There are creatures and there are ‘creatures’
This picture of the baby sloth was in ‘The Age’ newspaper today and I couldn’t resist placing it in this post. It comes from a story about the Costa Rica Sloth Sanctuary.
I’d love to write about cute creatures, but this post is about the not-so-cute ones.
In my About page I say I’ve worked in some interesting places – one of them being a crocodile farm (in the 90’s). In 2000 I moved to the city and since this time have worked in a large government department. Come next year (when my house is restored to its former glory) I’ll be leaving my high-flying, high-stress job and heading back to the country. And I must say – I’m looking forward to it.
Working with crocodiles is a dangerous, challenging and wonderful experience. They have beautiful green eyes and amazingly soft leather. I’ve watched them hatch and felt the incredible strength of their teeth (when they’re only a few seconds old!). I’ve had a tug-o-war with a 750 kilo croc called Agro when my
stupid boss dropped his sunglasses into an enclosure and asked me to ‘keep Agro busy’ with a stick while he retrieved them. Naturally, when Agro gripped my stick I was never going to win that battle. But at least I held on long enough for my boss to get his sunglasses back.
Living with snakes can also be dangerous, challenging and wonderful. On the farm I’ve done the ‘snake hop’ several times. Twice when pythons fell out of mango trees onto my head and twice when I inadvertently stepped on them in the dark. I’ve battled a taipan with a broom (and we both lived to tell the tale) and I’ve relocated several green tree snakes from bathrooms and roads back to their trees.
Crocodiles and snakes can be deadly – but at least you know where you stand when you face one.
City creatures are different.
In my 12 years working in government I’ve learned that you can come face to face with crocodiles and snakes and not recognise them - they are disguised as people.
Real creatures attack for a reason. They’re either protecting their turf, are hungry, or you’ve frightened them (or trodden on them in my case). But disguised creatures are different. They often attack for no reason at all.
It’s my nature to protect (hey – I’m a mum) and when I see someone being bullied or abused I will step in and try to stop it. Reflecting back on the last 12 years I’ve spent in the city jungle I thought I’d share with you what I have learned.
This sharing experience is about bullies:
- Once you defend someone who is being bullied, chances are you’ll become the target
- If you stand up to bullies they will usually back down
- Managers are inherently afraid of conflict and confrontation and therefore tend to bury their heads in the sand
- If a bully is pumping out the work – all is forgiven (regardless of the train-wrecks left behind)
- Bullies are psychopaths and they can turn on the charm to management (while simultaneously cracking skulls with their boots)
- Victims don’t want to be victims so they would rather move to another job than defend themselves and be labelled a ‘whinger’
Of course it’s not just the workplace that has this problem with bullies; schools are renowned for it.
Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever seen bullying and tried to stop it? Is it rife where you are?