Dear Bully. Thank you
I was SO proud to land a job.
I had been looking for employment for nearly two years and was on the brink of bankruptcy. I’d been finally given the chance to shine again. I’d finally been given the chance to be social, work with people, have an income and do good things with my life.
I remember my first day like it was yesterday. Everyone was so excited to see me, and I, them. It was all new and the team dynamic had just been thrust into new areas of excitedness. We’d all have to adjust. But that was ok. Everyone seemed exceptionally nice. And accommodating.
This was a new avenue for me. I had never been a Manager before; I had been a teacher, which requires a certain amount of managing. But never a manager. I didn’t realise how tough a learning curve it would have been at the start, but I was ready and able for the challenge. Always.
I remember that because I was in charge of my own time it seemed strange to me, new to me. Usually, I was under a contract and required to teach, or design in a required time period, but this. This was totally different. I could effectively do what I wanted to within reason. I was in charge. I can remember really struggling at the start. I struggled to get my head around it.
But that wasn’t your place to tell me this
Not at all
It wasn’t your place to question my qualifications, my experience, or anything similar. You were a member of my team, not my Manager. And when you did it made me feel so low. Shit about myself. I remember questioning my position at times. Wondering why I was hired and if they made a mistake.
I remember the day that everyone had a staff party and I was the only one that wasn’t invited. And you laughed. You told me that I couldn’t be part of everything. That made me feel like I was worthless. Even when I had a wife and son at home and a network that loves me to bits. You managed to isolate me and make me feel like crying. I craved acceptance. You knew that. And you laughed at it.
I remember the long days I had when no-one would talk to me. I sat there, doing my own work, everyone chatting and giggling, but not me. You had made sure of that. You had made sure that I was the Leper that no-one wanted to be associated with. Too scared that by talking to me they would find themselves isolated from the “in” gang. But still, I carried on. As if nothing was happening.
I remember the long nights after work crying into my wife’s arms. “I’m a lovely person honey, why does no-one like me?”. She would tell me that I was a beautiful man, but she was biassed, I’d say. I always had love to come home to. That was a good thing.
I remember dreading coming into work eventually, the only solitude I would have was when I was able to go and talk to my staff in the other building. Eventually, I ended up spending as much time in there as I possibly could. Far away from you.
But you complained.
You complained that I should be working in the office like you, that I shouldn’t be making all these trips and that I wasn’t concentrating on my work. I remember my manager trying to keep the peace. Because you were terribly difficult.
And when nothing started to work for you, you resorted to ordering me around like you were my boss. And because I was new to the dynamic I felt that I had to obey you or there would be consequences. I remember feeling that fear. You knew I was scared. You could sense it.
You must have been drunk on my fear. You knew I was scared. Yet you didn’t stop. You continued to make my work life unbearable. The only solstice I had was the work that took me away from the building that you were in. And coincidentally I had more and more of that.
And then you began reprimanding me, like a little school boy. You must have been punch drunk on my fear by now. You had isolated me from the group, you had essentially made me scared of you, you were acting like my boss, and now you were reprimanding me like one. It was beginning to get too much. I had nearly had my last straw.
I threw my fear back at you eventually, though. I remember your expression when I finally stood up to you. You emailed my manager. Told her what had happened in an attempt to protect yourself. I’ll never forget her expression when she stormed in. She wasn’t happy. Her eyes, they were red.
Like the firey pits of hell.
I tried not to smile when she took you and your friend out and didn’t come back. I heard next day that the conversation nearly got out of hand. That she was going “bat shit crazy”. She was mad at you, because if I wanted, I had a BIG case. It’s her job to protect all of us. Not just me. And when her staff fucks up she takes that personally.
She was angry at me too. Because I didn’t come forward. I should have. I should have been strong enough to do so. But I was being victimised, and she knew it was hard to do. I made a promise to myself from now on. I’d always speak to her if it ever happened again, with anyone.
But I thank you bully. Because I learned a great deal from that experience. A HUGE deal.
- Work is for work, nothing else
- Always protect yourself like 3000%
- Snitching isn’t a crime, that’s only a saying for those that have something to hide
- I am me, and that’s just fine.
Through all of that experience, I learned a few valuable lessons. I learned that being me is awesome. And I need absolutely no-one to validate that. So if in my next job I’m not in the “in” gang, that’s fine. You’ll find me in the corner working hard. And, if you start feeling threatened by me? Don’t even try it. You’ll have a big fight on your hands.
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