Today I am going back to work. After two weeks of holidays, I am going back with some excitement and some apprehension, like I always do after a long absence. But I am in a better mood and far more optimistic than I was a few months ago. There is a reason for this, which I will explain in a moment. I have been at my job a year and a half, was made permanent same time last year. While I was fairly satisfied with it then, there was a colleague with whom I started having problems. He had a senior position, like me, but slightly above me in the hierarchy, although he was not my direct boss. I work in a small office and a small company, so it is difficult to avoid people sometimes. Anyway, without giving anything confidential away on social media, he turned out to be a nasty, backstabbing snake and very much of a bully. I had enemies in some of my previous jobs (read this post from 2009) but it never degenerated into open conflict like it did. My colleague, let's call him the Snake, turned out to be just that: as a perfect specimen of the Dunning-Kruger effect, he knew nothing of my line of work and the department I manage (which I figured out very early on), yet thought he knew enough to give me lessons, asked lots of questions, sometimes relevant ones, sometimes not, yet never cared one bit about the answers as he was not really willing to learn. Worse, he shoveled work my way (and for the record I am happy to take responsibilities), only to try to make me trip and second-guess everything I did or say. We clashed on a number of occasions. And he was not behaving like this merely on professional queries, chit-chatting he openly demeaned things I like (movies, novels, etc.). I ended up ignoring him altogether as much as I professionally could and was not hiding my exasperation towards his immaturity, but he was toxic enough to make me dread going to work and drag my feet every morning. It was having a toll on me.
And I was seriously considering making a formal complaint to HR, when early in the autumn (when I say autumn is my favorite season, it seems that it is also the season that is most favorable to me), the Snake resigned in disgrace. Turned our he had been clashing with other people too and that in the end, he had alienated and antagonized everyone. I don't believe in karma, but this was a sweet revenge. It has been a long, blissful Schadenfreude moment. So work became normal work again, without the dreaded feeling of daily Chinese water torture. I turned out learning quite a lot from the ordeal, to trust my instincts, for one, especially when alarm bells are ringing and not to be afraid to be firm and if necessary sharp. I wanted to blog about it for a while, thought of doing so tonight (this post is scheduled) as a sort of catharsis.
11 hours ago