The Bully at Work

A narcissist always reveals his true colors...eventually.

I was chatting with my cousin, Karissa, the other day, and she was telling me a bully at her job may finally get what’s coming to him.

Karissa lives in Tennessee, but, we chat often. I’ve been listening to her tales for a very long time and I know that she was ready to quit her job, but couldn’t, due, mostly, to circumstances beyond her control. Her job eventually moved her to a new department, where she hardly had to deal with Marty, her workplace bully, but she still heard complaints from other fellow coworkers about this person’s antics.

She dealt, mostly, in silence, because any attempts to shed light on his behavior was met with incredulity or comments about how Karissa was taking Marty too seriously. Sometimes, she was met with retaliation for speaking up.

Some episodes that Karissa told me about include him making embarrassing statements to her as she left the job, when she would have no opportunity to defend herself (risk being late getting somewhere else or risk a public verbal spat). Another time, she told me about her manager coming up to her and informing her that Marty had agreed to take over one of her shifts after Karissa had, supposedly, offered it to him (she was no longer on speaking terms with this person, and she certainly would not have had THAT conversation with him). She got lucky and was able to nip that issue in the bud, but other employees were not so lucky. After that failed attempt to sabotage her career, Marty began a new campaign. Since he was responsible for closing up shop, one night a week, after Karissa left, he began putting office chairs and trash cans up on desks, knowing that Karissa would be opening the next morning and be the one to have to replace everything (no other employees, who opened after he closed, reported any similar behavior, before or since she left).

Eventually, Karissa was offered work in another department, which she gladly accepted and according to her, she is thriving. Unfortunately, with her no longer a target, Marty has targeted other employees, including her partner, Zach, who eventually got tired of the bullying and moved on to greener pastures (although he still does some consulting, apparently). Karissa tells me that she is regularly hearing stories from other employees about harassment, rudeness, lying, and out and out dereliction of duties.

Karissa has been at her job for almost a decade and twice as long as Marty, which is probably why he was not able to get rid of her, despite his many attempts to smear her reputation (reporting her for shoddy work or having customers attempt to give her bad ratings). Karissa is pretty organized and is proud of her work ethic (we worked together when we were kids). She takes her job very seriously. Apparently, management was not fully cowed by Marty, but that didn’t stop them from confronting her, on occasion, when Marty’s rumors started flying (that’s why Zach finally beat the pavement out of there; he was getting confronted on almost a daily basis and, apparently, he was threatened with possibly being fired if he didn’t stop getting complaints). For someone who got a lot of complaints in her old office, it’s “funny” how she gets nothing but excellent marks from her coworkers and customers, alike, since landing in her new department (It’s also “funny” that, for an employee who almost got fired for getting an exorbitant number of complaints, while working with Marty, Zach seems to be thriving in his new job, as well).

Karissa chatted me up, the other day, to report to me that the business has finally got new management and that management has been to see her, since she is the senior consultant. Apparently, the new management has noticed some issues in her old department and wanted to get her input on why things have gotten so bad since Zach (the supposed problem-child) had left. Karissa has tried to be tight-lipped for a long time; not wanting to rock the boat, because the old management considered Marty a rock-star (they refused to believe that he was the problem-child, despite complaints from other employees; he always had a “really good excuse”) and because Marty had a way of reaching around and doing things to hurt her or her work if she dared say or do anything that Marty could deem embarrassing (like disagreeing with him, publicly, in staff meetings). But, when management came to speak to her, she spilled all the beans and shared all of the examples that I have previously described (and likely some that I haven’t). Karissa is confident that new management will be quite a bit more proactive and they have asked to sit down with her, again, to update some of the office protocols, so that some of the things that Marty (and other past employees) have managed to get away with, will now be a write-up or a fire-able offense.

This is excellent news. Karissa and I have commented between us, for as long as she has been complaining to me, that the rules at her company are too lax and enable jerks like Marty to get away with a lot while other employees pay with frustration and/or job loss. Hopefully, some new rules and protocols will put the Martys at her job on notice that their behavior will no longer be tolerated.

I believe that Marty is a classic case of your average entitled Narcissist; charming, charismatic, and appearing smarter and harder working than he really is. He smears others (who are smarter and do work harder) not just to hurt them, but to detract from the actual complaints that he gets (classic projection and blame-shifting). One thing that I know about narcissists is that they can’t keep up the facade for very long (they may drop it for some people, like Karissa and Zach, early on, but they will maintain the mask for as long as possible for those in charge) and eventually get found out due to their own haughtiness and even negligence (believing that they are untouchable, they get more and more careless, the more they believe they have the trust of those in charge. Having management in their back pocket means that they can get away with almost anything and management will either ignore it or excuse it). They eventually slip up.

Unfortunately, I know from personal experience, and Karissa has learned, as well, that these people are so heinous, they can keep up the facade for years, if nobody is watching closely, but, thankfully, they eventually do get found out, if new eyes and a willing ear come sniffing around. It’s that Abraham Lincoln quote, “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”. Eventually, some of the people get fed up with the bulls&$t you try to serve them and that’s when chickens start coming home to roost.

Here’s hoping that Karissa’s narcissist’s days are numbered and that bully will be the one who is unemployed and the rest of the business can finally reach its true potential with reliable employees, like Karissa, who can finally do their work without fear of back-stabbing and retaliation.

Advertisements