‘But that’s terrible!’
By yesterday evening I realized I’d said these words 4 times this week in response to completely different stories about bad things happening to other people.
Each was a workplace war story.
In one case a friend’s husband lost his job in the first wave of the recession. He’d worked for a US transport company for 15 years. Everyone at the company knew that people would lose their jobs. But one senior person, instead of accepting he’d have to let people go and give those that were entitled some sort of compensation package, worked out how many of his staff he might be able to force into quitting. By making their life hell.
The friend confessed that she tried to convince her husband to quit several months into this regime …because she lay awake at night wondering if he was going to have a heart attack.
But he stood his ground, hit his impossible targets, eventually got made redundant and used the money to pursue his dream of running his own business.
The endings to the 3 other stories I heard were far less satisfying and involved everything from deeply immature managers to heads of HR with personal vendettas.
“But that’s terrible!” I’d say.
And then the following thought would enter my head: I am going to find out who these people are that ruin other people’s lives and I am going to write to them!!
Yes, well — it was a fleeting thought each time. A more lingering thought involved something my mother used to say about school playground crimes “Well, kids can be mean.” And that’s the subject of this weekend’s blog — how it is that experiences we had in school can follow us around for the rests of our lives — and most especially into the workplace.