I could see confusion and terror in their eyes. They were getting shivers down their spines. They were running for cover, getting extremely defensive. It was like they saw a guy wearing a hockey mask – that famous (infamous?) character J. from the horror movie series.
Earlier in my career, that was how my colleagues reacted when they saw me. If I felt there was a need, I chased them around relentlessly and hunted them down systematically. I was tenacious and unforgiving. I allowed no room for excuses and I would not be satisfied until all my questions were sufficiently answered.
Maybe I was hard on them, putting the burden of proof on them.
Maybe I was harsh on them, making them prove their cases beyond a reasonable doubt.
Maybe I was mean to them, doubting their innocence before proven guilty.
Wait a second, you think… are these not the job of the prosecutor and does it not go against practice to deprive them of the presumption of innocence?
Maybe yes, if in legal proceedings.
But I only worked in a company and my job was merely to check on the integrity and credibility of its people. And when it comes to matters of trustworthiness, you are the only one who can prove it for you. And you must present promptly whatever evidence you are asked to not let people doubt it. If you fail to do so, it will take so much time and effort to win your case and win your trust back.
So you see, I was in a unique position to be the first to find out if someone’s trustworthiness were in jeopardy, and the last to be able to save having a case brought against it. That is why I was so hard and harsh and mean to them. I actually felt I was doing a fine job when I saw my colleagues fear me like I was a serial killer.
To tell you the truth, I hated being reacted the way I was when they saw me coming. But I chose to act the way I did because I could see what would come to them (and the company) if I did not. I did so because it was my job, but also because I cared enough about the company and its people to have them uphold and maintain integrity and credibility.
I no longer hold this job. I think I have had enough being seen as a chilling slasher. And I do not wish to go back being one. But you know, I have a feeling I will once again be if I see it coming that someone I care may lose trust… I think I can still do a damn good job making them wish they never see me again, so they never have to see the day their integrity and credibility be compromised.
Maybe I will not completely hang up my hat (or should I say my hockey mask?) just yet… I might see it come in handy someday!