A Poor Management Decision or What?

When this happened, I felt great shame and humiliation.

I took a step way outside the box when I applied for another position at work. Gladys had decided to leave the company. She did the job of two people so there were two positions open. I didn’t have the qualifications to review contracts, but I did have the ability to make sure all the documentation was in place and set up projects and new customers. I got the job and they employed a part-time lawyer to review the contracts.

My boss told me that this job was my baby. As time progressed, my job evolved into more than just setting up projects and customers and I became a glorified coordinator. All contracts were sent to me. If they were outside of our written contract format, I sent them out for review to the lawyer. Otherwise I sent them for signature from both the client and from the signer in our company; found out who was going to run the project; made sure that the credit check had been done on new customers; ensured that we had all the legal documents in place including the purchase orders and continued to follow up on these things until we had them all in hand.

I closed projects out in a timely manner; followed the ‘exception to the rule’ protocol; identified situations where work had started without the proper paperwork; helped set up a way to track the amount used on a blanket purchase order as well as identify situations where work started without a purchase order or where the purchase order had been exceeded. I started to develop a way where we could track our bid estimate on a project against the actual results so that the engineers could see how accurate their bids were and make the required adjustments in future bids.

I made all this visible to management and operations via a Sharepoint list. Management liked it. I worked closely with Sales, Operations, and the Finance Department. I received bonuses and a lot of praise for my work.

Then a year and a half later, my boss called me up. “I wanted to tell you, before someone else told you, Gladys is coming back. They are firing the lawyer and she will be reviewing the contracts. The CFO didn’t want her to come as she had left the company twice, but our boss wanted her to come back because the lawyer isn’t able to look at the operational impact of the contract and so she has to do it and the turn around time is too slow”.

My heart instantly lurched into my stomach. Gladys and I are very different. I am very detailed orientated; Gladys liked to cut corners to get things done on time and hated to have to do anything extra. She also didn’t make the sales people accountable and would move ahead without the proper paperwork in place. I knew this because I had often found myself in a position where a work order had to be invoiced without any pricing in place. Gladys also hated SharePoint.

When I took on the job, I was given instructions to create different processes and to gatepost certain things. This I did. In developing the new processes, I found out from all the departments what their needs were. To do this, I set up meetings to discuss their requirements and develop processes that would worked for everyone and with which my managers approved of. Everyone seemed really happy or so I thought.

My boss said that he would have no trouble saying something to Gladys if she didn’t follow the processes and would keep her in check even though she was going to work directly with his boss and not him. I was really nervous about the situation but thought that if my boss would keep Gladys in line, then it would be manageable.

Gladys was going to start just after Christmas. I tried to forget about the changes that were going to happen over the Christmas period. I was on vacation over Christmas and tried to keep busy so that I didn’t have time to think.

All too soon, I had to return to work and face this new dynamic.

It did not start off well.

Gladys didn’t want to know about the new processes. She started doing the work that I did and I had no paper trail to know what was going on. By the end of the week, I was told that she was going to be my boss. Her boss said that we would make a good team.

It had taken me a long time to get the confidence of my colleagues. Gladys had been well liked. I didn’t do things the same way as Gladys did. I was firm in keeping the processes as I had been requested to do. The processes kept people accountable.

Gladys started to run me down in emails to colleagues saying that I didn’t know what I was doing. She wouldn’t follow the processes. She told me that Sharepoint sucked.

She and I were duplicating the work and it was annoying the departments. I lost my authority as everyone paid more attention to what she said than following the processes.

She called me up and asked me to talk to her about the friction that I was feeling. As I started to explain the processes, she talked over me and yelled at me to shut up. ‘Who the hell do you think you are?’ She yelled.

I realized that this was not going to work. She was now in charge of my baby. I was being put back into a position of being ‘just a processor’; to take orders. I rang her boss up and said that this was not going to work. She said that she was aware that there was a problem going on and had an idea about another position for me. She just had to get permission from the CFO and HR before offering it to me.

She received permission and I was offered a job as the Sales Tax Accountant. She asked me to attack the job with my usual enthusiasm. I can’t say that I was very motivated. I was humiliated by the whole situation. I was embarrassed. I was grieving a job that I had enjoyed so much and had put so much effort into. I wondered what I had done wrong. I knew of no other way to handle the situation. I had felt powerless.

I was now in a corner. I was being trained to do sales tax by a bully who was very controlling, wouldn’t answer my questions, wanted me to do things by rote rather than by understanding, put me down all the time, criticized me, talked down to me and demoralized me. I was now on a team that was reactive rather than proactive and didn’t want new ideas or any contribution to improve processes. I was also in a situation where I was micro managed.

I totally understood why the company needed Gladys’ expertise. However, bringing Gladys back totally ruined my career. I was surprised that they created a new position for me. The whole situation left me very confused for over a year.

I am finally over my grief. I keep my head down. Do my job. Don’t interact much with anyone. My writing now provides the creative outlet that I had in my previous jobs.

However, I still wonder, as I did throughout the grieving process, whether the whole idea to bring Gladys back again and the way it was handled, was a poor decision by management or what?

What are your thoughts?

(First Published in Roaming Brit on 23rd May, 2018)

‘Making Waves’ by Luke Martin-Jones

There was a distinct chill in the air, lots of glum faces; a rumbling of discontent throughout the school, as pupils digested the latest attempt to reshape our place of learning, conforming to more traditional ideals. It was a few days earlier that each of us were given a letter to hand to our parents announcing the introduction of a new school uniform in keeping with the schools new name and status within the community in which it served. In was 1983, I was in my second year of senior school, at a time when Britain was suffering the spectre of recession. Money was in short supply, unemployment was high and the cost of living out of control. The last thing families needed was another bill to contend with; the price of our new identity would not come cheap. Understandably disaffection was bubbling to the surface, as pupils decided to take matters into their own hands.

It was late afternoon, double Science, probably one of my least liked subjects. Looking around the room, there seemed to be a lot of absences, the class was rather sparse and lackluster; the few of us who were there had thoughts elsewhere. As I glanced out of the window onto the playground below, I could see a group of students milling about, talking, shaking their heads, arms raised in consternation. Even I felt anxious and I didn’t know why. There was an atmosphere of revolution and insurrection; rebellion was in the air.

I could hear whispers behind my back, two classmates talking about joining the growing throng outside. One tapped me on the shoulder, ‘are you coming?’ they said. Confused I asked what they meant; I was oblivious to events unraveling around me. ‘We are going on strike; there’s a protest on the all weather pitch, everyone will be there!’ they exclaimed, encouraging me to join them and make our voices heard. I understood that there could have been a demonstration about the new rules being introduced at the school, but really brushed them aside as ‘just talk.’ I was surprised that my friends were taking matters into their own hands and a little apprehensive about what would happen to those of us who took part!

Briefly I thought about what I should do; looking out the window, I could see more and more classmates joining ‘pupil power’ in action. I turned back to face my peers, nodding my head in agreement. As our Science Teacher continued his lesson on photosynthesis, I duly packed my brown adidas bag and abruptly left the room, all three of us heading downstairs. ‘What do you think you are doing? Come back here now!’ I heard Mr Roche shout as we left the room; running quickly down the stairs and outside into the busy thoroughfare below, we joined everyone else in our campaign for justice!

I don’t remember the exact number who took part that day, though it was quite a few. Chanting and cursing we made our way through the school and onto the playground beyond, refusing to move until the powers that be, retracted the requirement for compulsory school uniforms. A sit down protest on the edge of school created waves, as teachers tried to encourage us to return to class. Of course as time went on and stomachs began to groan, pupils started to leave anyway. In truth when I look back to this time, I was carried along with the sea of emotion surrounding this stance. I really didn’t care if I had to wear a shirt and tie or not, in fact it was the best thing for the school, but when you become part of a crowd you tend to follow the course, losing all sense of reality, forgetting just what the initial action was about in the first place. As children, fickle to the core, a few hours off last thing in the afternoon, became our overriding ambition.

The school uniform remained, those of us who took part were given detention and we had our day in the local rag but the reasons for our discontent didn’t go away. Changing the identity of anything, whether school, person or brand, can only be done with the support and influence of all of those impacted. In future pupils and parents were consulted every step of the way. New rules were implemented without the frustration and anger that surfaced that day.

(First Published in Roaming Brit on 16th May, 2018)

The Tale of the Cauliflower Who Couldn’t.

This is the tale of the cauliflower who couldn’t.

There were two hundred children in my year at senior school. As I have mentioned before, due to the school being built up around us, for cooking lessons we travelled to Fareham Technical College. As there were so many of us, I only remember having two cooking lessons there – probably one in the first year and one in the second year.

The day that we were being taught to cook cauliflower cheese was the day that my cooking skills rose to the highest level they would ever obtain. We were in a different room than the one where we made our fruit crumbles and I wasn’t with anyone that I knew. I remember the room being much lighter, however, my anxiety in this situation was not very light.

I was relieved when the cauliflower was in the saucepan. One thing down, one to go. I began the rue sauce. My heart was pounding as I began the process. I could follow directions, what was so hard about this? Was it because I didn’t know what the end product looked like? Was it because it was one of my first exposures to doing this myself? Was it because I was in a strange and unfamiliar place? I was relieved when the rue sauce was thick. I added the cheese and it melted.

However, I was stuck. My cauliflower had not cooked. Everyone had their cauliflower cheese in the oven. Mine was still simmering away in the saucepan. I poked it with the knife. Still hard. The teacher came over and poked it with the knife. “Give it another five or ten minutes,” she said.

The others were taking their cauliflower cheeses out of the oven and letting them cool before we went home. Mine was still boiling happily away in the saucepan. I poked it with the knife. Still hard. The teacher came over and poked it with a knife. “You’ll have to finish this off when you get home. Drain it off. Put it in your casserole dish. Put the cheese sauce over the top. Wash up.”

For some reason, this cooking exploit felt like a colossal failure. I felt like my faux pas had been exposed in public. The tale does not end here. When I got home, I explained about the ‘cauliflower who couldn’t’ to my mother. She said, “Well, we will finish cooking it in the oven’. On went the oven. An hour later, she took out the cauliflower cheese. She poked her knife into it! Yep, you’ve guessed it – hard as a rock!

To this day, I do not know why the cauliflower couldn’t, wouldn’t cook. Maybe this experience is why I tend to always overcook cauliflower now? It is now a standard joke in the family as are my mad cooking skills! However, it is good to have something to laugh about, right?

Cauliflower Cheese

Ingredients:

A Cauliflower;
1 oz Margarine;
1 oz Flour;
1/2 Pint of Milk;
2 – 4 oz Grated Cheese;
Salt & Pepper;
1 tbsp Breadcrumbs.

Method:

1. Take off any part of the leaves that are withered. Wash cauliflower. (I personally now, cut the cauliflower into smaller florets);

2. Put the cauliflower into some slightly salted water, bring to the boil until tender (Hopefully, yours won’t take as long as mine did!);

Meanwhile make the Cheese Sauce as follows:

1. In a saucepan, melt the margarine. Add flour. Stir together until sandy. Cook gently for 1 minute.

2. Take the saucepan off the heat and gradually add milk, stirring all the while.

3. Put the saucepan back on the heat. Stirring continually, bring the sauce up to the boil. Turn the heat down a little and cook until sauce is a thick consistency.

4. Take the saucepan off the heat. Add seasoning to taste. Add 3/4 of the cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted.

Assembly:

1. Drain the cauliflower and put into a casserole dish.

2. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower.

3. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and add the breadcrumbs.

4. Put in the oven (395 F, 200 C, Gas Mark 7) for about 20 minutes or under the grill and cook until cheese is bubbling and starts to turn a little brown.

(First published in Roaming Brit on 8th May, 2018)

Luke Martin-Jones

I first ‘met’ Luke when he published a post in our school group on Facebook. He was asking for short-stories or photos about Fareham Park School for a book that he was writing. At first, I was thinking whether I or my mum had any old school photos from junior school. Soon after, I wondered if I could share some events that I could remember at school.

The next day, I reached out to Luke to see what kind of stories he wanted and what kind of style he was looking for. He was very magnanimous with his time and said I could get a feel for what he was looking for on his blog where he had written a few articles on his childhood.

 

 

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Later in the day, I went on his blog and read a couple of his related articles. My mind kicked into action and I started thinking. (Which is really dangerous!). My penchant for perfectionism swung in and I had to read Luke’s blog from the beginning. It took me a couple of weeks. Luke’s bravery and courage, his honesty and love for writing hit me square in the face. Luke, through his writing, gifted me with the daring to write again.

Luke has encouraged me the past few months to write for his blog, Roaming Brit. As I started to write, I started to think. It has been a very long time since I have really thought. I usually keep myself really busy so I don’t have time to think. Now my thoughts are racing and writing has become therapeutic and a passion. I am so grateful to Luke for this gift.

Since Luke has been so generous in asking me to be a regular guest blogger on his site, I now look forward to featuring his articles here. Please find his first article for Once Upon A Wren before this one.

Welcome Luke! It’s great to have you onboard!

24

I had just fallen asleep; no more than half an hour ago. I remember looking at the clock before I drifted away, it was 10.24pm. I could see the bright hall light at the foot of my bedroom door. Even then I had to have the room dark, no luminescence at all, covering anything up that interrupted my line of sight; I just couldn’t sleep otherwise! Despite my need for darkness, I was always scared of the night, often diving under the covers at the slightest hint of something suspicious in the room. Like the story of my life, I was contradictory in every sense of the word; most definitely the product of a bipolar mind.

I woke up panicking twenty four minutes later; another bad dream. I often experienced those strange reoccurring visions that never went away; I still do. I was standing in a newly ploughed field, not a soul in sight for miles around. Behind me was a small white house, rather dishevelled, leaning slightly to one side; broken windows, broken door; holes in the roof, illuminating the abandonment inside. The number on the letterbox, held on by a single screw, was 24. In front of me was a tall white picket fence, with no gate, a barrier yet to cross. This was the first time I remembered this dream and wouldn’t be the last. The details changed a little over the years, but essentially the theme was always the same.

I could feel the warm light of day on my face, eyes still tightly shut, avoiding the early morning sun; Mother banged on my bedroom door. ‘It’s time to get up, you’ll be late for school!’ she shouted firmly walking back downstairs. I laid there for just a moment remembering the night; once again the number twenty four popped into my head. This number meant something to me and I didn’t know what. I was always a young lad who thought too much, reading significance into the most ‘matter of fact,’ ordinary events.

Last thing in the afternoon, before home time, it was double mathematics. I hated it despite getting an O level in the subject. I would often day dream, thinking about what I could write in my journal, my passion, even at eleven years old. In front of me, sat my orange coloured exercise book, pristine and clear, not a mark or blemish anywhere to be seen. I picked up a black biro and began doodling on the surface. The number twenty four, enclosed with a ring of ink; again and again I wrote the number down, heavier and heavier each time, marking the pages inside. What was that number all about, what did it mean to me and why was it still in my head. I sat there glazed eyes, shook my head, trying to shake the number from my mind. I got a smack across my knuckles that day for defacing my work book, but was worth it; a reminder of things to come.

As a young boy growing up, I always remembered the dream, the time on the clock, the number in my head; it remains with me to this very day. At twenty four years old I met my partner, in 1995; the most significant moment in my life. I’m expecting great things on our twenty fourth anniversary next year. The first house we bought together was, yup you guessed it, number twenty four; a beautiful stone cottage on the Lancashire Yorkshire boarder and the house we moved to in Spain, when we left the UK was once again the number twenty four.

I am a firm advocate of fate and believe this number runs through my life line, playing a major role in my destiny. Mumbo jumbo, I hear you say, well maybe you are right, but maybe you’re not. For me it is special; a reminder of my childhood and a suggestion of my future as yet unknown. It isn’t until it pops up again that I recall its importance, just like today, at the checkout in Mercadona, 24,24€!

(First published in Roaming Brit on 2nd May, 2018)

Cooking Exploit One.

100_0653-8It one were to say that I was renowned for my cooking skills, it would be an understatement. I am the queen of cooking flops. Even my children still laugh at the memory of pork chops setting off the smoke alarms, not just once but several times.

Being the first year through Fareham Park Comprehensive School, we attended school as it was being built around us. We didn’t have the home economic facilities until we were third year seniors (aged about thirteen) so, before that time, our cooking classes were outsourced to Fareham Park Technical School.

The school employed a seven day time table so our class schedules had a nice long rotation. Some things like music lessons, embroidery club, after school sports and so forth practiced the usual five day week schedule.

We walked to school. Every day we had our satchels ladened with our books, homework, folders, paper, pencils, rulers, slide rules, pens and our lunch. Some days we had to carry more: freshly laundered PE kits, musical instruments and music, embroidery projects, and there were those days, when we also had cooking class and had to take to school all the fresh ingredients for the receipe and the dish to bring it home in. How the heck did we do it?

Cooking did not start off well. One of my first cooking lessons was making a fruit crumble.

I was feeling so grown up on the day that we went to Fareham Park Technical College for a cooking lesson. Ladened with plastic bags containing a Pyrex dish, a large tin of rhubarb, a bag of flour, a bag of sugar and some margarine, I followed the others into a large room with ovens, cupboards and white, horizontal tables arranged in groups of three. I was assigned to sit with two boys, Robert and Fritz. Both boys assumed that because I was a girl, I knew how to cook. This lady cooked toast and cereal and that was about it. They sought my advice from the get go. It was kind of nice to be looked up to. So I winged it.

The first thing that we did was to get all our ingredients out on the table and our receipe. Some people had tins of peaches, others tins of pears, My mum had given me a tin of rhubarb. We were shown where we could find a bowl to mix the crumble, spoons, tin openers, colanders, and how to preheat the oven.

The second item of business was to undo the tin of fruit that we had bought and strain off the juices. Tough stuff this cooking! Not wanting to waste anything, I commented to the boys that it was a shame to waste the rhubarb juice. Their eyes lit up. “We’ll have it!” They exclaimed. “Are you sure?” I asked. “Oh yes!” They said. So I shared the juice out between them in some cups. They doused it down and I put the rhubarb into my mum’s Pyrex dish.

We got on with our crumble, weighing out the flour, sugar and margarine. We began rubbing in the marg to the flour. The boys started washing their hands with some urgency. ‘Are you finished already?’ I asked them. They looked at me quickly and rushed out of the room. I felt a little abandoned.

I continued to rub in the margarine. It wasn’t very fun as I got my hands dirty. I added the sugar, stirred it in, and put the crumble mixture on top of the rhubarb. About ten minutes after they had left, the boys ambled back into the room. My crumble was ready to go into the oven. By the time I got back from the oven a few yards away, the boys were running towards the door again.

“What were they doing?” I started cleaning up the table and getting the bowls and other utensils that I had used washed up whilst I waited for the crumble to cook. It would take just over half an hour.

The boys sauntered back in again looking a little ashened. The teacher told them to hurry up and get their crumble done. They got back to their bowls. When I had finished washing up, I sat down at the table. With nothing to do, I watched the activity of the boys. They looked up and whispered ‘Rhubarb juice’. ‘Rhubarb juice?” I questioned. “Yes, we will NEVER drink rhubarb juice again!” Suddenly the penny dropped and I suppressed a giggle.

So first lesson in cooking:

1. Know the properties of your ingredients;
2. Don’t share your rhubarb juice if you are trying to impress male friends;
3. Only give your rhubarb juice to your enemies.

Rhubarb Crumble

Ingredients:

One tin of Rhubarb;
4oz butter or margarine;
6oz plain flour;
2oz caster sugar

Method:

1. Heat the oven (Gas Mark 6, 400 degrees F 200 degrees C);
2. Drain juice of rhubarb (and be cautious who you give the juice to);
3. Put rhubarb in the bottom of a pie dish;
4. Rub the butter or margarine lightly into the flour until I resembles coarse breadcrumbs;
5. Stir in the sugar;
6. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit and press down lightly;
7. Sprinkle the top with sugar and bake in the centre of the oven for 45-50 minutes;
8. Service with hot custard!

(First published in Roaming Brit on 1st May, 2018)

Gossip or Pride?

100_0653-7During a trip back to Minnesota last year for training on my new job, my trainer whispered conspiratorially that she thought that our manager gave her work that she thought that her manager should do. “I’m not the one who has to write the reports”, she said. Earlier in the day, she had spoken to me not so quietly that the previous payroll person was just awful at the job. “I always had to correct him”, she exclaimed. “He just couldn’t do the job. I had to keep telling him the same thing over and over again!” She also told me that the new payroll person, wasn’t picking up the job as quickly as her past experience indicated that she could.

I didn’t respond to any of her comments. I should have come back with something a lot stronger than silence. My mind wasn’t so quiet. I knew the previous payroll person. He had left the company because of the way my trainer had treated him for the past eighteen months. She had been demoralizing him and criticizing him constantly. In a state of anguish, he had finally resigned. He had told me that he really liked the company and the other people that he worked with, but he just couldn’t take any more from my trainer who had made his life unbearable and caused him so much stress and degradation. I was quite astounded that she would also say something about her manager. She and the manager were pretty cozy.

image-18I learned a long time ago when I lived in Climping (outside of Littlehampton in West Sussex) never to believe what another person tells me about someone else. I was serving in a church leadership position and needed to find someone to oversee the homemaking meeting for the ladies at church. I felt inspired to suggest a particular lady’s name. I will call her Lynn although this is not her real name. Lynn accepted the call to serve as the Homemaking Leader and I worked closely with her. When she was called, I was approached several times about Lynn with people telling me to be careful as Lynn was a terrible gossip and very unreliable. This information did affect my relationship with her at the beginning. However, I learned very quickly that Lynn was not like that. She was such a sweet lady and would do anything for anyone. She also never talked badly about anyone in my presence. After this specific learning experience, I vowed that I would make my own mind up about people and not listen to what others say.

On that trip to Minnesota, I had been working twelve hour days without breaks. On the day before I flew back home, I took a lunch break for an hour with one of my friends from work who had been brought into town at the same time. It was nice chatting with her and catching up on each other’s news. When I got back to my desk, I grabbed some papers that I wanted to scan in so I had access to them when I got back to Utah. Whilst I was at the photocopier, I heard my trainer say to my manager in a surreptitious manner, “She’s back!” That just confirmed to me that the trainer was also talking behind my back about me in a derogatory way just as she had our manager and the two payroll people.

This behaviour is a good example of duplicity – when a person will talk about somebody when they aren’t present in a critical and demeaning way – but wouldn’t dream of saying the same things to the person if they were there. It can be guaranteed that a person who exhibits this type of behaviour with you will be saying things about your weaknesses or other untruths to someone else when you are not there. This is the opposite of integrity. Having integrity means to be loyal to those who are not present. In these types of situations, one should defend those who are absent. When you defend those that are absent, you build trust with others. My husband is a very good example of this. My husband and his first wife are divorced but my husband never says a bad word about her. He never runs her down. I know that my husband will never talk badly about me to someone else even if we have had a disagreement.

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In an earlier post, I talked about the acronym of ‘HARD’. To review, this stands for:

Honest
Appropriate
Respectful
Direct

I spoke about how it was hard for me to be ‘Honest’ and ‘Direct’. I particularly find confrontation and speaking about my feelings to be difficult. This amounts to dishonesty as one is not being honest due to omission. It also leads to being just like my trainer. I won’t tell the person that I’m upset with them but I will vent to my husband or a close friend. I do not see much difference in that than with the behaviour of my trainer.

I am a great fan of Stephen R. Covey and reading his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ about sixteen years ago really helped me put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. He says in this book that ‘Integrity includes but goes beyond honest. Honesty is telling the truth – in other words, conforming our words to reality. Integrity is conforming reality to our words – in other words, keeping promises and fulfilling expectations’. He further extrapolated “Integrity also means avoiding any communication that is deceptive, full of guile, or beneath the dignity of people. ‘A lie is any communication with intent to deceive,’ according to one definition of the word. Whether we communicate with words or behaviour, if we have integrity, our intent cannot be to deceive.” (Pg 195 and 197).

Instead of remaining silent when my trainer was sharing information about my manager and the payroll personnel, there is an alternative choice. Stephen Covey puts it like this: ‘… Suppose you were to start criticizing our supervisor and I basically told you that I agree with the content of some of the criticism and suggest that the two of us go directly to him and make an effective presentation on how things might be improved. Then what would you know I would do if someone were to criticize you to me behind your back?” This is something for me to seriously consider doing when these circumstances present themselves again. That way I will be ‘honest’ and ‘direct’. This will take great courage but it will help me to be congruent with myself. This is what I need to aim for.

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It is easier to take the course of least resistance: to belittle, to criticize, to betray confidences, to gossip about others behind their back. This is also a form of pride. One form of pride manifests itself when one seeks to build oneself up by pulling another down. Belittling, criticizing and gossiping function to knock the person it is aimed at down; at the same time aggrandizing the perpetrator. Pride is really destructive and possessing it is the means of destroying an individual, a family, and a society. When one is seeking to build oneself up at the expense of another person there is no respect for another person; there is no love. Stepping all over another person to gain respect or success is detrimental and self-sabotaging. How can one trust a person who does this?

The way in which you treat one person says a lot about you. It shows whether you can be trusted or not. What I learned from my parents was to have values and to make choices in my life based on principles. When I interact with any people, I need to do so by maintaining the same set of principles across the board. I wish to be a person who has integrity. There are some cracks in my armour as I have just discussed and my goal is to close up these weaknesses by learning to be honest and direct with those that I associate with. It is a work in progress but the most important thing is to be moving in the right direction.

(First published in Roaming Brit on 24th April, 2018)