Steinbeck, Bullies and The Way Through It All

Those who have ever had a coaching session with me will know I love quotes and metaphors. My mother was a literary genius who adored books. By no means can I ever claim to be half as knowledgeable about English literature as my mother but I have definitely picked up her love of the written word.

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John Steinbeck wrote a quote that often haunts me…

“It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our doing and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure on the world.”

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This has been an interesting concept recently as a few of my clients have come into contact with people who perhaps could have benefited from pondering on Steinbeck’s musings. It is a sad day when another living being’s death would bring pleasure to anyone let alone more than one person.

But it is a truth universally acknowledged that there are some people who others do regard in such a fashion. Although a sad affair, we have control of the fact that we do not have to lead our lives in that manner and we can avoid those who do, wishing them on their way albeit with a smile.

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The point of any acknowledgement in the flaws of others is to always consider your part in the equation. So often we let people treat us badly. We accept the unacceptable. We make excuses for behaviours that a stronger, less afraid version of ourselves would not tolerate.

Often because such people have perceived power and by their very nature they abuse that power. Sometimes conversely they have such lack of power they encourage forgiveness for what would normally be considered inexusable behaviour.

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I unfortunately in my life have come across people like this. We all have. Some of us walk away quicker than others. Some of us get sucked in to the reality where we think this is our only option.

Today I concentrate on the former, the people who abuse power. These people come in many different forms, some act alone and some under the umbrella or larger organisations but what they all have in common is that they are bullies and they prey on those who they perceive to be weaker than them.

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For me workwise and occasionally personally too, I tend to see corporate bullying crop up most from a group of companies who shall remain nameless (they never appear in my magazine). The bully their staff, but worse they bully their customers invariably when they have to pay out money.

Interestingly one company comes up time and time again and on a recent googling of them I was fascinated to see a pattern of complaints emerge not just in the UK but globally some resulting in multi million payouts to the aggrieved party.

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But money isn’t always the answer. It only works if it buys you peace from the bully and a way to move forward. Standing up to these corporate bullies is brilliant if you have the time, patience and money. Such a fight is one I would encourage people to take to help create a precedent for others who would benefit from such a change but it is not one to embark on from a negative emotion.

In advising my clients, I remind them that it takes two hands to clap and often removing yourself from the situation is enough to divert their negative behaviours elsewhere. Companies like that slip up on their own arrogance and incompetence eventually. Perhaps they should consider a new logo 😉

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When confronted with anyone that negatively fits into Steinbeck’s ponderings and their death would bring pleasure even if just in the form of relief, the key points to remember are.

1. It is never personal.

2. Do not play by the rules they set. Make your own.

3. Walking away is not acceptance. Often it is the healthiest thing to do.

4. If you do have to engage remember their comments no matter how many facts they twist or lies they manufacture are just words designed to get an outcome. They do not become fact even if written on paper. Do not sink to their level and do not believe their judgement of you or your situation. Only you have the right to judge yourself.

5. Be impeccable with your word even when they are not. I often jokingly say to my clients throw concrete not mud! Bullies often mudsling because they have no concrete evidence to throw. One well timed fact can cut through the BS that many corporate bullies like to spin.

6. Keep your power. Turn fear into pity and anger into forgiveness. Pity their behaviour and move on. Actions always have consequences. Timing is the only variable. It is not for us to aportion the punishment but knowing there will be a balance often helps one walk away from revenge.

7. Be happy. It is the best antidote to any negative person. They can’t exist around positivity. It’s simple but effective. The happier you are the less they can feed off.

So I leave you with a song that can’t but make you smile or at the very least tap your feet.





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