By Fareeha Qayoom
I knew this in the abstract but I only saw a practical demonstration in real life when one of my ex-colleagues left for a better opportunity recently.
In retrospect, I realized he was a very negative, competitive, jealous and envious kind of a person who didn’t like anyone to be happy – if you were in a good mood, he would do his best to bring you down or evil eye you.
If you wore a new tee or pair of jeans, he would start picking on you.
If he saw you being friendly to someone other than him or saying something nice about them when they were not there, he would start telling you horror stories about them (in an effort to make you change your mind or good opinion about them).
If anyone got promoted or got a perk or did well at his job (even if he worked in another company – vendor or customer) or another department, he would be considerably unhappier and would complain loudly and frequently on the lack of growth opportunities in our company and our department.
He never had anything nice or positive to say about anything but would always come up with a nasty, mean quip to tear you down, diminish you and make you feel small. All day long, he would complain, grumble, and nit-pick, criticize, moan, and whine about this, that or the other.
With the boss, he would exaggerate his efforts and diminish everyone else’s. He would give the impression that he was the only one in the team who was sincerely and honestly working for the company all hours – the rest were free loaders, lazy and incompetent fools and were there having a good time at company expense while he picked up all the slack.
All his mistakes were someone else’s and any negligence and incompetence belonged to me or my team. On top of that, according to him, he didn’t have enough staff and his workload was astronomical so he frequently off loaded some of his job responsibilities over to us. He had three people working for him. I had one. He frequently caused scenes, picked fights on email and verbally and bullied the whole team to make us all toe his line.
He was also mean with money. He was always getting the boss or me to foot the bill for impromptu lunches on slow days at fancy restaurants at work for the whole team but he never offered to buy us lunch ever, let alone a cup of coffee or dessert. He was always acting as if he was low paid or hard up and couldn’t afford to pay for his own lunch even. He would penalize junior colleagues for some minor misdemeanor by making them pay for ice cream or dessert or samosas for the whole team…
Bottom line, he was like water on stone…drip, drip, drip bringing the whole tone of the place down.
The minute he left, we all noticed a marked difference in everyone’s mood and demeanor. The whole team was considerably happier, even the boss became much more even tempered. I think he used to contribute to her bad moods as well. He was truly a toxic human being.
He is just one example. But there are so many unhappy, negative people around, especially in Pakistan – our whole culture revolves around criticizing someone, complaining about someone, ganging up and bullying someone, picking on someone who is different, bitching, complaining, moaning, groaning, whining, carping, we spend all our lives just talking negative – in our homes, schools, workplaces, television programs, newspapers…
I find it tiring (Yes, I keep complaining about all this negativity!). In fact, come think of it, I find human relationships exhausting. They are too high maintenance.
I’d rather read a good book, listen to good music or watch a good comedy or a show or do something on my own than spend all my energy and time listening to colleagues, friends and family, not to mention, journalists, television personalities, politicians and total strangers spend their considerable time criticizing, moaning and groaning publicly and privately, it really drives me nuts.