My family was recently cast into an abyss of suffering by a workplace bully. He destroyed MW’s career (MW was the CEO of a national non-profit company), deprived us of a six figure income, took away our health insurance, and left in its place a twisted wreck where once was a comfortable life.

Dear Steve is our story from the moments leading up to our discomfort, our journey through the woods of despair, to, we hope, deep wisdom and meaningful change. We chose the epistolary format in part to help focus the narrative but also to make a point about what happens to people in the context of bullying. We choose to view this situation in Zen terms, which is to say that bad situations are our teachers because they point out how our karma interferes with our real jobs, and that, in the end we make good and bad.

Steve, for whom this story is named, is a real person. He served on the board of directors of MW’s company. He teaches at a prestigious university and has an international reputation for compassion, lefty politics, and for his zealous advocacy on behalf of disadvantaged people. He has taught at least one president and also a supreme court justice. We met him when we were quite young and as a result developed a complicated relationship which was part beloved uncle, part colleague, and sometime partner in crime. During the good times we shared a deep and abiding affection and enjoyed each others company immensely.

Entries will come from both MW and me (PI). All the people we write about here are real but we will attempt to hide their identities to the extent that the stories will allow. This story is about us, not them. As we write this, and as you read it, we hope we and you find constructive ways to learn the lessons and profit from our experiences.

Our karma follows us everywhere. Sometimes we see it clearly. Sometimes it lies in wait for an opportune moment to teach us a lesson. So it was that this job and this friendship, both of which were good situations for us and our family, had karmic implications that inexorably led us to this situation.

We write this story in hopes of helping ourselves and others. To that end we invite you to use our forums to share your stories.

Leave a Reply