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Been Bullied at Work?

March 28, 2008 7:05 PM

Imagine being subjected to a bully colleague who repeatedly tries at every turn to wear you down and diminish you professionally. It’s a vexing challenge that unfortunately lacks a simple, straightforward solution.

Last week I did two segments for Good Morning America on this topic and the response continues to be enormous. New research finds that nearly 40% of all workers say they’ve been victims of bullying, and a University of Minnesota study found the psychological effects to be more damaging than sexual harassment.

Each email I receive is more maddening than the last. One woman wrote about a co-worker who is torturing her daily. Imagine this nightmare: The bully announces a mandatory 2pm staff meeting, but the email to her target says it’ll start at 2:30 – thereby ensuring the unsuspecting woman will walk in—embarrassed, to say the least—30 minutes late. When she says she got an email saying it would begin at 2:30, the gathered group glares at her with skepticism. After all, nobody else was “confused” about the time.

Bully tactics are diverse. Some bullies scream and shout, while others ignore their targets completely. Many bullies resort to name-calling (one woman wrote that her 80-year-old boss’s favorite word is “idiot”) while others shoot looks that are more damming than words. Those smirks and shrugs can be ego-crushing.

Bullying isn’t about disgruntled employees—those poor performers who resented justified criticism of their work. This is about the cruel treatment of decent people who work hard and aim to do right by their employers.

The one gem I received came from a woman who wrote, “You and Mr. [Chris] Cuomo were talking about ME when you ticked through the bully tactics. It made my skin crawl. Time to turn over a new leaf. I manage six people and while I don't have the courage to apologize, my new actions and management style will say more than words ever could. This is for them and it is for me. I will feel better about myself because we bullies suffer too.”

A reformed bully? I can only hope.

One of the ways to tackle this debilitating workplace reality is to talk about it. Get if off your shoulders, share experiences, expose unprofessional behavior, and support one another through difficult times.

We also want to hear your stories and your coping mechanisms too. What’s worked and why to get bullies to back down. Share what’s on your mind and recognize that you’re not alone.

Comments (32)

The experts can study bullying forever and turn it inside out as to the reasons people bully and how to stop it.

It will not stop until the bully changes.

As far as women bullying goes, if the target is good looking, that is all it takes for the mean name calling to begin, shoving past them, etc.

It's about who is most attractive (for women bullies) and people in general who are competent at their jobs.

The bully cannot tolerate attactive co-workers who are good at their job, because the bully does not possess these qualities and feels bad about themselves in the company of people better then themselves.

Bullies are a miserable lot and should be pittied.

Stand up to the bullies!

Okay, that seemed to be a motivation for me. I am imagining about my personal blog

Hello Guru, what entice you to post an article. This article was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last week.

You guys think you have it bad? Watch this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ulp0es9Hrg

I was bullied out of 2 sales jobs in 2 different departments stores in the midwest. I am very good at sales, and some jealousy was going on.

I was accused of saying things I did Not say and almost hit by another employee, because I had been out sick with a kidney problem.

The other store called me names trash, and just put me down horribly, I am not trash, and keep my appearance up and look good for my age, in fact I have been told I am good looking.

Anyways, because all of this I cannot keep a good job, I am always looking behind my back.
Recently, though I saw one of the bullies at a store that I shop at, and since then they treat me very very badly, I had just spoke to the store
manager, not mentioning any names, but that I want to continue to shop there. The cashier's were very very mean to me. So I started shopping somewhere else, this is a grocery store, to those
of you who are in that situation, either sue them or get out, and don't let them know where you live, where you go to church. This is a huge problem, and I still don't know what to do about it.

It's ashame that this country has come to this, but I am sure it's everywhere.

Stand strong, and pray, best of luck to you all!

I may end up leaving the state because of all of the nonsense. I didnt' hurt anyone, and all of this was done to me, I did not do it to them.

Do to a very vary stressful work environment I have begun to miss a lot of work do to illnesses I have never had before.

It all started in and about August 2007 I believe because of a new supervisor named Judie. I say this because before she arrived we had the best work place anyone could have asked for. I was only making 8 hr and traveling and 1hr to work but I loved my job and the people I worked with. Mrs. Wilder who was my supervisor at the time she was head of the whole department and also was wonderful to work with until Judie came to work for Morristown Hamblin Hospital billing department.
Not long after then told by Mrs. Wilder never ever go to Judie for any reason that she did not have an open door policy because she was way to busy. We were only to report to her. Things started to change from harassment to everyone being sent home early every day because of some reason of Judies with out pay then it became they where making every one use there sick days using up all of are PO time. After the majority had used up there PO time the days being sent home early stopped. This put a lot of stress on use who needed traveled an hour to work only to get there and was told every one goes home today in two hours it. This was when the gas prices where starting to rise every day. Thing exulted from there. They would treat the use with a dinner to tell us how great we where doing then after the dinner they would tell us that if we didn’t pick up we could be let go so on and so on. We where always afraid when they wanted to treat us to eat everyone would panic. They had many it became a time of dread.
In January we all got our raise mine was to 11.50 hr great pay, and was do for another raise in the summer Up to 12.50hr. But that doesn’t mean anything when get Fibromyalgia.
Mrs. Wilder began causing our department to stress out over Judie to the point we were afraid to talk at all to her. Mrs. Wilder started telling one person how to do a task then tell some else how to do the task totally different, give use wrong information on how to do a task this started to make working with other’s hard because when I would send it on to the next person to get it they would complain to her but I never knew she never told me I has done it wrong because she knew she gave me the wrong info this went on for a long time until one of the girls came to me and told me what was going on. Then I learned that Mrs. Wilder For some reason was telling the staff that we hung out to together and that we party on the weekends. This was and still is not true it was a lie. Causing friction between me and the other girls I worked with. When I confronted her she would talk her way out it. She would contradict herself Afton then deny that she ever told us that, or that we misunderstood her. This also seemed to start at the time when I put my resume in for supervisor assistant. I was told she had become very intimidated do to my education and my good performance she was trying to sabotage me. Afraid of being replaced I didn’t learn this until mush later. She was much harder on me than the others. Mrs. Wilder even made this statement during one of are meetings. When one of the girls stated “you hard on Sheila” and Mrs. Wilders stated back “yes I am; It’s because we she’s my friend” yes I am her friend but only a work. She would ask me to go to lunch with her and I did. She would even take me home to her house for lunch we never ever talked about work. Just about her. So I assumed that was what she was talking about at the time.
She started threatening everyone every day, saying we are going to lose are jobs if we clock in one mine yearly or one min late. So in the mornings you would have 9 or 10 females hovering and pushing to get to the time clock and stand their waiting to clock in on time. Then in a day or two another new rule Mrs. Wilder would tell us if we left are seats before are break she would write us up even if we had to go to the bathroom it seemed each day she was giving us another new rule from Judie. Then talking she would write us up. Several of the girls asked if we where in school she even went as far as not letting friend go to lunch together. Then she started telling us if we call in sick we would get written up even with a doctors note and if we are at work and we get sick and wanted to leave we will be written up. All she need was three write ups and she would fire you. She began sending Michael with off the wall comments to tell me. She wouldn’t say herself. When she was being monitored for are work and I did something wrong that she told me to do she would send Michael to tell me what I did wrong and would tell her to show me the right way. I was the only one she was doing this to. I was becoming sick all the time going to the Doctors for all kinds of pain. Then I got kidney stones. Every thing was starting to hurt. The fibro symptoms started. During the month of January is when my thinking seems to be shutting down. I was confused at work. , Unable to concentrate. Not able to have an intelligent conversation. I was unable to multitask. My work was lacking now.
I believe it was February when the flu was going around Mrs. Wilder was out two weeks herself. Other came to work very sick passing it from one to another finally I got it, it was real bad, to the point of throwing up all over my desk. Mrs. Wilder said if I wanted to go home, I could; but I would still be written up. So I stayed until I threw up a second time an employee from another department heard what was said and seen how sick I was she went to human rescores, I then received a call to my desk from Judie herself, that it would be ok to go home and I wouldn’t lose my job or be written up.
I was sick all the time I put in for my FMLA. Mrs. Wilder put in her months notice. When she was raping up with Judie on evaluation when it was my turned she lied, she tried to get me fired that day. Michael also new she was lying who also was in the meeting. She pushed me and said stand up to her tell Judie the truth. So I did Judie asked did I have any proof. I did I keep all that stuff when I found out what she was trying to do to me. My job was safe and was told by Judie not to worry Mrs. Wilders was leaving the Hospital. It didn’t matter every time someone stood over me or called out my name. I would get knots in my stomach. I just kept getting worse.
Many a day the Staff was going home crying I was crying at least three times a week. I have asthma before Judy came I had and asthma attack because of one of my coworkers had bathed in perfume everyone was coughing they had to call an ambulance for me it was so bad. They sent me home with pay. After Judie came in charge of the department the came the maintenance men where called in to fix a few desk that where falling apart. Mrs. Wilder and Judie were told I have asthma and the glue would bring a bad attack on. I ask could I go home or could they do it when we got of. I was told I could go home but would be written up that is there fault I have asthma. So they glued the table tops with epoxy. I became so bad I had to get one of the staff to go to my car and bring my breathing machine so I could get a breathing treatment. I had to go back threw the room to get out side. I could not go back in so they sent me home with out pay and I had to sign a paper for leaving early with out proper notice. Not long after that my appendix ruptured I have never ever had problems with my appendix or my gallbladder which was emergency removed on week later. I was then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

I HAVE BEEN AWORDED MY LONGTERM DISABLITY FROM WORK. YOU CAN TO


It all started in and about August 2007 I believe because of a new supervisor named Judie. I say this because before she arrived we had the best work place anyone could have asked for. I was only making 8 hr and traveling and 1hr to work but I loved my job and the people I worked with. Mrs. Wilder who was my supervisor at the time she was head of the whole department and also was wonderful to work with until Judie came to work for Morristown Hamblin Hospital billing department.
Not long after then told by Mrs. Wilder never ever go to Judie for any reason that she did not have an open door policy because she was way to busy. We were only to report to her. Things started to change from harassment to everyone being sent home early every day because of some reason of Judies with out pay then it became they where making every one use there sick days using up all of are PO time. After the majority had used up there PO time the days being sent home early stopped. This put a lot of stress on use who needed traveled an hour to work only to get there and was told every one goes home today in two hours it. This was when the gas prices where starting to rise every day. Thing exulted from there. They would treat the use with a dinner to tell us how great we where doing then after the dinner they would tell us that if we didn’t pick up we could be let go so on and so on. We where always afraid when they wanted to treat us to eat everyone would panic. They had many it became a time of dread.
In January we all got our raise mine was to 11.50 hr great pay, and was do for another raise in the summer Up to 12.50hr. But that doesn’t mean anything when get Fibromyalgia.
Mrs. Wilder began causing our department to stress out over Judie to the point we were afraid to talk at all to her. Mrs. Wilder started telling one person how to do a task then tell some else how to do the task totally different, give use wrong information on how to do a task this started to make working with other’s hard because when I would send it on to the next person to get it they would complain to her but I never knew she never told me I has done it wrong because she knew she gave me the wrong info this went on for a long time until one of the girls came to me and told me what was going on. Then I learned that Mrs. Wilder For some reason was telling the staff that we hung out to together and that we party on the weekends. This was and still is not true it was a lie. Causing friction between me and the other girls I worked with. When I confronted her she would talk her way out it. She would contradict herself Afton then deny that she ever told us that, or that we misunderstood her. This also seemed to start at the time when I put my resume in for supervisor assistant. I was told she had become very intimidated do to my education and my good performance she was trying to sabotage me. Afraid of being replaced I didn’t learn this until mush later. She was much harder on me than the others. Mrs. Wilder even made this statement during one of are meetings. When one of the girls stated “you hard on Sheila” and Mrs. Wilders stated back “yes I am; It’s because we she’s my friend” yes I am her friend but only a work. She would ask me to go to lunch with her and I did. She would even take me home to her house for lunch we never ever talked about work. Just about her. So I assumed that was what she was talking about at the time.
She started threatening everyone every day, saying we are going to lose are jobs if we clock in one mine yearly or one min late. So in the mornings you would have 9 or 10 females hovering and pushing to get to the time clock and stand their waiting to clock in on time. Then in a day or two another new rule Mrs. Wilder would tell us if we left are seats before are break she would write us up even if we had to go to the bathroom it seemed each day she was giving us another new rule from Judie. Then talking she would write us up. Several of the girls asked if we where in school she even went as far as not letting friend go to lunch together. Then she started telling us if we call in sick we would get written up even with a doctors note and if we are at work and we get sick and wanted to leave we will be written up. All she need was three write ups and she would fire you. She began sending Michael with off the wall comments to tell me. She wouldn’t say herself. When she was being monitored for are work and I did something wrong that she told me to do she would send Michael to tell me what I did wrong and would tell her to show me the right way. I was the only one she was doing this to. I was becoming sick all the time going to the Doctors for all kinds of pain. Then I got kidney stones. Every thing was starting to hurt. The fibro symptoms started. During the month of January is when my thinking seems to be shutting down. I was confused at work. , Unable to concentrate. Not able to have an intelligent conversation. I was unable to multitask. My work was lacking now.
I believe it was February when the flu was going around Mrs. Wilder was out two weeks herself. Other came to work very sick passing it from one to another finally I got it, it was real bad, to the point of throwing up all over my desk. Mrs. Wilder said if I wanted to go home, I could; but I would still be written up. So I stayed until I threw up a second time an employee from another department heard what was said and seen how sick I was she went to human rescores, I then received a call to my desk from Judie herself, that it would be ok to go home and I wouldn’t lose my job or be written up.
I was sick all the time I put in for my FMLA. Mrs. Wilder put in her months notice. When she was raping up with Judie on evaluation when it was my turned she lied, she tried to get me fired that day. Michael also new she was lying who also was in the meeting. She pushed me and said stand up to her tell Judie the truth. So I did Judie asked did I have any proof. I did I keep all that stuff when I found out what she was trying to do to me. My job was safe and was told by Judie not to worry Mrs. Wilders was leaving the Hospital. It didn’t matter every time someone stood over me or called out my name. I would get knots in my stomach. I just kept getting worse.
Many a day the Staff was going home crying I was crying at least three times a week. I have asthma before Judy came I had and asthma attack because of one of my coworkers had bathed in perfume everyone was coughing they had to call an ambulance for me it was so bad. They sent me home with pay. After Judie came in charge of the department the came the maintenance men where called in to fix a few desk that where falling apart. Mrs. Wilder and Judie were told I have asthma and the glue would bring a bad attack on. I ask could I go home or could they do it when we got of. I was told I could go home but would be written up that is there fault I have asthma. So they glued the table tops with epoxy. I became so bad I had to get one of the staff to go to my car and bring my breathing machine so I could get a breathing treatment. I had to go back threw the room to get out side. I could not go back in so they sent me home with out pay and I had to sign a paper for leaving early with out proper notice. Not long after that my appendix ruptured I have never ever had problems with my appendix or my gallbladder which was emergency removed on week later. I was then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

I HAVE BEEN AWORDED LONG TERM DISABILITY FROM WORK. YOU CAN TOO.


After being bullied the last six months by a co-worker I made the decision to leave a great paying job in a small town. By all accounts, I’m a fairly competent worker. At first I thought it was just I. Did I have some kind of target on me? But then I realized this PERSON went after anyone who was a threat to her preserved superiority. One by one people left, and if they called HR the retribution began. These were all GOOD people. Management had a close mother/daughter type relationship with her and would defend her evil ways. She would frequently attack you, but became furious when you fought back.

When I finally found a new job, I was relieved at first. Only to realize she had gotten to my new co-workers after about 3 weeks. She must have thought I called HR too.
She sold them on her slander. And what’s worst, one of my new co-workers is a slightly different type of bully, but a bully just the same. And has picked up where that PERSON left off.

Now I don’t know what to do. Trying to talk to management in a professional way never seems to work. You end up looking like the complainer.
When I left that job, the insecurity and stress started to leave. I was enjoying my new job. Now what do I do?


I am sorry that this is so long but it is my life altering experience in very few words, actually, as I almost lost my life from being bullied.......

I was truly and sadly wronged by “social work” educators at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work Program while attempting to complete my Masters in Social Work. The situation began in January of 2005 while I was in a field placement (internship). It is challenging to describe three years of unthinkable tragedy and my near death in a few pages. However, I feel compelled to have a summary of my story heard.
The university field liaison (supervisor for the internship from the university) and my field educator (supervisor at my internship) bullied, verbally abused and harassed me to the point of a mental breakdown. I am uncertain, to this day, exactly why they chose to harass me other than the mere fact I had a lot going for me. Perhaps because they are both gay and I am not; I do not know and I should not speculate as I do not like to sound discriminatory myself. Yes, albeit, it happened to me. I have finally come to accept that I was wronged.
At the time, I was a 42 year old successful, bright, heterosexual, mother of two, conscientious/hard-working well-liked 23 year hospital employee (five year BSW dialysis social worker), and “A” student in a Master’s of Social Work Program—a discipline which is supposed to be known to “practice and promote nondiscrimination.” In addition, to illustrate my nature and potential reason for others to be skeptical or perhaps feel threatened by me, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with my BSW.
The field liaison from UB was new, but I knew her from the community. From the beginning, she had always been sarcastic to me and her conversations short, but I thought nothing of this as I believed it was just her way of communicating. The harassment took place in the form of verbal abuse, belittlement, and numerous fabricated events at my internship—I was reprimanded many times for things I did not do. But who would believe a student over an “ethical” social work educator? NO ONE and that was my problem. The following are just a few examples of the wrongful treatment I received:

I was told by my field educator that I was perceived by staff as “better than everyone else because of how you carry yourself and dress. You walk around here like you think you are something and you know everything. It is the way you dress and present yourself.” My field educator denied to my field liaison that she stated this about me to my face when I confronted her in a meeting with the three of us. It was a blatant lie and I was in total shock and disbelief that a social worker would breach the code of ethics let alone a social work educator! At the end of my internship, I angrily took a tape recorder into my supervision with my field educator with her permission, and she admitted on tape that she said it to me. The school simply disregarded the tape.

My field educator verbally abused me while pointing her finger in my face for more than 45 minutes for calling my UB field liaison so I could report that I was having problems with my internship and requesting a move (which I was denied, and it was at this point when the situation became unbearable). Yes I agree I should have told her, but does that give her the right to abuse me verbally.

My field educator told my field liaison that I was literally laying on the hallway floor one morning…………..this is not true, and if it were, then why did she not come to me to see if I was okay. The truth of what happened was that I was coming into the office and I set my purse and large book bag on the floor and knelt down to get my keys out of my purse to unlock my office door. I am extremely dumbfounded as to why someone would even make such far-fetched accusations—and that the school believed it!

As a result, the belittling, abuse and fabrications took its toll on me as they refused to remove me to another internship stating “I would just have to learn to get along with people.” I started to experience more than just frustration; they continued to fabricate incidents which ultimately made me become very angry. I couldn’t believe that it was happening to me. How could they sleep at night knowing that they were not telling their peers the truth about me and breaching the code of ethics in such a “caring profession?” Unfortunately I was in a catch 22; my behavior then began to prove they were right because they continued to harass me and documented my “angry behavior and body language” and the like.
My situation spiraled into a chaotic nightmare that left me no place to turn, and unable to cope. I tried to continue to work, raise my teenage children and run my family household. I was becoming physically ill with a weight loss of almost 30 pounds; my physician made me cut my employment hours in half and I could not do the work load my job required. I worked 12 years to get to this point in my life with my career and education, and I needed the master’s degree to keep my job at the hospital per the state. Hence, I lost my job because I chose to concentrate on trying to get through the internship and earn my degree. I wanted the degree so bad it had been twelve years since I began obtaining a higher education. I did not want to show my children that quitting college is what one does when things get tough. It was almost there...graduation…….but things became much worse and I nearly lost my life due to illness. I tried legal advice, NASW, CSWE, but no one would listen to me. No one seemed to care. It was a “big university” and they pushed it under the rug. Honestly, I was too mentally sick to pursue anything even though my family and I tried. My family was too busy trying to take care of me. I suffered three years with intense anger, major depression, wanting to end my life from the horrific event and all the losses I endured, and the lack of comprehension and disbelief of how an educational institution could let this happen.
As a result, after they allowed me to walk the stage with my graduating class in 2005, and I thought they were going to give me my degree because I had a taped confession of unethical conduct, I received an “unsatisfactory” in my internship which lowered my GPA to a 3.56. They held a meeting at the university to discuss and determine if I should be allowed to repeat my internship and earn my degree. At the meeting the field liaison was asked, “Why didn’t you move this student” and she replied, “I thought I could handle it.” Interesting, perhaps it was about her?
They let me complete my degree requirements. I was assigned another internship (I had to pay again) and had no problems. I earned my M.S.W. in May of 2006. Unfortunately, I was slandered in my community due to this experience and my mental health condition and can’t find work in my profession.
I lost my job, life savings, suffer from PTSD, major depression, anxiety, the disease of addiction (due to prescribed medication from the stress of the harassment), anorexia, exacerbated fibromyalgia, almost lost my marriage of 24 years, inability to find a job due to illness and slander, astounding medical, legal and college expenses. Not to mention what my two impressionable teenage children and the rest of my family had to endure.
Today, the incidents continue to haunt me on a daily basis. Recently, I was hired at our local library on a part-time basis as an assistant making just over minimum wage. I love my new job. I am a survivor of this tragedy and continue to heal. It is truly a miracle I am alive today.
In conclusion, let me simply summarize my situation. A good person works hard in school to become a doctor. He is predisposed to develop cancer. The medical school gives him cancer causing injections when he is almost done with a high honors education. The student becomes very ill with cancer, but they do not care and they keep injecting him for no apparent reason. He becomes extremely ill. The educators kick him out the door to die and say “so long,” knowing full well that he would have been an excellent doctor. I wonder what the medical field would do about a situation like this.

If employers really want to stop this damaging behavior, they know who was bullied and who did the bullying. They could do something to help the targets like provide a safe non-hostile environment.
Many of the tricks and tactics go unnoticed for a long time. The behavior and who goes along with it is just so unbelievable. What kind of a sick country have we become????

Companies do not want this behavior it is costly and destructive. They do not do very much about it.You have to leave you can not sleep at night .terrible stress headaches PTSD It keeps getting worse very organized in what they do to systematically run people off.I was insubordinate
twice. There has got to be a special hell for all the people who lie,sabatouge and work against everyone in the entire place.
I would not bother to report this behavior anymore
let them destroy the place, they will anyway.
All you get is DUMB LOOKS from management who probably was told to cover their ass.
This is not the anserw.

Hi ladies,
I am currently writting a book about female aggression in the work place and in our daily lives, would any of you like to be interviewed for this book
feel free to email me at
sufferloay@yahoo.com. My book will be out Mid August 2009
Have a great day

Reading all of these stories simultaneously makes me feel a bit better knowing I'm not alone, but also awful that other people have to go through this!!

I haven't had a positive full-time work experience yet. I've either had a condescending boss, a lifeless, boring corporate environment, or most recently, a bullying manager. She would be 'so busy' that if I even thought about asking her to show me something (I received almost no training for my position in Internet Marketing), she'd sigh heavily like I was completely putting her out to ask her. Or she'd just ignore me completely. She'd regularly be rude to me, and to our boss, but then she'd turn around and act all nice with me, like I was privileged to be able to go have little pow wows with her during breaks.

It was confusing me and completely bashing my already not so great self esteem (thanks, middle and high school bullies!), and I complained to my boss, the CEO, a few times. The final time, I walked in with an offer letter from another company in my hand and told him this had to stop or I was leaving. My manager was let go the very same day and everything was well and good, or so I thought.

We never re-hired a manager, and so I had to do everything she was doing and everything I was doing, and come to find out, I think the reason she was so uptight and mean was because of our boss driving her up a wall. She never should have taken it out on me, but now I'm in her position and I find myself completely miserable and at my wits' end almost daily. I would never ever treat someone I managed like she treated me (I haven't managed anyone yet but I just know I'm too patient and nice of a person for that)...but I am just praying that another job will come along soon. I've applied to countless positions, and ideally, I'd really like to own my own business.

It's hard to do that when you're 23 with very little savings, though.

I look forward to looking back on this time of my life as a distant memory on the day that I'm successfully making enough to live on with my own pursuits. If anybody needs a corporate blogging consultant or a copy writer, let me know haha. I am so desperate for a new job right now I could cry just thinking about it.

Dear Tory, these stories have helped me get out of bed each morning for the last week. I lost a job just one week ago that I dearly loved. I was a occupatonal therapy asst making exccellent money in a beautiful christian home. After a couple of months and working with a great staff the facility began to boom with patients and great referals. I turned the therapy department into a comfortable and warm environement and people who had to would even return on a waitlist. All of a sudden my immedaite supervisor turned on me. She refused my important phone calls, kept me out of computer training and said to my face she just did not like me. I went to her supervsior who was also mine and reported these issues. She even sent me a text message on my cell phone that was so inappropriate that I played it for my boss. A week later I was fired for insobordination with my supervisor. I was in shock, she was the one harrassing me. The facility I worked for was also shocked and willing to stand by me. Unfortunately, I was contracted in and they had no say over the therapy department as to who was hired or fired. I am 51 and after 13 years I had finally found the place I could retire. I miss it every day except for the painful incidents with my supervisor. She threw a book at me once, and even embarrassed me in front of my patients and co-worker, who is younger and of course to afraid to say anything because she does not want to lose her job. I did seek an attorney and he is trying to see if I have a case based on thier ability to fire me when I did nothing wrong. In fact the facility had there most profitable year. If anyone has a copy or knows a state that actually has the bullling law please send the legislation to me so that I can do whatever it takes to get it passed in Ohio. Please help me to move on. Karly in Ohio

Continued bullying is a clear sign of a toxic environment. In a study conducted by Wayne Hochwarter, a Management Professor at Florida State University, 31% of his respondents reported having been given the "silent treatment" by their supervisors. The silent treatment?? Is this third grade?

No, unfortunately, it's not. These "leaders" are not emotionally equipped to be in charge of other people, yet they are. If upper management cannot see the destruction of these bullies, then there is little hope that it will change within that organization.

The Toxin of "The Blame Game" keeps many companies from reaching their potential. Through high turnover, lost opportunities, and fractured teams, the company will never be what it could be if the Toxin were cleaned up.

www.TeresaDay.com

I almost missed this article as it went straight into my Spam folder. I usually just delete the folder without reading what is in there. It was definitely meant for me to read this one. I just returned to work after 7 weeks on medical leave. My physician realized that persistent stress from my bullying experience at my new job (8 mos.) was affecting my health. I was thrilled and proud to be a part of the "World's Most Admired" company and was pleased to continue my career in another of its many companies. My 4th work day in the new Healthcare division I met my new director. I don't know what impression she formed but it has been down hill from there. She brought a manager, outside of our group, to my welcome luncheon and before he could even get my name he started talking about homosexuals and then made a reference to my hair. I wear my hair in a short, neat, and attractive style and I have never been accused of being homosexual. I didn't immediately say anything but then the harassment started up and didn't let up until I went out on disability. The worst thing is that I don't want to leave the corporation just this part of it. However, I have no options as this manager will not allow me to seek another position in the company. I am going to be forced to give up my career with this company because of bullying that never should have happened. You think it can never happen to you and then it does. It can change your entire perspective on your life and everything around you.

The Life Of A Worm… that is exactly what these Bullies are! (check out the Dilbert Principle) I currently work for a worm at the Hilton and I’ve learned a great deal about internal politics as well as being able to view the true ineptness of individuals who happen to have the power to dismantle and never build. They are what I call.. “theater generated.” There is no structure or depth to their management, it’s all show.

Inept managers mirror their leader. Can’t have one without the other. When they know you can’t fight back they throw an avalanche of obstacles in your way to dissuade competent workers. Why? I believe it is for one reason. Because those of us who know better make the Worms feel inadequate. “It’s A Feeling” like we have a clear focus on their REAL character. They thrive in an inept environment whereas we can’t! HR is a joke! The lesson I have learned out of this nightmare is that the Worms represent everything I never EVER want to be like!

I've learned that with many bullies, the quickest solution is to call them out on their behavior. Very specifically, yet not accusingly. Be firm, point out the action, and be brief. Whining will not impress Bully, and will most certainly prompt more negativity. Giving Bully the chance to argue with you will not help your situation.

If appropriate, ask Bully what s/he needs from you in order to do his/her job more effectively. Then, tell Bully pointedly what you need from him/her.

IE: if you catch Bully talking about you because you need Bully's help but s/he seems it out of his/her job description, say something like, "I understand that this is not a top priority for you, that's fine. If you have an issue with my request, tell me and I'll find another solution."

Another tip is to never apologize unless you did something wrong.

There are so manys things I could tell you all.
I have been embarassed,intimated,yelled at,talked down to and generally treated unfairly by colleagues as well as supervisors. It never did any good to go to upper management because they never took action. I worked my behind off to do my job and other's jobs because we were constantly short-staffed but nothing I did was ever enough! I worked overtime without hestitation whenever asked, which was every week.
I took short lunches or ate at my desk to get my work done and most of the time forgot to take my breaks because I was too busy! My health was deteriorating and my home life was suffering as well. I finally got smart and left the job.I hope I never have to put up with that kind of atmosphere again! Thanks for letting me share.

Hello,
My story falls right in line - final I got a real job at the Reading Hospital & Medical Center as a Unit Clerk- my first real job in years. To make a long story short after being put down & yelled at and my work being compromised all in full view of other employess( nurses & lpn's & na's). At first I just figured I was the new person the new kid on the block. But when the clincial educater left for maternity leave it became worse, the other employees said wow that is so brutal to watch how can you endure that every day? I just would say - I can't take it personal, but after awhile it just became unbearable I went to HR & ask for help, which I believed HR was for us the employee. No, they aren't. I believed HR when they said hang in there if you still feel the same -we'll make a chance. When I ask for the chance, well no returned phone calls or e-mails & no job! But the Bully is still there getting praise from my ex-nurse mgr ( who always said she is 28)- who referred to me & my 50's co-workers as her baby boomers. I belive I was treated unfairly by the ones who are supposed to help you.
Beware of HR personel is the lesson learned. What recourse does one have in such a situation. My Bully was the one who by the was to supposed to job train & evaulate me. I never had any problems with my clerking position other then when she was alone with my work, filing. So now I need another position and my question is do I include my 3 months there or omit it and feel untruthful. Help - thanks unemployed

Over and over, the only answer to being bullied is to leave. WHY???? Why do we allow that to happen? It would seem more cost effective to keep good people than spend money on endless new hire training. I have seen this strange behavior everywhere I have ever worked....really sick!!! It's a cop out to say rise above it...the bully picks until he gets to you. It's time to bring bullying out of the closet!!!

Imagine working in an office with two bullies that decide they don't like each other. To make matters worse, there were six of us in one office. The situation was so toxic, I had to leave. The daily confrontations, and trying to force the rest of us to choose sides was unbearable. I now work at home, and the only personalities I have to deal with are people I speak with by phone when conducting business.

At 57, I've been bullied on the job(s) many times. Of course I was sick of it. Bullies in my opinion, have ego problems they haven't let go from childhood.

They were brats as children and they will stay brats as adults. No one could push them around then and no one will now.

This particular behavior disrupts the flow of a business day. It's reactive vs proactive. Intimidation of any employee is wrong...plain ole wrong. Weren't you hired because you knew how to perform the required job? Why does someone have to constantly micro manage you, demean you, or cut you down to their size?

I am disabled and trying to finally obtain a Bachelor's degree in Business Management. I want to start my own company. Like all of you who responded, I too am tired of childish behavior displayed by adults on the job.

Thanks for writing such a great article.

I'm a peaceful yet assertive person, professionally. I was working at a large global and successful company, among what I thought was a great group of people who were supportive and revolutionary. I began to be bullied by one employee and this went on while I went through all the steps short of the lawyer or quitting, to rectify the problem. It seemed obvious to me that the people with whom I was working were aware of the problem but did not want to address it. Nothing was ever done about my complaint so I finally decided to quit.
I felt a huge wave of relief and I don't regret my decision for a moment. I don't feel comfortable working in an environment where this sort of thing is tolerated.

Considering I have a meeting this week to confront a bully in another department, I was hoping this blog would lead me in the direction of optimism and hope with a few tricks to throw in my toolbox. Leaving a job is not my idea of a solution to bullies. In the end, it's the bully who won. (Eleanor Roosevelt pointedly stated "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.")

Every bully is different, but in the end they view you as an obstacle. Whether you are a threat or someone who is simply in his or her way, you have to figure that one out on your own. Then act accordingly.

Best of luck ladies, and please be sure to remain strong.

Tory, At the time I didn't think of it as bullying. I was just the receptionist/accounting clerk and figured since I was low on the totem pole, that was what was appropriate. My supervisor would have to watch the front desk if I stepped away for anything. For the most part the only two reasons I would leave were to use the restroom and to have lunch. On several occasions I asked her to please watch the front desk because I needed to use the restroom. It was not surprising to hear her say "No. Later." and then not get back to me. At one time after the third request I had to go so bad that I went without "permission".

When I got moved from the front desk and was assigned accounting duties in the office with my supervisor, I learned fast and worked hard. Granted I wasn't as quick and efficient as her since she had been at the job for seven years, but I did pretty good. One day after a berating I turned in my two-week notice to the boss. The letter specified the reasons for leaving, like being unappreciated and undervalued. I was called in to his office and he asked that I rescind my two-week notice. After those two weeks, if things didn't improve I could leave. By the way, my supervisor was present during this meeting.

After that meeting, my supervisor and I returned to our shared office. She closed the door and said "I don't say things like 'thank you' and 'you did a good job' because I don't believe in lying."

The good news is that the next week I got a $1/hr pay increase. I began waiting tables at a restaurant in the evenings and quit within a month anyway - and was making more money. That allowed me to go to school full time and get my degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Martha Lachmayr-Pomes

Thanks for discussing the topic of workplace bullies. My bully by all appearances was a nice, friendly, church going lady. However, if you were someone she didn't like, like myself, there was a completely different side to her. She would give me the death glare any time I had to speak to her, like telling her she had a phone call or even saying good morning. I was new to the job and didn't know where files and supplies were. She refused to be of any assistance or did so very angrily. She admitted to another co-worker that she didn't like me because she was threatened by me. Our boss spurred on the issue, by allowing her to feel that way. I think he thought it would "motivate" her to be more committed to her job. He also would not address the issue when he was made aware of it because in his view, that was how women get along, cat fighting. Each day it was spiritually and emotionally draining to the point that I was becoming depressed and knew I had to leave the situation, even though I didn't have another job in place. However, I still wish I would have confronted her for my own self esteem, even if it wouldn't have made our relationship better.

I have worked in my office for 6.5 years. And I have been bullied from the time I walked in the door. My supervisor would embarrass me in front of everyone---staff, customers---anybody. She did not care. She would always complain that I was too slow and took too long with customers. No matter what, there was no reason to humiliate me like that. Pretty soon, a label was placed on me; and nobody has ever spoken on my behalf or shown any empathy about this wrong-doing. Instead they all jumped on the band-wagon.

No matter how hard I work, it doesn't matter--I'm slow (which is an exaggerated lie). Although I'm punctual and dedicated to giving the best job performance on a daily basis, I'm only recognized as going "too slow."

My self-esteem has been tried to the max. Sometimes I believe that I'm worthless. My co-workers and supervisors and higher ups have tortured my spirit and made target practice of my self-confidence. Some days are more unbearable than others. But I just think of all the positive things about myself and of all the good feedback that other people have given me in other instances. I think of my family and all the people who love me. But most of all, I think of God and that He knows my abilities and strengths, and that He's all powerful and will deal with all my oppressors.

I have been searching for a new job. I can't just walk out, because I have kids to feed. But when I do find new work, I'm praying that the experience is more positive than the one that I'm in now. Otherwise, I won't stop until my spirit finds peace.

Three years ago I took a job that ended up being the most nightmarish experience of my life. I was terrorized by a returning senior employee for the last year until they "downsized" me. I had been looking for another job anyway - inspired by the book by Robert I. Sutton, "The No A**hole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't." The notion the book puts forth of developing indifference and emotional detachment worked for me somewhat, but the constant stress of this woman's daily sieges began to take its toll on me. And I was told by one of the other bosses that I was doing an excellent job just two weeks before the downsizing. I think it came down to a "her or me" thing. And I believe in the long run I came out the winner. I had a few months of unemployment that turned into a wonderful time of peace and personal growth. And I now work with the nicest ADULTS I could have ever hoped for.

I worked for a local tv station and was hired by a woman who turned out to be the second coming of Godzilla. Not only did she accuse me of leaking information to a tabloid newspaper about the station but she was just downright mean and ugly about her training approach and her daily demeanor towards me. The woman who had office space next to her on the 4th floor often heard her spewing venom about me, the woman who occupied the small office space in the newsroom. I tried my best to not follow the path of my predecessors who were either fired or who eventually were overcome with some sort of addiction just to forget about this miserable human being. I eventually ended up getting laid off after 3 years and have to say that it was a blessing in disguise. So, if you're extremely unhappy at your job and staying just to spite the person who is treating you badly, it's not worth it. Move on, you'll thank yourself in the long run.

Tory - I also saw the research you cite here; it is shocking how common bullying is.

So, if you have been bullied, what can you do about it? I wrote a post about this today: www.thethinpinkline.com/blog.

I was bullied at work over 15 years ago. I trained this person, even though she was more senior to me. The bully physically pushed me on more than one occasion in front of other people, and when I brought it to a bosses' attention, I was told that I got the other people to lie for me. I was told that I was not believed. The bully was promoted and I left the job. I still do not know what I could have done to deal with the problem.

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