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Guy Lashes Out After Being Denied A Position At Company His Middle School Bully Works For

Alex Mihai C/Unsplash

Don’t you hate it when the past, present and future collide?

We don’t always permanently shake the remnants of childhood trauma.

So we have to find ways to navigate when it pops up later.

Especially when it pops up in our professional lives.

Case in point…

Redditor throwaway-30114 wanted to discuss his story for some feedback. So naturally he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA for not hiring the kid I bullied in middle school?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“Okay so, I’ll be the first to say, I was an awful kid in middle school.”

“I was mean, cruel, and angry at everyone.”

“It resulted in me bullying a kid really, really bad.”

“I’d call him names, pull ‘pranks,’ and even embarrassed him in front of the girl he liked.”

“His mom was on the school board, so it led to a general assembly in which we had a long talk.”

“I can’t say how his mom found out, all I can say is he had written a letter and I think you guess what he planned to do to the school and himself.”

“After, I felt really sick.”

“I had driven a person to that because of my own stupid problems.”

“I immediately turned myself in, took my suspension, and then laid low for the rest of the year.”

“We ended up going to separate schools and universities, but ended up working in the same industry, in the same town.”

“I’ve done well for myself.”

“I have a really good job, and I’ve basically been moved up into a managerial position.”

“Recently, we have a new open position.”

“I found out that the kid I bullied applied to the position.”

“I’ll admit I was a bit nervous because of our history.”

“But I pushed it aside and knew I needed to make the apology, or move to another department if he was qualified, but unwilling to work with me.”

“However, he bombed the interview.”

“He interviewed with a woman on our team I highly respect, and he treated her like garbage.”

“Then, through some digging (yes, this is code for gossip, the whole industry is filled with it), it became clear that he was just like that.”

“He treated his former coworkers very poorly as well.”

“So, we couldn’t have him here.”

“We denied going forward with his application.”

“However, I guess he knew it was my team because he reached out over LinkedIn.”

“I didn’t think it was appropriate, so I ignored his message. “

“This led to him making a tweet on Twitter (we have shared mutuals so I saw the retweets) about how bullies never change.”

“It made me feel really bad because I do want to make things right with him.”

“And I’m sure that being bullied really bad didn’t help with his emotional adjustment.”

“I just don’t want to put my team in a hostile work environment.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

“NTA, because he was rejected for professional reasons not personal.”  ~ HarryEspeland

“But perhaps acknowledging him on Linkedin, apologizing for your past behavior and saying you’ll ask for some feedback on his application might have handled it better.”

“Then either you or the panel provide constructive feedback that he didn’t come across well in the interview, didn’t seem to respect the hiring manager and there were other candidates that didn’t have these issues.”

“He’s seen no evidence of you changing so it’s not unreasonable to him to think you may have said something after he didn’t get hired and you blanked him on Linkedin.”   ~ jaycoolwood

“Unfortunately apologizing for what OP used to do to him can open the door to something legal I think?”

“Especially because we know the guy has no problem taking this to social media.”

“If OP wants to apologize it should be in a public open area to do so verbally so there’s no “proof” that this guy can use to say that OP purposely prevented him from getting the job.”

“Unfortunately I do think this may be a byproduct of OP’s bullying.”

“I really hope the kid got therapy after his attempt because if not then I could see why he would have turned into a bully himself.”

“With no one to talk to about these strong feelings lots of picked on people will turn into the thing they hate as a way to take back the control they lost.”  ~ AnimalLover38

“I have almost zero sympathy for the bullied kid.”

“I was bullied, to the point where I attempted a thing.”

“It never once crossed my mind to do anything to the school or the people inside it, which the OP alluded to.”

“I’m a teacher now, and I have to accept getting murdered by a mass shooter as a remote but not impossible occupational hazard.”

“How did that miniature psycho’s threats get swept under the rug?”

“Oh, bullied kid has a mommy in a powerful position.”

“That person has problems — present tense.”

“Problems unrelated to his abuse.”

“Bullying didn’t help it, may have exacerbated it.”

“If I were OP, I’d feel bad about my past actions, maybe mentor kids in need or something to ‘atone.'”

“But I’d so know my hands are clean in this situation.” ~ wethelabyrinths111

“At this point, the situation has come too close to OP’s job and career.”

“If they ran into each other on the street, then maybe.”

“But since it would be in response to a rejected job application and bombed interview, absolutely not.”

“OP owned up to the bullying when it was happening and wants to apologize.”

“But over LinkedIn in response to that message from someone who behaves like that is absolutely a terrible idea.”

“OP should ignore the message.”  ~ basilobs

“NTA. Kinda seems like this guy is so hung up that he was bullied that he ended up becoming the bully to everyone in his life.”

“OP may have done something terrible but he fessed up and owned the consequences.”

“He shouldn’t have to pay the rest of his life for it.”

“This guy he bullied seems like he’s got a lot more going on than just ‘used to be bullied’ in junior high.”  ~ Phoenixfeather777

“NTA. The bullying and the hiring issue are separate things.”

“Had he been more professional he would have sent a post interview letter thanking your team for the opportunity and moved on.”

“You can’t hire a poor candidate out of guilt.”

“As far as the bullying issue goes it sounds like something that should be addressed, maybe in person.”

“Depends on the level of interest on both of your parts but clearly it’s unresolved for both of you.”  ~ CrochetAndKittens

“NTA Bullying is awful.”

“Years ago in school you were an awful kid.”

“You’re not a kid anymore and neither is he.”

“Under no circumstances should you respond to him.”

“Not by DM, social media, text or anything.”

“If he send an email to you at work, forward it to HR.”

“If you genuinely feel awful, reach out to a qualified therapist and work through your feelings.”

“If you engage with him you can jeopardize your job.”

“Perhaps the way you treated him in school helped him develop a warped worldview?”

“Or maybe bad parenting?”

“It’s been something like 8 years at least since the Bullying (4 years of high school and 4 years of uni plus however long you’ve been working).”

“And frankly it’s not your fault that something you did at least a decade ago when you were a kid is still affecting him.”  ~ YeaRight228

“It sounds like you grew out of being a bully and became a generally good person.”

“It also sounds like maybe your bullying this guy had more of an effect on him long-term than it did you, and he hasn’t learned how to move past it.”

“I wouldn’t beat myself up if he bombed the interview.”

“I would see what he has to say, but make it clear that the person you were in school is not the person you are now.”  ~ A2ZKIRBY71

“NTA. Subjecting your employees to his toxicity wouldn’t exactly redeem you.”

“A bad childhood can be a reason you’re an a**hole but it’s not an excuse.”

“He’s an adult and he chooses every day to treat people badly. It’s not beyond his control.”  ~ VariationEconomy5986

“NTA, but you should consider that your bullying probably had some impact in his behavior now, even years later.”

“That apology and amends should have been made long ago.”

“I would suggest a full breakdown of why he didn’t get the job alongside a full complete apology with accepting responsibility for your actions.”  ~ lauren200623001

“Nope. You’d be an AH if you hired him despite all the issues – professional, he didn’t earn the job.” ~ muy_carona

It sounds like Reddit approves of your “adult” actions, OP.

Perhaps a mediated and witnessed meeting could give some answers and heal old wounds.

And sometimes…you’re just not right for the part.

Actors deal with it all of the time.

Good luck, OP.