I had a nice email recently that reminded me that I haven’t really contributed much here recently.
Which is nothing more or less than the truth. I’ve done little lately apart from asking for a coding snack which, for one reason or another, I ended up having to park. And I haven’t been very good at doing what I used to do — sticking my oar into things or attempting (with mixed results) to be amusing, occasionally trying to be helpful, so forth.
So, for no very good reason, beyond perhaps having some stuff I want to get off my chest, I’m going to do a little explaining of my recent history.
After apologizing for having all but disappeared, of course.
Somewhere around four years ago, my boss’s boss asked me to take on one of my boss’s responsibilities. In exchange for a promotion, if not a very dramatic one — it was going to amount to about £10 per week - and with a little reluctance because it was very much unknown territory for not much reward, I agreed.
Fast forward a year or so. My boss started to be Difficult about a particular issue relevant to a particular member of staff. I’m not going to go into much detail in the interests of privacy but the responsibility handed to me included three members of staff, one of whom was off sick at the time I took over and remained off sick through the whole of 2015. This spun off into a number of issues that had to be dealt with and required my boss to engage with one or two things that he simply refused to.
His refusal to engage with some issues wasn’t a big deal. With others, it just was. I ended up having to go over his head to avoid the other two members of the team quitting. He was not impressed, although I managed to keep the team together.
With the benefit of hindsight, what he spent his time doing was setting me up to fail. Pretty much constantly. And because I’m not the sort of person who enjoys failure, and because I’m quite good at finding alternate ways to solve problems, his attitude towards me became more and more confrontational, including a few occasions where he was actually shouting and swearing at me. So I tried to deal with that stuff -- we have policies and procedures for dealing with bullying, and I followed them -- but with no success.
By the end of 2017, our working relationship was nonexistent. I was, by then, unwilling to be in the same room as him if there were no others present. Our HR Department had failed to deliver on any of the promises it had made to me (me following our organisational policies notwithstanding) but eventually scheduled a mediation session for February last year. By that time, I wasn’t reporting to him any more and it was completely clear to everyone (me and the mediators, anyway) that as he had no skin in the game, he had no interest in solving the problem -- if, indeed, he ever had.
The failure of the mediation to achieve anything didn’t really surprise me. What DID surprise me was when my new boss summoned me to a meeting and informed me that a number of complaints had been made about me
Investigations were undertaken, and despite the fact that there was no evidence for anything that had been said, alongside the fact that I’d been able to provide evidence for my various statements and refutations, I ended up in front of a disciplinary panel in August last year.
The case got thrown out. No evidence of any case to answer.
However. After the failure of the mediation process, my ex-boss went off sick with stress, and made it clear that he was going to refuse to return to work until the possibility of accidentally encountering me had been removed. I was asked to relocate from my office as a result (although the reasons given to me were vague and certainly didn’t include the actual truth) and I’ve ended up having to work from home pretty much all the time.
By November, I’d had a formal, written apology from our HR Department for the poor way they’d behaved, along with various assurances that things would be done to sort out office space and so forth.
In the last year, in the face of all this stuff being fired at me, I’ve been nominated for two staff awards for the quality of my work. (Didn’t win either, but even so...)
And here we are, in February of 2019, and still
nothing has changed -- I’m still marginalised, still working from home, still coming up against stuff from my ex-boss that makes it clear that he’s doing his best to sabotage my career...
So anyway, all this stuff has made me a bit more introverted than usual. I’m not going to say “hopefully it’ll all be over soon” because I’ve been saying that sort of thing for four years now and it just goes on not being over at all.
If anyone has a mechanism for dealing with bullying that doesn’t require a properly functioning HR department, I’d love to hear about it.