Bullycide: The Workplace Bully

  • Posted: September 25, 2010 and this post was last modified April 3, 2011.

As kids, we are taught how to become an adult. As adults, we miss being a kid. So why do we work so hard to teach our kids to become an adult?

Because we know the world we live in and just how cruel it can be. We know that tomorrow is not guaranteed and that we need to prepare our kids to be able to cope on their own. We know that there is so little time spent in childhood when compared to the decades we spend in adulthood. We know that in order for our children to live a long, productive life, they need to be taught how to grow up.

But does growing up necessarily mean growing a thick skin? Does it really mean that we need to teach our kids how not to feel emotions? If a kid grows to be a sensitive adult, are they more at risk to be bullied than a stone cold bred kid?

It’s hard to have as much emotions for a victim of workplace bullying because we cannot imagine an adult being in a helpless emotional position. For some, we forget that there is even an emotional battlefield left when we grow up. Peer pressure, cliques, and the ‘in’ crowd are still prevalent, but we don’t seem to notice it as heavily as we did in school; or rather, we don’t let it consume us as much. Some of us, that is.

Regardless of whether we let it consume us or not though, there are still some of us that do not know how to disconnect from people who have little to no importance in our life. It is those that can become the victim of a workplace bully because we let them control, use, and abuse us. The abuse may not generally be physical either; the emotional toll a workplace bully can place on a colleague can be greater than any physical harm ever could. And for whatever reason, the victim doesn’t necessarily have to have been bullied as a kid either.

But why do we just sit around and talk about the situation rather than try and make it better? We gossip and rant about the wrongs in the office but don’t dare go to the boss and address the issue. We shake our heads and turn our noses up in disgust but don’t venture to do something.

There has not been a single job that I have ever worked at where I have feared my boss so much as to not be able to speak with them in a truthful manner. No matter the industry, I have yet to meet a boss who was not willing to listen either. A few pretended that they would make things better and never did while others made real attempts towards changes. You can’t get fired for wanting a better work environment. You can’t get fired for caring about your company. And you can’t get fired for respecting your boss, job, and colleagues enough to want to make a difference.

I take that back. You can get fired. Many states don’t require a reason to fire an employee so what happens when the bully you are reporting is connected in some way to the management you need to speak with? Do you risk your job for the better of others? After all, do they pay your bills?

It seems the more we think about and discuss the issue of bullying, the more questions arise. On the one hand, we do not want to see others suffer, but on the other hand, what do we do? What do we do?!

Semantics, ideals, thoughts, and other abstract impressions are hard to judge; can you really say that a person looked at you the wrong way because of your color or could it be the simple fact that they didn’t care for your dress attire? Or perhaps they were looking at someone behind you? Perhaps they had a random oddball thought pop in their head that caused them to give an awkward look? Maybe they didn’t look at you wrong at all and you just interpreted it wrong? With so many outs for a seasoned bully, how do you regulate bullying in the workplace?

Anonymous comment boxes and reviews, dedicated email boxes, more cameras, random mystery shops, or even a random ‘spy’ in the area! Think outside of the box! I know, I know; we don’t have the money to pay for ‘frivolous’ activities, equipment, and extra personnel, right? So what do we do? How can we as individuals work against a workplace bully? Make more laws and rules that can be bent or broken? How much action can or do we take to ensure a safe working environment for everyone?

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