…of small people and Big egos


That’s how I have felt for the past few months.

Someone once said “black people don’t need to go to therapy, they just need to go to church!” Well, I have to say while dealing with my abusive boss I came so close to needing a therapist seeing as I had no one to report my grievances to therefore hopelessness and depression were my best friends.

I contemplated quitting for months but we all worry about being ‘a disappointment’ to our parents so I stayed on. But finally, I had to make a decision and consider the consequences. I quit. No one is inclined to stay in an abusive relationship…be it work related or personal. I am the kind of person who has no problem doing any kind of job just to make a living (even waiting tables) but a line has to be drawn somewhere because bullying just doesn’t cut it.

I have been reading ‘The Use & Abuse of Office Politics‘ by Mark Holden and I have learnt one or two things about surviving and thriving in the corporate jungle. I love what I do and I intend the go further in my career. It’s unfortunate that all the while I had been working for a VERY SMALL organization that had no regard for employee welfare. Office politics i.e bullying was pushed under the rag leaving employees with only two viable options;

  • Quit and find work somewhere else
  • Throw yourself in front of a moving train and end your misery

I do agree that office politic is necessary to some extent but Diplomacy is the best way to go.

I have felt alone and misunderstood in trying to deal with all the underlying issues that I somehow learnt (naturally) the survival tactics of dealing with traumatic events without letting out my true feelings. One thing I have learnt from all this is, “don’t judge someone’s choices if you don’t understand their reasons”

Good and honest people get hurt by the manipulation of office politics which often destroys self esteem, confidence, performance and significantly career. According to Mark Holden there are 3 groups of people involved in office politics;

1) The Androids;- They are the people who come to work, do what they need to do, do it well, go home and get on with their lives and other interests. They are usually;

  • Quiet
  • Reliable
  • Have limited ideas or input
  • Have a small group of friends
  • Unambitious and often have outside interests

2) The streetwise (and this is where I belong);- it may look like these people are just happy to work and live but really, they are silently ambitious. They achieve their goals by aligning with the goals of others. They are generally;

  • Competent
  • Supportive
  • Co-operative
  • Generally well liked and sociable
  • Have wide networks of contacts

3) The hustlers (the kind I have been running from) ;- these are the organizational merchants who peddle stories, rumours and miss information all with the goal of self promotion. It is characteristic of sanguine personality types who may seem friendly and charming at first until you get to interact more with them. They are always looking for an angle that will gain them advantage; always sucking up and putting others down. They are generally;

  • Manipulative
  • Coercive
  • Bullies
  • Self centered
  • Controlling
  • Egotistical
  • Unenthusiastic towards the success of others

Its is the hustlers that make life miserable, causing stress and tension for everyone who work with them; directly of indirectly. According to a questionnaire I filled out…it was identified that the level of politics in my workplace was at 70 which meant ‘strong undercurrents of negative politics that made the work environment uncomfortable’ characterised by;

  • Little social interaction
  • Self interest and focus on individual tasks
  • Constant confrontation and by constant confrontation I mean ‘daily morning confrontations’
  • Constant suspicion
  • Personal agendas
  • Disregard for individual success
Life is too short to confine yourself to a toxic work environment.
Being successful is not about stepping on other people. It is about working hard for what you want and knowing when to stand up for what you deserve. It is not about demoralizing others but self- empowerment. It is not about being arrogant but displaying your confidence and intellect as a badge of pride. It is not by asserting superiority or self entitlement but recognizing your own worth and value. So if you feel you have to bully people in order to control them them I’m sorry to say you have failed as a leader.



Use of Sarcasm as a coping mechanism 2

I am a frustrated employee. So frustrated it has reached a point I could blow off and loose it. But I am not going to do that, I am going to disguise my bitterness with sarcastic replies. I’m still in control of my life, I just dont know how to read people’s minds. Hypothetically that is part of my ‘job description’ but it beats me. Just this morning, I was gratified by my new ability to be able to answer questions promptly as often required of me, I said I dint know…and that is where the trouble begun.

You know you are unhappy at work when you arrive at the office every morning scared as sh*t because you know what’s coming at you. As a result you look for every excuse to have ‘alone time’ so as to avoid coming into contact with your boss and generally procrastinating things because of the emotional distress you know you will have to deal with. Its not healthy. I have ‘the more the merrier‘ attitude so I prefer to get lost in the crowd whenever I’m too tired to deal with issues. However, I work for a small firm where its my duty to practically take care of everything..which means I cant run away from my ‘problem’. So I have to find a way of coping, I just dont know how at the moment.


Spending Sunday night worrying about Monday morning: I never sleep well on Sunday night because I’m worried about going to work on Monday morning. My job is very stressful so I always have to prepare myself for the psychological torture well before Monday morning.

Focus on the money: If you don’t like your job, you will mostly focus on the salary and perks. When we’re unhappy at work we get a lot more competitive. Its simple, when work doesnt give us happiness and enjoyment we want ot get something else out of it and what else is there but good compensation?

Countdown to after-hours: You know you are unhappy when the first thing you do in the morning is calculate the number of hours until you can leave the office. Ironically, this makes the work day feel even longer.

No friends at work: This speaks for itself. Woo unto those who work in a Company with only two employees and one of them being the boss, which simply means no-one to socialize with apart from your work load. Studies show that workplace engagement is one of the factors that predict happiness at work. I pre-occupy myself with planning for after-work activities that way looking forward to dealing with people who don’t suck the energy out of me. It’s actually good to have people to talk to about the chaos at your workplace…this is not the case for people working in small firms.

You dont care about anything: Things can go well or they can go bad for your workplace, either way you dont really give a damn. This is the point I have reached, doing my work mechanically and letting go of any emotional attachment to my workplace. I’m way too de-motivated to even care what happens, I’m just expecting the worse.  When you’re unhappy you care mostly about yourself and not so much about the workplace…I mean, what value to I get at the end of the day apart from constant criticism.

Small things bug you: Small annoyances become irritating i.e someone taking the last coffee without brewing a new pot, loud bickering or even someone sitting on your chair! Once the life and motivation has gone out of you, You become cynical, tired, uncreative, negative, depressed, stressed or even sick! When you are unhappy you have much thinner skin and a short fuse, it takes a lot less to annoy you.

When one is unhappy at work you are prone to experience physical stress symptoms. Many people think that sometimes you’ve just got to STFU and take the sucky job because you need the money. Its unfortunate for an economy like ours that bosses dictate and bully employees because they have the power…at times its OK to stand up for yourself. Leaving a bad job may cost you some money but what will keeping it cost you?

The risk of being fired is the biggest axe a manager holds over employees heads. A boss may be unpleasant(but of-course they all delude themselves that they are the most pleasant persons to work with), always complains and never acknowledges a job well done. People live in fear of being fired and therefore they tend to;

  • Take crap
  • Accept bullying and harassment
  • Mask their real personalities
  • Hide their real opinions
  • Accept low/ unfair salaries and horrible working conditions
  • Kiss ass
  • Avoid complaining about any problems they see

It is especially hard working for an Ego Maniac. These are the kind of bosses who initially appear charismatic, kind and understanding but get to work more with them and you will get enough crap to write a damn book! They have unrealistically high standards and end up focussing on details  and small stuff to even see the big picture. They come across as fussy and hyper-critical and find it much easier to criticize even tiny faults in others than praise exceptional performance. Its good to work for an over-achiever on the grounds that you will learn alot from them but  some bosses just take it too far. They can never be wrong. Try telling them until you’re sore in the face but they will still disregard you on the basis of ‘a person of my calibre cant do that‘. At times I believe they need to see a doctor and get professional help on how to take it easy. They are so sure of their own talents they often have a huge sence of entitlement. After all, they are perfect, so why shouldn’t they be treated differently from everyone else? The rules that apply to others simply dont apply to them- atleast in their own minds. Honestly, they are self-absorbed, highly opinionated and total pains to work with because they think they are never wrong. Their way of doing things has to be the right, right? Unfortunately the rest of us just see them as crazy bosses with little grasp on reality.

I have spent sleepless nights tossing and turning, thinking of how best to deal with difficult people and I have come to the conclusion that we simply cant. The best bet we have is setting boundaries (which obviously they don’t respect) or ignoring them which is totally impossible when dealing with a micro-manager. So I withdraw emotionally and use sarcasm as a coping mechanism. This morning I was told “you don’t want to take responsibility for your actions because you’re protecting your ego” and I said “I dint even know I had an ego in the first place. Thanks for pointing that out, there wont be a repeat of the same, how stupid of me!.” All the while I knew my ego had nothing to do with it because I couldn’t care less about my status, I am just here for the money. Anyway, I deal with difficult people by letting them think they are right when in reality I think they’re overly crazy and need professional help.

Workplace bullying is here to stay, we just have to find ways to avoid all the drama and the people that cause it. But at-least I get to learn how NOT to treat employees from all this crazy encounters in my workplace, so I would make a good boss one day 🙂

Use of Sarcasm as a coping mechanism

I’m seated at my desk staring blankly at the wall. Like a zombie. Am tired, not physically but emotionally…the effect of this always leads to mental and physical tiredness as well. I might end up having a nervous breakdown…but thank God that will never happen because I have an excellent support system…VODKA after hours! Besides, vodka has been erasing bad memories since 1405.

Anyway, I came to work very energetic and ready for another exciting day at work. Then a meeting happened! The kind of morning meetings I attend are not the obviously fun-time to catch-up-meetings other companies have; it usually means that time of the morning when my entire day is ruined. It’s that time of the morning where am picked on and made to feel like crap and as a result it affects my work for that entire day meaning the same cycle will continue on in the same manner the next day. I don’t mind being picked on…at times it’s good for my personal growth because I get to learn from my mistakes. But Lord, when it’s done each and every morning! each and every morning! it becomes excruciatingly painful! It’s like the whole universe is working against me!

Sometimes, I could use a little break; I hear change is like rest. My job is my life. I do everything possible to try and make things right. I work my ass off. I spend extra hours if needed to complete a certain job so as not to disappoint my boss. I spend time on the internet reading things that don’t come naturally to me because I want to better myself. But no matter how hard I try it’s just never good enough! There is always something wrong with what I’m doing which means all my efforts go down the drain at the end of the day. My only option is to shut down and become indifferent, work every day like a machine until I can’t take it anymore. After all, no matter how hard I try it won’t ever be good enough.

I use sarcasm as a coping mechanism and yeah, it damn well works for me 😀

Tell me am stupid and I reply “Yes I am”

Tell me am not doing enough and I say “Yes, of-course. I am so pathetic”

What can I do? Sometimes we just have to tell people what they wanna hear to spare ourselves from emotional distress.

When one is always pushed to the limit, no matter how hard they try, at times its good to just stop trying coz there’s no more room to progress. So just lay back and let the punches come at you. After all, am an employee not an entrepreneur. Maybe I should have a T-shirt that says “I can only take you in small doses. So when I choose to sit at my corner alone without making conversation take it as a polite notice that we’re just not cool like that”

OK, I’m not really gaining anything by ranting and raving about it on my blog…so I will just go and join other frustrated employees at The Bar in the evening. That always turns out well. But am glad I let it out 🙂