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.