In 2003 and 2009 we were bullied out of our career by two different councils.
But what had we done to deserve it? Nothing.
Both times the bosses announced, ‘Paul is out of step with the rest of the team’. They thought they were telling the truth when they said that.
And they were.
We certainly were out of step with the rest of these teams, both closely-corralled groups, who spent every day in a kind of subdued half-life, looking furtively over their shoulders, scared witless of what might happen if they either failed to fit in or stepped out of line.
“Fear of the consequences” – let’s face it – is the biggest open prison in the world. But we bust out of there twice.
In return for being clobbered with two sets of “gross misconduct” charges and branded a “troublemaker”, we took a good degree of pleasure in not backing down, clearing our name and wiping the floor with both sets of senior director bullies.
And the last time – at Cheshire West Council – we prevailed again, making Council Leader Mike Jones, Monitoring Officer Simon Goacher, Acting Environment Director Julian Pellett, Resources Director Julie Gill and Head of HR Sam Brousas look foolish and incompetent.
We left these characters trailing in our wake, secured victory, won access to our 32-year pension, retired and left them to carry on squabbling amongst themselves, handing out promotions and dispensing treats to their kissing-up, kicking-down, brown-nosed friends and acolytes.
At the final hearing, which came on our 50th birthday, the case against us collapsed and the Cheshire West cabal was left red-faced, bloody-nosed, bowed and stooping to pick up the pieces.
If anyone out there reading this is being bullied right now, don’t blink. Stand firm and take the fight right back to them.
Be honest, measured, straightforward, and use their own policies and procedures against them. They’re not clever, you see. It’s all bluster, brinkmanship and the only resilience they possess comes from overdosing on TV bullies Gordon Ramsay and Alan Sugar. They’re so full of shit – to put it crudely – there’s no room left for them to know how to perform their jobs.
So feel confident. Brandish their fine words up in front of their faces, like a mirror.
Keep your calm. Keep your dignity. And keep them in the spotlight, with the beam trained directly on them. Bear witness, as they shift and wriggle uncomfortably. Like worms.
Take your strength all the way up, cut a path through the serried ranks of wilting, chinless wonders at the top level … and don’t back down.
Don’t be intimidated by the suits. You are the power. You are the irresistible force. Don’t give them an inch. Don’t bow, flinch or show them any undue deference.
UK Councils are absolutely slewing with these aggressive, cowardly, deceitful, unaccountable creatures.
Why? Because they’re cossetted, egged on from above, feared by elected members, and they accurately reflect the same corrosive cultures found in the wider public, private and charity sectors.
So too do these rats populate the broader realm of UK employment and business in general, where psycho and sociopathic meddling – done to hold the fort and manage reputations – is actively encouraged, rewarded in spades and covered up inside legal agreements when it all goes wrong.
Our ten-year anniversary of fleeing these miserable, toxic shit holes arrived this week. It was achieved on our terms and we’ll be lifting a glass or two to celebrate 🥂.
And we’re not telling you about this in order to grandstand or gloat. It’s done to show you that bullies are not infallible. They’re weak, half-formed, contemptible human beings – deserving of a kicking – and it’s so, so hard… but little old YOU can be the one wearing the Doc Martens and dishing it out.
So get stuck in and confront the gaslighting bastards.
YOU can take control.
YOU can do it and emerge victorious, like we did.
Finally, see this written help we put together – influenced in its entirety by what we went through – and which we blogged on many years ago: