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Bullying in the workplace.

Discussion in 'Agony Advice' started by Benny JR, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. Benny JR

    Benny JR Well-Known Member

    Hi all, I need some advice.

    I'm being bullied in work (at least, I think this qualifies as bullying) by a co-worker. Nearly every time we're in together, and if I make a very minor mistake or if I stammer in my speech, she runs off to tell someone and makes a laugh of me. This has been going-on for about a year or so, maybe a little longer. It really depresses me and makes me sad, as I quite liked this girl, but now I don't know what to make of her.

    She can be really rough, but sometimes she's really nice and dead sound, but then there are times when I just dread being in work with her. She can be very two-faced, and will start-up at me about absolutely nothing.

    I really don't know what to do about this situation.

    I get really sad, like I am now, and I just want it to end.
  2. Luke

    Luke Well Known Member


    My only advice is to direct her to stop or else you will be requesting a meeting to discuss the issue with your respective supervisor.
    No one should be bullied in at work and she needs to be told to stop.
  3. Benny JR

    Benny JR Well-Known Member

    The thing is, the supervisor, one or two in particular, are the ones who she is good friends with and usually who she tells everything to about any mistake I might make. It's only her who does this, nobody else.

    Then tonight, just before I finished work, she walks-up to me and says anything I have to say about her I should tell her. Yet, she talks about me behind my back, and expects me not to say anything about her?!?! Besides being hypocritical, she just contradicts herself.

    I wish she'd just grow-up, too. It's so immature.
  4. Sarah

    Sarah Moderator Staff Member

    No one should be bullied full stop Benny. You should speak to your direct line manager and also request a meeting with HR. You should also keep a record of everything that happens. Keeping it all in writing let's them know you are taking the matter seriously.
  5. graysonmom

    graysonmom New Member

    You have to stand up for yourself. Documenting what she is doing is essential, but telling the boss or someone else won't make her stop. You have to look them in the eye and tell them to cut it out, nothing else will work, otherwise she'll just start calling you a whiner and start being mean about that.

    Your only other option (besides quitting, which may not be a good choice in this economy) is to ignore her. And I mean really ignore her, not just stop trying to change the situation. I mean saying to yourself, "dealing with this person is not part of my job. My job is to take care of the tasks on my desk. She does not get my attention unless she and I have a very specific job task to discuss."
  6. Benny JR

    Benny JR Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all of the advice, everyone.

    I think I might actually just ignore her, but if anything else does happen, I'm just gonna go straight for it and have a talk with her face-to-face and tell her to stop.

    If that doesn't work, then I'll go to my managers.

    I'm actually good friends with an ex-manager of ours who still works for our company, but at a different branch. She still comes back to us from time to time, but at the branch she works at is where our head office is, so maybe I'd be better going straight to them.
  7. Benny JR

    Benny JR Well-Known Member

    That's good advice. Thank You.
  8. Benny JR

    Benny JR Well-Known Member

    This has been happening for about a year, so there would be a lot to document. I can still remember most of what's happened, but there would be a few pages of stuff to write down.
  9. Emmerdalefan

    Emmerdalefan Well-Known Member

    Benny I have witnessed this and it is nothing worse than having a colleague bully or pick on you and they are good friends with the person you should go to if you have any grievances with staff. For your sake just go over their head to HR. Dont worry about whether the supervisor will think you have gone over them. Ask if you can be moved.

    But at workplaces it does seem to be the arse lickers that can bully and they seem to get away with it because they are friends with the top nops.

    One time at work someone said something untrue and derogatory to me about my social life by calling me a "virgin c**t". If that had been outside I would have smacked him in the mouth.
  10. SnarkyOracle!

    SnarkyOracle! Well-Known Member

    Here's an article of workplace bullying, though it may not apply to this situation specifically.

    Work Bully Victims Struggle with Dangerous Stress

    By Stephanie Pappas

    If you spend your workday avoiding an abusive boss, tiptoeing around co-workers who talk behind your back, or eating lunch alone because you've been ostracized from your cubicle mates, you may be the victim of workplace bullying. New research suggests that you're not alone, especially if you're struggling to cope.

    Employees with abusive bosses often deal with the situation in ways that inadvertently make them feel worse, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Stress Management. That's bad news, as research suggests that workplace abuse is linked to stress — and stress is linked to a laundry list of mental and physical ailments, including higher body weight and heart disease.

    In at least one extreme case, workplace bullying has even been linked to suicide, much as schoolyard bullying has been linked to a rash of suicides among young people.

    Bullying is "a form of abuse which carries tremendous health harm," said Gary Namie, a social psychologist who directs the Workplace Bullying Institute. "That's how you distinguish it from tough management or any of the other cutesy ways people use to diminish it."

    Struggle to cope

    Namie was not involved in the new study, which surveyed nearly 500 employees about how they dealt with abusive supervision. Abusive supervisors are bosses who humiliate and insult their employees, never let them forget their mistakes, break promises and isolate employees from other co-workers, study author Dana Yagil of the University of Haifa in Israel told LiveScience.

    About 13 to 14 percent of Americans work under an abusive supervisor, Yagil said. Her study on Israeli workers found that abused employees tend to cope by avoiding their bosses, seeking support from co-workers and trying to reassure themselves. As useful as those strategies might sound, however, they actually made employees feel worse. [7 Thoughts That Are Bad For You]

    "It is understandable that employees wish to reduce the amount of their contact with an abusive boss to the minimum, but the strategies they use actually further increase their stress instead of reducing it," Yagil said. "This may happen because these strategies are associated with a sense of weakness and perpetuate the employee's fear of the supervisor."

    Tragic consequences

    Avoiding a workplace bully might seem easier than avoiding a school bully, given that employees can quit their jobs. But workers get caught in a cycle of stress, Namie said. An online survey of targeted workers by the WBI found that they put up with the abuse for an average of 22 months.

    The stress of the bullying may itself lead to bad decision-making, Namie said. A 2009 study in the journal Science found that stressed-out rats fail to adapt to changes in their environment. A portion of the stressed rats' brains, the dorsomedial striatum, actually shrunk compared with that region in relaxed rats. The findings suggest that stress may actually re-wire the brain, creating a decision-making rut. The same may occur in bullied workers, Namie said.

    "This is why a person can't make quality decisions," he said. "They can't even consider alternatives. Just like a battered spouse, they don't even perceive alternatives to their situations when they're stressed and depressed and under attack."

    Sometimes this cycle ends with tragedy. Namie works as an expert legal witness on bullying. In one upcoming case, he said, a woman put up with daily barrages of screaming abuse from her boss for a year. By the end, she was working 18-hour days, trying to shield the employees under her from her boss' tyranny, Namie said. Finally, she and several of her co-workers put together a 25-page complaint to human resources. Nothing happened, until she was called in for a meeting with senior management. The woman knew she would be fired for making the complaint, Namie said.

    "Rather than allowing herself to be terminated, she bought a pistol, went to work, left three suicide notes, and she took her own life at work," he said.

    "She was like that rat stuck in a rut," he added. "She didn't see any alternative at that point."

    Why bullying happens

    While all workplace-bullying cases are not so extreme, it does seem to be a common problem, said Sandy Herschcovis, a professor of business administration at the University of Manitoba who studies workplace aggression. Between 70 and 80 percent of Americans report rudeness and incivility at work, Herschcovis told LiveScience. Fewer are systematically bullied, she said, but the best estimate puts the number at about 41 percent of American workers having been psychologically harassed at work at some point.

    Hierarchical organizations such as the military tend to have higher rates of bullying, Herschcovis said, as do places where the environment is highly competitive.

    "Definitely the organizational context contributes," Herschcovis said.

    The personality of the bully is often key, with some research suggesting that childhood bullies become bullies as adults, she said. Targets of bullying are often socially anxious, have low self-esteem, or have personality traits such as narcissism, Herschcovis said. "We don't want to blame the victim, but we recognize this more and more as a relationship" between the bully and the target, she said.

    Little research has been done on how to deal with abusive bosses or bullying co-workers. In mild cases, where a boss may not realize how their behavior is coming across, direct confrontation might work, Yagil said. One research-based program that seems to have potential is called the Civility, Respect and Engagement at Work project, Herschcovis said. That program has been shown to improve workplace civility, reduce cynicism and improve job satisfaction and trust among employees, she said. The program has employees discuss rudeness and incivility in their workplace and make plans to improve. [8 Tactics to Bust the Office Bully]

    For workers experiencing bullying, Herschcovis recommended reporting specific behavior to higher-ups, as well as examining one's own behavior. Sometimes victims inadvertently contribute to the bullying relationship, she said. Namie cautioned that victims should proceed with care, however, as there are no anti-bullying workplace laws on the books in the U.S.

    "HR [human resources] has no power or clout to make senior management stop," Namie said. "Without the laws, they're not mandated to make policies, and without the mandate, they don’t know what to do."

    Since 2003, 21 states have introduced some version of anti-bullying bills, but none have yet passed. Twelve states have legislation pending in 2012, according to healthyworkplacebill.org.

    In the meantime, Herschcovis and her colleagues have found that bystanders in the workplace are usually sympathetic to the victim rather than the bully.

    "Outside parties are most likely to want to intervene, and to be in a position to intervene," Herschcovis said. The trick, she added, will be to find ways to encourage co-workers to stand up for one another.

    You can follow LiveScience senior writer Stephanie Pappas on Twitter
  11. McGarrett .

    McGarrett . Well-Known Member

    I would never tolerate it. I realize I am very hardcore and extremely intense, and that isn’t for eveybody. I get that.

    But the quality of my life is better because of my resolve...

    It always comes around when I need it, to demand of me that I STEP UP and OVERCOME my OWN fears and doubts and the destructive, goal-destroying consequences that go along with these two prevalent forms of RESISTANCE.

    I will not let me take shit from myself.

    I want you to find that resolve..

    And if you have made a long, bad habit out of NOT having resolve because of Mr. F’ing Resistance, and you are unhappy and unfulfilled in your life because you know this to be a fact, then you have to SHOCK yourself into a whole totally different way of viewing your life and your place at your job..

    You have to KILL what RESISTANCE is KILLING you. And you don’t do that by trying to make nice or be pleasant or by compromising.

    To defeat a killer who only wants to kill you, you only have one choice — KILL IT.

    I go to my own F’ IT zone to do my killing. It works for me. And I ONLY want to BE ME, not anyone else.

    If a F’ IT zone laced with F’ BOMBS doesn’t work for you, that’s fine. Create your own zone. But don’t take so much offense to the zone I ENGAGE that you become blinded to the most important objective of my message for you:

    BE YOU…and BE WILLING to FIGHT, KILL and even DIE for IT. And don['t let anybody BULLY you.. Tell the bitch to fetch her bisket and shut the "F" up...
  12. PT Freakin' G

    PT Freakin' G Well-Known Member

    Turn the table by making others laugh at her. If a dose of her own medicine doesn't work, key her car, threaten her pets (make sure no one else can hear you), mess things up and make it look like her fault, throw away her food from the shared refrigerator, etc.
  13. Emmerdalefan

    Emmerdalefan Well-Known Member

    Workplace bullies tend to have problems of their own so they have to take it out on others. And a lot of people in charge think that bullying and acting the Hitler type will get them working. They are there to guide you, to help you not hinder you. You are there to do a job and it is their job to ensure it but to be helpful and friendly not nasty and intimidating. Be nice to staff they will be nice to you. That goes a long way.

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