Six months after Darnell and I walked away from the workplace cesspool, that was Shady Grove Living Center, the fit finally hit the shan. I was outside walking my dog when a neighbor, who still worked at the nursing home, stopped me to relay some exciting news.
Beau, Harry, and Cammie, better known as “The Thieving Three,” had all been fired from the facility earlier that day- only an hour or two earlier, in fact. The news had traveled that fast!
She told me that the owners of the facility had suddenly shown up and had the three of them escorted off the property. An Acting Administrator took Beau’s place. A temporary Bookkeeper/Payroll Clerk and Head of Maintenance took the positions of Cammie and Harry.
Over the next few weeks, several others were fired as well. The DON (Director of Nursing) was let go after stealing narcotics to feed her addiction to pain pills, as were a few other nurses. The owners also terminated the dietary manager and several CNAs- who had all been loyal flying monkeys to The Thieving Three.
So many got the ax and within such a short amount of time. The owners cleaned that place out. After it was all said and done, I could probably count on one hand the people spared.
It was the buzz around town for well over a month. After they were terminated, Harry and Cammie were so scared and humiliated that they threw everything into two U-hauls and skipped town. Surprisingly, Shady Grove never pressed charges and I was told that it was because the nursing home was afraid that pressing charges might tarnish it’s reputation.
Harry and Cammie moved somewhere around middle, TN, somewhere close to the Tennessee River. Cammie ended up working for the County Medical Center there, in the same position she had at Shady Grove. Later, she committed the same crimes there; only the Medical Center didn’t let it slide as Shady Grove had.
They pressed charges and Cammie was found guilty. The judge sentenced her to three years in state prison but she only served two.
I’ll never forget the tyrannical reign of The Thieving Three over the employees of Shady Grove, and neither will I forget their downfall. This is why I firmly believe that most bullies usually get their just desserts in the end, just as these bullies did.
Sometimes, you must let your bullies do what they do until they get too cocky, too careless, and end up falling on their own swords.
I remember a night when one of the flying monkeys, Shelly, a CNA, approached me in the hall, from behind and began screaming, cursing, and threatening to jump me over a rumor that had it that I was stabbing her in the back.
She threatened to attack me there on the spot physically, and there were bystanders!
When I turned around, faced her, and called her out for being unprofessional, Shelly became twice as angry.
Later, I was afraid that I might face termination because Shelly had escalated the confrontation to an unprecedented level. Also, I’d seen so many others whom these people had pulled the same tactic on getting fired left and right!
I remember thinking,
“Well, if I do get canned, they won’t be able to say they didn’t have to work hard at achieving that goal! At the very least, I’ll leave here knowing I put up one hell of a fight!”
One of the bystanders was Deb, the charge nurse, and Shelly’s supervisor and buddy. Therefore, I knew that Deb would sweep Shelly’s behavior under the rug and paint me as the instigator.
Sure enough, she did. These people had a way of turning everything around to fit their narrative and getting others to agree with it.
The other guy was always to blame. It was always the other guy’s fault. It was never their fault, and they were never wrong.
They reported the incident to Darnell and suggested that he terminate me right then and there. When he talked to me about it, I calmly explained that Shelly had approached me from behind in a very threatening manner, that I feared for my physical safety, and didn’t know what she would do had I not faced her down.
And by this time, I’d worked under Darnell long enough that he knew the kind of person I was and that I was only taking care of myself.
A crowd of people surrounded the red man. Accusation of crime, mob law over a person, lynch court. The leader in the center of the crowd, the leader, an example for diving. Angry crowd
So, again, Darnell had my back and went to bat for me. Also, I had made an awesome friend out of Jane, who was another charge nurse at the nursing home. She, too, went to bat for me as did several of my coworkers.
Each time nothing happened to me, the bullies only became angrier and crazier, until they were all out for blood!
It was then that I starting noticing Jules hovering around in the hall just outside the door to the laundry room. Later, I’d see him milling around nearby anytime I’d stop in the hallway to greet and talk to friends. And I’ve got to tell you! He gave me such a creepy vibe!
Next, I began seeing him standing across the street from my apartment, smoking a cigarette. And I could tell he was watching my apartment. Now that freaked me out!
I found out that he and the neighbor across the street had begun dating and that he was there to see her. She didn’t allow smoking in her house, so he had no choice but to smoke outside. Still, I didn’t feel any better. I felt as if I was being stalked!
I knew why he was hanging around so close. Jules was an eavesdropper for Cammie and her group, listening in on our convos in the laundry room and my discussions with friends in the hallway. Everybody knew it because he’d eavesdropped on many others.
My instinct also told me they’d enlisted him to watch my house. He was watching to see what company I had over- looking for any information with which to report back to Cammie.
The fact that Jules’ girlfriend lived across the street from me was a convenient cover for him and they knew it. Although I knew what was going on, I didn’t speak of it because I knew I couldn’t without sounding completely nuts. I did the best thing by keeping it to myself but filing it in the back of my mind. The only people I told were my closest family and they knew I wasn’t kidding.
Luckily, his girlfriend was a good friend of mine and I knew she only kept him around because she was lonely. So, I used it to my advantage, and cozied up to her a little bit more so she would volunteer to tell me little tidbits about what he was doing. Sure enough, she confirmed my suspicions.
Not much later, Darnell, having himself become a target of the vitriol that inflected the workplace, announced to us that he had put in his two-week notice of resignation and was moving on to a better job and a better work environment.
Although we were happy that he’d finally found something better and was getting out of that hellhole, we were also deeply saddened because we’d miss him so much. We saw Darnell as our fearless leader, our Captain Ahab, and our hero!
What kind of leader would the new supervisor be? And would they protect us from those devils down the hall as Darnell had?
Choosing not to leave anything to chance, I decided that I’d put in my notice as well. Being the type of woman who would always think ahead, I knew that once Darnell was gone, I’d be totally at their mercy. I had a sickening feeling that the next supervisor would toady up to the bullies in the upper echelons of management and the social order.
Strict Boss: Angry upset young business woman with blank speech bubble on white on gray background. Vector illustration.
I knew that Cammie had long waited, with bated breath, for the day when Darnell would either quit or get fired. Then, she could begin working on the new supervisor, ingratiate herself in them, and turn them against us.
Sure enough, my closest coworker told me she’d overheard Cammie saying precisely that, and she was recommending that the new supervisor terminate three of us. Knowing I was one of the three, I quickly filled out my two weeks notice of resignation and gave it to Darnell.
Darnell introduced us to the new supervisor. She was a short, dumpy woman in her forties and by her facial expression, which was hard and cold, I made the conclusion that putting in my notice was the smartest thing to do and gave myself a pat on the back.
Off and on during the last two weeks, I’d catch those tiny micro flashes of suspicion and contempt the new supervisor would flash toward me and a few others. And the bullies were completely enraged once word of my pending exit reached their ears. But once I was out of there, I breathed a sigh of relief.
I was quite proud of myself for having escaped that toxic place and walked away from the job with confidence and my self-esteem still intact.
Everyone knew about it, but it seemed they were afraid to report it. It was also evident that Harry and Cammie were getting fat off the embezzlement and not only those two but the administrator (Beau) too.
We secretly referred to these three ringleaders of the bully group as “The Thieving Three.” Fran, Marilyn, Misti, and Jules were their lieutenants. At the bottom of this little workplace cabal were the flying monkeys.
There were so many policy violations and illegal activities happening right under our noses. They are as follows:
1. Beau had his Winnebago RV on the property for Harry and Jules to do repairs on during work hours. Again, this was all done out in the open.
Beau knew that most were too scared to talk about it. So, why put in the extra effort to try and cover it up? He would have them work on his camper, therefore neglecting the repairs the nursing facility needed. They would also work on his car. Can you imagine how much Beau was saving on auto repairs while he ran that nursing home?
2. Fighting and Assault on Company Property.
And by the administrator himself! Beau was having an affair with another employee. When her husband found out, he came to the nursing home to confront Beau. And Beau invited him out to the parking lot to fight. And the two men got into a brutal fistfight in the parking lot, in broad daylight, in front of God and everyone. And it happened while Beau was on the clock!
After the fight was over, Beau sent word to every employee that if they uttered one word about the incident at work or outside of work, they would not only lose their jobs, but he’d make sure they didn’t work anywhere else.
Beau, Harry, and Cammie were robbing Shady Grove blind! Beau made off with several hundreds of thousands of dollars, as did Harry and Cammie. And they were moving up in the world quickly. They all suddenly bought new vehicles and vacation homes on the lake. They began taking lavish vacations and taking them anytime they wanted. For the professions they were working in, they were living high.
Cammie was the payroll clerk and bookkeeper of the facility. She would take the money and doctor the books to make everything look legit. Her husband Harry would clock in, fill out bogus work orders, leave for the day, then come back that night and clock back out before going home. They would also take as many days off as they wanted in a year instead of the allotted vacation time allowed.
Cammie would also make herself Power of Attorney over widowed and childless residents with no families. And she would do this by talking them into signing legal documents, agreeing to leave any assets to her and her husband once they passed away.
Cammie helped her teenage daughter get hired at the nursing home as the person who passed the snacks, juice cups, and the pitchers of ice and water around. She fixed the wages so that her daughter would make twenty dollars per hour on the job, which brings me to the next violation.
Harry and Cammie fixed the system where her children and family got first dibs at any jobs. When the nursing home hired these family members, they would receive massive hourly wages, anywhere from double up to five times the going payments for the job.
It didn’t take long for the whisper to spread, but we had to be careful who we talked around because there were eyes and ears everywhere and increasing in numbers.
Beau, Harry, and Cammie ran the place. Right or wrong, anyone who challenged them in any way, was bullied and mobbed out! And so was anyone who slighted or stood up to any of their favorite people.
Again, Cammie increased her attacks. More and more, she’d provoke me, but I wouldn’t bite. She and the cabal instituted several smear campaigns against me and a few others, but we only doubled down in our resolve not to let them shake us.
I must tell you that it got rough at times. On a few occasions, the payroll clerk and a few CNAs threatened to catch me out and do physical harm. But it never happened, and back then, I went out all the time. I was lucky.
Although the provocations were stressful, I was able to put my hand up to her, tell her what I thought of her, then walk away.
Darnell was excellent! He was a quiet guy, yet firm when he had to be. Darnell was like me. He kept his mouth closed and observed everything that went on around him. The man was much smarter than what people took him to be. He knew what was happening, and he took care of us!
I could never have been more grateful to have such an awesome supervisor. However, this only made the bullies more desperate.
In the last post, I talked about how everything started out great and that I was well-liked by almost everyone. I also mentioned the incident when I responded in kind after Candi, a CNA, caught a bad attitude. Needless to say, I found out that, right or wrong, talking down to her was a no-no because she had connections.
And over several months, one by one, many people turned against me. Luckily, several of my real friends knew how Candi was and had no respect for her. They were the people who had my back, so I can say that I did have allies who took care of me.
However, there was a clear division at Shady Grove Living Center. There was the administrator, who I’ll call *Beau, *Cammie, the payroll clerk, the department heads,*Harry (who was Cammie’s husband), one maintenance guy, whose name was *Jules, and two CNAs, *Shelly was one and *Cheryl who were two flying monkeys. On our side were my supervisor Darnell, all of my coworkers (except for one suck up), a charge nurse, and the rest of the CNAs who had my back.
At first, the bullies made false reports about me to Darnell. On the days after my shift (I worked part-time in the evening), the third shift CNAs would complain that I hadn’t stocked the linen closets on each of the halls and that they had no clean bed pads, bedsheets, nor gowns for the residents who soiled their beds during the night.
But because I always thought ahead and could easily predict what these people would do, I had made sure to pull out my cellphone and take pictures of all my finished work at the end of my shift.
Once I was done stocking the linen closets, I took photos of all the shelves inside, chock full of freshly clean linens. I then took pictures inside all the empty barrels that were marked “dirty laundry,” before clocking out and going home. And, with the time-stamps on each image, there was no question I’d done my job.
I took pictures every night, at the end of the shift. And I had proof to show Darnell every time they lied.
When that didn’t work, the bullies only turned up the harassment, as word quickly spread throughout the nursing home that I’d taken pictures of all finished work.
In a way, it was funny because each of the linen closets was directly across from a nurse’s desk, where the bullies would sit around and gossip. And I remember overhearing them make snide remarks about my camera and my taking pictures, to which I’d only snicker and chuckle to myself.
Harry, the head of maintenance, would talk pretty ugly to me, but I knew I wasn’t the only one because many times, I’d see him talk terrible to several others- even a few who worked for the nursing home. So, I didn’t feel like the Lone Ranger.
And because I’d already been a target of bullying in school, I knew what to expect as all bullies pull pretty much the same tactics, only adult bullies are much more sophisticated with it. Therefore, I was able to prepare, stay a few steps ahead, and outflank them.
During this time, I began to witness a couple of the bullies in this workplace clique commit a few illegal activities. On one instance, I worked a double shift to cover for a coworker who was sick.
Early one Saturday morning, I saw with my own eyes Harry walk into the back door of the nursing home, dressed in camouflage and his bright orange hunting vest. He crept down the hall past the laundry room, then stopped at the time clock and clocked in. Harry then filled out a bogus work order, then left.
He didn’t return until late that evening to clock out and leave again. I’ll never forget the look on his mug when he saw me sitting outside on my last break as he drove by in his shiny new pickup. And when I told a trusted friend at work a day or two later about what I’d seen, she wasn’t at all surprised.
“Girl! He’s been clocking out and going home on the weekends since I’ve been here! And I’ll tell you something else,” *Brenda told me, “Cammie’s been embezzling from this facility, and she’s been ripping off some of the residents who don’t have families- weaseling them into signing papers to leave their assets to her when they leave this world!”
I felt my eyes pop out of my head as Brenda gave me an ear full!
Before I go into the story, I want to tell you that very few people ever come out the winner if they’re a target of bullying in the workplace. I say this because when I worked in the toxic and poisonous environment, I’m about to tell you of, I saw so many people who fell victim.
Droves of innocent workers ended up losing their jobs and some, their careers because of the evil actions of a clique of psychopaths who were handed power they had no business having.
These employees were the best and the kindest people, and my heart broke for them. It still does when I think back.
In late 2007, I began working for a sanitation company that contracted with *Shady Grove Living Center in Oakley. My supervisor, *Darnell, and my coworkers were the best. Sure, we had our disagreements and our spats. Still, I could never have dreamed of working with a better supervisor and team. And on many occasions, we’d have so much fun together!
Another great thing was that we didn’t work for the nursing home, only for a separate company contracted with them. So, in reality, no one at the nursing home had any power over us, though they loved to think they did.
I was already well aware that the site was very toxic, but I always stood back and observed the people and the goings-on around me. And during my first week of employment there, it didn’t take long to figure out who the troublemakers were.
I made sure to avoid the drama queens, the gossips, and the bullies and went on with my business. Another beauty was that there was a long corridor between the actual nursing facility and the sanitation area, so we didn’t have to work with them nor be around them much at all.
The only time I saw any of them was toward the end of the shift when I’d roll the laundry cart full of clean linens down to the main building to stock the linen closets.
Therefore, for the first year and three months, everything went smoothly, and no one bothered me. I got along with everyone and was seemingly well-liked. That is until I put one snarky CNA in her place for trying to be a smart alick.
This CNA, whom we’ll call, *Candi, had it in her mind that those who worked in the laundry department, were beneath her and expected them to carry hers and everyone else’s water. Although the CNAs didn’t make any more than we did, Candi and a few others had no regard for us. They didn’t see us as human beings because we worked in sanitation.
After I schooled her, Candi felt anger and indignation. So, she stormed away and cried to her buddies in the nursing home clique. She couldn’t stand that I’d smart-mouthed her, and “how dare” I talk to her like that. Oh! “The nerve of” me!
And she took the rest of the day off as a stress leave because she was so upset. And I knew why she was so peeved. She was the type who couldn’t handle being told a thing or two by someone she deemed inferior.
It’s hilarious when I think of it! But that’s when the bullying began.
If you are a target of bullying, you must understand that your bullies will have slick ways of setting you up for failure. You must also learn to recognize these tactics, so you’ll be able to protect yourself.
Here are these tactics:
They distract you from your work. Workplace bullies deliberately distract their targets from their projects with constant interruptions, which are very time-consuming. Bullies know that if they can stall their targets, they’ll cause them to miss deadlines.
If you have a coworker who’s constantly distracting you, politely tell the person you’re busy and will be with them when you’re able or lock the door to your office if you have one. This may or may not go over so well, but you’re still asserting yourself and that’s important too.
Withholding information. Bullies deliberately prevent targets from having the information needed to do their jobs. If you are a victim, they will cause you to miss important meetings and deadlines, which can put your job and career in jeopardy.
If you find that you’re not getting the proper information to do your job, find other and creative ways to get your needed info. Keep your ears peeled in case someone has a big mouth.
Overloading you with work. Bully bosses will either overwhelm their targets with extra work or assign tasks that are impossible to fulfill or complete on time. They may even make them work extra long hours to stress them out and keep them from getting adequate sleep. Bullies know that a person can’t do their jobs as effectively if they’re sleep-deprived.
If this starts happening, it might be wise to quietly begin looking for another job. Tell no one of your plans to leave and for Heaven’s sake don’t tell them where you’re going! The last thing you need is for someone to make a quick phone call and cause your future employer a change of heart.
Misleading You. Bullies will sometimes give targets wrong times and dates for deadlines or meetings. This is done not only to sabotage you but to humiliate you and make you look incompetent.
Again, find other ways of finding these things out. Never trust your boss if he’s bullying you and never trust your coworkers either.
Giving you meaningless or degrading assignments. Bully bosses will often take targets off their regular work assignments and give them degrading or subservient jobs, such as cleaning the office bathrooms, making lunch and coffee runs for everyone else, serving coffee to the rest of the team, or emptying all the trash.
Again, this is when it might be time to begin looking for new employment. But do it in secret!
“When people take you for being stupid, it can be a good thing if you know how to use it to your advantage.
You can be sneaky and use the label to deceive them. You can pull some sly, shady stuff and get away with it because no one would ever suspect it was you. They’d never believe you were smart enough to pull it off!
If You’re Going to Play the Fool, Be a Genius at It!”
You’ve worked for a toxic company for three years. You’re out of a job because your bully boss either fired you or you get fed up, pulled a Johnny Paycheck, and told your tyrant boss to “take this job and shove it” and, in essence, fired him.
So, how do you get a new job, knowing that the honest thing to do is to put the hell-hole you just escaped from down as a previous employer and your former boss’s name on the line in the application that’s labeled “supervisor”?
Well, let’s be real here. Sometimes honesty’s not the best policy. After all, you and your family have to eat. Right?
So, if you’re the unethical type, here are a few underhanded things you could do. Because unethical or not, you have to survive somehow.
1. Omit the workplace altogether. Yeah, it sucks. It’s not ‘the right thing to do,’ but what else do you have to lose? If you’re a married mother or grandmother, all the better. Just fill in the blanks with a homemaker and stay-at-home mom. Who’s going to question that? Yeah, you could hit a roadblock when the interviewer asks you about any experience! But again, they might give you a try! You never know! The object is to avoid a crappy report from your former boss.
2. Go to work for the competition. There’s less chance a competitor will take the word of their opponent. Also, you can sneakily give secrets away and help your new employer drive the other guy out of business. At least you’ll get a little justice!
3. Tell your new employer you were self-employed. If you were your own boss, who are they going to call for a work reference? Tell a good story, and make sure you have a good backup. Maybe you had an excellent blog and it got shut down by Google because Google made changes to its policies?
back-stabbing colleagues threatening employee with scissors and knife
4. If you have a family member or friend who owns a business, have them be a job reference for you. They can give you a good report, and your chances of getting the gig will be higher.
Hey, desperate times, desperate measures. And if you want to work again, you must get around the bully boss any way you can.
Sometimes you must get as dirty as your BB because he will be waiting on a call from a potential employer once you’re gone. Your old bully will be looking for another chance to block you from future prospects. He may even try to blacklist you.
If you disappear from his radar by omitting him and his company from any job applications, it will be harder for him to reach out and touch you.
Strict Boss: Angry upset young business woman with blank speech bubble on white on gray background. Vector illustration.
5. Hire yourself. Yes. If you can, start your own business and work like the devil to build it. Then, if you’re lucky, five years from now, when you run into your old dictator at the local gas station while he’s putting gas in his suped-up Harley or sportscar, you can thank him for inspiring you to go into business for yourself and make it. And you can smile as you watch his face contort!
There’s no guarantee that the first four are going to work and you might even get fired from your new job if your old bully boss finds out where you’re working and decides to give your new employer a call.
But at least you will have bought yourself some time and put off going broke for a little while longer.
There is a huge difference in a boss and a leader. I have had several bosses but not that many true leaders. Here is the difference between the two.
A boss is a demanding blowhard. He/She is bent on power and loves to lord it over the subordinates. He expects them to bow down. He is a bully and uses intimidation, threats and, force to get his employees to do what he wants.
She has to literally make her subordinates carry out her wishes because although they would never tell her, the subordinates secretly do not respect her and naturally resist her demands.
A Leader is sincere and is a team player. He works with subordinates in order to get the job done and get it done correctly. He is never a show-off and doesn’t toot his/her own horn.
She treats her subordinates with respect because she knows that in order to get people to do what she needs, she must treat them with respect and kindness.
A Boss browbeats and degrades his workers when they make a mistake. He’s arrogant and lets his position go to his head.
A Leader is down to earth. He addresses the employee who made the error, yet gives that person positive reinforcement or constructive criticism. He gets his point across simply by having a great attitude toward his workers and being calm and level-headed. A leader refers to his subordinates as “people I work with”. Notice the word “with”
A Leader will work with you. A Boss will make sure the whole company knows that he is “over” you.
A Leader is strong, competent and has impeccable people skills.
A Boss is a weak windbag and bumbling idiot who has to trumpet his own importance and authority to get others to notice and it often has an undesired outcome.
A Leader will roll up his sleeves and help his people when a task is overwhelming. He doesn’t mind hard work. He will help you out when you’re having difficulty completing a task and he will work just as hard as you to help you finish the job.
A Boss is useless and lazy. He will only stand over you, barking orders and watching you struggle. And he will do it complete with arms folded across the chest, legs wide apart and sour look or smirk on the face. He may even secretly take pleasure in seeing the subordinates struggle.
People are drawn to leaders, enjoy working with them, and love them. On the other hand, people despise bosses and will cross a busy street if necessary to avoid them.
People are also more than happy to do what the leader wants because the leader always makes them feel valued. The leader naturally has others eating out of his hand with very little effort, whereas the boss only gets resistance from others and people will do the exact opposite of what he wants because the boss makes people feel low and taken advantage of.
A boss isn’t even an afterthought to others but a leader is unforgettable. A boss is a schmuck! A leader is a champion!
Bosses come a dime a dozen but Leaders are very few and far between.
Anybody can be a boss but it takes a very special individual to be a leader.
So, which would you prefer to work for? A boss or a leader? Better yet, which would you rather be? A boss or a leader?