Dealing with a bully

In middle school it might have been the kid with the absentee parents. He took his aggression and feelings of inadequacy out on smaller, younger, or less popular kids. With boys it was a simple mindless taunt (fag, retard, fatty) often accompanied by some minor physical abuse. Girls were even meaner. They found real, or created imaginary, flaws in their victims to inflict psychological damage that dwarfed the physical bullying of boys. Almost everyone partook in a little taunting, teasing, and unfair treatment of others from time to time. To deny this is to deny that your farts stink. Humans are fallible and oftentimes horrible. Virtually all of us have been major pricks at least a few instances in our lives. I have been one on more than a few instances. But there were, and still are, people who took teasing and meanness to different levels.

As they grew older, the intelligent bully became much more subtle in their nastiness. Bullies either became smart or, more likely, a larger percentage of smart people became bullies. Instead of openly attacking another person, they connive, plot, and twist other people’s opinions of their victim into something that isn’t true. They put on a play of smiles to your face, then smear your name with shit when your back is turned. If their goal isn’t monetary it’s to gain a position of power or to boost their low self-confidence, which quite possibly was heavily trod upon all those years ago as a teenager.

Up until recently, I worked at Amante Coffee, Uptown. One of the employees had become renown for doing sloppy, lazy work; being rude to the customers; and for talking mad shit behind all of the other employees’ backs to the manager, who this employee smartly became better and better friends with. This two-faced facade was blatantly obvious to everyone but the manager and store owner. As a boss, you’ve got to realize that people treat you differently than they do everyone else, and that no matter how long you’ve been working with someone, they’re always walking on a bit of glass around you. In some cases, an employee becomes an entirely different person around their higher-up. Our manager, as well as the owner of Amante, didn’t seem to get this. They didn’t get that they’d been used. That, or they’d just been turning a set of blind eyes throughout all the years. Call it laziness or dishonesty, both were part of the problem.

With enough whispering in the manager’s ear, the employee not only kept their job, which to me is quite simply baffling given the quality of their work and attitude, but they were also given a raise and moved up to assistant manager. This all happened about a month ago by the way. Things did not look good for the future of Amante or the quality of life for its staff. The employee wasn’t just bad at their job, they had been out for vengeance over every slight to their person, real or imagined. Giving someone like this power, someone with ill-intent and downright hatred for half of their co-workers, was an incredibly poor and dishonest decision by the management, and something had to be done.

Complaints had been made for the past two years about the employee, but the manager had simply ignored them. As a last ditch effort, my brother’s girlfriend Joslynn took one last stand against the decision and attempted to rally the rest of us together in opposition of the employee being given the managing position. Joslynn was fired. My brother Galen was essentially fired as well, though he’d been given the “opportunity” to stay on. Joslynn was crushed from losing her job in that manner and you’d have to be a fool to think Galen wouldn’t stand in solidarity with her. Galen quit. Then I quit. Just like that, Amante lost its two best employees (Galen and Jos, not me).

To stand up against a bully, especially when they’ve conspired their way into a position of power, took a lot of courage on Jos’ behalf. It was only fair that I recognize that with my own resignation. I don’t want to work for an employer or company that’s dishonest, that doesn’t treat their employees equally. Life is too short to be around caustic people, and if you can’t change them, can’t bring their actions to justice, the best thing to do is remove yourself from the situation. That might be seen as losing. But the real loss is to remain silent and oppressed. Sometimes you just have to say fuck it and quit. If you can’t beat ’em, leave. Don’t join ’em. Jesus, the last thing you want to do is join ’em.

P.S. Spruce Confections, just a block north of Amante, makes a fine cup of coffee. Just so you know.

6 thoughts on “Dealing with a bully

  1. If you’ve had this all of your life, why the sudden drop in performance? I’m hypothyroid and a bit of T3 helped, but it wasn’t monumental in changes in performance nor time to seemingly work.

  2. You’re only on T3? Are you sure it isn’t T4? The normal prescription is Levothyroxine (T4), which takes a long time to convert to T3 and build up in the body. It takes six weeks for Levo to be at 90% strength. The body can’t use T4 until it’s been converted to T3. Sometimes a small amount of T3 is given along with Levothyroxine (T4), but I’ve never heard of anyone only taking T3. Everything I’ve read also confirms that it takes months or even years for the medication to fully kick in and to get on the right dose. I’m really hoping that this is actually the case, and is the reason that I haven’t felt any changes yet. Anyways, I believe I’ve had some level of hypothyroidism for years but it didn’t get bad until more recently. Emotional and physical stress can be triggers for people that it lies dormant in. What was your TSH? There may not be that much of a performance difference between a value of 0.8 and 12.0, but the difference between 0.8 and 150+ might be quite a bit more drastic. If it isn’t Hypothyroidism that’s making me feel so shitty, hopefully it’s just that I just need a long off season, which I’m currently doing.

  3. Apologies as I mix up the names quite often. Yes, I am on Levothyroxine (T4). I had taken it in my early 20’s as well until a bad Endocrinologist determined that I should come off of it. Generally speaking for me it took around 2-3w of gradually increasing to 12.5mcg of T3 AM and 50mcg T4 PM for the lethargy symptoms to subside, however, some symptoms such as “always feel cold” and “poor sleep” still linger indefinitely. I will say though that despite my sleep never quite being normal, it seems as if I do recover better from what little I manage to get.

    My TSH was 22.0 and both my Free T3 and Free T4 were also out of range. It was out of range as a teenager before exercising as well so I was able to eliminate that as a variable although it can be tough to train and absorb any sort of meaningful work if you can’t metabolize nutrients efficiently, sleep well, or even have the baseline amount of energy required to train in the first place which medication has helped with.

    What I’ve actually read a lot about is a yet-to-be-proven concept of “metabolic damage” that primarily occurs in female athletes that attempt to diet too much for too long, but can greatly impair hormone and thyroid function for long periods. My guess is a lot of endurance athletes have this to some degree from either a lot of training/racing for a long time, excessive dieting/eating disorders, or likely both.

  4. Ahh, that makes sense. All the terminology is still fresh in my head from reading about it so much recently.

    I wish I had been tested throughout the years to confirm my suspicions of it gradually creeping up. The more I’ve looked back on the years the more signs I notice. Even during my best year on the bike two years ago I had a strange mid-season collapse in July where I essentially lost 30-40 watts on my threshold in a matter of a few weeks. I know that this can happen to anyone, but it was strange how quickly it happened, and strange how quickly I got the fitness back after a few weeks of rest.

    Do you find that taking the T3 combined with T4 is better than just T4? I just switched to Armour thyroid–the desiccated pig stuff, which has some T3 in it naturally. I’m hoping this helps, since it’s been five weeks now on Levo and I still feel terrible. I’m right there with you on the poor sleep. You can’t recover properly without a decent night of rest, whether you have hypothyroidism or not.

    Is the metabolic damage that you’ve read about fixable? I’d be interested in reading any material you send my way. I’m hoping that it’s still possible to get back to where I was, especially after reading some of what Steven Magness has written on the subject. He seems to believe that high performance is still possible, just more difficult to attain.

  5. I’m neurotic so I could never trust Armour as its a bit more difficult to precisely control dosage (according to some). I’m not sure that I can say if one modality is better than the other as the reasoning behind using both compounds in tandem depends on a specific synergy of effects that either alone would not yield. Plus, by the time the T4 is “working”, I’m on both.

    What I really had to learn was that periodization and structure simply don’t work for me with this issue. Today I woke up with a TSB value of -25 after being restless all night and getting 5 incomplete hours of sleep. I smashed my workout and feel great at work. Other times I’m “fresh”, get my token 8 hours, and anything over tempo is a grind. Appetite functions much in the same- on the fresh days I can eat well, appear leaner, and feel better from it but on the bad days I’m gagging food down and would rather just try to take a nap (and not be able to). So, I gotta take it as it comes and deal with my limitations in how I feel, time available, whatever, and iterate on the fly often because I don’t know when the next good day will be and I don’t want to waste one.

    The tipping point for me was this spring- I’d have a good weekend of racing, smash some workouts and then, nothing. For a week, maybe 2. I’d typically rapidly gain weight, feel unable to ride, and be a complete irritable asshole. My testosterone and sex hormones were fine, but the poorly functioning thyroid threw everything for a loop.

    Also, switch to iodized salt! The cheap shit no one likes to put on their food anymore. I can’t say it has done anything in and of itself, but iodine is an easy way to ramp up your thyroid on a daily basis plus its not like enduro athletes are in danger of going too overboard on sodium unless your taste buds are shit and you oversalt everything as a result.

  6. Thanks for your account of things Karsten. It’s great to hear of other people’s experiences as I go down this road. Oh and I’ll make the switch to iodized salt for sure! Probably the cheapest and easiest remedy right there.

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