Throw Me Under the Bus!



Two people threw me under the bus last week.

Wikipedia Definition To throw (someone) under the bus is an idiomatic phrase meaning to sacrifice some other person, usually one who is undeserving or at least vulnerable and often a friend or ally, to make personal gain.

Both people were colleagues in my professional world. Fortunately, I have three jobs, so the identities of the culprits who put the tracks on my back will be impossible to ascertain, not to mention unnecessary. Don't bother guessing. Their identities are unimportant because these bus-bowling characters live in everyone's life.

My first trip under the bus came when a colleague, who had not done her job, told her superiors it was my fault. Then she filed a complaint with my superior. I had to sit through hours of discussions and write thousands of words in emails explaining what actually happened in order to clear myself.

My second trip occurred five days later. This time a colleague with a voracious appetite for power and control saw me as a threat to his perfectly governed world where he is king and everyone else either worships him or answers to him. Resisting the urge to mimic the boy in Anderson's fairytale, and point out that this dressed-up king was "necked" ... I refuted the bully's accusations with politeness and collegial respect, then I spent more hours in discussion and composing emails that clarified my actions and the course of events. But after all that, I still had to face this accuser in a meeting of major "higher-ups" where he wielded his bogus charges against me.

After lengthy discussion, and reviewing of documents that proved my accuser wrong, the "higher-ups" - with much sensitivity and respect - quelled his complaints, and the whole event was summed up as a big misunderstanding. He went back to rule his kingdom, and I went back to work, now free from having to devote so much time to removing the tire-tracks on my back without actually upsetting those who threw me under the bus.

This is all so silly. But are either of these two scenarios so different from conflicts that dissolve friendships, tear families apart, rip up communities and start battles that turn into war?

It's all the same game. Those who feel small inside find strong figures to falsely revere (butt-kiss actually), and weak people to exploit. But kissing the asses of superiors and victimizing the weak doesn't shrink the enormous sense of nothingness that feeds on their fragile self images.

These "very little people" view the good work of others as a threat. Recognition of success that they can't cash in on is like salt rubbed into festering wounds. They give fake adulation to people in superior positions just to keep their territorial hold. But under the cover of gossip and backbiting, they belittle anyone outside their managed kingdom whose good work threatens their false superiority. Those good works, after all, reveal the naked truth.... that they are just the same as the rest of us working schlubs.

Oh, and dare I add ... they fear they might actually have to WORK like the rest of us working schlubs.

How do we deal with these dishonest, fake, fragile, hurt, fearful, small...small people? I'm not sure. But I sense that returning their accusations with anger and trying to fight them at their own game is not productive. Sometimes the battle is more costly that the value of whatever you hope to win.

So for now, I accept that if I am to be productive and achieve results, I must add extra time and effort to handle the unfortunate colleagues that see my accomplishments as a threat... as an interruption to the empty accolades they receive as they parade down the runway - donning their fanciful,fictitious clothes. I must put on the armor that protects me against the imminent crush of the bus which I will inevitably be thrown under.

I'd still rather be me than one of them.

19 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:55 PM

    Let me just say that you have "hit the nail on the head" in addressing this issue. All of us have been thrown under a bus or few and have felt exactly as you do. Your read gives all of us power to face those who feed off of our success in hopes of squelching any recognition we deserve. All of us, too, have been in a position where the "powers that be" feel threatened by our existence and consequently we now fear their wrath. Thank you for verbalizing what some of us deal with on almost a daily basis. Ohhhhhhh I feel so much better after reading your blog just knowing that others have tracks of their backs too. We all have been "under the bus"!..... Laurie

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  2. Roberta Ward11:39 PM

    Oh, how I couldn't agree more. This ridiculous, childish behavior is what sent me kicking and screaming from the retail world of customer service years ago. The imminent threat that you pose to these sad little beings,just by being effective at your job, is enough to drive them to do the unthinkable.I have personally been under that bus so many times, I should be like the proverbial man hole cover. Too bad those poor individuals couldn't use all that negative energy to actually perform their jobs in the manner in which they are expected. For me, after years of this crap, the final scene came as I exited my place of business and made sure I let that one individual know where she could shove that job!!! Damn, that felt good!!!

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  3. Anonymous12:10 AM

    Excellent job. There was a study done in Canada about BULLIES and how they effect the workplace:
    "Most organizations have a serial bully. It never ceases to amaze me how one person's divisive, disordered. dysfunctional behavior can permeate the entire organization like a cancer" Tim Field
    http://www.bullyonline.org/thefieldfoundation/index.htm
    http://www.bullyonline.org/
    I was blindsided by such an attack and it can be devastating. Thank you Mindie, Sandy

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  4. Anonymous6:29 AM

    Well it seems to have worked out in your favor.
    It's a shame we have to put up with bus-bowling...but alas it does exist. Great blog . Thanks.
    Ylee

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  5. I can sympathize, been there... it takes up more energy covering your butt then doing the job. I like what Dr. Wayne Dyer says: Take No Offense - That which offends you only weakens you. Being offended creates the same destructive energy that offended you in the first place—so transcend your ego and stay in peace.

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  6. I was there just recently, as a matter of fact. I thought I could trust a fellow employee with some confidential information and he went straight to the department head who promptly told me I no longer have a job. Men are lying backstabbing weasels and I hope they are the ones that get hit by a bus. Literally.

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  7. An excellent piece, Mindie! I've never met you in person but my "sense" of you is that, indeed, you would know it best to fight this sort of childishness--which bullying is in its base form--with a smart, high-road approach. Most of us have been under a bus or two ... I remember a BIG event in my life which qualifies ... & so we can identify w/this. And so much of it goes on that I cringe at the thought of having to ever go back into any sort of corporate biz world--though it may happen, it's scary.

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  8. I would never have pegged you as the weak one to prey upon, and I think they have seriously underestimated you. These people usually get what's coming to them, and we can only hope we all get to see it play out in some public, humiliating way. I can feel it coming, can't you!

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  9. Anonymous9:15 AM

    Well done...It is especally frustrating when you have just been tossed under the bus and see another one is coming the other way.

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  10. Pollyanna5:54 PM

    Yup, know what you are feeling. Got tire tracks on my head too.

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  11. kivela12:33 AM

    Admittedly my first read of your works. Will most certainly not be my last! I have been in my field for almost 40 years, been under the bus and been the driver. As time passes and the fog clears from the bus windows one does realize the high road is filled with a sense of being the drivers of the world will never be capable of understanding. See ya on the high rd.

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  12. Unfortunately, being thrown under the bus outside of the work place also happens quite often too, such as family and friends running people over. I use to have a friend who often threw me under the bus to save her own rear end more than a few times, although I often found it to be upsetting when she did this, what made things even worse was the fact that this ex-friend was married to my Cousin.

    Many of her deceptive ways to save herself from being caught in an out right lie caused conflict between me, her, my cousin, and his family. Eventually, I wised up and stopped having anything to do with any of those people in that family for a list of good reasons. 3 years later after going my own separate way enjoying my life, she called me up out of the blue to tell me that my cousin wants to divorce her, as if I'm suppose to forget all the crap she done to me and instead, listen to her pain. I suppose it's quite clear, she only viewed me as being a door-mat for her to wipe her messy shoes on.

    As stupid as it was for doing so, I listened to her frustration while keeping a tight hold on my own opinions due to a trust issues I have with her, I'm glad I did keep my opinions to myself. I never heard from her again until a week later when I found out she threw me under the bus like old time sake.

    Instead of wasting my time to confront the narcissistic trouble maker, I instead made a phone call to my phone company and had all her phone numbers blocked. She can have fun swimming with the Sharks now, I'll enjoy my life without her in it as always.

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  13. Hey there, C. Porter. What a great commentary on something many of us know only too well. Love your descriptions of how your ex-cousin in law treated you. Glad you were able to finally block her. Thanks for reading the post and thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  14. Anonymous12:03 PM

    Thank you. This helped me calm down after being thrown under the bus again by my cowardly boss. I may never work at a place where higher ups publicly 'get my back' and that is sadb ut glad to know I am not alone.

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    1. Hope it gets better for you. I'm always sad to hear someone is being taken advantage of or victimized in the workplace. Life is like a steering wheel. What goes around comes around.

      Here's to it getting better for you and the b@stards who throw us under the buses on the road we call life getting what they deserve.

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  15. Anonymous7:53 PM

    I've been tied up and glued down infront of a bus. In fact right now I'm under the bus. My friend got mad at me because I said an opinion about something that was not something to ignore (obviously) and throw someone under a bus for. It was just something about growing up that I did research about that she thinks she knows everything about.

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    1. Most people who throw others under the bus are reacting to feeling left out, or under-recognized. These people are jealous by nature. Sounds like that was the case with your friend.

      I used to think being nice to these people (the Christian way) was the way to deal with them - you know... take the high road. But they don't want that from the people they are victimizing.

      So for me ... I blog about them. They don't really know, but I feel way better. I wrote this blog post years ago and people are still commenting. And it's my second most popular post on this blog having over 10,000 visitors come to that page. Amazing.

      In fact, some of my friends who have read this post are CERTAIN they know who I'm talking about. But so far they've all been wrong. Some have guessed on but not the other - but that proves a point... that this feeling of being "thrown under the bus" is something we all live with.

      Best to you. And thanks for stopping by.

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  16. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Dear Mindie, Thank you for writing this blog. I was thrown under the bus at a health care institution that is supposed to be kind and compassionate, and, also, at an academic setting that is supposed to be training and modeling ethics and empathy !!! You have offered excellent advice and I am very grateful you shared your wisdom. Yes I would rather be imperfect me than a tormentor .

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  17. Excellent blog. I was recently thrown under the bus at work by a long time friend. NEVER saw it coming. I have known her for 10 years and worked with her for 5. We are neighbors, friends and co-workers. I've been to the mat with her. But apparently the office was her turf and, when I started doing well and was up for a bonus/raise, she sat up a Greyhound route right over my back. The thing is, I've seen her do that to others and, while I thought it was mean, I never thought she'd do it to me. Oh how stupid I was. We are now "acquaintances" and co-workers and hell will freeze over before I turn my back on her again. Lesson learned. Painfully.

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