Harper and Yasmin deal with two types of bully bosses in the latest episode of BBC’s Industry.
Warning: this article contains spoilers for Industry episode five
I’m going to come clean: the financial jargon in BBC’s Industry has finally started to confuse me a tad too much. That’s why quite a lot of the office talk was lost on me in episode five of the finance drama. But the one message that I received very loudly and clearly was that the series has a lot to say about the different types of toxic bosses.
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Last week, we saw Harper and her mentor Eric build a working relationship based on trust and respect. After discovering that Harper had lied about having college certificates, Eric told her he wouldn’t tell anybody because he knows what it’s like to be an outsider in such a privileged industry. He showed he was on her side.
But in the latest episode, Eric totally abused that trust. In an angry and paranoid rage, Eric secretly asked Harper to convince his former client, Felim, to return to Pierpoint. This required Harper to lie to her other colleagues and break the rules. Alas, Harper failed to do what Eric asked of her, and actually ended up getting him in trouble.
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Eric aggressively corners her in a meeting room and shouts: “I was the only one willing to ignore your non-target background, pull you out of wherever, and give you the success that might, let’s say, excuse your personality. The massive fucking chip on your shoulder. You see how I carefully elided the fact that you’re also a fucking liar? Or is that how you sustain the delusion that you actually belong here?”
Ouch, no wonder Harper bursts into tears when he finally leaves the room. It’s the first time we’ve seen her in such a vulnerable state. And it’s all down to a toxic, abusive boss who is only on her side when it suits him.
Elsewhere at Pierpoint, Yasmin is dealing without another sort of toxic male boss. After securing a dinner meeting with a potential new client, her supervisor Kenny insists on coming along. This is the same Kenny who we’ve previously seen blatantly shout and bully Yasmin in the office and in social situations.
But, before the meeting starts, Kenny apologises to Yasmin for his past behaviour, giving the excuse that he finds it difficult to get on with people sometimes. As the boozy evening goes on, Kenny’s “charm” quickly fades, and he makes comments about Yasmin being privileged and having things handed to her on a plate because of her looks.
The night ends with Kenny insisting on Yasmin accepting a dance in a night club, which she clearly doesn’t want but goes along with just to keep a very pissed Kenny happy. It’s unbearably uncomfortable to watch. And it’s proof that Kenny really is a work bully.
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The two women – who are both also having boyfriend trouble – end the episode holding each other’s hand in bed. Although the world of finance is renowned for being cut-throat, nobody should ever have to deal with this sort of bullying in the workplace. Hopefully, Harper and Yasmin will find a way to deal with them once and for all.
You can catch up with Industry on iPlayer.
Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…