In my last entry I mentioned how I ran into an old coworker, and how it allowed me to start finding closure regarding what had happened at my last job.  What worries me now, is just how much longer it might have taken for that process to really have taken hold, without some kind of outside assistance.  By outside assistance I don’t mean counseling and comments from friends, I mean actual confirmation from people within the situation.

I can only imagine how long it must plague those who endure such situations for a longer time than I did.  I remember when I first started reading literature regarding bullying at work, and how so many people who are in such situations stay there for years before they move on.  Why would a person do that to themselves?  I know how much it affected me, so I can only imagine how painful and emotionally scarring it might be for those in it longer.  

Until I had spoken with this coworker, I had never really realized how much of my self-confidence was still repressed.  Learning that there were others that realized my situation, that even management had changed her position so that they could contain her (I only assume), I started feeling release.  This understanding that, yes, I am the intelligent woman I always thought I was.  Why on earth did I doubt myself?  Why on earth did I let those comments even pierce my skin?

One of the most prevalent comments today that rubs my skin the wrong way is the phrase ‘Don’t take it personally’.  What is that phrase supposed to mean?  If you didn’t intend in some way to make it personal in the first place, either by your poor choice in words or social skills (or simply because you wanted to make it personal), then you wouldn’t have made the comment in the first place.  ‘Don’t take it personally’ is a way for someone to try to get out of the repercussions of making a personal comment about someone.  Often you’ll find managers making such comments, when they need to give feedback to one of their employees.  They’ll say it, because they don’t want to deal with the emotional repercussions those comments might have on their employees.  I feel that the sign of a good manager is recognizing that good employees will take feedback comments personally, because they take their job personally.  Learning how to make those comments and still provide a sense to the employee that their work and self are valued, that’s what makes a good manager.    

Personally, I find that comment to be a warning sign about your manager.  If they use that, it means they are either lacking in experience or they don’t care about you and your feelings.  If you are trying to find closure regarding something, and you remember hearing this phrase come out of the other persons mouth, hopefully my reflections can help you to realize that that phrase does not excuse their actions.

Up Next Time: More Programming!!