Tuesday, January 21, 2003

There was some discussion at work about bullying yesterday. I remarked quite openly that I had resigned from one employer in the past because I was being bullied. It was Miles 33 in Bracknell in 1991, and my colleagues Philip Kirkham and Jonanthan Woolgar between them made my working days and eventually some of my other time unbearable. Woolgar was a simple misanthrope, bursting with anger and without the articulacy to express his feelings, or the vision to see solutions beying his next pet project. Once he took against me, for being in his views "weak" or "wet", my working days were hell. He took issue with the contents of my shopping back, judging lettuce, for example as an unworthy food for a man. His prize statement was "Just because I'm homophobic doesn't mean that you're not gay". In the end, because I had made a coding error in a piece of software, he called me a wanker loudly in front of the whole office. I spent that evening alone, very upset, and the following day, handed in my resignation. I was told I would not have to work any notice.

Kirkham, on the other hand, was not so visibly damaged as Woolgar. But he seemed equally bored and frustrated, and took it out on me. He despised me for not being as physically fit as him, and would jokingly order me to do press-ups on the office floor. Thinking this would engender some cameraderie, I did so a few times, and he mocked me for my lack of ability. I also hated the fact that I followed the official dress code for the firm. The way he regarded me as a lower form of life was revealed by his statement "I can't believe you've got a better car than me". I hate eggs. He rubbed hard-boiled egg in my face one lunchtime. He threw a missile at me while I was drinking tea, while spilled all over my desk. I walked out that day. I shouldn't have come back.

I was 25 years old at the time. Kirkham and Woolgar were older. After leaving the firm I was unemployed for 4 months, not least because I could not bring myself to tell prospective employers whey I had left Miles 33.

I do not believe in forgiveness. If I could punish these people, I would. As you can see, I'm still angry with them for persecuting me, and myself for letting them. The playground taunting I sometimes receive in my present job is nothing in comparison. I'm a lot better off now.

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