At an event recently I was approached where I sat at a table with others, by a person in charge. She spoke down to me, saying she had something to say and did I want to come out of the room. I said no that she could say it there. Where others were around, listening and watching.
I felt intimidated. As if I was going to get a row for something. It reminded me of school and being singled out for "special treatment". Getting sent of the room for misbehaving. Even worse, having to hold my hand out for the belt. Corporal punishment. Which I remember being subject to in Primary 3 at the Caley School in Perth.
The woman then said something about my tweets. Speaking down to me. It was bullying. There was no doubt about it. The last time I experienced something similar was in Stratheden Hospital on 4 February 2012 when 5 psychiatric nurses surrounded me where I sat in the IPCU dining room. Four of them standing, one sitting. It is etched in my mind.
Well the woman at the event mentioned the hashtag which she had created. As if she had control of it. I remember laughing at her. Incredulous. She sat down. I asked her what age she was and other stuff. By this time I was getting into my stride. But she had rattled me. I hadn't expected to be confronted in this way at an event which I had attended voluntarily.
The woman said that she respected me. I thought that she didn't know what the word "respect" meant. It definitely doesn't mean using strong arm tactics on an unwaged carer. That is out of order. It demonstrates an ineffective management style and bullying behaviour which is very detrimental in a workplace. [see blog post: culture, management and leadership; the issue of bullying and how to tackle it]
She put her hand on my arm. I told her to remove it. I really didn't appreciate her invading my space to that extent. Even the psychiatric nurses knew that was out of order with a carer. I asked the woman if she had considered other posts. It was my opinion by that point that she wasn't up to the job. Not if you have to resort to bullying so as to manage a situation.
Eventually I moved off to have a sandwich because it was lunchtime and I didn't want to miss the food. I left her sitting there at the table. She had lost control of the situation. Meanwhile I still had the afternoon to hear what others were saying and to speak out myself, in tweets and at the table discussions. Eventually getting the microphone at the end of the day to give feedback from our table.
I really don't appreciate strong arm tactics disguised as "respect". It is nothing less than bullying behaviour. I recommend that this woman undergoes extensive training in how to work with "difficult" (the word used by a senior social worker to me at the event) people and how to behave in challenging situations. How to de-escalate a situation rather than making things worse.