Thursday, 11 February 2010


I did a temp job yesterday, answering telephones for a small electrical company.

As the day wore on, it became obvious that the previous long-term temp had been driven from her job by bullying. To make things worse, my boss for the day, (let's call her Sharon), expected me to join in bitching about the previous temp, (who we'll call Melissa).  I was expected to be outraged that Melissa had had time off because her son was ill; taken an hour for lunch, (as a temp, you're not paid for your breaks), and phoned the agency first to let them know she couldn't come in (it's part of the contract with the temp agency).  Luckily I'd never met Melissa so I could smile and say vaguely, 'I couldn't really say, I don't know her...'  I was well aware that the next day I'd become 'that stuck up bitch from the agency' in Sharon's lore but I didn't really care - not much anyway. 

Bullying was part of the corporate culture at that firm. Sharon had made a mistake on some invoice and her boss gave her a very public dressing down in the office in front of me.  It was so embarrassing.  I'm certainly not advocating that she shouldn't have been pulled up about it but I think that the professional thing to do would have been for her boss to take her into his office, close the door and talk to her in private. 

I was in two minds whether to mention the situation to the temp controller at the agency.  In the end, I didn't say anything on the grounds that I should only concern myself with my immediate job.

I've always made a concerted effort to stay out of office politics, where ever I've worked.  I find office politics to be a pointless waste of time and a sign that people just don't have enough to do in their day.  

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