When Grown Folks Get Bullied
10/3/2013 11:50:00 AM
It’s Bullying Prevention Month. Regarding our kids, we must be engaged in our children’s school in order to be proactive in preventing this behavior. We should also teach our kids to stand up to bullies on behalf of other kids. More often than not if multiple kids take a stand, others will follow suit. Creating more dialogue and enacting bully prevention programs in our schools and other community outlets can curb bullying. At the least, establishing major disciplinary punishment for bullies can aid in making someone think twice about bullying another student. But at the same time kids who bully have issues; let’s get to the “why” of why they act out when they bully others. It could be insecurity, issues in their home, etc. that contribute to their behavior. While I wish bullying would end period for kids, it’s a shame when adults partake in bullying.
No, I don’t mean parents ganging up on a kid (though I have seen some parents act a plum fool). I mean workplace bullying. It’s real. About 54 million people, have been bullied at the office, or repeatedly mistreated in a way that could affect their health, according to a 2007 Zogby International survey. This number grows to 71.5 million people when witnesses are included. The problem is unless you’re at the receiving end of abuse; you’re unlikely to realize it.
Now, I have dealt with workplace bullying a couple of times. On one gig I talked to my boss – who adored me – and confronted the childish clique. Knowing I had a little office pull, they chilled out and I even became kind of cool with one of the ladies. The others? We respectfully kept our distance but I moved on. In another situation the bullying was more subtle versus the overt giggling, gossip, and eye rolls. This time it was a male ring leader and consisted of exclusion, ignoring me, talking about me in the public versus at work, sabotage and then some. When I confronted the leader of the pack, he denied it! But the others followed his lead making my family want to roll up on the j-o-b and making me want to quit. But I didn’t.
I worked harder and unbeknownst to me, I received respect from other workers including management. That in turn put an abrupt halt in their attempts to get rid of me – like they did others. But not everyone is as fortunate as I was. 45% of individuals targeted by bullies at work suffer stress-related health problems, according to the Zogby survey-including post-traumatic stress disorder! But how do you know you are being bullied at work? Forbes Magazine gives us some clues in the piece, “10 Signs You're Being Bullied At Work”. Peep the signs here:
Work Means Misery
If you often feel like throwing up or are particularly anxious the night before the start of your workweek, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing workplace bullying, experts say. While few people look forward to Mondays, they shouldn’t cause you to feel physically ill.
If the criticism from your boss or co-worker never seems to stop, despite your history of objective competence and even excellence, a bully might be to blame. Workplace bullies also tend to have a different standard in mind for their targets, experts say.
Lots Of Yelling
Overt workplace bullies tend to make their feelings known by yelling. If you are frequently screamed at, insulted or humiliated in front of others, you’re probably being bullied.
Remembering Your Mistakes
If your boss or co-worker seems to keep a file of your mistakes and constantly refer to them for no constructive reason, you’re likely being bullied. Falsely accusing you of errors is another common tactic.
Gossip And Lies
A covert office bully is more likely to spread destructive gossip and lies about you and your performance, rather than scream at you in front of your co-workers. Failing to stop the spread of a rumor can be an act of bullying, too.
You’re Not Invited To Lunch Or Meetings
If you feel like you’re being singled out and/or isolated by your co-workers or boss, socially or physically, you are probably being bullied, experts say. That can mean having your desk moved or not being invited to meetings or even lunch.
You Always Need Mental Health Days
If it seems like all of your paid time off is being used for mental health breaks to get away from the misery of your office, it could be because you’re being bullied. Other signs include spending your days off feeling lifeless or your family members showing frustration over your constant obsessing about work.
A workplace bully may try to find ways to ensure that you fail at your job. Examples include changing rules on the fly that apply to your work or not performing tasks crucial to your success, such as signing off on details or taking calls.
A workplace bully won’t hesitate to change your schedule to make your life more difficult. If your boss always schedules last-minute late meetings on the days when he knows you’re taking night classes or you have to pick up the kids, for instance, he or she may be a bully.
You’ve been working day and night for weeks on a project that’s now getting good buzz at your office. If your boss or co-worker steals the credit, and has a habit of doing so, you’re being bullied.
So how do you counter it – besides snapping and giving someone a parking lot beat down? For some practical advice, click here.