I found out this evening that my former boss, the one who slowly made my life a misery for the eighteen months he managed me and who left the business a couple of weeks ago, actually hated me. This nugget of information came up when I was stuck in the office fairly late this evening and was chatting to my current boss.
Apparently, a couple of months ago, when several of our IT guys left the team, it was discussed whether or not I might move out of my current role and go back to fill the gap as a business analyst. You can understand the thinking: most of my experience is in that area, I was already working on the project and familiar with what needed to happen, and it would be the least disruptive option for the project as a whole. When this was put to my former boss, who by this time was essentially in the exit lounge and barely involved with the project at all, he flat out refused to countenance it. Apparently he was very, very uncomfortable with the idea of me working directly with his boss and blocked the whole thing.
I didn't know anything about this until this evening.
Now, I wouldn't have been interested in going back to work as a business analyst. I've learned a lot about myself over the last few months and I'm pretty sure that going back would be a bad idea and I'm not really interested in doing it anymore. I also don't really give a damn what that man thinks of me. It hardly matters now, but my current boss told me this evening that she thought he had behaved really unprofessionally because he had blocked the right person for the job because of his own personal opinions. It took me a little while after I stopped working for him, but even before he left the business, I'd got enough perspective away from him to understand that he was irrelevant to me; that my self-esteem wasn't bound up in him or the way he behaved towards me.
But you know what? The news that he hated me has bothered me. I'm not sure that I can rationalise it, because I genuinely don't care what he thinks and I'm fervently hoping never to see him again. I can actually understand why he might have hated me: I tried really hard to help him when he first joined, but as time went on and our relationship soured, he will have know full well that I thought he was an incompetent idiot. He was never very good at his job or with his stakeholders, and I think he was intimidated by the fact that I knew so much more than him and seemed to get on really well with everyone he was struggling with. He actively kept me away from projects he knew my knowledge would embarrass his own ignorance. I gave him some pretty direct - but reasonable, I thought - feedback and eventually went to speak directly to his boss to try to call out what an appalling job he was doing on projects I cared about. He will have known that, so is it any wonder than he disliked me and wouldn't want me anywhere near his new boss (the boss I spoke to left the company shortly after I spoke to him... possibly carrying the can for other people's lack of control over the projects in his portfolio).
So why don't I like the idea that this idiot hated me? I think it's because I like people and I like to be liked. For all that I am an argumentative, contrary old bastard, I really don't like conflict at all and will seek to avoid it if at all possible. I will speak my mind and will say what I think, but I don't like conflict and do not seek it out. It makes me angry that this idiot allowed his personal feelings towards me to cloud his judgment and I hate that he will have spoken ill of me to other people.
My overriding emotion, however, is sadness. I'm sad that it came to this and I can't help but feel that I must have failed in some way because, for all that he was an idiot, I still wasn't able to communicate with him and I wasn't able to help him. In the end, I concluded that some people won't be helped and I gave up trying.
I gave up on him. I don't like admitting that I've given up on someone like that. I don't want to be that kind of person. He is an idiot who did an appalling job and made my professional life miserable to an extent I have never experienced before. But you know what? I'm fairly sure that he didn't get up every day and come to work determined to do a shitty job or to piss me off. He's probably a decent man underneath everything... and I gave up on him. His failure is my failure too, even if only in a small way.
Hearing that he hated me doesn't really surprise me, but it does make me feel sad.