Beat the workplace bullies.

Bullying is just as common in the workplace as the play ground. But adults should be able to deal with cowardly little bullies who stalk the most vulnerable members of staff, as easily as swatting a pesky little fly. Adults are grown ups, sensible, fully aware of their rights. Just a click away from help and expert advice. So why would anybody subject themselves to daily mental torture, when help is so readily available?

There’s no simple answer why any intelligent individual would be unable to take action against their oppressor. I know this because, after I experienced bullying in the workplace first hand, for months, I still can’t understand why I didn’t act sooner.

Previous and subsequent employers confirm that I am not ‘the colleague from hell’. My previous assistant manager is now one of my best friends. I can’t claim to have been a model employee; which I may add, became increasingly difficult as my confidence diminished to zero. But my ability to do the job was never in question, it was personal.

Had I of listened to the managers warning during the interview that ‘it might take me a while to fit in’, I wouldn’t have found myself in that situation. I should have run for the hills but at that point I had no concept of what was to come. I assumed if I was warm and charming I would win favour. Even after the iconic Erin Brockovich ‘guess I’m not the right kind’ of girl scene played out in real life, leaving me to explain why I wasn’t at lunch with the girls to a confused male colleague, I still thought I could win them round. I suspect I stubbornly believed I would be failing if I just left. Why I thought this when the pack mentality was clearly in play remains a mystery.

In a recent conversation via Twitter (the inspiration behind this post), I was surprised to hear some of the reasons that people stayed in jobs they obviously hated. Discounting common reasons like not being able to pay the rent or a crippling lack of confidence, the most intriguing reason I found was a lack of direction and not wanting to have a CV full of random jobs because it would look bad to future employers.

I can’t help but look back and think about the over whelming sense of responsibility I felt to stay in a job I hated, which now seems ludicrous. At the time, the reasons I stayed seemed valid but later proved to be utterly irrelevant. I ended up quitting months later anyway, with no job to go to. By the time I cleared my desk I had already scored a new job, which I loved. I would urge anyone unhappy in their job to be brave and make the move as soon as possible- life’s so short.

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5 thoughts on “Beat the workplace bullies.

  1. I think the reason why people don’t quit the jobs they hate is the fear to lose the income. It is very hard to find a job nowadays, especially during this crisis. For example, in The Netherlands for only one position you might get more then 300 applications! In this situation I think very few would take a risk to stay jobless just because they don’t like the job.

  2. I had a very similar experience, but the fact is I loved my job just not some of the people that I worked with who unfortunately were in my department. That was the hard thing because I felt that if I left it would be like they chased me away from something that I loved. But I was also very lucky to have a good group of friends in my work place and to work with my partner so had an on hand support network. As time went on even with a drop of confidence that is inevitable when your being condemned for even existing! it was clear to see that the problem lay with them and their lack of confidence and unhappiness even though they were/are truly talented people. Eventually my partner moved to a different region with the same company which was a lot better, and got me stopping apologising for everything as I had grown accustom to doing in my old department just for breathing, my partner and i have now left that company to settle back in Europe. Recently going back to see friends at my old place of employment the same people are still there, still miserable, still unhappy and still stuck in the same metal attitude. It made me realise how much I had grown and it was even more clear to see their childish mentality and lack of confidence. Now I work doing a job I love just as much but working with a great team of people and also creating a business of my own. I also think companies have to step up and do something about bullying, if they know its happening (like your manager saying you may have problems fitting in) and condone it, they made it acceptable that has to stop. Thanks for a great post.

    • Thanks for sharing, the more people speak out the less people will feel like it’s something to hide. It’s only when you get some distance from the situation, you can really see them for what they are. I think, from what I’ve heard this has been addressed at my old work place but it took a long while.

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