Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Being Bullied

It is anti-bullying week here in the UK and listening to some of the stories, I was reminded of the time when I was bullied. Unlike many of those that endured cruel taunts and jibes at schools and colleges, I was bullied at work. I was in my mid-twenties and working at what was considered a cool  TV station. I was reporting to a woman called Natasha (Nats, I hope you google your name and land on this page). For the duration that I worked there she made my life an absolute wreck.

It was pathetic to see colleagues bow and scrape to her authority. There were a few who stood their ground and memorably, one who walked away. But most of us suffered and I, in particular, was singled out for casual cruelty.

If you ask me what exactly she had done, I would be unable to point out any one incident. But there were throw away remarks intended to hurt, there would be instances of humiliation targeted at me. Sadly, back then I did not have the life experience that would have allowed me to articulate the helplessness I felt. I lost a lot of hair, I put on weight, I was high-strung and anxious most of the time.

Unable to handle her on a daily basis, I eventually went freelance with the company and would work for them on an as-and-when basis. Sensing what I was doing, she coined the term 'permalancer' which meant that she would have completely control over my time and who I worked for and what I did with them.

I will not go into detail about how I left the company - it was less of my decision and more of circumstance. But when I did, I felt a surge of relief that I cannot quite explain. It felt as if my head had suddenly grown two valves to release the pressure that had been building up for so long.

After all these years, with enough time having lapsed between what happened and recalling of the events, I am able to say that Natasha was a bully and a coward. And it gives me great pleasure in calling her out.