Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Fleas of a Thousand Camels

I was bullied at school.

Thankfully it wasn't the merciless type of bullying that you hear about in the tabloids and on the current affairs shows - and thank goodness that  in my day there wasn't facebook, email, mobile phones and social media. But being the overweight, strange kid in the home made skirts and the sensible shoes at thirteen, comments were made and teasing was to be had. Thankfully most of this stopped when I got to about Year Ten and studies took over from just having to be at school and coping with year nine morons who are now probably in prison or on the dole.

Looking back, I'm sure that this teasing didn't help with my low self-esteem, but I also see that at the time I just walked away, didn't react and after a while they left me alone. The strategy worked. It also made me a more resilient person.

I've also known one or two small periods where I've been bullied at work. There was one particularly heinous attack where my work pass photo was placed on some hard core pornography and distributed around the company. This was London in the nineties. It would be seen as criminal today, but the perpetrators got of with a mark on their personnel files. No apology to me, just don't do it again. Not right, but it stopped.

The other bullying incident happened soon after at the same company, One particularly fractious person was taken apart by Human Resources and was under strict instruction not to approach me after tearing strips off me in front of the whole office. An isolated incident and not ongoing. The person involved was up in front of HR annually for their attitude - as somebody who had a key role they were too important to fire - people just gave them a wide berth.

Both of these times were incredibly distressing, but were handled quickly - as there is no way I was going to let people treat me like this and get away with it. There was back up. It ended and I moved on.

The other thing about working environments, like school, is that you're not going to get on with everybody all the time. Working like I do, you work out who you need to keep clear of, who you have to treat with kid gloves and who you may need back up with. It's the job of the contractor to learn this quickly and get on with things.

This has been a very challenging contract on many levels. I wouldn't say that I'm that content at work at the moment - although the team I work with are great and I won't say a bad word against them.

Then you have days like today.

It got off to a bad start. An email from my old boss to tell me of the death of a much loved colleague at Sparks and Ladders. I gasped with shock in receiving the news - although admittedly the old guy, due for retirement in the next year or so, was a bit of a ticking time bomb.

From there, things went downhill with back to back meetings - a common feature of my Thursdays at this job.

The after lunch, I was called in to an office by my manager to answer some questions. Some back-stabbing rubbish which was sent to the upper echelons taken on the back of an earlier coffee meeting which went through the cycle of Chinese Whispers.

Like I'm 44-years-old, a professional player, trying to bring together a piece of work in a discordant, highly pressurised environment. And you're exposed to this passive-aggressive crap.

This was the second inflammatory happening for the week. The first, two days ago where I got an undeserved grilling which left me angry, but alright. The person involved is on my wide berth list, my manager had my back and the whole thing was diffused with a meeting and some reassurance.

What happened today was tantamount to bullying. Horrible, back stabbing, uncalled for shite.

Again, my manager and I diffused the situation, but not after some tears and more anger. Like we're supposed to be adults in a professional environment - having this sort of stuff occur twice in a week isn't reasonable and it isn't on.

And it's like you're back at high school with the cool kids whispering behind your back.

I'm considering my options at the moment. I know what I have to do - but I want to calm down first.

This contract was always going to be a hard one after loving my time at Sparks and Ladders. Also having a chat to the girl I work closely with, she's said that the area is known for it's discord and "colourful personalities".

But to be honest, it's not on. It's not on at all. You spend too much time at work to be unhappy there.

And to the passive aggressive, gutless, arse wipes who can't ask a direct question or talk to my face.

May a malevolent surgeon stitch up your arseholes, may all of Santa's reindeer get diarrhoea on your roof and may the fleas of a thousand camels nestle seductively in your fragrant armpits and pubes.

That feels a bit better.

I'm going to the gym to hit something now. The CV can wait for the weekend.


Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

I have been a victim of bullying in the past. It stopped happening because I fought back at school, actually hurting the bully in question. When you fight back they think twice.

It's difficult to deal with in a professional environment though. At my place there is a complete arse who, thankfully, has moved to a different section - but I've had "exchanges" with him in the past.

Sadly, bullying takes many forms and knowing how to deal with them is difficult. Remaining calm and walking away to deal with the situation in a non-confrontational and rational manner is the way that works for me - though it is difficult.

Take a deep breath, clear your mind and then consider the best way to deal with it. Being bellowed at in an office in front of everybody is easy to deal with - just walk away and complain. More subtle forms of bullying are more difficult and require more thought.

I despise bullying of any kind - it makes me really angry.

The incident in London is unforgivable by the way.




Elephant's Child said...

PM is right about the London incident. I hope they continued until the point where action could be taken - and that it was. Karma.

Good luck with the current situation. Though I suppose luck doesn't have much to do with it. I hope you can move on, and leave the shite (literal and metaphorical) in your wake.