What is a bully?
Is it always obvious that you or someone else is being bullied?
Normally we think of bullying as someone that attacks us physically, which can lead to physical harm as well as mental harm, but rarely is it physical when it is at the workplace.
Workplace bullying can be subtle but still impact your mental state and career in a big way.
I personally have dealt with a bully just as many others have. It feels like high school all over again. It turned out that this bully was a known trouble maker, but no one wanted to deal with her, so the bosses ignored her shenanigans for the most part.
I worked with a person that would do poorly at their job in order to get out of doing duties they did not want to do. This person was a nightmare to work with since the jobs she did not want to do fell on me. Eventually I got tired of having to pick up said employee’s slack when they were getting paid just as I was; so I stood up for myself. I told the employee that I did not have time to do the work they were supposed to be doing and told her how to do the work so she could complete it on her own.
You’re probably thinking, “Yay!” for standing up for yourself and saying, “no” for once right?
This is what I thought also. I felt so good for standing up for myself and declining the extra work that she was supposed to do for once. Well guess what? I received a call later on regarding my sticking up for myself. The lazy employee apparently ran to the head supervisor and complained that I was being mean to her, which I was not. This employee apparently thought that it was rude for me to point out that I should not be doing her work.
I was beyond frustrated because the result from the head supervisor getting involved didn’t go my way. I was an exemplary employee and did above and beyond on a regular basis, but because this employee, whom was a trouble maker, ran to the boss, I got a talking to. I was asked why I was in such a bad mood and why I was being mean! I told the supervisor what had really happened but was told that I should just do the work because so and so couldn’t do it herself (and to be nicer)!
Isn’t that a slap in the face? The one time you stand up to someone putting their work on you and YOU are the one that gets in trouble. Plus I am always courteous to everyone at my office, even the people that do not deserve it.
After that terrible day, things starting getting worse. The same employee would continue to whine to the bosses about her work and continue to make errors and the work would continue to flow my way. I was also having to fix her mistakes on a regular basis so I started letting her know when big errors were being made on her part. I wasn’t pointing out errors to be a pain; it honestly hindered future work if the errors were left as is and I felt like I would be neglecting my duties if I did not bring them up.
This employee then proceeded to change a document or two that I did and reported it to my own supervisor that I was making mistakes. She also would call and be extremely snippy/rude and intentionally said things to get under your skin. I was also finding out that if I had many any typos in anything my supervisor would get a call from her pointing out said mistakes for each and every one.
I was so tired of the games and finally reported the ongoing nitpicking, rudeness, and continuation of her work being sent to me while she had nothing to do to my supervisors again and again. I thought if I showed them proof that it would make a difference. Nothing was done and the employee is still working at the company many years later. I do not know why they refused to discipline or fire her. I know for a fact I was not the only employee she was nasty to. I don’t know about you but I would call her a bully. She never raised her fist but the emotional and verbal bullying was almost everyday for a while. I hated going into the office because I knew she would call me with something that would soon be my job or she would do something to try and get me in trouble.
Bullies can quickly make a good or tolerable job miserable. I felt I had no recourse from the bully I was dealing with since the supervisors themselves ignored the issues and my complaints. I know there are others out there that have dealt with much, much worse. I felt trapped in my job because I tried standing up for myself and getting help from supervisors and nothing ever changed. I guess I should have realized where I stood when nothing was or would be done about the problem employee.
I believe now that if you are working for a company that truly doesn’t care if you are having issues with another employee and refuses to do a thing about it, then it is time to find other employment. It is not easy but you will feel better emotionally and physically by getting out of a bad environment that will not get better.
If you are or think you may be a victim of workplace bullying, visit the Workplace Bullying Institute to find the steps you should take and where to get help.