They wake up in the morning like every other employee, get dressed like any other, have breakfast like any other and turn up for work, like any other. So, what is really wrong with them? Simple, they have minds that discuss, bully, control vulnerable stuff or students, if at school. They are puppeteer always looking for puppets to put a string on to fulfil their side agenda. Sadly, there are also willing puppets ready to be employed and help. Their victims suffer misery, isolation and humiliation. The aim of the puppeteer, or rather employees from hell, is to see their victims downfall for known or unknown reason. They make others want to give up their jobs, feel suicidal, stressed and become violent in defence. They are staff who destroy others emotionally.
Where there is a puppeteer employee, there is a “case of a rotten tomato” in the make. This is when a tomato in a basket full of other tomatoes cracks. If not quickly noticed it will go bad, leak on other tomatoes and the whole basket put at risk of going bad. If it is noticed on time, the broken tomato, if not smelling yet can be used for a good healthy soup. But if left noticed or unnoticed, one ends up having to get rid of all the tomatoes in the basket because they would have been infected and gone bad too. So, to save the other tomatoes, someone has to remove the broken tomato and decide if it’s still good for soup or if it should be thrown away immediately.
When the new employee started, she was welcomed by all, and settled in well. The big boss even bought her a coffee as he introduced her to the team she would be working with. Later he handed her into the hands of Paula. “You will be in these good hands”, he said and he left. Jane had always wanted to work for this Airline for years because of its reputable company and its vast awards of customer services and best portrayal of its brand. After years, she had finally joined in, in the Flight Operations department, thus fulfilled her passion. Indeed she was in good hands. Paula was friendly that they even chatted about other personal things. Back at home, Jane had told everyone about Paula. She was just a good and friendly workmate, maybe the best. What Jane didn’t know was that as good as Laura was, she was a senior Puppeteer, one of those ‘Employees from hell’. When she was not working, she was busy recruiting puppets.
For those who do not know the definitions of Puppet and Puppeteer; a Puppet is “a small figure of a person or animal, having a cloth body and hollow head, designed to be fitted over and manipulated by the hand”. and a Puppeteer is the hand or the person manipulating the puppet from above by strings attached to its jointed limbs.
Anybody in the company or organization can be a father at home, a husband, a wife, a brother, a sister, but unfortunately a puppet or puppeteer at work, some without even knowing it, but however, at the end of this story you may know whether you are one or not, or whether you would want to do something about it or not. If not, someone else responsible would probably notice and take necessary action with all due respect.
However, the story continues; It only took one sentence from Paula to show her true colors and she even said it louder so Jane could here, “I don’t like Jane, I pretend to like her, lets just pretend we like her, I want her to leave”. So this was discussed at the table with the team leader, Janet. Paula had already recruited a puppet for herself when she opted from using singular “I” to “we”. Janet giggled in agreement, like a high school girl under peer pressure, to please Laura who looked like she had some power over her. They both looked at Jane sarcastically and continued to giggle. Yes these were adults at work, someone’s, mother, wife, partner. Though Janet was a supervisor, she was one without leadership skills or team spirit and she watched as Paula took a hammer and breaks her team, putting its performance in jeopardy. No-one asked why?, they just danced to the tune.
Newly recruited Puppet Janet, yes, the inefficient team leader had a weakness! lets humbly call it “puppet syndrome”. If you have a puppet syndrome others can put strings on you anytime, anywhere and manipulate you. Janet agreed to hating, without knowing the reason why. Janet was well-educated, very intelligent, thus the position of team leader, but she had a weakness that was not easily detected, and neither did she herself know it, the puppet syndrome. Her team composed of five people and Jane was the sixth, they worked closely and produced results. Why Janet agreed to hate and give someone a new employee a hard time and why Paula seemed to have some form of control over her, no-one would ever know.
By the way the team composed of now three ladies and three gentlemen. Anyone can be a puppet, male or female. After it was laid on the table to hate Jane, some still would not hate, but neither did they question the reason behind it, some happily gave in to giving Jane a hard time until she decides to leave. All because Paula did not like her. That, brought peer pressure when the well feared Puppeteer Paula’s hate virus started to slowly spread. The men would talk to Jane when Laura was not around but as soon as she appeared on the scene, the environment would change. Team leader and puppet, Janet, became Paula’s first class puppet and quickly got promoted to recruiting the gentlemen to become puppets as well. The men were not easily manipulated as they refused to be put on strings. Puppet Jane had to put more action into it to recruit these men so that they would be enticed without knowing. Soon invitations to after work drinks, functions, birthdays and weekends out were being sent by e-mails that exclude Jane. Cookies were being brought from home and served for tea, to the five members of the team of course. This perfectly worked, the rest was discussed and planted at these social events outside work. At work, after weekend events, there would be discussions, laughter and updates which Jane had no idea happened and so would not join in. Eats and brews started being ordered and passed around the table by Janet, the senior puppet, to all other little potential puppets, all excluding Jane.
Jane being new, with a human resources background had learned what was going on and decided to use some of her skills to knock the walls down so she could enter and fit in somewhere. Sadly Paula the Puppeteer was sealing inside with cement that no matter how hard Jane tried breaking with a hammer she would find the inside core was cemented and stop. Deciding to chat with the guys was better, they would chat with her, at least she would say a sentence or two for the day, just to remain sane. But, Paula the puppeteer would always appear when she sees it happening and the environment would change. She would take over and talk about weekend events that excluded Jane.
It was back at schools where girls were snobby. These were male adults who were infected by the puppet syndrome but had not yet been promoted as they could not fully give in. Yes mature man with families back at home who were under peer pressure at work for some reason, trying to please Paula.
It was strange, and bizarre for Jane to sit at the nest of tables each and everyday with a team that had agreed not to interact with her, involve her and disliked her. Jane still held on her own because, being new, she didn’t know who to trust anymore. This caused her misery, isolation and stress. Her dream of working for this reputable airline that bragged about “The Experience” of their services, had other forms of hidden unexposed “experiences” going on inside that one would not be able to categorize as just hatred, discrimination or just an act of a bunch of Puppets and Puppeteers, either way it is bullying at work. It could happen directly or indirectly. Besides, other employees from other departments were very nice and friendly, giving the airlines a very good name and meaning to their “the experience” theme. So it could have been just her department that had a puppeteer which the head of this department, the manager, supervisors were too blind to see or could not be bothered to do anything about it or even could be seeing it but pretending not to. Even worse, they could be puppets themselves. Jane found it hard to come up with a problem when she was still very new, so she hung in there.
Jane failing to understand why even head of department could see clearly the isolation of a new employee and what was happening and did nothing. She had wondered if after just a month of starting work it was the right thing to do to report what was happening. Since the idea of wanting her to leave was discussed at the puppets table, Jane was not even sure how many were member puppeteers. Jane is still there at work but every morning she struggles to go there and be miserable.
Stress and violence at work is not caused by work only, more of it is caused by other employees behaving badly towards others, and even on none related stuff. Sooner or later victims want to defend themselves if they can’t get any help or find their way out of it.
People are bullied because of several reasons, it could be their clothes, hair, good work, complexion, weight etc., whether good or bad. Either of these can be too good or too bad in the eyes of the Puppeteer or Bully. So, the earlier one raises the issue, the better. Yes there could be consequences, but the issue is raised and recorded in-case, it’s followed by threats and violence or life is put in danger.
Don’t forget to ask yourself what kind of employee, or student you are. If you are a puppet or puppeteer, its time to make a change, become a good employee today.
What would you do if you were Jane?. Solve the case.
NOTE: Based on a true story. Real names replaced. Company Exists. The case was solved.