Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bullies at Work


Well, after the Thanksgiving weekend I came back to a lot of stuff to catch up on. One article just stood out and could not let go of it. It was written in Canada but can assure you that this problem is alive and well in America. Adults should know better and grow up, learn to leave this garbage at the door. However, from experience and the feedback I get daily, I can assure you that childhood bullies grow worse and exist in the office as well.

In the article, I read of a woman working in an office who was asked to do some photocopying by her boss which went beyond her job description. While doing this she reached to answer the phone and the paper got jammed in the machine. Instead of reaching to help, the boss snarled “I thought you claimed to be an Administrative Assistant.” Since that incident, she has endured nitpicking, embarrassment and verbal abuse from this boss. As a result, her self esteem plummeted, she developed anxiety, felt incompetent and this filtered into her way of life. A co-worker even stated that they did not like it when the woman was bullied but did not know how to deal with the psychological abuse this boss was inflicting in the office.
Folks, who needs this? Again, let me ask you: Who NEEDS this on a daily basis? These bullies at work will pick up on one mistake and run with it. Someone will do something wrong and they never let it go! If it is the boss that is one thing. However, there are people who are not even in positions of authority and they still pull these stunts. They zone in one person and constantly focus on them. The complaining starts and it becomes contagious. Every little thing the other person does gets magnified and dissected redundantly. It gets to a point where the target cannot even come to work without receiving nasty notes in their box, an email or some nasty remark from either the bully or one of her little helpers. Its no wonder a person looses self-esteem, becomes anxious, stressed and eventually develops depression. Who can work and affectively like that?
Please, if this is happening to you, please document the date, time and what happened. Keep a log of this. If others are seeing this occur in the office, talk to them and ask them to document. That is if you know you can trust them. Check your code of conduct that is outlined in your workplace handbook or if something is hanging on the wall in the office. Do not let one person keep an office in an uproar. Also, for goodness sakes DON’T try to be accepted by the bully. Do you think he cares about you and it will make your job any easier? Most importantly, build up a support system outside of the office where they can be sounding boards. Do not keep all of this inside and to yourself. That only makes it worse for you. Most importantly, do not confront the bully on their behavior. They are looking for drama and games and will use anything you say to them against you. For them, this is about power, control and staying on top. I know the articles states that you should contact them early on but I disagree. They have found a target in you and will do anything they can to keep problems going. Their goal is to get you out of the organization. You are either a threat to them or maybe receive more pay than them. Anyone in your position will get heat from this person.
If you see this at your job, do what you can to help the one being targeted. Nobody needs this abuse and it is nothing more than abuse. Not only do the employees suffer when this is occurring but so does productivity and people are not working to their full potential. I think at the end of the day, we all just want to work, do our job and go home. There is enough stress in the world so why add to it? Something to think about.

2 comments:

Henry North London said...

A very good piece It happened like that with me.

Elizabeth Bennett said...

Thank you for reading. What exactly happened with you? Are you interested in sharing?