Forgive them! You're joking!

Thursday November 30, 2017

That would have been my response if asked whether I had forgiven those responsible for the depression I have suffered for the last decade.

Forgive Sami my Line Manager, who contributed most towards my downward slide? Having turned my life into years of misery, I know what I'd like to do with him and it doesn't involve forgiveness!

However, I soon realised more responsibility lay with our Director, Trevor. He knew what Sami was like and how he treated staff yet did nothing about it. He became the man to target.

However, I knew that Trevor was never up to the job and eventually my anger moved to Anna, the HR Director. Like Trevor she knew about Sami. Three of his staff had been on long-term sick leave, suffering from work-related stress, never to return. Like Trevor, she did nothing about it.

Things changed when it was my turn. I knew the rules and was prepared to take action, and take occasional sick leave to ease the pressure. In addition, retirement was less than four years away.

Two years on, my decision to make a formal complaint was met with the offer of a termination package. By then my health, and that of my wife, demanded I accept.

The organisational incompetence I had long suspected soon became evident as an agreement reached in early September, after numerous delays was approved in late December - but they had used incorrect figures. We were back to square one.

I walked out claiming sickness and, miraculously, the whole thing was resolved in 24 hours. By then I had a sick certificate until early January and retired four weeks later. Shell shocked, exhausted and with self confidence and self esteem in tatters I descended slowly into despair.

Forgive them, over my dead body! That is how it might have turned out but for reading an article on Forgiveness a few months ago. It offered some tips, including:

Forgiveness comes easy when you realise that what they say or do is about them not about you.

So I set about trying to understand why they acted the way they had. I analysed the behaviour of each one. After that it was easy.

Sami got the results his bosses wanted when he bullied people and was rewarded with promotion so why would he change? Trevor needed those results and, apart from being incompetent, was more concerned with strategic issues than staff welfare. The same is true for Anna who previously had only worked at Group HQ so had no experience at the sharp end of HR.

That still left the CEO Denise. She was guilty either for not asking why they needed to pay off a senior manager or for accepting the answer without question, but then she may have considered me collateral damage.

Once on paper I could see why it all went wrong. I'm not sure I have forgiven them but realise that given the individuals, their shortcomings and the situation the end result was almost inevitable.

A Moodscope member.

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