• Build a solid reputation to prevent being thrown under busses
  • Always speak for yourself but do so with your emotions in check
  • Cultivate your network so that they stick up for you when you’re not around
You've been busting your fucking ass for the past three months on a top project with your team. Every day, you get in the zone and crush it.

If we're all being honest, you're the brains behind most of the work but you're also a team player so you don't make a big deal about it.

If everything goes well, chances are really good that you’ll get a kickass promotion and the even more kickass salary boost that comes with it.

It's definitely worth slaving three months for it.

But then, the week before the final presentation to upper management, one of your teammates approaches you.

They tell you that they've made such a huge mistake that it could potentially tank the whole project. Visions of you not getting that promotion instantly pop into your head.

You're everything at once: fucking pissed off at their carelessness, frustrated for all the time seemingly wasted, scared as hell for what happens next, and just downright exhausted.

But you're a team player so you decide to help out your colleague to get out of this mess. You pull an all-nighter to get it sorted out.

Then, you come to work the next day and find your boss red in the face… and is that steam coming out of their ears?

You hadn't even taken two steps and your boss was already screaming at you.

What did you do?

Turns out, the colleague you helped out to fix their mistake spun the whole thing around and made it look like you caused the disaster.

That muthafucker just threw you under the bus.

Origin Of The Term “Thrown Under The Bus”

Throwing someone under the bus is another idiom that shouldn't be taken on face value - unless you're criminally inclined.

Nobody quite knows for sure who or where the saying comes from. However, according to Merriam Webster, they state that it possibly dates back to British politics in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Throwing someone under the bus simply means “to criticize, blame, or punish someone in a vulnerable position especially in order to avoid blame or gain an advantage.” (Merriam Webster)

At one point or another in our lives, we've all been thrown under the bus. It fucking sucks.

Remember your teenage years?

All of that peer pressure and those cliquey social circles filled with gossip and petty “he said, she said” rumor mongering?

We’ve all been thrown under the bus during our adolescent years.

But nothing sucks more than being thrown under the bus at work because a lot of things are at stake, namely your career and personal brand.

Why Coworkers Throw People Under The Bus

We're sure you'd be pretty satisfied with keying the jerk's cars and filling their shoes with dogshit. Maybe even spitting in their coffee because you're that fucking pissed off - screw office coffee etiquette.

Why should you ask why these people do what they do, right?

Well, wrong.

You have to understand why your coworkers do this so that you deal with the root of the problem and don't build up negative emotions. When you have clarity and understanding, it makes things much easier to process and move forward.

These are some of the reasons your coworkers may feel compelled to throw you and others under the bus.

1. They're Very Insecure

Most people who do this are just very insecure about themselves and their position in the company.

You may come across as more put-together, successful, smart, and every other good thing their overactive imagination has fed them to believe makes you better.

Maybe you are better, but a confident person will find a way to work together with you to become successful together. It’s called teamwork.

An insecure person will only see one way out: eliminating the competition at whatever cost, including backstabbing and talking shit about you.

It's really not your fault that they're insecure.

2. They're Afraid

A trusted friend and colleague, someone you thought you could share work gossip and one of your favorite lunch spots with, could throw you under the bus.

You may not want to believe it because maybe they're in a different department and really have nothing to be insecure about competition-wise.

Maybe they're your control freak boss or even someone below you and you thought you had nothing to fear from them and vice versa.

Sometimes, it's not you that they fear but something else.

Maybe they thought throwing you under the bus was the only remedy for the situation.

They probably thought you could survive a bit of a dent in your reputation and even understand why later.

Maybe they panicked and your name was the first thing they blabbered out.

Don't take it personally. Everyone's afraid of something.

3. They're Frustrated

Frustration makes people do ugly and desperate things.

When you’re about to lose your shit, you've probably felt the urge to blow the whole damn place up. But no, you didn't let the frustration get the better of you and you probably wouldn't have gotten far if it did.

But sometimes frustration could get the better of some people and make them say and do shit they'll regret afterward.

It may be mixed up with a lot of insecurity and resentment towards you but they probably wouldn't have done any of it if they were thinking straight and had their head outta their ass.

4. They're Narcissists

There are just some people who were born to prey on the weakness of others.

They only get truly happy by seeing someone else sad, embarrassed, or disgraced, kinda like asshole bosses.

These people make you want to thank everything thankable for being raised right.

People like this will throw you under the bus, steer the bus back over you again, laugh, and throw some more people under that same bus if they can get away with it.

You're neither their therapist nor their mother. Don't try to reason with these people.

What To Do When You're Thrown Under The Bus

It's always disorienting to find yourself thrown under the bus. So many emotions, thoughts, and actions are running through you at once that you may just choke the person sitting right next to you.

But you can't. You can't afford to make it worse.

You want to remove yourself from the situation as well as possible and still maintain your reputation.

Here are some things to do when you find yourself in this situation.

1. Maintain A Strong Reputation

Maintaining a strong reputation works wonders for your career and it serves here as well.

You prevent yourself from being a target of “throwers” by maintaining a strong reputation and work ethic. Even when you've been thrown under the bus, you discredit the culprit because your reputation speaks heavily for you.

It’s like someone trying to bad-mouth Mr. Rogers. It won’t work. His rep is far stronger than any and all trash-talking bullshit out there.

It can be the same for you.

No one in the department will believe the office gossip that you sent the files way past the deadline when you have an impeccable reputation for punctuality. You’ve never missed a deadline. Ever.

No one in their right minds would even think of throwing you under that particular bus because they'd know it's a lost cause. You don't come into work thirty minutes early every day for nothing.

No one will believe it when someone claims you sent a rude-ass email to a big client when they all know how flawless your business writing is.

A strong reputation almost automatically nullifies false claims against you.

Start building your reputation very intentionally and visibly.

Your reputation is your armor. Wear it well.

2. Don't React Immediately

We get it. There are so many things that are going through your head and you just want to act on them all. You have the urge to snap back and attack to even the score.

If you did, you'd be in a worse position than before.

Because you'd probably be locked in a brawl and we don't want that, do we?

So take some time to calm the fuck down and clear your thoughts.

Take a five-minute walk outside.

Do a one-minute breathing meditation.

Write down your emotions in a journal.

Blast your favorite music on your headphones.

Go yell inside your car.

Do whatever you need to do to work through the emotions so that you can then get to a more calm state of mind and clear-headed. It’s one of the best ways to manage work stress.

Once you feel you've got control of yourself, analyze the situation and use the other measures we list in this section.

3. Confront The Culprit Professionally

This should happen only when you've sufficiently cleared your head enough.

Do not speak to the culprit, the thrower, before you've had a chance to rein in your emotions. Once you're sure you have control over yourself, send the person a polite and professional email and schedule a time to talk.

It is important to schedule this by email so that you get to cover your ass later on if necessary.

When you both get to talk, don't start on the offensive. Rather, approach the situation logically. Separate yourself from your emotions during the conversation.

It's easier written than done, we know but it's your best bet for getting to the root cause.

Politely steer the conversation through the details and make sure not to get muddy on the sentiment.

As soon as your ego comes out, “What the fuck?! Why did you throw me under the bus?”, there'll be no hope for getting any answers at all.

Be calm and logical like an investigator.

4. Speak Up For Yourself

It's easier to pretend the ground is about to swallow you than to open your mouth to speak up when everyone is looking at you with different expressions on their faces.

You hate being put on the spot, and we get that.

But if you don’t speak up, you’ll end up taking the fall for someone else’s mistake.

It’s like this wife who won’t take the fall for her husband’s red light violation.

Just watch the first five minutes and try not to laugh.

VIDEO: My Husband’s Guilty
YOUTUBE: Caught In Providence
LENGTH: 8:05
Summary points:
  • “Yes, Dear” is always the safest answer
  • Never throw yourself under the bus
  • Taking your wife out to dinner works like a charm
The message here is that if you don't say something for yourself, you'll be taking the fall for someone else.

It's okay to excuse yourself and not say anything in the heat of the moment to control your emotions - that’s a good move.

What is not okay is leaving the situation unaddressed.

You need to explain what happened, state all the facts, and also point to past examples of your work that show you couldn’t have done such a thing.

Remember the way to win this is to be calm, so don't shout. You’ve gotta be an adult at work. If you feel your temper rising, take a moment to breathe and gather your thoughts.

If you feel you can't do so at the moment, set a precise meeting time with those involved so that you get to clear the air.

You're nobody's welcome mat and it's better they learned it sooner.

5. Speak To People Who Can Speak For You

One great thing about having a strong network is that you have people who know you and can defend you readily.

Depending on the depth of the situation, you may want to involve certain stakeholders, peer mentors or sponsors who can speak for you beyond some doors that are closed to you and where decisions are made.

These people should also corroborate your words and the words your reputation speaks about you.

Have a strong network with people you can always rely on and who can always rely on you. That way, nobody will have the balls to try to fuck you over and if they tried, they'd just get shut out.

From Under The Bus To The Top Of A Double Decker

You're about to go to lunch and your boss calls you aside for a quick chat.

They say, “I just heard from Lisa that you're the reason the project was delivered late. Knowing you, I had to wonder. Is this true?”

You smile and say no while explaining what you did do which just goes to solidify your reputation further.

Your boss is pissed that Lisa could say that about you and praises you for a job well done.

You're not much for compliments but you just can't seem to be modest about this one.

You just got thrown under a fucking truck with 20+ wheels and survived.

You gotta celebrate victories like this whenever you can. So, give yourself a mental high-five!

It's about time you started getting the recognition you deserve. Screw being humble - your reputation is counting on it.

Feel Better,

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