Ever engaged in a pissing fight with one of your colleagues at work? Well, a friend of mine, let’s call her Jane for humour’s sake, was recently caught up in the sequence of such a duel and sat me down to give me the details. This is her hypothetical story.
So the person with whom Jane is tossing passive aggressive cards finally called her (Jane) out in the presence of all the directors. Recalling a few readings from The 48 Laws of Power, Jane opted to admit that she could do better and made it clear in her email response to everyone copied that she would stretch herself whichever way she needed to so as to ensure “the continued smooth running of the firm as has been the trend”. What Jane’s archnemesis remains unaware of is Jane’s two meetings with the managing director to express frustration under the closed-fisted and bossy rule of her supervisor. Although she started the copying-of-more-powerful-forces into email exchanges when she kept running into the same bring walls, Jane had adequately thought through the attempts at using this same move to make her opponent look bad. She is yet to master herself for a final blow.
When she first realized that her frenemy read through her stuff, Jane crafted and posed a resignation letter on her desktop. It took a few weeks of leave to have the rumour of Jane’s indelicate and abrupt departure soak through the office walls. When she returned, refreshed and with a few pounds about her, everyone told the same story and pointed to the same source: “We just didn’t think you’d be coming back. She told us all. that you’d left for good.”
It all started with the snide remarks, the personal questions, the constant need to tell Jane about everyone’s scruples and dirty little (and not so little) secrets, the unsettling free advice, the endless errands and chores unrelated to her job description. When Jane started to defy orders and ask questions, she was either talked down at or ignored. Then she learned that her cheques were always the last to be released; initially on the afternoon or evening of the last day at work, and then after a day or two into the new month.
Now, Jane has been bullied by other women in the past. Usually, the ones she works with closely. And although she had considered leaving, quitting her job to venture into a new business she had finally set up with her savings or taking up the handful of offers for employment from one of her clients, Jane has decided to stay and fight a little longer.
“She decided to bring the calvary last night,” she said in her usual lazy uninspiring tone last night while seeping on her second mug of coffee, “so I guess I should stick around for a bit and see how this plays out.”