Power and how it can go to the head (of idiots)

anger Why is it that some people who hold a position of ‘power’ (by that I mean managerial rather than super) let it go to their heads?

A friend of mine, I’ll call her Caron, works for a man I’ll call xTwatfacex Bob. He is a stereotypical zero man-management skills manager. (If you’ve ever seen ‘The Office’, think David Brent and multiply his lack of personal skills by roughly one hundred.) His views are outdated, outmoded and out of order – and he inflicts them willy-nilly on all the women who work for him. He has offended possibly every race, age and sexuality, all under the guise of it being ‘just a joke’, but the jokes are never funny and always make someone feel awkward. Caron told me that someone called him out on something particular that he said one day and he asked if it was that lady’s time of the month and nearly killed himself laughing at his shwit. Ha ha. Very bloody funny. Never heard that one before…

So how does someone with so little respect for women get away with behaviour like this? He’s married (I’d lay odds that his wife wears the trousers at home) so he should know that speaking to anyone like that will neither make him popular or make them want to do their best for him. One member of staff is now on long term sick leave – stress related; two others have walked out. None of them have reported his behaviour which means he gets away with it.

Recently Caron has been on the receiving end of his ‘humour’. After one particularly personal comment, she finally flipped and told him he was being offensive. He made his usual bluster of how it was just a joke but Caron stuck to her principles and repeated that it was offensive and he should stop. Late in the evening, (probably scared that she’d report him) he rang to apologise. Caron, being Caron, accepted it with good grace and told him to forget it.

He didn’t. Since then he has systematically rubbished her work: clients have been withdrawn from the database under her apparent say so, client appointments booked on her online calendar have mysteriously disappeared. Whilst others have access to the database, he is the only other person who has access to her calendar, so the only conclusion she can come to is that this man is now sabotaging her.

Bob’s emails to Caron (she’s forwarded them to herself for backup) appear to have been written by a teenage boy not in control of his emotions. He orders her about and ends them not with a signature, but with a ‘Clear?’ They made me feel sick when she showed them to me. Nobody, I repeat, nobody, should treat others like that.

So why is he doing this? Because she stood up to him? Are these the actions of a man, because I don’t think he can call himself one? A real man celebrates the difference between himself and women. He accepts that sometimes men and women see things differently, but that each sex is equal to the other and each have the right to be spoken to in a decent and respectful manner especially in the workplace. Bob is not a man – he is a relic.

Caron’s just quit her job – but before she went, she coolly, calmly and factually forwarded Bob’s emails to his boss. I wonder how funny he’ll find that?

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