In the past year, a business relation of mine, not even a closed one for that matter, got attacked publicly by a so-called integrity expert. His reputation got ruined. He was warned against and called a charlatan and snake (amongst other things). Business-wise, I assume that there must have been some ground to point him in the direction of improvement. Collegiality speaking, this could have happened in a normal and discrete manner. But what went on for almost a year now – it started in December 2021 – is immoral. All the knowledge on integrity is rubbish if so-called experts cannot even behave with integrity themselves. Unbelievably shameful. I have noticed how much he suffered while trying to ignore the humility and sabotage in the field, trying to rise above.
Unfortunately, I have experienced the same thing myself, done by a serial bully. At the beginning of my working life, I made the mistake of choosing the wrong agency to work for out of the two I could choose from. Back then, I didn’t know anything about my rights, nor how to deal with these sorts of issues. Note that these are the people I want to avoid in life. I have suffered enough in my private life and I don’t need anymore suffering due to people in the business world.
Anyway, what this business relation is still going through is atrocious. I totally empathize. I live by the principle that if you notice something is wrong, avoid complicity, even when you are not involved in the matter at all and even when you are not working in their line of business, nor ever will. So, that is what I am doing. I wish that others would have the decency to do the same. I have an immense feeling for what is right and what is not. Moreover, I wish that people would have stood up for me back then and would have protected me from the harassment that I have had to experience. In fact, only one (!) colleague did in over ten years of ongoing bullying.
All working lives matter equally
See, many people look away, also because they want problems that they can understand. As soon as the issue is not familiar to them because they have not experienced something similar, they completely miss out on making the world a little bit better. What a shame. Or they just want to protect themselves, even when what is happening in front of their eyes is so damn wrong. Oh, I know, also outside the working environment, namely in case of closed-up communities and harmful traditional practices.
Back to the working environment: I absolutely adore these f*ck up meetings, in which people get the chance to share their blunders and learn from the mistakes of others. Mostly, in which the fear of speaking out gets reduced. These periodic gatherings also acknowledge the blind spots within the ecosystem because when horrible matters occur, the ecosystem usually is at fault as well. For example, when boundaries are crossed over time, more and more horrible attitudes and behavior get tolerated.
What I also love about the f*ck up meetings is that more people become decision-makers and the circle of power gets widened. This leads to more ethical choices and interaction between people. People like my work relation in the situation just described, would benefit from the support of those meetings. Group action can be supported – also to solve matters. The f*ck up meetings create a more flexible organizational structure, instead of a hierarchical system supporting certain interests against other. In practice, this creates an ‘all working lives matter equally’ kind of culture, especially if diversity and inclusivity is truly embraced. I repeat my principle: if you notice something is wrong, avoid complicity.