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Sonna and I consult for the same conglomerate. The first time I heard about her was from Alice. Alice is the secretary to the CEO and she signed up for sessions with me after previously working for a few months with Sonna. Everything Alice had to say about Sonna was negative. She said she was terrible at her job, she was rude, she was arrogant, she was having an affair with the director of Human Resources…
I listened, because in her sessions, she had the right to talk about anything that tickled her fancy and I had to listen, even if it made me uncomfortable. And talking about another person negatively behind their back always makes me uncomfortable. But, I listened and said nothing.
Two weeks after, another client again mentioned the name “Sonna”. Again I was told about how horrible a person she was. How she would look down on people, and be rude to almost everybody that worked with her. I was told that because she is having an affair with the director, she feels that she is above everybody. I was told that almost all the people she works with aren’t happy and would like to change to our own consulting firm, but that her “lover” has obliged everybody in one of the departments to have sessions with her.
Over the following 4 months, 3 more people brought her name up in conversation. I was obliged to listen. Sometimes, I managed to change the subject, but the name seem to haunt most of the people she had previously worked with.
I mostly pride myself as someone who hardly ever judges other people and much less based on heresy. But, as much as I tried, I thought that 5 people who basically didn’t know each other couldn’t all be wrong and so, even though I felt they might be judging her wrongly, I became wary.
Then, one day, almost a year after joining the company, I had an encounter with her. I have to say that up till that point, I hadn’t put a face to the name. I didn’t know her.
I was in a session and someone knocked lightly on the door and came in, almost immediately. Then she went on to ask me to change rooms as she was in the next room and that we were disturbing her session. At first, I thought she must be some kind of a top manager or something and apologetically tried to explain that that particular meeting room was assigned to me and that I was sorry if our voices were too high. But, it seemed that she mistook my being nice for stupidity and insisted I change rooms. I then told her that I needed to get on with my client and that she would just have to find a way to deal with it. She stormed off and slammed the door. I was shocked and angry. I was very angry that someone would be so rude.
And then when I went back inside, my client was also fuming. She then told me that that was Sonna. Right there, I decided that everything I had heard about her was true. Needless to say, I was regaled with more tales of similar and even worse incidents that had transpired with a lot of people in the company.
Over coffee break, I told a few other colleagues about the incident and, surprisingly, two of them told me that she had done the same thing to them. At least, I was assured that it wasn’t that my voice was too harsh/shrill that set her off. She apparently enjoys stepping on our toes. One of my colleagues said that her client had told her that Sonna hates the fact that our consulting firm came in and the fact that everybody seems to be quite happy with our services. She was trying to tell people that we were not professional and that we didn’t have the same qualifications as she has.

Suffice it to say that after that day, I concluded that she is indeed not a very nice person. And, I didn’t feel I was judging her… It was just a conclusion, reached after a direct encounter.

Does that make me a bad person?

To be continued…