The second I turned in my one-month resignation notice, I knew two things (1) one month is a long, long time to stay somewhere when you are out the door, and (2) I would be blamed for everything that goes wrong for the next year or two. I have seen it. I have seen how a long-since dead company president (dad for over 6 years) was blamed for decisions made just two months ago. Somehow it was always the former boss’ fault. Our rent was scheduled to be hiked up and we didn’t plan for it. Yup, the former boss’ fault. We didn’t meet a deadline and lost out on a business deal. Yup, the former boss’ fault. That last bit I do understand in part, if the former boss was so bad that they had no systems in place and you then had to do major clean up. I, however, have always been extremely efficient, effective and kept my eye on the prize. I left systems and protocols in place. Despite it all, I knew I would thereafter get the blame for anything that went wrong. And how lovely it is to know that I was right.
Those last few weeks, I felt like I should have been going around from cubicle to cubicle, office to office singing Gilda’s “Put the Blame on Mame.” I did openly joke at one point with a group of colleagues about how I shouldn’t catch them blaming me for stuff. They all had a good laugh coming up with things they would blame me for. I laughed. However, I know quite well that with every joke comes a bit of truth. I took notes.
Sure and soon enough, little birds whispered in my ear as to what mayhem I had supposedly caused. People who made mistakes in their work just started to blame me saying I was the one that gave the directive to go ahead and do it that way or that I had never explained X,Y, or Z. Funny thing is when you develop a rally good reputation based on your integrity the blame game actually makes the blamer look really bad. Most people knew there was no way I would have given such a directive or not had trained someone correctly. The sad thing is that the blamer doesn’t even realize how foolish they look.
We like to talk about paying things forward-meaning helping others out as we have been helped. Well, there is most definitely a “paying it backwards” mentality in the workplace as well. I suppose it is natural for some people to deflect blame and engage in workplace CYA. After all the economy is not truly fully recovered. Our wallets weigh heavily on our workplace actions. Our egos look for easy blame cushions.
For now, I suppose the blame will be placed on me until the next … well, who knows really. It could very well be for another ten years. If the Deli next to my former workplace were to create a sandwich after me it would be called “the blame” and would be made of up cheese, 6 kinds of meat, plus hot sauce of some type that is overflowing. Yes, it will be as heartburn inducing as possible. That way, you have an excuse for not feeling well and taking the rest of the day off.