Ponderings While Pulling Trees

A little light musing, interspersed with pictures of the garden..

I was digging up a tree yesterday.

It’s the sort of work that I used to love when working at the legal coal face.

It meant I couldn’t actually think about anything else.

Hard work with a purpose, unlike a treadmill or a pain machine in the gym, took my mind away from wherever it wanted to go, whether I wanted it to go there or not.

And as I dug, and huffed and sweated, I listened, half heartedly to the radio.

There was a lot of chat about that poisoned pillock, John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons and his bullying, and how, given his position there’s not a lot that can be done about it.

Which made me think about some of the bullies I’ve worked with, or more often than not, for.

And one in particular. This person terrified me for many years. When I was interviewed for the job I sought, this person, alone amongst a panel of five, put me under some real pressure, with the questions posed.

The others, clearly, felt uncomfortable with what was happening and, jokingly tried to diffuse the atmosphere. Later I learnt the others desperately wanted me for the job, not so much because I was the right candidate but because, just then, I was the only one. They were prepared to scale back their questioning; number five was not. In their eyes, I still needed to be up to the job.

In future years I worked closely with this person and, on several occasions, my competence was publicly questioned.

Sometimes there was justification, some times not so much. I learnt to be very expressive with my facial expressions.

It was not the done thing, back then, to interrupt a briefing, but I learnt the hard way that not to interrupt at the point I was lost as to what we needed to do, meant I would probably never catch up and a public humiliation would probably follow.

So if I could look utterly discombobulated, the briefing would stop, I could ask my question and we could move on.

After five years working together, my nemesis told me, laughingly that they had told others to adopt my technique, since it was clearly working.

As the root emerged from the ground, it occurred to me that this ‘bullying’, for that is what it was, was in fact, for me, a harsh but effective proving ground.

It was a place where, if I let the standards slip, I was told so in an uncompromising way.

So I learnt to be well-prepared, on the money at the start and ready for as many contingencies as I could think up.

I also learnt that constantly breaking the china eventually leaves you without any plates and I was determined I would never be so lacking in empathy as was my old boss.

And as is the way of these things, I became a partner, I became the head of the department we both worked in and it fell to me to tell this person they had to go, because their contribution was no longer what we needed.

I lent on my spade and felt  rather sad.

I needed those many kicks to become the tougher nut that I became; by instinct I avoid confrontation and am too willing to compromise, probably.

I learnt when to go one way and when the other, so I could function in the rough and tumble of city life.

Sadly though my tutor failed to learn that they too needed to adapt.

Much like that bloody tree that had to come out.

Walkies, anyone?

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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22 Responses to Ponderings While Pulling Trees

  1. janmalique says:

    Wise words Geoff. The Universe has sent me many challenging situations and people as life lessons. I know I need to toughen up but a big part of me wants to engage in hand signals where bullies are concerned. Oops! Did I just say that aloud…🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  2. willowdot21 says:

    Beautiful garden Geoff, it’s so big and full of features it reminds me of Kew ! How is dogs poor paw?
    I empathise with the bullying reminiscences. I was bullied at school and work . I have had bosses who like to publicly belittle me, like you I see in retrospect in some cases it helped in others it did not. Yet here we are where we want to be…I wander how the bullies have fared. As for “John Becrow as you so aptly named him..us boo sucks. Have great day and see you soon 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ritu says:

    Gardening that beauty gives plenty of time for thought and reflection His Geoffleship!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this post Geoff, reading such a thought provoking subject in and amongst your beautiful photographs of your amazing garden and lovely pooch is brilliant. I too have worked with a few bullies and although, as a young person at the time, I allowed it to happen and didn’t know how to handle it, I actually look back at those experiences now as being important in teaching me how ‘Not’ to manage people. I have had various management posts and actually used them as examples in training, along with the other, higher percentage of excellent work colleagues and managers I have had the pleasure of working with 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your lovely garden and the fact you were sad at having to be the one to let that person go after years of degrading says a lot about your personality, Geoff. It’s easier to forge ahead than forgive, I believe you’ve accomplished both 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post. Splendid, enticing, photographs, and fine philosophy

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have to confess, while scrolling through my email, I thought your post said “pulling teeth”. lol. Beautiful photos! Love the pup 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Geoff the garden is gorgeous. It looks so peaceful — a great escape from thoughts about bosses. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This rings so many bells for us – most will nave been at the mercy of a brutish superior at some stage or other. I think the way we respond to it then and later says a lot about our ability to develop as a decent human being. Those who continue the trend because it was done to them – which is the case with most active bullies – are the ultimate losers in the humanity stakes. Great post Geoff, your garden is stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Erika Kind says:

    Nothing happens in vain. We take along something from everything and the hardest lessons cause the most effective development. Btw. way, wonderful photos, Geoff!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. JT Twissel says:

    My problem was always with the negative bullies – the people who say “that will never work” when you propose a solution and then they do everything in their power to make sure it doesn’t. I am so jealous of your garden!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I felt as though I had visited an arboretum when I looked at the tremendous variety in your yard. Who cares about bullies with beauty like that?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Widdershins says:

    We can give them only so much of our blood, sweat, and tears. After that there is no turning back and they are, gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Can I live in your garden? ❤
    I’m not fond of bullying personalities, either. Mine rarely encouraged growth, though they did teach me what to avoid doing as a leader.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Your garden is stunning. I really like this idea too, and your resulting thoughts. There’s a million potential books there, surely?

    Liked by 1 person

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