Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Thank You Jonathan Martin

I want to thank Jonathan Martin for stepping into the spotlight. There are plenty of those who suffered in shame and silence and I was one of those people. It took courage to step out and place a name on a shameful reality many of us endure each and every day in silence and shame.

There was a peer who was from an earlier era and just retired. I explained the workplace was much different then. Bosses expected and it was unspoken that gross and inappropriate behavior was tolerated. Sexual harassment laws were on the books, but it took the dubious Anita Hill story to put it on the map. Following your abuser through jobs and maintaining contact for years does not make sense. I avoid my abuser and would run in the other direction.

Some of the things I endured

Unique rules applied only to one person among 60.
Social Isolation being a member of a ten person team excluded from meetings parties. Not being allowed to talk with anyone about work related issues other than a single team member.
Abusing Supervisory Review Process.
Group ridicule if one had a different opinon
Threats of violence
Ethnic jokes and commentary about my alleged political views.
Manufactured complaints and tampering with evidence in disciplinary proceedings.
Command Chain lunacy. One needs your bosses permission to talk to her boss about the abuse.

The tragic element of my story is I suffered in silence. What I suffered was real and people would say keep your head down or you bring it on yourself. Would anyone say this to a person in a domestic violence situation.

Luckily for me people outside the office knew my name. My abuser went too far and costly EEO and labor arbitration made the matter public. I settled and went on to live another day. Management still had a bounty
on my head. However smarter ones knew to steer clear as I would fight back.

Eventually a new regime took over and workplace bullying is not tolerated. The new boss is humane and more concerned with accomplishing goals and objectives than grudge matches. I never thought I would see a director whose DNA does not seem to condone brutality. Do your best and serve the public each and every day is all she asks.

A close friend from my earliest years visited. I avoided her as she worked up the chain to levels I can only dream of. She noticed I did not stop by and avoided contact. I would be somewhere else by design. Eventually we spoke via email. I explained that I wanted her to remember me as I was. She is familiar enough with me to know something is wrong. I told her about the workplace bullying and she was horrified
and asked me why I didn't call her immediately. I explained men are not supposed to complain they are supposed to endure. One shouldn't hide behind a big sisters skirt. She asked around and found the situation
was far worse than I described. One supervisor told her people have committed suicide for less than I endured.  Another told me that the abuse was so bad she was amazed I didn't snap.

After Jonathan Martin what happened to me and others has a name. I will not sit in the shadows or hide in the closet. After the Martin case I decided to be up front. This place was horrible and I paid the price to make it better. I do so to explain that nobody should ever suffer in silence.

Thank you Jonathan Martin for making this issue something that all of us can understand.

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