Someone Asked About a Boss From Hell

Rather than post a long comment on someone’s page why not just write a note here? Okay, I will.

Boss from Hell? I was on the team that helped select this person. I argued for him to get the job and tried to aid and include in every way I could, once he succeeded in obtaining the position. But once he had the job, he bizarrely began misjudging me as unworthy of his trust, and gradually began to suspect me at every turn. He accused me falsely of various work and “anti-team player” crimes. This last was especially galling.

It took me a long time to even believe it was happening!!!! You see, I had been the right hand person of every boss I had ever had before that, my entire life. So it was a real glimpse at how the other half lives, for me. It was a learning experience that I never forgot and would not want to relive, ever. Luckily, it was a one time deal!

Eventually, I was working by myself in a building across the parking lot from the rest of the department (They needed someone to volunteer, so I did – later realizing he  used my willing nature to manipulate me). He gradually arranged for my job description to shift to tasks for which I had no professional background, as well as dropping all the projects which I had led before he came on board. He was falsely friendly to me, and even subtly mocked me, much in the way he seemed to fear I was towards him. Even now, I wish I could correct his false idea. But it really is not my problem. He creates that around himself.

I refused to be defeated. But it really took a toll on me emotionally and physically. It all seemed so senseless and unnecessary. Like I say, looking back, I was SO unsuspecting – a real sitting duck.

Once I got over the shock, accepted the reality of what was going on, calmed down, and satisfied MYSELF that I could leave without feeling like I had been run off I did secure a better position closer to home. But I refused to even LOOK for another position until I felt better. That was the spiritual struggle and victory inherent in that  situation for me. It was how I made a valuable experience out of it.

I found out, through friends, that basically, every guy (and woman) working under that person left too, in the succeeding year or so. I guess once I was not the focus, he turned to others. Then HE left and he’s had about 3 jobs since. I really liked the crew there before he came along! We had built up some close friendships and we had fun! But no one was going to stand up to Mr. Tough (a pseudonym I came up with here to substitute for the real nickname given to him by a few of his male staff). People would come up to me privately though, and express their sympathy. That was my only reality check.

Through research, I discovered that I was involved in a phenomena called workplace “mobbing”. When an insecure boss is hired, curiously, they sometimes feel threatened by and develop a focus on a well established, high achieving, well-liked “head down” workers who seems like they might be easy to push around.  Every source on this topic has a quote something like this:

The pattern of Workplace Mobbing indicates that those at high risk are most likely:
High achievers
Enthusiastic (those who volunteer)
Those with integrity
Those with ethical standards
Promoters of human rights, dignity and respect

Who knew?! Anyway,  I stayed as long as I wanted. And at my next job, my work was again respected and my professional reputation remained untarnished. Onward, older and wiser.

Here are some beginning points to research workplace mobbing:

Heavenly Boomerang

FB Status August 9:
I’ll say it before, say it now, and say it again in the future: I could not have worked my way out of solitary poverty without the programs that were in place to support my attempts to do so: Food Stamps, Medical Assistance, a tuition free school with a job placement program (had to do that to begin with, instead of my planned college career because I found I was expecting and had no family able to really assist), W.I.C., the absolutely kickass Durham Infant Toddler program in Philly. Most of this is G-O-N-E today or if existing, then unrecognizable.

These programs were income-based and there for me for as long as I needed them. My DREAM was a job with health insurance. I was resoundingly successful as time went on, due to a strong work ethic, flexibility, motivation and a willing mind. I have more productive and joyful times at work ahead of me and more interesting people to meet and assist.

But I know that I could not break through and progress as I did back then in today’s environment.

The world really has gotten colder as [1] student loan programs have become profoundly predatory (you watch, it’s the next big scandal since the criminal predatory mortgage scams), [2] people have been convinced to vote against their own interests and spend tax money on war and not peace, killing and not helping people to develop [3] MOST turn to pharmaceuticals and TV to continue on, sleepwalking and hoping just to be left in a little peace.

It can all change back. I hope it does and I believe it will. Back to the Future. And we CAN afford to invest in our population, and in our roads, bridges and public schools and universities. We cannot afford to abandon them. The stranger you vote to abandon today will be waking up in their car tomorrow, accosting you in the street for spare change or selling drugs to your kids – thinking they have no choice but to do so. Whether they are right or wrong in that belief, that is the truth of how it works. People will do what they need  to survive.

We are all one. Currently, there are not enough jails in the world to hold all the sincere people being shut out of a chance to give to society and shine their light. Cause and effect is real. Pick up a shovel and let’s help dig each other out or look out for that boomerang. By the way, the shovels they have for you at the voting polls are very light! #facefacts

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Folks that know me are probably sick of hearing my two fave sayings, one of which is: Normal is someone you don’t know well enough yet.

I am having a hard time right now. Sometimes, people have hard times. I’d be having a hard time regardless of the holidays. I’ll get over it. I’ll figure it out.

After reading my niece Lori’s post today, I am moved to share my evil perspective. Year round, we are pressured into at least halfheartedly attempting to emulate the contentment and satisfaction portrayed in the ridiculous phony TV world. The backdrop to the happy existence we are promised, if only we can make our lives normal enough – is consumption.

In the holiday season, this all works up to a feverish orgasm. In the quaint, but expensive TV holiday world, no one has to work TOO hard to make it happen.

There are folks only too happy to spend time preparing wonderful food, spending money they have put aside all year for just this special purpose, and showing the spirit of the baby Jesus by putting up with cranky mean Uncle Tom or lonely worried Aunt Mary. No one turned away, no one left out, and every child eye gleaming with the sparkle of that special wish fulfilled.

People start revving themselves up to have this mindset just before Thanksgiving – or at least to pretend they have it. It’s part of being a good citizen.

Swimming in this bizarre and emotional and soup, each and  every one of us MUST compare our individual quirky existences to this imaginary phantom ideal – even as, intellectually, we know it is ridiculous.

Fact is, all the same stuff is going on that goes on the rest of the year – but there is more to do, and everyone is completely out of the calming influence of the routine.

This is it, right now: the tip of the spear – for the next week or so. How do each one of us measure up?

Well, the holidays were a bad time for me growing up – profoundly bad – nothing but fearsome trouble with a capital T, family fights, big drama and heightened deprivation. So now, without a small child to take pity on, and make magic for, I am no big fan of any of this but the days off. It’s really not in any part of my history. You can say it: Bah, humbug. But I don’t really believe it. My eyes are clear. I can do good things for others year round. And I try to do so. This week is: a week.

And what if, during this week, we just happen to have genuine conflict or sadness – the kind that is only heightened by contrast with this ideal being shoved into our eyeballs and ears except during sleep – how well can we pull ourselves together to avoid calling attention to this inappropriate and embarrassing situation? We wouldn’t want to be ‘one of those’ who can’t get into the spirit! Chin up! Keep that twinkle going!

Life is life. It is beautiful it is awful, it is magic, it is sad, it is joyous, it is surprising, it is perplexing, it is infuriating, it is educational, it is rewarding, it is sometimes hard to bear, and sometimes too good to be true – year round. Each one of us is unique and in the midst of writing our own never-before-told story, if we allow space for that to be. It does not have to be written for us. Our calendar is our own. Love and peace to all, each and every moment of every day…especially to those who are sad for any reason. You have my heartfelt prayers for your strength, forbearance and progress.

Scott and Life on Other Planets

Today would have been, I believe, the 29th birthday of my cousin Phyllis’ (also passed) son Scott. He was hit by a drunk driver and killed when he was 19, not long before Christmas. He was at a red light, stopped, on his way home from one of his three part-time jobs. He was also an engineering student at Penn State, head of the engineering club and possessed of SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) bumper stickers in the trunk of his car. Someone came across a double yellow line from the other direction, smashed right into him and changed all of our lives forever – especially those of his immediate family. Naturally, the earthquake created cracks and jagged schisms in the world of everyone who loved him and loves them. The ramifications just go on and on and on in every conceivable way. Issues that would have had time to be sorted out and addressed are now frozen in time. But he is not forgotten and he made a tremendous difference. I pray for him each and every day, at least twice a day. And am still deeply involved, underneath the surface, with dealing with this surrealistic incident, its affect on his mother (and father and sister), his loss, and for me, the subsequent departure of his mom, with whom I was very very close. ANYWAY, I read his sister Lori’s great post about this topic and was inspired to make my first entry into my own blog. She has a wonderful WordPress blog called

UPHILL: Musings on life, learning, social justice, and judo. Mostly judo.

Happy Birthday Scott. I will copy Lori’s off-the-cuff muse and add my own:

Lori: Some things that were awesome about Scott:

1. His hair: Until my brother was in his late teens, he kept his hair short to hide his curly locks and avoid teasing. Then he decided to embrace his natural looks and let his grown into an electric shock of blond curls. It was amazing.

2. His trillion watt smile: My brother had the biggest and best smile of anyone I’ve ever met.

3. He was a big, giant weirdo: My brother had strange taste in clothing, conducted gross experiments with food, and was constantly trying to invent ways to save time that were extremely impractical.

4. He was a compulsive over-achiever: In the last year of his life, my brother was a full-time college student with three jobs, one of which was a teaching assistant. He was applying for internships on top of all that.

5. He loved what he did: My brother was an engineering student whose first love was physics. When he went to parties in college, his friends would realize he was missing, only to find him alone in a dark room with a flashlight and his text book.

6. He made everyone feel special: I don’t know how he did it, but he made everyone feel like he was their best friend. If you were Scott’s friend, he’d give you anything you wanted, listen to you for hours, and always find a way to make you laugh.

Of course that is a lovely tribute. I love #3 the best as I too am a big giant wierdo.
Me again: Alls I can say, and it’s no throwaway comment: I always liked and loved him and I think that was true on his end – largely because of his tremendous sincerity, unique qualities, forbearance, humanity and geekiness. There was alot to be proud of about him, but I am not his parent and so that was not my thing.

Living with my spouse, I have learned to let holidays and birthdays go by without recognition and focus on each day. Previous to our relationship, this  seemed like both a lofty and laughable goal – never an achievable one. One of the most amazing things about our life together is that with him its very doable. He really does try to focus on each day in a meaningful way. There is no need to do a big Make Up day at designated calendar points.

This is, trust me, a minor miracle. But it kind of puts me on a different planet than other humans. So what else is new?

I could go on, but this is Scott’s post.

Miss you Scott. Wish you were here as Scott, hey! I hope you are here as anybody. If you are hanging around, say hi. I will listen up.

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