Bullied by Peter Principle
I’ve started to work for one of the most respectful institutions with a great reputation in financial industry last year in August 2010. A new department was formed in the company and they need a good experienced people to work in it.
As all new entrants I came through mandatory introduction training, which in general can be described as “how wonderful company we are, we provide things so different”. Cannot blame the trainer, who prepared the presentations, but the actual reality of day to day business was a total opposition of what I heard.
Shortly after I started to do my job I was asked by a newly appointed supervisor of my department to make a plan of my job as there are “some things” to fix. Things to be fixed turned out actually to be a whole 20 projects to improve the whole department.
Well I was surprised by the amount of things (and so did my colleague - another new hire in my department) which needed to be fixed – months, even years of mismanagement, lots of gaps in procedures, breaching of legal regulations, hundreds of lost papers. I was impressed with total lack of organisation and support from the supervisor. Maybe it was better as it clearly turned out that his knowledge of the industry is very poor, so his management skills. Actually he could learn from me and my colleague how things shall be done in our work.
With a total lack of support or communication I was left on my own with a job to do. Well, I was proficient so I did not need the support. In the same time the supervisor was involved in building a strong relationship with a new client, one of the biggest hedge funds in the world (“rely on us, everything can be done”). Well in our job not all can be done, because law is law.
Shortly I’ve found myself spending long hour at work, 10, 12 hours shifts, without proper break.
My supervisor noted that and asked to make a list how really bad tasks to fix are. So I made the list and I was accused for “exaggerating things”, laughed of "being too efficient". Was even awared by supervisor and his colleague (another supervisor) “don’t you ever dare to escalate any problem in this company because you will be tagged as a problem” and in the end was asked in a sarcastic tone “do you want to kick us off from the chairs?” Supervisor only said after this incident “don’t worry about him; he does not have strong position in the company”.
Sadly I discovered that the department head who decided to hire me for work for my skills was told incredible lies about me – how difficult employee I am, that other people working with me feel offended, that I don’t care about the other people etc. Sadly I discovered that she is bullied also by a group of men at work including my supervisor. She could not execute at all some part of the work from him, a job which he was paid 50k per year. Anytime he felt intimidated, accused her of harassment, even falling into tears about her requests for job done properly. Incredible immature behaviour as for 34 years old man.
She eventually left the company suddenly leaving the office one day and never coming back. Luckily she was offered a better job, where she is appreciated now.
Supervisor from that moment felt really powerful. My ideas about improvement of the process were laughed at team meetings, I discovered my colleague to be totally intimidated by supervisor. And total lack of communication between us and supervisor. I discovered that my ideas are being proposed to senior managers, but it is not me who made such proposals, but my supervisor represents them as his own. As well a huge project on which I spent 2 months and worked on my own was introduced as his own. He got a quarterly award and bonus for it.
His security didn’t last long. A few months later senior managers appointed a new department head. She was shocked by a total lack of control in a part of the business where control needs to be put. My supervisor was turned out as a complete Peter Principle. And he could not stand it – his image as a charming, young, wealthy man, paid well for doing a great job and leading people was ruined.
She finally started to appreciate my job and a job of my colleague. Mr Principle of course could not stand it and selected me as a target. Pin pointed out all his mistakes on me. Unfortunately she didn’t believe his lies.
Again the story begun – he was humiliated, intimidated by a woman, his superior, who dares to point out his mistakes and failures. Failures which may cost our institution a mass penalty, even taking out the license for business.
However she shortly realised how penalised she is by Mr Principle and the whole clique of his peers on management level who promoted him and treat as a celebrity – well actually they all were celebrities. After 5 months of work with them I witnessed numbers of bullying incidents, putting blame on department employees for mistakes done by Mr Principle and his lack of knowledge, also a blame for the whole process “this is the way things are run”. It was always a mistake of someone else or the way thing were run, it was NEVER his mistake.
Who made decisions things were run and costs shareholder’s money, reputation of our institution?
I was also amazed why this comes unnoticed by senior managers and company owners. Massive breach of procedures, lack of legal documentation for transactions, abuse of power. Where these things are taken from?
We had a number of audits over past months, 80% of these problems were pointed out and brought to owners attention, other 20% will come into the light by the end of this year. Mr Principle in the same time is being sent to the business trip to America, where he spent company’s money on expensive hotel, sophisticated business lunches and... sets up a new department.
In the same time I have my job extended by his duties, correcting his mistakes, I work no longer from 9-5 but 9-9, day by day. The new manager is bullied so much by peers of Mr Principle that she starts to have panic attacks and taking this out to me.
And finally we have November 2011 – one day I got a phone from a good head hunter with a new job offer. A job with no supervisor upon me, a mile stone step in my career. I was successful at interview and a few days later I signed a contract with a new employer and gave my notice to supervisor and manager. Exactly one year after I was accused of trying to kick the clique off the chairs.
I will finish my work in this company in the end of this year (after a battle for approved holidays which were maliciously cancelled, Thanks Good to a supportive HR representative for his help I’ll have my days off again).
Mr Peter Principle soon is left without an employee who dared to improve things for him, worked efficiently, make a credit for him in the organization, bring competences he expected and who dared to fix his mistakes. Who had everything what he lacked – competence, self esteem, ambition, integrity. And I am the most happy person in the world. What else to say - I was offered no support during my time of employment at all from his side, received no promotion because he blocked it with full effort by blackmailing me with the clique, I received no salary rise. He totally shrugged off the position where I should be.
My department is left with additional cost of hiring process, training for replacement, unsure situation for established relationships with shareholders how these will be managed in the future and a manager who doubts if Mr Principle can ever be removed from his position and who thinks about leaving her job as well. Amount of things to fix are overwhelming. And the company faces a danger of high penalties for the way “things were run”.
We have financial crisis now, newspapers are full of stories of incompetent bankers, who made decisions we all have to pay for now. However website of the bank where I worked over last year and will leave soon says “we do business in unique ways, we provide unique culture of doing things, provide security for our clients through established reputation”. Unique culture means blackmailing, backstabbing everyone who dares to do the best for the company and clients, unique culture of abuse of law, a playground for a clique of a few incompetent Peters Principles who are so called managers.
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