Research shows that women are the number one target of bullying in the workplace and that their number one tormentor is another woman!
If someone in your workspace generally just gets on your nerves and you don’t particularly care for him/her that’s cool. Keep it professional and keep it moving. Adult bullies who are your co-workers can make the day to day awkward, derail your projects and tarnish your reputation. Adult bullies who happen to be your supervisor can line up poor performance reviews, deny you company recognition and keep you out of the loop regarding company goals/key initiatives.
If there is someone in your workspace that makes you feel sick at the thought of coming in to work, makes you feel scared or insecure and makes you feel like her/his negative words and actions are only directed toward you….Houston….we have a problem. Once you are ready to accept the fact that you have your very own adult bully, you now need to be ready to make a plan to end the negative experience. This means one and/or all of the following:
I love it when a plan comes together…
Document every interaction. It’s not childish. It’s evidence. Include date, time and direct quotes. Also make note of witnesses to the events.
Set up a time to meet with a Human Resources representative. Even if you think they are not useful, it helps to have the meeting as evidence of a complaint. If you work at a small company, consider having a sit down with one of the owners or approachable executives. Always have a third party in the room (Human Resources, Employee Wellness Counselor, etc.) and if you can find an office with a big glass window even better. You need to be seen.
Seek out the advice of an attorney to find out what the laws in your state are regarding employee harassment. It seems that the old language around “hostile work environment” has been replaced with bullying which is raising red flags everywhere.
Seek mental health counseling if you think you need it. Stress, depression and anxiety are not uncommon in these situations and should not be taken lightly. It’s okay to take care of you first.
Visit your personal physician. The body absorbs toxic energy and releases it as flu-symptoms, back pains and other ailments. Again, you gotta be “healthy” in order to stand up for yourself.
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So let me stop here and say this in big bold capitals. “IF YOUR LIFE IS IN DANGER THIS BLOG POST DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU. GET YOUR ASS TO A POLICE STATION AND SAFETY!” Whew! Just had to say that because you never know what the hell people are thinking and I’m not suggesting that anybody put their life in danger by confronting a psycho co-worker or supervisor. This post is about the “typical” asshole. So there…I said it and now back to our regularly scheduled programming….
Although the majority of victims of adult bullying remain in the workplace due to the fact that loss of income is not an option, you can take some steps to remove yourself from the situation that may not leave you in a financial slump. Maybe there’s an opening in another department. Maybe there’s an opening with a competitor. Hell, maybe it’s time to sell Mary Kay Cosmetics! Know that you deserve to be treated with professionalism and respect and that unlike school children, you can make some moves to rectify the situation.
A 2010 Workplace Bullying Report revealed the following:
35% of workers have experienced bullying firsthand
58% of targets are women
Women bullies target women in 80% of cases
The majority (68%) of bullying is same-gender harassment