*Just to say, this one’s miserable, ranty, full of really foul language, and I don’t seem to be seeing the BT’s right now. Normal service will resume tomorrow so skip it if you can’t face it.
What a lovely tidy phrase it is. Quite acceptable in most business circles, commonly read in all those guides you’ll pick up idly in the bookshop, or order from Amazon in the hopes of boosting your career or making your 9-5 easier or more enjoyable.
What a phrase to hear from your GP as you sit, downhearted, trying to be supportive. Apparently he often sees people, seeking help with a non-existent body odour problem who’ve been told to make a doctor’s appointment as they obviously have a severe problem. Imagine taking this humiliating step to be met with incomprehension from a non plussed, harried health professional who can detect no problem – who goes to the lengths of burying his head into an armpit and sniffing hard in an effort to prove his point that, in fact, there is no dreadful odour.
Common tool apparently in the arsenal of middle management trying to rid themselves of all the square pegs jammed into round holes. Casually he mentions that he’d be able to testify in any unfair dismissal cases. What with the overdose, and the anti depressants and the wearisome repeat appointments. It’s just part of todays work environment, hard times wage slaves, hard times.
Managing out? Don’t you mean bullying out? Because you’re not the right shape and your clothes aren’t the kind that the cool people like. Because you believe in working as hard as you can in your work hours and then going home to your family instead of swanning around inefficiently then staying on afterhours working your fingers to the bone, being the last to leave in pizza eating martyred glory.
Because you believe in reliability and loyalty and consistent everyday sustainable performance rather than fevered showboating, and going home early and having a few days off exhausted and ill. Because you manage down, to the team you’re part of. That you think each person has something to be offered, that a combination of different strengths and talents make a successful team. That everyone doesn’t have to be like you to be good at their job. That a succesful business values all ages, parents and non parents. That it’s not all about managing up, being “seen” and approval stamped by upper management.
Telling someone they smell and making a concerted effort to chip away at their self-esteem by questioning every decision they make and criticising without explaining or justifying. To accuse every day of wrongdoing and then when discovering it was your own mistake to never apologise. To openly ridicule in front of other staff and to encourage to them to look away and not comment, silently agreeing this is acceptable because they are too afraid of these tactics turning on them is bullying. To be told that what you have done is not good enough, with no witnesses and no explanation of what exactly is wrong yet left a list of double the workload the next day is bullying. To be hysterically telephoned on your day off and left a series of curt accusing CALL ME IMMEDIATALLY email messages which make it seem as though spending the morning of your official day off swimming with your two-year old daughter who you love more than the world and regularly miss precious weekend time with was professionally neglectful is bullying. To ring, feeling sick to the stomach, to be told your manager is too busy right now and will call you back so you sit anxious and distressed hand hovering over the phone for an hour finally trying again to be told she’d forgotten she was going to call and it was in fact that you hadn’t left a detailed enough handover note this morning… about a book return people, not brain surgery, is bullying. Something that could have easily waited until the following morning, when you would be back in work. I think this is bullying.
It is as distressing and distasteful as it was in school. Insidious and demorallising yet deeply ingrained into a corporations culture. To continually drop the hint that you are not good enough, young enough, suited enough, management speaky enough in the hopes that you will just leave. Because there’s actually no reason or cause enough to openly fire you from a job you have loved and done for twenty years. That fact is suspicious and strange enough in todays work culture and everything that is odd and doesn’t fit your companies template that it has spent considerable marketing pounds on developing should be pruned away and, gosh, they value the managers with good bullying, sorry, pruning skills. Nice.
Apparently it is ridiculous. lt is woolly liberal and revolutionary communist and unrealistic and naive of me to think there must be a better way. To hope that thriving successful businesses can operate in a respectful, honest ideological way.
What I need to do is get real.
Fuck real I say – you bloody fucking stupid shortsighted evil ugly hearted selfish stupid narrow and hidebound cunts.
Obviously I don’t say that – but it’s in my heart as I rub the back of the person who is sick every morning before leaving the house. When I wake up with a start when the bed beside me is empty in the cold grey night and I have to slip down the stairs, just in case, as I can’t face dialling 999 and asking for an ambulance like I had to do at the beginning of this year. Every time I answer the phone and have to be cheerful with very little reason because I know I’m a tiny thread of hope to the person on the other end. Trying to understand that some people’s sense of self and worth is bound up in the job they do and this means they can’t shrug it off and walk away in the way I could and would. To wait out this outing and to hope that karma does it’s job eventually. To have faith. To keep leaving the house myself – to abandon my children to the cruel vagaries of the world where people are vindictive every day and applauded for it. This is how capitalism works, if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. To understand that there are other rooms that I think we’d all prefer. To convince him of this.
Please, something, help me manage the managing out.