A perspective on dealing with unpleasant people on the jobsite.

At a young age, I was taught to respect others, more importantly, always to allow people to save face – that is, not embarrass anyone. My dad also taught me not to burn bridges, as you may have to cross them again, and that you can’t un-ring a bell – that is, take back what you have said. Some people don’t learn these things until they become adults. Then there are a few who never learn these social skills.

Recently, on a job site, I met an individual who works for the contractor who had not learned any of these skills. The first time I met him, I knew that he didn’t like me because of his defamatory statements to me. That’s OK; I don’t expect him to like me, but this individual has disrespected me since we first met some six months ago. His attitude and comments always were negative. I just considered the source, tried to joke with him and not take his attitude toward me seriously. Most people who know me like me. There are a few who don’t agree with me, but that’s OK, too.

Each time I see this person, however, he appears to be controlling, with a bad attitude toward almost everyone, many times even to his employer’s customers. Many people would call this individual a bully.

A form of harassment, bullying can be defined as “a complex phenomenon of unwanted offensive and malicious behavior that undermines an individual or group through persistently negative attacks. There typically is an unpredictable and irrational abuse of power or position that can manifest itself in physical, verbal or non-verbal forms. There usually is an element of vindictiveness attached to bullying, and the behavior is calculated to undermine, humiliate, intimidate or demean the recipient.”

Recently, this individual arrived at the job site, and for no apparent reason, lost his cool and just blew up at everyone. He ran my son off the site, stating that drilling is not a spectator sport. He advised the subcontractor’s drill operator and the crew that they could not smoke on the homeowner’s property, and that they must go to their vehicles to smoke (the property owner was on-site and smoking at the time).

My son then left the site. I’m the drill site licensed driller, and have to be on-site to observe the drilling and grouting operations for the subcontractor. The drill operator returned to his truck – to smoke. The bully left, and except for a few bruised feelings, things went back to normal.

The subcontractor’s drill manager handled the situation the best that he could in that he did not want to lose the prime contractor’s business.

Throughout the day, this bully had his two employees drive by, ensuring that my son still was off-site and that I still was on-site.

I could have taken legal action against this individual, but I felt it best to just let it go. This bully won’t be in the employ of this reputable company very long. A bad attitude is like a flat tire; if you don’t change it, you won’t get very far.

If the readers of this article have any stories or comments related to bullying, I’d love to hear them. I may even write about it – without names and addresses upon request, of course.