Another guy was saying to him as I walked past “I’m going to make you cry every day, how does that make you feel? You are going to cry every day until you show me you won’t”. Really?
I wanted to step in but didn’t. Should I have? It wasn’t any of my business and it could/would have been ugly, especially with nice shirt and shoes in. After all they may have been joking. What it did is remind me of an incident when I started out (not that I am comparing the two though).
This hasn’t scarred me (really, it hasn’t) but thinking back through my business journey, I actually think there was a time where I was bullied and I think it actually helped me in the way I deal with people today. Let me explain.
I started my first software development job at Reynolds & Reynolds just shy of my 20th birthday when they hired two of us straight out of a 6 month computer programming diploma. It really was learning on the job and very early in the piece my manager grabbed the two of us saying he had a great project for us to really get our teeth into.
The project was very simple (in hindsight) – it was a parts inventory input screen that worked off a template to hide fields that weren’t required. One of us had to write the program for setting up the template and the other had to write the inventory input program that read the template.
The problem was that neither of us had a clue what he was talking about. We were lost. As our manager tried to walk us through the requirements, a few of the more senior developers stood behind our back to watch and listen.
Then one of them started laughing. Not just a little giggle, a big boisterous laugh while spluttering out “that’s easy, that’s easy, too easy, let me do it, I can do it”. It was embarrassing and certainly belittled the two of us. Is this what is considered bullying today?
That was 27 years ago now and I can still see him laughing and hear what he said. I can also still see “the laugher” heading out the door with his head down when he was caught up in a round of redundancies a couple of years later. As I said though, it didn’t scar me. I wonder what he is doing now?
I think they call this “passive bullying” now and in the scheme of things it wasn’t too bad for me, in fact I like to think that it helped me in my attitude to the way that I treat people, especially in the office environment. That is “do unto others” and one of my favourite sayings is “people do business with people they like (and respect)”.
I never did see or hear of him after he was made redundant.
There is no place for bullying anywhere. It is weak and a cover for another’s insecurities.