Saturday, November 06, 2010

Old hurts (1)

This is me journalling...

I like to think that if you know me even a little bit, you know what type of person I am.

I can honestly say I don't get into issues with people but there is one person I have issues with.

We worked together at my previous company - she was PA to the big boss and my boss, and I was the admin manager.

While she didn't report to me, I was senior and if her two bosses weren't in, she had to ask me if she wanted to leave early, come in late, etc. Since it was a sales division and those two were often playing golf and entertaining brokers, I was, in essence, almost a 3rd boss.

We started off well enough, not best friends, but friendly enough. The same way I'm friendly with most people.

When I first started there I worked on my own and after about 7 months, I was promoted and had 2 staff reporting to me.

There was a slight change as the girls in the office realised I'm not on their level (well, I never was but the promotion further reinforced it) but still friendly enough.

One of the girls was then victimised.

At that point I stayed out of everything and just did my job. I must say it was easy because I had a separate office and only came into the main open-plan office for tea/ lunch/ photocopying, etc.

That girl left because it was terrible coming to work every day. When she said hello, they'd ignore her. When she asked a business question, they'd ignore her and she'd be forced to scramble, look up files and such to get the same information someone could just have answered her about.


So after she left, I took on her job while they looked for a suitable replacement. As well as doing my own job.

I loved it because I was learning, I was busy, I got to deal with difficult people (brokers) so I was challenged and I excelled.

By the end of the year I was again promoted. Clearly the bosses thought so too as I got my biggest % increase of my whole life.

I also got the rest of the office girls reporting to me, except for the PA.

So this was fine except that the PA was the ringleader. She was excellent at stirring and manipulating and leading the pack.

They'd employed a replacement for the other girl and I'd stopped doing the extra work just before my promotion.

At first (for a good year or so) things with this other girl were fine and then the victimisation started again.

This time it was one of my staff and I don't allow nonsense like that.

Something else had also happened. My fantastic boss who employed me emigrated to Australia (!) and they got in someone who I thought I would get along famously with (we worked well together when I didn't report to him) but in fact, didn't.

This guy was seriously manipulated by the PA and her sidekick. I actually told him once (in a joking way) but he could not see it.

These two basically wanted the girl out and started magnifying every little mistake and making mountains out of molehills, getting her into trouble more than she could do anything right.

She definitely wasn't without fault. She made mistakes but then again, as I later told HR, if my every move was under a microscope and I had people LOOKING for me to make one wrong move, even I (and I used to have fantastic attention to detail) would start making mistakes like that.

I stood up for her, tried to be as objective as possible but eventually 6 people against 2 just don't work. Especially when 2 of those 6 are more senior than you are.

It was going downhill fast and eventually she cracked and resigned cold. As she said to me, "no job is worth this emotional abuse". I agreed with her.

Fortunately she is fabulous (I had told her this many times before but when you're in a terrible situation you can't see it) and got a new job a month or so later.

She is still there today and is a top performer.

That just goes to show how everyone is a genius in the right place. (Mike Murdock)

Stay tuned...part 2 to follow tomorrow...

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