Backstabbing Friends

Approximately seven years ago, I applied for a job and during the interview process, I provided references. I used the name of a previous supervisor that I also considered as a friend (we’ll call her, Jane). I was offered the job and during the process of my employer checking my references, Jane said she would like to work with me again.  The Human Resources department of my new employer asked me how I felt about them offering Jane the job of my boss and would I like working with her again. Of course, I said yes, as I did welcome the opportunity to work with her again. Long story short, they hired her as my boss. Jane is about 15 years younger than me and she doesn’t have the years of experience that I have, but she has a degree.  I always got the impression that she felt inferior to me because I am older and more experienced, but Jane was the boss. It never mattered to me one way or the other as I was never looking to climb “the corporate ladder,” I just wanted to perform the job to the best of my ability each day and, then, go home.

Rewind to when I preciously worked for Jane:  I should have paid attention to the undertones of drama in the office when I worked for Jane because she dumped her existing friend/co-worker (we’ll call her, Mary Smith) & started hanging with me, exclusively. I had no idea anything was going on until Jane explained the drama to me of Mary being upset with Jane. Jane said that Mary was just jealous of me and my experience. I didn’t think anything of it until Jane did the same thing to me.

Fast forward to current day: after they hired Jane to be my boss, she gave me the cold shoulder and she started hanging with another employee in our department that had been on maternity leave for 2-3 more months. I saw immediately that Jane was doing to me the same thing she did to Mary Smith. The difference was that I also noticed that Jane was not only giving me the cold shoulder, but other employees in the company that we worked with, on a daily basis, were starting to treat me different – harshly – at times. Whenever I went to Jane for support on a project, she said and did all the right things to make me believe I had her support – when it was just the two of us. When I was confronted with the exact problem I had discussed with Jane where she had convinced me of her support, she remained silent and did not back me up. Jane did this three times and I learned that she was not going to be my boss and provide support – I was on my own.  Unfortunately, it was too late because on that following Friday, Jane took ½ day off and I was let go. The excuse was they didn’t have enough work to justify keeping me, but that was just the wording they chose to use to avoid conflict.  

So after I paved the way for Jane to get the job, she abandoned me AND got me fired – all within eight months. On that following Monday, she emailed me at home to ask, “How’s it going?” I never responded.

Let this be a lesson, if you witness someone treating another badly, chances are there will probably come a day when they’ll treat you badly, too. It’s the same principle as: if someone bad mouths another in front of you, they are probably bad mouthing you to someone else.


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