This blog is not for the light-hearted or easily offended. If either one of those descriptions applies to you, i would suggest you start drinking before you read this blog. A sense of humor is suggested. If you don't have one that sucks for you … find one and get a life!

In which there’s bullying in the workplace

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Here’s what I’ve learned this year.  I’ve learned that bullying is not only a problem with kids, it’s a huge problem in the workplace.  I truly had no idea that such a thing was happening all the time.

 

What is workplace bullying? 

 

Workplace bullying is when one a person or group of people in a workplace single out another person for unreasonable, embarrassing, or intimidating treatment. Usually the bully is a person in a position in authority who feels threatened by the victim, but in some cases the bully is a co-worker who is insecure or immature. Workplace bullying can be the result of a single individual acting as a bully or of a company culture that allows or even encourages this kind of negative behavior.

 

Workplace bullying can take many forms:

 

  • Shouting or swearing at an employee or otherwise verbally abusing him or her

  • One employee being singled out for unjustified criticism or blame

  • An employee being excluded from company activities or having his or her work or contributions purposefully ignored

  • Language or actions that embarrass or humiliate an employee

  • Practical jokes, especially if they occur repeatedly to the same person

 

The statistics are staggering.

 

“Prevalent statistics for the United States and other western countries (depending on the study) indicate a range of between 35 and 50 percent. What that means is, that between 35 and 50 percent of workers have been bullied or otherwise abused in their workplaces at some point during their careers.

 

This is astonishing to me because I know of two young women who have experienced workplace bullying.  One of them just quit her job of 4 months because she couldn’t take it anymore.  There was a group of women who were bullying this young woman and she was such a nervous wreck that she quit.

 

Did you know that 40% of bullies at work are women?

 

Did you know that they almost always target other women?

 

It’s bad enough that there are “mean girls” in the world but to know that they are banding together in the workplace is downright awful.

 

When you are categorically bullied at work you can develop the following symptoms and even though you know it’s not your fault, it affects your self-esteem.

Emotional symptoms

Negative or depressive feeling

Disappointment with yourself

Increased emotional reactions – more tearful or sensitive or aggressive

Loneliness, withdrawn

Loss of motivation commitment and confidence

Mood swings (not behavioral)

Mental

Confusion, indecision

Cant concentrate

Poor memory

Changes from your normal behavior

Changes in eating habits

Increased smoking, drinking or drug taking ‘to cope’

Mood swings effecting your behavior

Changes in sleep patterns

Twitchy, nervous behavior

Changes in attendance such as arriving later or taking more time off.

So why am I writing about this? 

 

  • Because it’s happening to someone that I know, someone that I love and she’s powerless.

  • Because bullying can happen to anyone at anytime in any place.

  • Because most young people don’t want to “quit” and don’t know how to stop it.

  • Because the people bullying are always higher on the working food chain so there’s very little recourse.

  • Because when you complain about it you are often targeted even more.

  • Because the person doing the bullying is often feeling shitty about themselves and would prefer to pass it along then deal with it.

  • Because the systematic destruction of someone’s self-esteem is an invisible process

 

I’m putting it out there that if you are a victim of bullying or you are a witness to bullying that you step up and say enough.

 

After all, we are all human beings and deserve to have a modicum of dignity.

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8 Comments

  1. Ribena Tina
    May 28, 2013

    How awful! I can sympathise – I was once bullied so bad that I was so worked up I forgot where I parked my car one day and telephoned the police to report it stolen from a very kind strangers house (before the day of mobile phones) only for my husband to find it in the next street an hour later!

    Being 20 I didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t handle the problem. The day after that incident I went over the bullies head (who was my boss). Luckily my organisation is large enough for me to have been moved. 18 months later I was promoted; being young and ridiculous I walked into his office and in front of his team said “Hey, I have just been promoted despite your best attempts to the contrary – are you going to congratulate me?” – childish but then I was only 21 and it shut him up.

    I hope your friend gets the problem sorted. x

    • Lynn
      May 28, 2013

      thanks…I admire how ballsey that was. Hope she gets it worked out as well.

  2. Theresa
    May 28, 2013

    Our daughter Sabrina was a freshman in high school, when she was targeted by two seniors. Not for any reason you would expect. Academic bullying is the worst kind. She suffered for being smart by kids who were equally smart, older, and leaders. Her first year of high school was destroyed. Kids like this grow up to be bullies. It carries to the workplace. Angry, bitter, competitive people.
    As a sophomore, she started The Anti-Bullying Project, and it is steadily growing. If your readers are on Facebook, she appreciates the “like” as she grows this venture to spread the message about all types of bullying. Her website will be active this summer, and she is giving the opportunity for people to tell their stories anonymously. Proud of her for making lemons out of lemonade. Academic bullying is slow and stealth… and tears at the kid bit by bit.
    https://www.facebook.com/TheAntiBullyingProject

    • Lynn
      May 28, 2013

      awww…you must be proud of her. The whole thing stinks

      • Theresa
        May 28, 2013

        mainly glad it seems to finally be over. Lasted a whole year. Made no sense. Bullying is so out of control at every level. Remember when the electronic world was supposed to be better, and allow us a slower stress free life? OY!

  3. Barton
    May 30, 2013

    You might want to have your loved one/friend check out her/his firm’s Code of Conduct, or Code of Ethics. My company has a very strict anti-retaliation and anti-bullying policy at work. It IS effective in its implementation. But you must remember that HR is not there for the employee, they are there to protect the company, so if the contact isn’t a 3rd party, have her start documenting everything so she can effectively sue or counter-act anything they do to her/him in the future. It sucks to have to protect yourself like this.

  4. Heaven7
    May 31, 2013

    While I agree that there are bullies out there, and they should be confronted and stopped, in my experience there is an “overuse” of the word BULLYING. It is becoming the “word du jour” to throw around when an employee wants to stop a certain inquiry into their work productivity. I have seen employees claim that they are being “bullied” because someone pointed out that they arrived late, failed to get key tasks done on time, or missed critical meetings. My “spidey sense” gets all tingly when low performing employees say they feel bullied. That feeling they are experiencing is not being “bullied” it is called “guilt”. Sometimes, if you feel left out or like others are hasselling you, maybe you need to get with the program.

    • Lynn
      June 1, 2013

      i completely agree with you although in this case, I think it’s really a concerted effort to get her to quit

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