Just recently I decided to do a little research and see what workplace bullying looks like. Why you ask? Because during my professional career, I have been the victim of bullies at work more times than I care to admit. Unfortunately, I have faced this struggle within just the last couple of years.
What surprised me most during my internet research was the number of articles that have been written about this growing problem. Some say that as many as 80% of our working population have been the victim of bullying in the workplace at some time during their professional career.
Every article I read said that the reason that people bully at work is because they feel threatened in some way by your presence. In my situation, this makes perfect sense. It also says that they are VERY sneaky about how they bully, many times making the victim feel like it is their fault. They also are most often in a position of authority (like a supervisor) or perceived authority. Again, in my situation the bully fits this description to a T. They criticize just about everything you do and are inconsistent in their “guidance” so they keep you guessing. This is what happened to me.
What is the result of bullying at work? Insecurities at work. Always wondering if what you are doing is going to be criticized. A dread of going to work. Stress. Increased absences. The list is very long and just about everything on the list I have experienced.
So, what do you do about it? That’s difficult. Most of the articles I read said that confronting the bully will not help. They will just twist things and make it seem like your fault etc. In many situations, the bully has convinced upper management and/or ownership that they are invaluable to the organization, and that you are the problem. BINGO…..that’s what happened to me as well. It is difficult to deal with, but simply being aware of the situation helps, especially if you are thinking that you are the problem.
So, why did I write this article? Because I think that this is a problem that needs to be talked about and if ANYONE who reads this blog thinks that they might be the victim of bullying in the workplace, please do a little internet research. Just google “workplace bullying”. You will be surprised at the amount of information you will find.