Posted in government, Life

How to Confront a Back-Stabber. This is going to come in handy one day soon!

I saw this post about how to confront a back-stabber and all these warm fuzzy thoughts came back to my head about being stabbed in the back by a former colleague at the Canada Revenue Agency.

I hoped this article would give me all kinds of ways in which I could get even should the situation arise again, or given me some insight into how to handle myself professionally should our paths ever cross again because I hate confrontation just for the sake of confrontation.  I’m absolutely not going to seek her out to have a conversation with her.

The article, however, focuses on talking to the back-stabber in a non-threatening environment, and reminds the reader that a back-stabber act this way because they are insecure and that possibly they do this to protect a friend, or because they are finally in a position of power and don’t fully understand the repercussions of their actions.  The recommended approach takes the emotion out of the confrontation and provides a safe environment to let that person know you are on to their deceptive ways.

Here is the Coles notes version of my story;

While working for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) I had applied for many management positions in the almost 11-years that I worked there, but was never chosen to be a permanent Team Leader / Manager.  Many times it was because there were employment equity guidelines to meet, and as I was told, as a “white male” I would always be near the bottom of the list until our representation was met.

At first, I understood, but as I progressed and moved up in the CRA, it bothered me that I could “act” as a Team Leader, and I could manage teams but never permanently, as once I completed my MBA the decision made even less sense.

A Managerial position had posted in a different tax office, and I met all the criteria.  It would have been a new challenge, new people, new office, a fresh start and it would have been managing staff which I was quite good at, so I applied.

I was contacted right away by their HR representative which is unusual (to get into the CRA was an 11-month process)and she told me that I was by far the best candidate, and she asked me for 3 references.

I chose them, but in the process of checking them, the HR representative contacted my new Team Leader, who had been managing my team for only 6-weeks.  Not only that but she had been away from the office for 2-years on maternity leave and while she was gone, she had completed her qualifications, written the test and been selected to become the TL.

I was okay with that because when she joined the CRA, I had trained her and her friend and I had managed her on a couple of occasions.  In fact, prior to her return, I had been leading the team – handling any escalations, addressing staffing matters, set up the goals and objectives for the team and leading the team meetings.

When she arrived, I gave her all the information and took a step back.  She booked a meeting with me right away, sought out my opinions and asked me to continue helping out with the day-to-day operations, which I did.

Then after 6 weeks, she was gone.  Nobody knew where she went or what had happened to her, but I later found out that she left to accept another position (and she didn’t even telling the team), so the Assistant Director appointed another team leader to run our team, and she booked a meeting with me and asked me to continue to run it for her.

Sounds okay, right.

Here is where it gets wacky.

Since it takes ages for government processes to run their course, 5 or 6 months had passed when I was approached out of no where by a colleague about a rumour that she had heard that I was not going to get this position because this outgoing TL had told the hiring board that I was a terrible leader.

How this colleague even knew I had applied was a shock to me.

Silly as it seems (and those of you never having worked in government you may think this is all crap, but it is SO true and happens all the time) so I called HR, who told me that a “better candidate was selected”.

I waited until the posting was public and realized the candidate had nowhere near the experience, or education that I had, and clearly HR made this decision because of what the TL said.

It bothered me, but I was now looking for roles in the private sector, and found one as the Tax Manager of a large Transfer Agent.  Upon leaving the CRA, I requested access to all of my records and in doing so I was given a copy of the written reference that this TL provided to the board.

It was a joke.

In the area that asked if I had ever led a team formally or informally, she said “no”.

In the area where it asked if I had any experience with goals or objectives, she said “no”.

Under the last area asking if I was good with people and would – in her opinion – be able to lead a team, she said, “no”.

And as such, due to her treating this matter like it was a big high-school joke – I was denied this position.

I wanted to confront her but not because I hold a grudge but because with the casualness this woman lied to the hiring board, I wanted her to know that I knew what she had done.  If she can lie to her employer with such ease, she must be able to do the same to her children and her family.

I wonder how she would feel if that happened to her, or her kids?

I also wanted to let her manager know the situation but it would have all seemed so petty and was not worth my time, stress and effort.

But what would I say? I’m an emotional guy and while this really upset me at the time, it bothered me more because it’s not right, it wasn’t fair and it was wrong.

Thankfully this article gave me some suggestions.  Now I know.

I’ll update this post if I ever run into her again!


Welcome to The Urban Daddy! This blog, established in 2004, has been written by a not-so-typical Daddy blogger from Toronto, Canada. In June of 2017, we welcomed a Mommy blogger to the fold. Our focus, as always, is on parenting and what it is like being a dad for the 1st,2nd & 3rd time, plus what it's like being the mom of twins! Sleep? Who needs sleep! You can follow us on Facebook at You can follow us on Twitter @ We are also on Tumbler, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. Whew. You don't have to agree with everything we write, but please be kind when commenting. Thank you for coming by, and enjoy your stay!

8 thoughts on “How to Confront a Back-Stabber. This is going to come in handy one day soon!

  1. Warren, I am really sorry that happened to you. But like the previous posters stated this happens more often than we would like to believe.You are so right that she will
    continue to do this because there have never been any consequences.If you have the reports stating that you did not team lead, when you actually did, and also other colleagues, who I am sure liked you, could you sue for defamation of character?I agree with Jo having a friend call up and question for a reference would be interesting.Maybe it could be taped as well. Karma is a
    bitch and it does happen.
    Whenever I get angry or upset about something similar
    my Husband Ian always says to me.The best revenge is to live well. Granted she is a sociopath devoid of any
    empathy for anyone else or their family. Obviously someone there gave her an oppourtunity .Would it have hurt her to have told the truth at least even if she did not have to be flowery about it . Maybe she has jealousy issues and was worried that if you were promoted you would surpass her in next round of promos.
    Have you ever considered sending her the article and then the responses of your followers.(ha,ha)
    At any rate I have been there and I have the bloody scars to prove it.Bell Canada being built on the old military style model is one of the most politically backstabbing corporations in the world.I survived, and you have done well for yourself and your family.In the words of my beloved Ian.”Live well and be well”.
    Cheers, Beth


  2. Jo, I could not agree with you more! Having hired my fair share of staff, I often wonder when reaching out to referencesw if they are feeding me a line when they prasie the person. Makes you wonder if they are that good, why are they looking for work… Then you hire then and you know why.

    And your suggestion is fantastic!!! I have never thought of that. Wonderful.

    Thanks for taking the time to post a comment.


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