrying the damage of the family that nobody else wants.
Such acknowledgement at work cannot be afforded as the profit or service delivery is all powerful. But in families it can be thought about. Perhaps the “kicker” has genuine reasons to be aggrieved. But this cannot be recognised as it puts other family members under scrutiny. Part of the power of family culture is that what remains unspoken stays unspoken.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2015
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique