An acquaintance, let’s call her Jane, was raised in a family where everyone has an engineering background. She’s the only girl. Her family lived in a community where girls weren’t treated equally but she defied the odds and qualified as an engineer.
Before the age of 30, Jane was running a successful engineering company supplying equipment to local mines. They found an excellent Australian company which could supply what they needed at competitive prices. The Australian company was also trying to break into the African market so this was a win-win situation for both of them.
The Australian team flew over to finalise the contract. Before the meeting started everyone chatted, sharing a bit of information about themselves. Refreshments were served. It looked like everything was going to go well.
Jane's second-in-command called the meeting to order and spoke for a bit. The Australian team said their bit. The second-in-command summarised the details of the contract, then handed the reigns over to Jane. She was the main signatory after all and now it was her turn to decide if she was happy to seal the final deal.
At this point the leader of the Australian team interrupted her. “I didn’t fly all the way from Australia to be handed over to junior level staff like yourself. I only deal with senior management.” Other words were said which I will not repeat here.
According to UK based organisation, Young Minds, bullying affects over one million young people. What I find more worrying is that when those young people grow up into adults, bullying does not magically stop. There are bullying incidents in the workplace, in the community, and even within families.
Young Minds go on to say that if somebody physically hurts you, or verbally abuses you, that’s bullying.
Specific types of bullying include:
- homophobic bullying based on your sexual orientation
- racist bullying because of your skin colour
- religious bullying because of your beliefs or faith
- sizeist bullying referring to your body size
- sexist bullying focusing on you being of the opposite sex
- cyberbullying targeting you online, often anonymously
- bullying because you are different
Bullying can be a one-off or it can go on for a long time. And bullying can happen to anyone.
Going back to Jane's story, during the introductions before the start of the meeting, the visiting Australian team leader had clearly missed what Jane’s role was. A case of selective hearing, perhaps?
Calm as ever, Jane apologised for having “wasted” his time. She excused herself and walked out of the meeting.
Her team were left wide-mouthed. One ran after her, whilst another tried to explain to the Australian that she was the owner. Well, when he realised he was about to throw millions down the drain he ran after her.
Unfortunately for him no amount of apologising could change her mind.
“I don’t do business with disrespectful bullies.”
Persecutors. In your lifetime you have probably crossed swords with one or two . They attack unexpectedly, from any angle, and for any reason. They have an amazing ability to turn anything into drama.
They’ll persecute you:
For who you are, or for who you are not.
When you succeed, and when you fail.
When lose weight, or gain a few pounds.
When you’re going through hell (they stoke the fire), or when you’re on fire (doing well) they’ll douse you with water.
I do admire how Jane dealt with her situation. She lost a good deal too, but her sense of self, and her pride would not let her stoop so low priest.
I’ve always wondered how persecutors can have so much time and energy to spew venom on others. Do they have no respect? Don’t they have a life? Don’t they have things to do?
Persecutors are bullies. They have probably been at the receiving end of some kind of bullying themselves. Bullied people become bullies.
The strategy I have adopted is to never sink down to the level of bullies and persecutors. I either ignore them, or stand up to them like Jane.