Life: Yes, people DO want you to fail…
That’s right. People DO want you to fail. I’ve experienced it. It happens. That’s life. You then shut those people out of your lives.
Up to now, there have been three Dereks in my professional life. All wanted me to fail. That’s rough. But that’s life.
Years ago, I was young and very naïve. I was in some kind of trouble, and Derek #1 was in a position to help me. I sought his assistance, but his response was “I can’t do it.” No, he could, but he didn’t want to. Okay, so, life moved on. I realized, at that young age, I had to do everything myself to get out of that mess. I learned to become independent. Looking back, Derek #1 could have made things easier, but he chose not to. That’s fine.
Fast forward to several years later. I was in a company where I frequently gave input to my boss, Cheryl, so that operations could be smoother and more efficient. Some of my ideas – designed to improve efficiency – were eventually implemented. Cheryl valued me as an employee. But then, the company hired an older woman named Sally, and I believe there might have been some power struggle there, because Cheryl abruptly resigned. During one particular staff meeting (actually, it was the only one Sally called while I was still in the company), when I tried to present an idea, Sally shot me down every time – in fact, interrupting me mid-sentence. Yet, she let others speak.
Either she heard some gossip about me from other employees, or she was against me because I was valued by Cheryl. Maybe even because I’m a short Asian male. Whatever the case was, that was definitely discrimination. Of some sort. Others were allowed to speak, but I was cut off each time.
Derek #2 observed this during the meeting, and he sought to undermine me. When Cheryl was around, the staff was expected to be respectful toward me because I was one of the supervisors. After Cheryl’s departure, Derek #2 knew that he didn’t have to listen to me anymore because he saw that Sally – clearly – was against me and wasn’t on my side. (Previously, Derek #2 often looked like a scared kitten when Cheryl lectured him.)
Anyway, I gave some constructive feedback on the emails he was sending out to clients – giving him pointers to be more professional-sounding in the emails. Derek #2 flatly refused and waged war. (During this time, the environment was toxic, with Amie, a manager, always asking me to step out when she needed a cigarette, to vent about how incompetent Jay, the project manager, was. Because Amie was the manager, I let her speak without interrupting.) Derek #2 somehow got Amie to team up against me, and told Sally things about me in an attempt to get me fired.
I was called into a private meeting with Sally – and Jay, who was there as a witness. I had just completed a tough medical project for the company. But Sally had her poker face on, and she said, “Do you know why you’re here?” (Duh. She’d never called private meetings before, and this was unannounced, so what was her point in being that rude?) In typical fashion, she displayed her discriminatory attitude toward me, saying I had done things harmful to the company. I explained that Derek #2 had threatened me, and that I had some things to say about that. Of course, Sally said that was between me and him and nothing to do with the company. At that point, I knew Sally was the type of two-faced person who pretended to be kind and caring in front of her own bosses, and negative toward me for whatever reason. I left the key on the desk, and walked out, never to return again. I had no interest interacting any further with someone who wanted to be the judge, jury, and executioner. Sally, as far as I was concerned, was the type of person who could drop dead and I would not shed a tear.
Derek #3 was a fellow instructor I encountered sometime later. An arrogant prick, he loved dishing out insults while frequently bragging about himself. Unprompted, he would show people photos of his apartment or his car – or new phone, etc.
I would want to discuss the progress of common students that we were teaching. I saw it as an opportunity to come up with ideas to help those students improve. He would, instead, go on and on about how those students were doing GREAT in his class because he was a superior teacher. I let it go for a while. Finally, one day, tired of his insults, I had the audacity to return the favour. His face turned red and he wanted to fight me, and threatened to throw me to the ground. He then tried to get me fired. He failed, of course, because it was clear to the administration that he was acting childish and being unreasonable.
The point is that all three Dereks wanted me to fail.
There was also the case of Abbie, a person who complained about ex-managers and co-workers from other companies (some hair salon where she worked) as well as ex-managers in the same company – saying they all were against her, blah blah blah, … and oh, a person who wanted to destroy me.
But we can save that one for another time.