Sometimes I do stuff which is not all that nice. Often it’s done hurriedly, and later I might wish I hadn’t. Once I had it forced on me. And that’s the one time I don’t regret.
I used to have this irrational belief that adults can and will behave like adults. That the politics from the school playground stayed there and didn’t enter any grown-up dealings. But as I watched the new employees of a small business I was slightly connected with, come, and go, followed by childish but unpleasant gossip behind their backs, I was a bit shocked. However, I assumed that what was said was mostly true, because I couldn’t see the point of them lying.
Until one day I realised that I was next. I wasn’t employed by the business, nor was I paid. I had believed this would safeguard me from being ‘fired.’ And I wasn’t, because I simply walked away.
But I could see that it was likely similar gossip would be used about me, and potentially to people I liked and who I would prefer if they continued liking me to the same extent they’d done in the past. And belatedly I understood that what had been said about all those other people had not been true, but more a way for the business owners to justify the departure of yet another member of staff.
What to do? Well, I blogged about it. No, not about that as such, but about what had gone before. It wasn’t nice, but it was done with names changed, and only to get in there first, in case anyone ever asked. Because blog posts are dated, and I’d read enough crime stories to see the value of that. And if it wasn’t needed, then no one would be any the wiser.
It deeply offended the business owners. I was actually quite touched that they continued reading Bookwitch after what had been said between us. The thing is, I didn’t want to upset them, even though they upset me at the time. It was merely intended as a safeguard.
In the years since, I have talked to others who knew them, and I believe I know where I stand with most of them. Some continue being friendly with the business, and I don’t mind that. Others have been able to share openly how they themselves felt ‘at their hands.’
The funny thing is, I am really, really good at bearing grudges. I could grudge for Scotland. But in this case I don’t. On the other hand, when I see they are looking to recruit new staff, I don’t suggest anyone has a go. I don’t wish that experience on anybody.
If the playground could have been left where it belonged, I reckon we would all have benefitted from continued collaboration. Because when it was good, it was good. It’s just that when it wasn’t, it really, really wasn’t.