Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
It's one of those things ... when someone does something that seriously impacts your life it can be hard to look past that on to other things. With this in mind I've decided to use this exercise to talk about someone in my present rather than my past.
One of the unintended consequences of the way I have lived my life is that until relatively recently I haven't let many people close enough to make my life hell on a personal level, even if they wanted to. Most people have no intent of harming anyone. It's easy to forget that sometimes.
As a young engineer I was bullied a lot in the work-place. Working on the factory floor as a 16 year old was an education in surviving in a sometimes quite hostile male dominated environment. I could say a lot about my negative experiences over the years as I have worked in many such environments since those early days. I have been hit, and hit on, spat at, pushed around, yelled at, had men expose themselves to me, been intimidated and humiliated. All sorts really.
Everywhere there are decent men too. Despite peer pressure these guys do not join in with the shenanigans. Perhaps they have daughters of their own ... perhaps they are steered by their own moral compass, but these men stand apart. They are the ones that help regardless of the jeers. I respect that. I know it's hard to stand apart.
I have been in engineering for over 30 years now and things have improved a lot. Even so only just over a year ago I was hit in the face by a colleague. Sometimes I get scared in amongst these men. Even so I can still honestly say that the person who has treated me the worst was and is a woman that I work with still. Like me she has been through some hard knocks over the years.
She's tough. She consistently gives me a harder time than any bloke I've ever had trouble with. She treats me like shit and uses her position of power to try to coerce me into things I am unwilling to involve myself in. I consistently state my opposition to her suggestions both when we are in the presence of others and when we're on our own. Because of the personal relationship she is in with one of the senior management she is effectively unaccountable which makes my position vulnerable. I have no leverage except my powers of persuasion.
Complaints against her tend to result in the person concerned being sacked, demoted or moved. One of my colleagues has just had this happen to him. Due to continuing unresolved issues between us I have put in formal complaints. Usually this results in her putting in a counter complaint. It is then put to me quite plainly that unless I drop my complaint I'll be subjected to the disciplinary procedure myself. The guys in my company play hard ball, no mistake. Usually there is a "cooling off" of her attitude for a while but eventually it all kicks off and escalates again until I put in a new complaint.
Our financial position is precarious as Trev has been mostly unemployed for 2 years now, making me the breadwinner. I can't afford to lose my job in these increasingly uncertain times. I am actively seeking other employment but the industrial sector I am in is slow and shrinking in size. I don't have the financial resources to re-train. Some days I fantasise about winning the lottery ... that or her falling prey to some spectacular demise. Mostly I just do my job, try to avoid her wherever possible ... and where that isn't possible I deal with her myself in order to buffer my team from her toxicity. I would like to find a better solution.
sketchbook drawing as prep art for an oil painting
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