A few years ago now, I was about 19 years old, I used to work in a manufacturing company, this company was of medium size, and their management structure was standard for the day. Initially, I was happy working there, I kept myself to myself, and I wasn’t really bothered much, this went on for a couple of years, and then I started to progress in the company, this was something I was very proud of.
My first managerial position was a team leader of a production line in the company, and I threw myself into trying to impress, do a good job all the sort of things you do when you start something new. At first, things were going great, I was getting all the help I needed from my supervisors, I was getting on well with the lads on the line, my home life had improved because I was earning more money, and I wasn’t under so much pressure anymore.
My relationship with the managing director was very good in the early days, he always used to say to me “Stick by me, and you will be rewarded, I need people like you, you are the cornerstone of the company” and this made me feel really proud and needed, important even, but I suppose with hindsight he was just saying what he thought I needed to hear, there was no truth in it, I was being used. We used to call this whisper a few sweet nothings in his ear, and he will be alright.”
“This started to increase on a daily basis, and I got to the point where I would dread the morning meetings because all I could think of was what were they going to pick on me today with.”
This went on for a while, but slowly and surely they started to leave me to my own devices, this was fine at first, but then small things started to happen. We had a production meeting every morning involving senior management and team leaders, were you would discuss an individual’s responsibilities and how they are doing that day, and I started to notice that I seemed to be getting a lot more attention than the others, and they seemed to be picking fault with me that they wouldn’t be doing with the other team leaders. This started to increase on a daily basis, and I got to the point where I would dread the morning meetings because all I could think of was what were they going to pick on me today with.
I tried my hardest to do the right thing, but nothing seemed to work. Things started to get worse, the picking at me progressed from the morning meetings to the shop floor, and it was at this point that things really started to affect me. there was never any physical bullying, it was always the type where you want to humiliate someone, to keep eating away at their confidence, make them think that no matter what they did it was wrong, ultimately this made me scared to make any decision, in fact things got so bad i found myself in the staff toilet almost crying, but I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong, I knew I was good at my job so why was i being treated like this.
Things came to a head, when one night I got home after a really bad day at work, and my wife just asked how things went, and out of nowhere I just burst into tears, I couldn’t take anymore because I am a strong proud man and that company destroyed my soul and really did make me quivering wreck in front of my wife, but that was my wake up call, and I just quit, maybe I should have done something about it, but nobody should have to go through that, and it has affected my relationship, my confidence, and my belief
Roll forward 35 years and it’s still going on in businesses across the globe, people of all ages are being bullied under the guise of management. I am not saying all managers are bad, but it only takes one bully to make somebody’s life a living hell.