We’re fast becoming a nation of “Grumpy Guses,” surly and intemperate and always complaining, while putting forth the image of a know-it-all.

Nothing is safe from this verbal assault, and even if proof doesn’t exist, made-up comments are substituted and accepted for the real thing.

That puts us all between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

I remember working for a video store chain in the 1980s, where the safest bet was not to aspire to a management position.

The joke around the office was “you were hired to get fired,” and that didn’t seem to be far off base once I was elevated to the rank of store manager.

Company headquarters would send a pack of memos each week to every store with the latest promotions and policy updates.

No joke, sometimes you’d get a memo notifying you of a change in procedure but get another memo further down in the package countermanding the previous memo.

Of course, dealing with the general public could be a no-win situation as well, with managers expected to have a zero tolerance policy when following the rules issued by “corporate.”

However, if a customer was unhappy with the way you enforced a rule, the inevitable call to headquarters ensued, with the store manager chastised for strict interpretation of policy.

“Can’t you make an exception?” was the typical question, with no right answer as far as the store manager was concerned.

Darned if you do, and darned if you don’t, I thought.

I found out that support would not be forthcoming from higher ups and learned to fend for myself.

I’ve seen a lot of that in today’s work landscape, and all it takes is a customer who appears to be dissatisfied with either a real or imagined complaint pulling out a cell phone to take video of what they perceive as the slightest slight and broadcasting it to an eager audience of sycophants with no idea of the situation.

Those of us with real issues who are kind enough not to share their life story with the world are increasingly shoved to the side to make way for the Grumpy “Gus” who is offended that the world is not his make-believe oyster.

It’s kind of like the little boy who cried wolf, and that can be dangerous for all of us who can possibly confuse real problems with imagined ones.

What and who to believe have become the real issues, and those of us who fall lock, stock and barrel for anything seen on Facebook or heard on the street are as much to blame for some of the current messes we’re in as anyone.

Take a step back and consider the source and don’t jump to conclusions.

That’s the best any one of us can do.

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at dford@gazettevirginian.com.

Doug Ford covers news and sports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at dford@gazettevirginian.com.