Bullied No More: The End of Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying

This is NOT the guy who you want to spend 40 hours a week with.

Shola’s Note: This cannot be ignored any longer. Workplace bullying is destroying lives, and it’s time for us to put a stop to it. If you don’t think this issue is a big deal, just read the comments below for a serious wake-up call. And because of this, I’m taking the next step to bringing attention to (and ideally, ending) this soul-destroying issue, with my debut book, Making Work Work due out in September 2016. For more info about the book and the workplace movement we’re trying to create, read this post.

I know, I know…”hate” isn’t the most positive word in the world, and it’s not one that I throw around loosely, but I can’t think of a word that describes my feelings for bullies more accurately than hate. “Extreme dislike” is too weak for me.

Keep reading and I’ll explain exactly why.

Bullying in any form is unquestionably terrible, but I want to focus on a form of bullying that doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves.

Specifically, I’m talking about workplace bullies.

Bullying in the workplace has reached near-epidemic status, and it’s time that we put an end to this behavior once and for all. This may sound ambitious, but my goal is that this post will mark the beginning of the end of bullying in the workplace.

I’m dead serious about making this happen. People have suffered for far too long at the hands of these sociopaths, and I’m calling for it to end now.

And just like anything, it all begins with you.

The future of the workplace as we know it depends on all of us taking control of our work lives and eradicating workplace bullies starting today.

In other words, it’s time for us to be the heroes in our own workplace story.

Fair warning, this isn’t going to be easy–but then again, this isn’t about doing what’s “easy.”

This is about doing what’s necessary.

There’s a lot to dive into, so let’s get to it.

The Urgent Call to End Workplace Bullying

First of all, let’s define the enemy.

For the sake of simplicity, a workplace bully is basically anyone who makes your work life a living hell by contributing to, or creating, a hostile work environment.

This is usually done by using intimidation, humiliation, and constant criticism (and no, I’m not talking about the “constructive” kind) to demean you and your work.

Unfortunately, there’s much more to workplace bullying than merely the obvious stuff. Bullying at work isn’t all about belligerent yelling and screaming.

Some of the more passive-aggressive and lesser known bullying examples include, but are not limited to: purposeful exclusion from team meetings/activities, consistently taking credit for your work, sabotaging your work, overloading you with work or taking away all of your work, purposely withholding information from you, and spreading false rumors and gossiping.

There is an urgent need for this madness to stop. Why, you ask?

Here’s why: According to the 2014 U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey, 65 million U.S. workers are affected by workplace bullying.

That’s equivalent to the combined population of 15 U.S. states.

That’s a lot of people whose lives have been affected by workplace bullyingmaybe you’re one of those people.

Here are some more disturbing stats to chew on:

In a separate study, 71% of the respondents who were bullied at work were treated by a physician for work-related symptoms. 63% of workplace bullying victims saw a mental health professional for their work-related symptoms.

Some of these symptoms included, hypertension, sleeplessness, ulcers, severe mood swings, debilitating anxiety, panic attacks, clinical depression, migraine headaches, relapse of previously controlled addictions, even post traumatic stress disorder.

Again, that’s a lot of people whose health has been affected by workplace bullying–maybe you’re one of those people too.

In the most extreme cases, workplace bullying can even lead to suicide.

Thankfully, you’re not one of those people.

If you’re a senior leader at a company and this post happened to make its way into your inbox somehow, maybe those statistics didn’t move you.

Hopefully this will: The effects of workplace bullying on your company’s bottom line can be devastating.

Specifically, the cost of dealing with constant employee turnover and re-training, rampant absenteeism, potential lawsuits, dismal employee morale (which, not surprisingly, affects customer service quality), increased healthcare costs, and the inability to attract top talent is enough to destroy any business, including yours.

It’s time to re-prioritize.

Our New #1 Priority

Let’s be real–is the #1 priority in your company really your organization’s new marketing strategy?

Is it the rollout of your company’s brand-new payroll system?

Is it the implementation of your company’s extra “casual dress day” policy for your superstar employees?

Is it your company’s long-awaited acquisition of another rival company?

No. No. Hell No. And, no.

Your company’s #1 priority should be to get your people to treat each other with dignity and respect, and more specifically to find the bullies poisoning your organization from the inside and convince them (read: order them) to stop being assholes.

Or fire them.

Either option works for me.

Think about it–increased productivity, improved communication, a renewed spirit of collaboration, more employee engagement, happier customers, happier management, happier shareholders–the positives go on and on.

The 65 million Americans on the wrong end of workplace bullying would experience brand-new and dramatically improved lives if bullying vanished from their workplaces forever.

And, if dramatically improving the lives of 65 million Americans (and countless others all over the world) isn’t enough of a reason for us to deal with this devastating issue with the utmost urgency, then what is?

There is absolutely no logical or sane excuse why this behavior should be allowed to continue.

Today is the day that we all must shift our focus to our new #1 priority at the workplace: Ending workplace bullying forever.

If we’re going to make this happen starting today, then we’re definitely going to need a strategy.

Let’s get into specifics about the 3 types of bullies that you could encounter in the workplace and how to maintain your sanity while dealing with them.

1. Bully Customers

If you deal with customers for a living, then you know without a doubt that these people are very real and pose a legitimate challenge, potentially on a daily basis.

Bully customers were discussed at length in the 2-part The Customer is Always Right Must Die series, so I won’t continue beat the skeletal remains of the dead horse any longer in this post.

Okay, maybe I will for a little bit longer.

Again, let’s not confuse upset/angry customers with customers who are bullies.

Angry customers might be furious that they were double-billed or pissed off that the waiter screwed up their dinner order. It might not be pleasant, but dealing with angry people happens from time to time in customer-facing jobs.

I’m not big fan of clichés, but allow me to use my least favorite one here: It is what it is.

As we all know, all of our customers can’t be epic customers, right?

Use the opportunity to “wow” the angry customer with your service excellence and if done correctly, you could turn an angry customer into a loyal customer for life.

Although that’s all well and good, this isn’t about angry customers.

I’m talking about bully customers.

Bully customers, on the other hand, are the ones who were double-billed and decide to turn their problem with the company into a personal issue with the front line employee.

Perhaps the bully will use this situation as an excuse to demean the front line employee by cursing her out, threatening her, calling her racist names or physically intimidating her.

This behavior is never okay and cannot be tolerated.

If you work in management and want to keep your best and brightest front line employees consistently providing stellar customer service, then let them know that you have their back when it comes to having a zero-tolerance policy for abusive customers.

Failure to swiftly and consistently support your employees in the face of customer abuse will result in the loss of your best people. It may not happen immediately, but it will happen.

Count on it.

So, how do you deal with bully customers who cross the line?

You have to set clear boundaries with them.

Let’s say that you have a customer who comes into your store and starts screaming, cursing you out and angrily pointing in your face because the brand-new big screen TV that he bought for the big game didn’t work.

The uncensored conversation could go like this:

Bully Customer: <Pointing angrily in your face>: “Hey shithead, you better take your fat ass to the back right now and get me a goddamn TV that works! I missed the Raiders game because of you and your shitty store! If there’s not a brand new TV in front of me in the next 5 minutes, there will be hell to pay, you asshole!”

(Author’s note: Please tell me that you agree that being a paying customer does not give anyone the right to talk to another human being in this manner, right? You’re with me on this? Okay, good. Moving on…)

You: <Calmly, but firmly> “Sir, I apologize for the inconvenience and I want to help you resolve your issue. However, if you continue to curse at me, call me names, and put your finger in my face I won’t be able to help you and I’ll have to end this conversation now. So, would you like me to help you or should we end this conversation now?”

Here’s the thing–what happens next is entirely up to the customer.

He can either: a) Act like a rational, civilized adult (and ideally apologize) and get the assistance he needs, or b) Continue to be a bully and get nothing.

Of course for this to be truly effective, you need to have the support of your organization–which in some cases, is part of a larger problem.

I’m telling you right now, if you work for a company who would not support you in politely standing up for yourself in the face of customer abuse (as shown in the example above), then you should probably stop reading this post and head over to this page instead and start searching as if your sanity depends on it, because believe me, it does.

Dealing with angry customers is part of the job, we all get that.

However, dealing with abuse in any form is never a part of any job description.

2. Bully Coworkers

Truthfully, I think that dealing with bully customers is actually pretty easy, relatively speaking.

Why?

Because bully customers eventually leave.

Bully coworkers will be waiting for you when you show up to work today, tomorrow, the day after that…you get the picture.

That fact alone adds a layer of complexity to the mix, but that doesn’t mean that dealing with them is impossible.

With bully coworkers, the first step is understanding the truth behind what makes a bully a bully.

Bullies at their core, are cowards. 

Remember this, because knowledge of this fact is your silver bullet in your fight against bullies of any kind.

Sure, they might not seem like cowards when they’re pulling the tough guy/gal routine on you, but please don’t be fooled by it–every bully walking the face of the earth needs your fear to survive.

Without your fear, they are nothing.

Inside of each bully is a pathetic, sad, pitiful shell of a human being who seeks out people who they feel they can intimidate and control.

Intimidation and control makes these people feel powerful, and to ensure that they keep feeling powerful, they seek out targets who have a disinterest in confrontation so that they get their jollies by emotionally destroying them.

There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.” -Nathaniel Branden

All cruelty is based in weakness–and cruelty is act of cowardice, not courage.

So, how do you deal with a bully coworker?

You have to be the opposite of a coward. You have to be brave. Here are two ways you can be brave, starting today.

A) Don’t Let Them See You Sweat

Bullies love to get a reaction–in fact, your reaction of pain, sadness, and anger is the fuel that keeps them going. Sick I know, but it’s the absolute truth with these types of people.

I know that this is much easier said than done, but you cannot give them the reaction that they want. Ever.

If a bully coworker passive-aggressively excludes you from a team lunch outing or is overly critical of your work, don’t let him know that his behavior is getting to you.

Vent to someone you trust. Walk away. Rise above his foolishness. You might not be in control of his bullying behavior, but you’re always in control of yours.

Many bullies will stop targeting you if they don’t get the reaction that they’re looking for from you. Unfortunately, this technique won’t work with all bullies.

Some of the really persistent bullies won’t stop if they’re ignored. In fact, the bullying might increase if they feel that they’re failing to get a reaction out of you.

So, in that case, you’ll have to use this strategy instead…

B) Stand up for Yourself

Remember, we’re talking about a bully coworker–you don’t report to this person. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself.

Intimidation and immaturity are the only weapons that the bully has in her pathetic arsenal, and if you make the decision that you will not be bullied by her, the bully is effectively screwed because she doesn’t have a Plan B if Plan A fails.

If you choose to stand up for yourself, please do it when you’re not emotionally charged by the situation (yes, this is possible).

Approach the bully and be assertive, but not aggressive about what is bothering you. Equally as important, focus solely on the bully’s behavior, not the bully herself.

For example, there’s a huge difference between, “Susie, I’m sick of you acting like a bitch towards me during our team meetings” than “Susie, in the past two team meetings, I’ve felt personally attacked when you called my ideas stupid in front of the team, and I don’t feel that it’s appropriate.”

Sure, she might deny it or get defensive, but from that moment forward, she knows that you know that you’re on to her childish bullying games.

Also, if your goal in this discussion is to simply make the bully aware of her bullying behavior, then you’re totally missing the point–please trust that the bully is fully aware of what she’s doing and how it makes you feel. She actually gets off on it.

You’re bringing this to her attention to put her on notice that her behavior is not okay with you and that you’d like it to stop.

Most bullies never expect to be called out on their behavior, and now that you’ve put it out there, she’ll have to make the difficult choice of either stopping her behavior or continue to prove that you are right about her foolishness all along.

Most importantly, when it comes to bully coworkers, you have to know which battles are worth fighting and which ones aren’t worth your time.

I know that there are always some people who believe that standing up to bullies is a bad idea because it could backfire on you. But to those people, I have a question: If you’re not going to stand up for yourself, then who will?

Like I said earlier, no one said that dealing with bullies is fun, but it’s necessary.

Fighting through your fear to do the right thing for yourself and others is the epitome of bravery. In my experience, bravery will always win against the cowardice of a bully every day of the week.

3. Bully Bosses

If there was ever any doubt in your mind about the widespread damage that a bully boss can inflict on an organization, just check out this simple, but very effective 2-minute video to have your mind changed forever:

Yes, the worst of all has been saved for last.

By far, bully bosses are the most challenging workplace bullies to deal with. In order to deal with them effectively, you’re going to need some help, but I’ll get to that later. Let’s talk about what you need to do first.

Unlike with bully coworkers, standing up for yourself might not always play out too well for you.

Since bully bosses are in a power position over you, they could make your work life a living hell (yes, more so than it already is) if you try to do something that embarrasses them or bruises their fragile egos.

So instead, allow me to introduce you to your newest best friend when dealing with bully bosses:

Good Documentation.

This is critical. Good documentation is an extremely powerful tool that cannot be underestimated.

If you’re dealing with a boss who is known for his bullying, you need to get into “court reporter mode” and stealthily get your documentation on. One of the things that bully bosses count on is the lack of a quality paper trail from the people who they bully.

Keep track of everything relating to the bullying incidents, emails/texts, including exact quotes (if possible), dates, times–everything. (Side note: for more specific details on the process for how to deal with a bully boss, check out my book, Making Work Work).

Dealing with a bully boss isn’t easy, and if you want the bullying to stop, you’re going to have to put in some work to document a consistent pattern of bullying behavior.

Reporting a random incident where the bully boss screamed at you for no reason isn’t going to cut it.

If your boss flew off the handle one morning and started screaming at you, that could easily be explained away as the bully boss having a “bad day.” We all have bad days.

However, a consistent pattern of multiple incidents of bullying behavior cannot be easily explained away–especially if this behavior is clearly creating a hostile work environment for you and others.

Your documentation is the holy grail that clearly shows the intent behind the behavior. And if your documentation shows a pattern of intentional destructive behavior, then the organization really has no choice but to take action.

Hopefully.

Now it’s time for the “help” section of the plan.

Once you get your documentation together, you’re going to have to reach out to your Human Resources (HR) representative (as I’m typing this, I can already hear the collective groan from the readers–stick with me on this) and share your detailed documentation with them.

If you misstep with sloppy or nonexistent documentation, there is zero chance of getting the support you need from HR to fix your bully boss’s behavior. If you want your concerns to be taken seriously, then you need to show that you’re serious by putting in the time and the work to document the facts like a champ.

Which leads to me to directly challenge the HR professionals reading this.

Very few people in America trust that their HR departments are looking out for them–I’m sorry, but it’s true. If you don’t believe me, ask around.

As an HR professional, you play a very large role in stopping workplace bullying. It’s time for you to step it up.

You read the damage that bullying can can cause, right? This isn’t a damn game–this is serious as a heart attack.

And just like a heart attack, workplace bullying can ruin lives–and the good news is that you’re in a position to put a stop to it. Don’t take the easy way out by siding with the person who brings in more revenue to the organization, has the longer tenure, more strategic relationships, or the higher title.

Or equally as bad, don’t throw up your hands and say, “there’s nothing I can do.”

If there’s nothing you can do, then why are you there?

I, and many others, are calling on you as an HR professional to be brave, do the right thing, and take a stand against unacceptable bullying in your organization.

Why not start today?

There are literally millions of people who need you.

Don’t turn your back on them.

When All Else Fails

YoungShola

A face that only a bully could love.

Of course, if all else fails, then you’re left with one obvious choice: Quit.

In some cases, that’s the only choice that makes sense.

If you’re working in a company that rewards bullying behavior, you’d be better served jumping ship and watching your now-former company’s inevitable demise from the safety of your new job.

You might even be forced to make the impossible choice of leaving your soul-crushing job without the security of another job waiting for you, or even without a savings account.

No one should ever be in that position, but when your physical health, sanity, and happiness hang in the balance, I totally understand making that move.

The worst case scenario is to stick around in a situation that is causing your physical and mental health to rapidly decline, because the only demise that you’ll be getting a front-row seat to watch is your own.

Mark my words on this–I’m speaking from experience.

Everything that you’ve read to this point was written by a former bullying victim.

Me.

As a child growing up, I didn’t have the choice to quit.

I couldn’t escape the bullies who tormented me because I looked different, had horrible teeth, and talked funny. So, I had to figure out a way to deal with it–and believe me, it wasn’t easy.

I wish that I could sit down with the kid in the picture to the right and tell him the truth about the kids who constantly threw his book bag down the stairs, stole his lunch money, threw him against the lockers, and peed on his favorite jacket.

I wish that I could tell my younger self that the teasing, name-calling, and tormenting said much more about the bullies than ever did about him.

But would I believe my older self?

The intimidation, name-calling, and tormenting had power.

Believe me, I felt it. Whoever came up with that stupid “sticks and stones” saying, clearly was not a bullying victim.

Almost 30 years later, the pain still sticks with me even though my days of being bullied have long passed.

If you’re dealing with workplace bullying please trust that the torment that you’re currently dealing with will stick with you years later too–unless you take action today to put a stop to it.

If you’re suffering from workplace bullying, make the right choice and don’t be a coward like the bully you despise.

You can reclaim your work happiness, but the journey may not be easy. Just remember that there are literally millions of people (65 million of them, to be precise) who are rooting for you to make today the beginning of the end of workplace bullying.

There is no doubt in my mind that if we all band together with this singular cause, there is no force that can stop us from reclaiming our workplaces from the bullies once and for all.

We have to do this.

It is too damn important.

If nothing else, please believe this: What we allow is exactly what will continue.

Final Message to the Workplace Bullies

It is possible that a handful of you who are reading this post could be the bullies who we hate.

Some of you bullies likely will whine about the “wussification of America” and how you can’t even ask an employee to do his/her job or fail to say “good morning” to them without possibly being reported for “workplace bullying.”

Please, for the love of all things pure and positive, shut the hell up.

That’s a cute diversion from your sociopathic behavior, but we’re on to your games.

It won’t work anymore.

Everyone reading this (including you) knows exactly what real workplace bullying is, and it needs to be taken seriously.

If you consistently call your coworkers demeaning names, yell at your employees, or intentionally (or unintentionally) create a hostile workplace, then yeah, I’m talking directly to you.

Bullies, my message to you is clear: Get some help, deal with your issues, and stop destroying other people’s lives with your insanity.

I know that you don’t have self-esteem–everyone who is unfortunate enough to deal with you on a daily basis knows that.

Maybe you need some guidance, a hug, or some therapy. You’ll get none of that from me.

All I can offer you is my pity and a promise about how the world works.

Karma is a bitch, she’s mad as hell, and when the time is right, she’ll meet up with you to do a little bullying of her own.

Sixty-five million Americans (myself included) hope that we’re around to see it.

Your Turn

Statistics say that 65 million Americans are affected by workplace bullying right now–are you one of them? What’s your particular workplace bullying situation? Do not hesitate to jump into the comments below and make your voice heard. The workplace bullies are hoping that you’ll be silent. Prove them wrong.

Book Cover_newMaking Work Work

Are you tired of dealing with the bullies and jerks at your job, and ready to join the new workplace positivity movement? That’s good, because change is coming, my friend. If you’re ready to join the movement to change how we treat each other at work, reserve your copy of Making Work Work, today! Order link on Amazon.com

Shola

Shola

Founder of The Positivity Solution
Corporate trainer, incurable optimist, and writer who is committed to changing the world by helping as many people as possible to live and work more positively.
Shola
Shola
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Comments

  1. This is the most coherent, well-thought out argument against workplace bullying that I have ever read. I’m sick of reading articles on larger sites like MSN or Yahoo who give crazy advice about workplace bullying like “try to befriend the bully” or “go get a massage after work, and once you’re relaxed you’ll realize that the bullying isn’t really that bad.” WTF?

    Currently, I’m dealing with a total asshole of a boss who belittles us constantly, curses us out in meetings, screams at us for no reason, and basically treats us all as if we’re subhuman. I can tell you one thing, your post has inspired me to do something about it. Even though our HR Dept is basically useless (you pegged that one on the nose), I’m going start digging up old emails from her and start documenting every time she bullies me and my co-workers. I forwarded your post to group of my co-workers who I trust with my life, and we’re all inspired to do whatever we can to stop her from bullying us ever again…beginning today.

    I just stumbled onto your site, but after reading this post and your About page, it’s safe to say that I’m officially now “one of your people.” Thanks for being the voice of the voiceless, and you’ve got a new fan in me!

    • Hey June! I’m thrilled to hear that you’re one of my people 😉

      Wow, your boss sounds absolutely horrific. On a positive note, you should feel fortunate that you have coworkers who feel the same way about her too. I’m so happy to hear that you’re planning to take a stand against workplace bullying starting today. Your boss needs to know that her behavior has no place in a civilized workplace, and it needs to stop immediately. Please keep me posted on how it goes, ok?

      We’ve got a lot of work to do to make workplace bullying extinct, but I’m committed to do whatever I can while I’m here. Thanks for joining the good guys June–together we can do this!

      • Michelle Barrett says:

        Hey I was not completely sure how to get into the site to communicate with you. Here is my story or a small part of it. I have never worked for a company that was ethical with regard to how to treat each other. Once I discovered that I had not found the right company yet, I decided to start doing the interviewing during the interview process. I moved about 2,000 miles to take the job I am in now and the cost to me was about $4000 dollars. I feel complete disgust that I had to watch a couple of hours on hostile work environment, sexual harassment, and other ethical behavior only to not see this being practiced in the workplace. To have the very person who is training us to refer to our new leader of our facility as the (her name) girl. To be told to put on an act because these people are coming. To tell us to make sure our work space is clean because these people are coming. I dressed up the first two or three weeks of work, then gave into the pressure of jeans and graphic tee’s just so I would not be talked about anymore. I have a ton of suits, business wear, but don’t wear it to work even though the dress code is business casual because my trainer comes to work in her camo gear like she is going hunting, hat and all. I told my trainer about some of the students making fun of a coaches clothes and all of a sudden I am pulled from class and there are several emails about me talking about “my” age and it is making other uncomfortable. I feel like this is a set up to fire me. I am sitting here at 3 p.m. on my day off and all I have done is blog and research for this topic. I don’t want to lose my job, but I don’t want to be unhappy either.

      • Love, love loved this article! The best one yet! In all my 35 years of working I have never been treated so mean as I am now. Unfortunately, it is the office manager and her best friend/cohort who have made a hostile work environment-for only me though. Everything you said is what they have been doing to me/my work. I actually have a meeting with the office manager and the managing attorney this week. Help! I don’t know what to say! Never have I had to deal with this crap! Can you please help?

    • You have one advantage: in all her craziness she does not seem to discriminate. She’s a bully to everyone so at least you don’t have to convince your colleagues about it. My bully boss is different. On the outside he is very charming, good-looking (it helps I think), jolly good fellow, one of the guys… But not with me. I have seen a totally different face of his: liar, does not keep his promises, changes agreements unilaterally, builds up a case against you and all of a sudden brings it up while you think that you are on good terms. This man is totally ruthless. He scares me.
      And I think that this is ultimately what bothers him: I see him how he is.

      • Leonard K. says:

        The bullying at my workplace was in the form of overwork and unrealistic schedules. Everyone worked in fear of “not being able to keep up” as stated clearly by the most prominent of the management bullies. With regards to our workload we were constantly being asked, “Is it done yet?” Usually multiple times in a day. Also, the focus of our work would change multiple times in one day in reactionary response to the unrealistic promises to potential customers made by the marketing and sales groups. If we were not seen working in a frenetic manner and filled with fear every time management was present, then we were overloaded with yet more work. Almost like punishment. Almost like if we weren’t filled with fear and behaving frenetically, then we musn’t have enough work to do. Eventually I got laid off (thank goodness!) because I consistently did not show fear and I consistently worked in a calm, deliberate, and diligent manner rather than trembling in my boots every time the POW camp guards showed their faces. Watching my coworkers lick the boots of the bullies was heartbreaking. In private, they would tell me their true feelings, but when the management was around, they basically had to become non existent as individuals and could not enjoy their work or be proud of it. The stress and worry on their faces and in their behaviour was disheartening. After a while my boss couldn’t take it any more and basically laid me off because I wasn’t afraid of him. I mean, is that the purpose of work, to live in a fearful sweatshop for 8hrs then go home to spend the evening recovering?

        • No not 8 in case of my company…12-16 and weekends too.

        • Leonard your experience sounds frightfully like mine. I should have trusted my instincts at the interview after watching fearful heads pop over their cubicles staring at me in order to witness the next poor unfortunate lamb to be led to the slaughter. Anyway it was almost that if you appeared calm and level headed my manager and “coworkers” that were her pets would try to literally punish you socially, through ostracization, or psychologically by not ever making eye contact with you, responding to questions, or even to simple greetings like hi hows it going in the morning. I’m talking about people who sat right next to me who I worked on projects with frequently who didn’t acknowledge me for 2 years. By the time they saw other team managers were trying to recruit me onto their teams for higher positions because of my ability to teach myself every single aspect of the job despite multiple failed sabotage attempts from other people on my team they started trying to sweet talk me and KMA. I never ended up taking a higher position since I could tell the company was a sinking ship and dysfunctional from the top down in every dept. ironically enough all of its operations are now currently in Bangalore India. This was due to the fact that they promoted and kept clique members in tact who did no work and took about 7-8 30 minute smoke/chat breaks per day. Once I quit my team leader left 3 months later because she could no longer dump all of her crap work on the black sheep of the group and I heard that certain members of this clique turned on themselves after I left. Guess the neutral safe target “me”, left them no other choice, I had a mental breakdown and have been unemployed since and have lost countless years of my life. If not for the support of my husband and close family members I might have taken my own life and not even be alive today. Workplace bullying should be treated as a crime.

          • Oh Lulu,
            Your post has brought tears to my eye’s – again, I cried when I read Shola’s post too. I was bullied – no where near as bad as any of you above – yet I left work last year close to breakdown, with very elevated blood pressure and can’t face working for another employer. I’m now trying to build my own online business so that I don’t have to work with mongrels like that again.
            I am so sorry to hear how badly you were affected – you sound so strong in your post above – I hope that means you are well on the road to recovery.
            You are right WP Bullying is a crime.

      • That’s what is happening to me. I have a boss and his co-hort who have been bullying me since I started a year ago. I have lived a nightmare fr a full year. Popping Xanax at work, calling in sick because I Houston can’t handle it. On the outside try are both wnderful, helpgpful emploees, but spi see it. She decides she doesn’t want to work on a project anymore, calls a meeting with mtpy boss and the thing I know I aphave another project on my desk. It’s gotten to the point where the work is overwhelming. I’ve talked TO HR about and that say it’s a personality conflict. I just read the comments that he wrote on my performance appraisal and never in my entire career have I gotten such horrible feedback. It’s so bad that there will be an HR rep present when we review it together. I’m tired of fighting it, I’m also 61 years old and there is not many employers who will hire me at my age. I don’t know what to do. Advice would be appreciated.

        • To Mary & the others,
          I wish all company’s had someone like Shola who has so much knowledge and insight of what really happens in the workplace.
          A manager bully should not be dismissed as a bully because HR & management thinks the associate must have” a personality conflict with their manager.”
          Bullies prey on their direct reports.
          Bullies get extreme pleasure out of watching their victims suffer .They want to see a reaction from the victim, it fuels them to attack them further.
          I am the unfortunate recipient of a serial bully manager. Sadly I know this all to well.
          My nightmare started when my current manager was placed in a supervisory position 4 years ago. I think it would be safe to say, she was unqualified for this new role, lacked any management experience or had the underlying skill set to be trained & transformed into a professional leadership role.
          Out of the 4 years reporting to her, she has bullied me for 3 years & 2 months on & off.
          This bully’s m.o. is to bully one nurse at a time. Yes, we are nurses working in a major health insurance company who’s role is to help members going through emotional & physical hardships. As well as members that are in distress from battling their own forms of bullies.
          I am the unlucky victim for no good reason.
          I approach my manager with great caution, not to ever out shine her (or even shine), not to ever engage in any form of conflict, and to abide by the company organizational structure as my role as a subordinate & my bully’s role as a superior. With that said, I walk on egg shells all the time as if I am living in a dysfunctional family and trying to keep my bully from lashing out again.
          I am not passive by all accounts.I am smart, have a great personality, well accomplished & extremely assertive. I have had to adapt in my workplace in a guarded role to keep my bully at bay.
          My bully manager just struck again, 2 weeks ago. This time, I can’t handle it. I can’t go through this again.
          It feels like post traumatic stress disorder from all of the years of bullying. The trigger this time was me interviewing for a manager position in another department in my company.Within 5 minutes of informing my bully manager, of the scheduled interview, the attack started again, this time with even greater vengeance. I believe I will not get the position. My bully manager has a skill for sabotaging any path for my future professional growth. As I prepped for tough leadership interview questions. I was dismayed to be asked questions about a “past work conflict”. It goes back to management thinking when an associate reports a bullying issue, It must be the associate “having a personality conflict.”
          We have over 300 associates in my office and I serve on a volunteer committee as well.
          I have never had a work conflict with anyone other than my bully manager in the 5 years employed there.
          I feel so trapped. I truly cannot manage it this time.
          Iv’e overcome this multiple times. But this time it feels different.Not that all the other bullying instances were not horrific. I can’t afford to quit and go search for a new job.
          In this short period of bullying, of nearly 2 weeks, my BP is elevated, My sleep is affected, I feel clinically depressed and am now also struggling with anxiety.
          My productivity is falling as I am interrupted all day with disruptive emails from my bully manager scrutinizing my work now.
          I do not know what is going to happen to me. I just feel like I have to get my story out.
          I hope for the others in this forum, much success with battling their work bullies.

          • I understand. Mine is more subtle, but the latest episode has been almost more than I can bear. If it weren’t for some of the people I work with, I’d have to leave.

    • Ýou made my day and gave me courage against my workplace bullies. Ì cant afford to leave my job but ì also feel that ì need to do something or ì am going to die, literally. Ù r great!

    • Donetta graham says:

      Well you need to hear about boss who say you didn’t get hurt at work when they were home in bed. Your job doesn’t give a damn about you unless you can work. If you cant work, they turn and lie on you. I got hurt in Dec and got paid yet we have laws but not if you get hurt. They will go to court and lie and try to get a way but God will have the last word.

    • I work for a tyrant. He intimidates (will sit near where I am working and STARE) will wait to see something he can jump on and scream at me, curse, call names. My problem is that he OWNS the business. Is there anything I can do (I love the actual work I do), or is the only thing to do is QUIT? I currently totally ignore him and give him no reaction to his put downs.

    • I had a horrible work situation I was dealing with as well. I was dealing with workplace bullying of epic proportions: Yelling, cursing, name-calling, spreading rumors, supervisors treating me like I’m stupid and letting other coworkers do it (in front of customers too). I can’t say who or what company obviously as I can ruin my reputation, but I promise we all know the company well. I’ve been picked on all my life, and being 28 now I realized long ago that it’s never going to stop as long as I give a shit about anyone but myself. I’m too smart to control and not dumb enough to just go along with what someone says to do when I know it’s wrong, and I try my best to help people out, so I guess that makes me an easy target. Then my store co-manager (right under the GM) berated me one day on the floor; she was careful to make sure no one was around before she did. I told her she did not give me enough time to complete my duties and that she assigned me to an area I am not familiar with, trained in or had worked before. She said she didn’t care and I can’t be lazy and take forever doing my work, and that I was getting what I was going to get and if I didn’t like it or how I was being treated then I could go home. I didn’t like it so I went home. What now? What can be done about this situation?

    • I currently feel like I am being bullied by a coworker. I am a teacher and I have given my 2 weeks notice and this Friday is my last day. This person constantly scrutinizes my work, tells me how to do my job, and says that I’m not being helpful in the way I teach my students. Ive been at this school just under a year….I have not reported this person to hr. I work in a large school district so there is an hr department. I just need to get through the next 3 days. Ad I’ll be free. JL

    • Damari Stratford says:

      Use your voice, help fight against work place bullies and bullying….Yes that’s why I keep posting my story….Let’s start a anti bullying campaign against men bullying women at work…I forgive him but I will use my story to help others…The injustice of bullying! What will these candidates do about work place bullies and bullying?
      All bullying is unacceptable !All bullying needs to stop.
      I was also the only one that Jeff Ursino treated like this..All he needed to do was be kind, show kindness. I want to bring more awareness to work place bullying in 2016 to help others not have to deal with bullies for bosses. The laws need to change!!!
      …I was fired 12 days before Christmas…
      Bosses should lead employees not Bully…
      Remember bullies come in all shapes and sizes….I was bullied by an adult named Jeff , my manager a bank in Carmel, Ca…after he successfully made me sick with nerves and caused my blood pressure to go up he fired me via UPS before Christmas while I was out on a workers comp pending case…my family will never forget the pain he caused us….it changed me forever.
      Jeff once told me that I couldn’t wear the hats I’d been wearing to work for almost four years with no problem. He said it was company policy yet there was nothing in writing. I called HR and they said there was nothing in the codes about hats. About six weeks later Jeff decided to tell me that I could wear hats again but only a couple days a week. I asked him what about the policy and he replied ” I’m in control” , it was his way of throwing his weight around, what a bully!
      He also threatened to fire me for job abandonment if I didn’t show up to work on a day I couldn’t work, my daughter was ill and he was already fully staffed. He put me on the schedule at the last minute to pressure me into working…a Bully at his finest.
      He also stated that I hadn’t worked on days that I had and I still have a copy of the schedules.
      Bullying needs to end and companies need to properly train manages to be leaders not bullies! What will politicians do about it? Nothing! We need to unite and do something about adult bullying and in the work place!
      I have two boxes of proof and I did document everything. When I realized that there is actually an Awareness month for anti bullying I decided to tell my story again in hopes of finding an organization that I can help bring light to this also very ugly issue!
      What I have mentioned is just a bit of all he did.
      No one cared or did anything about it. I wrote my leaders, congressmen , senators , mayors, city leaders, the president , attorney general, etc…everyone past the buck.
      Since then, bullying has come to the forefront and I want to tell my story.
      He is a father of 3 sons, still a ” manager” , on the board of trustees for a school district and I can’t help but wonder who he is bullying now.
      He had choices and he chose to be unkind, uncaring, not understanding, treated me like crap, ignored what others where doing, focused on me until he ruined me!
      ALL BULLIES NEED TO BE STOPPED!!!!!
      Only cowards bully other people!
      He didn’t care what I was wearing he simply wanted to show who was in control and bully me. The hats didn’t prevent me from doing my job nor did anyone ever complain about them, in fact I got lots of compliments from customers and a couple of his bosses and someone from HR, it’s was great until he showed up as a temporary manager. He just wanted me gone and set out to wrongfully terminate me. He couldn’t even write me up correctly and I have the proof. He couldn’t even fire me correctly as he broke California Labor codes in the process of firing me. He was simply unkind and heartless to me.
      Please grow up to be a kind, caring person. Never purposely make someone fear their going to loose their job for putting their daughter first, that’s what he did to me…and yet he is a father.
      Time to open their eyes and our leaders and change the laws. Speak the truth state the facts and have your evidence ready! One of the reasons I am doing this is because I have proof, my journal, the forms he used to write me up incorrectly. He was in such a hurry to write me up that the first time he wrote me up he used the wrong form, he used the second warning form.
      He threatened me with job abandonment yet didn’t know how that law worked.
      For some reason the universe, my God or what ever you want to believe, had me keep all the evidence. In my journal I wrote daily of what occurred at work, he singled me out. In four and a half years I loved my job 98 percent of the days then he came and ruined not only me but the spirit of that bank branch. He took away causal Friday and tried to take away cookies on Fridays for our customers.
      He said we all had to only eat in the break room but yet would eat at his desk and not say anything to the pretty blonde when she ate at her station. He took all my family photos down and claimed it was best for my family but allowed others to have their family photos out! A BULLY!!!
      The more I read the more I realize he was threatened by me. My reviews didn’t justify what he did. Several times I was asked if I was the manager as he stood next to me.
      The hat issue was just him being a bully, he ignored what others did and wouldn’t give me credit when it was due to me, he played it down. He snapped his fingers twice, said my name , pointed to the back room and said Damari in the back the very first time he ever addressed me. In the back room he said my reputation precedes me, that upper management had nothing but glowing reports about me. He asked why I thought I do so well and I told him because I love my job.
      He was a temporary manager, the branch was looking for a full time manager. Jeff was managing two branches during this process, I was trying to hang in there until we got a new one but he couldn’t wait to fire me.
      I’m understanding more about bullies these days, it doesn’t make it right but we need to pray for the bully.
      I use his name and the bank and location to keep it real and honest. I have nothing to hide.
      I use to tell my kids’ if you don’t want grammy to know what you did then don’t do anything you’d be a shamed of because I will tell grammy the truth’ it really helped with their behavior.
      I once wrote him and asked why he did what he did and I also told him that I hope no one ever treated his family as he had treated mine, but I got no response to my email from him. It’s all true so it’s not slander.
      I honestly feel that the bully should be called out, if he/she was so proud of their actions then don’t get upset when we share what you’ve done.
      Please feel free to share my story to bring awareness to work place bullies and bullying, it needs to stop, the laws need to protect the employees and victims not the bully. Share my story please.

      Kindness is free, spread it! Bullying cost lives and jobs, stop it! ~Damari Stratford ~

      http://inhumaneresources.wix.com/workplacebullying#!Change-Needs-to-Happen-Now/c1tye/56bd70b60cf2fd311ce05871

  2. I love you and your blog. That’s all I can say after reading this. You are pure awesomesauce, sir.

  3. My situation before is quite different because I’m directly working with my terrible “bully boss” and no HR to turn to that’s why I decided to “quit”. I thought all the while that there’s no one in this world who cares about this situation because almost all of my co workers just ignored being bullied for fear of job termination until I chanced to see your post. I love it. Keep it up. I’m sure plenty plenty of people are enlightened with this.

    • Hey Romeo, I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed my post! There are few things worse to deal with in the workplace than a bully boss, that is for sure. It’s even worse when you’re forced to work directly with your bully boss and you don’t have HR to turn to. I’m happy to hear that you quit, because life is too short to be miserable while working with a boss who you despise.

      Thank you so much for your comment, and I hope that you stick around awhile!

      • I love that I found you online. You are amazing and I am so happy you have it together after being bullied!
        My boss is a Defense Attorney, small office, he has (1) paralegal (who feels the same way I do) and then me, the part-time punch bag for when his paralegal isn’t there.

        This is what he does:
        1. Implies I only answer phones – He has no clue of all the stuff I do to help him and his paralegal. I do everything I’m asked.
        2. When he needs a sitter the kids come to the office (that I do care about), age 6 months and 3 years old. I play and take care of them, feed them, change diapers, run them around while I’m at the office. Never once a ” thank you” or I appreciated what you do.
        3. We have been told by him that a monkey could do this job.
        4. He has never acknowledged a “good morning” or a walk by in the hallway. I don’t say anything anymore.
        5.When he calls the office he’s always screaming about something and then hangs up before you can say anything at all.
        4. He laid me off (because he can’t afford me) p.s. I make $10.00 an hr. (He owns 4 homes, 3 fancy cars, RV, etc. etc.) and gave me one week notice then wanted me back the very next day. He’s totally confusing and yep, I went back for the check.
        5. I tried to talk with him about a broken chair and he told me “I didn’t ask for your opinion”.
        6. If I want to talk with him he’ll walk away and ignore me.
        7. He also treats everyone in his life the same way whether at home or at work, including his clients (after he gets their money).

        I could go on an on…yesterday he called screaming and I just put the phone back on the hook because I couldn’t take one more hang up from him so I just did it. I think he’s pushing me over the edge! I’m 61 years old and I know I deserve better than this! Please advise.

        • Can you claim your retirement yet? You should NOT be feeling this stressed and disrespected at your age and you have so much more happy years to look forwards to. This guy, honestly, has it coming to him. It might not be now, it might not be in a few years, but trust me, he will feel so STUPID and useless when his “empire” collapses from under his feet. If I was in your situation, I would leave, but not before I make sure he is very stressed out first and in need of your help. In fact, next time he tells you to do something/yells, just ignore him and walk out/hang up. You are worth so much more, and honestly if it weren’t for bills you have to pay or whatever reason you are still working, I would relax and take time to care and love myself. You are WORTH more than the 10 bucks (the cheap ass bastard) pays you….

          Find out a backup plan and leave. I wish you the best of luck and pray that you find the peace and happiness you deserve. GET YOUR LIFE BACK:D

  4. Hi! I was referred here by DDW. You look like him… (LOL, I crack myself up). Anyway, we have three manager types here who fit the Boss Bully description. Funny thing is, none of them recognize it and they all talk about how the other ones do it. It’s crazy!

    • Hi Spring! Yeah, that DDW dude is definitely a pretty handsome young man, that’s for sure! 😉

      Isn’t it funny how bullies never seem to recognize their own flaws, but they can easily spot those same flaws in others? These people suffer from an extreme case of “no self awareness-itis,” and I honestly wonder if it’s curable or terminal. But damn, I’m disturbed that your organization is allowing these bully bosses to roam around freely and terrorize the front line staff. Maybe those bully bosses need to read this post!

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Hi Shola,
    I am one of the unfortunate recipients of an insidious old hag of a bully boss and I have been reading blogs, articles, webpages and even scientific journals regarding this epidemic, and I have never come across a more accurate, concise and productive synopsis of ‘Workplace Bullying”- what it is and who they are. This is a very real crisis in the American workplace today. A co-worker of mine decided to end her own life about one month ago, and her detailed departure letter indicated that she was afraid that she could lose her job! My dictator…um, er…Director- walked around the office spreading the gossip about how this poor woman ultimately met her demise- all the while informing anyone within earshot that she has “no idea why she would feel like she might lose her job!”- referring to my co-worker whom is departed. I just stare at this inhuman creature incredulously. Is this sociopath even in the same reality as I? The reason the poor woman felt like she was going to lose her job is because this bully makes it a point to mention “Well, some people are hanging on to their jobs by a thread” or “The people who don’t complete their paperwork on time must understand that there are plenty of people right in line behind them that would love to have this job!” This raggedy, old witch of a woman makes sure to remind ALL of us, on a weekly basis, that our jobs could be gone, and then walks around crying “innocent” when this tragedy took place. Those statements are referred to as “Threats of Abandonment”, which is part of the definition of hostile environment.
    My impetus for calling this bully on her shit was the recent suicide death of my co-worker. This poor woman’s desperate and disillusioned decision to end her own life was indisputably influenced by this bully’s daily demeaning and demoralizing To-Do List of spreading rumors, fear and malice. While I would never definitively argue that someone caused the suicide death of another human being- I believe that to be an impossibility, as suicide is a monumentally private and personal act, I firmly believe that these threats of abandonment were indeed a factor in my co-worker’s frame of mind at the time—she wrote that in her final good-bye letter! Interestingly enough, my remarks about the way my BULLBOSS treats we peasants, coincided with another write up for me and a return to probation status. I don’t know how I am going to move forward as of this moment, as I feel like I am still in shock. But I am asserting my right to be respected, comforting my co-workers and clients and documenting every move this hatemonger makes and every poisonous word she utters-meticulously. Karma is better and has a longer memory than this chicken-hearted phony, and I, like you, can’t wait to see the old girl show this haggard cow who’s really in charge.

    • Hey there Maria! Wow, wow, wow…that is beyond tragic what happened to your coworker. It is absolutely insane to me that there are people out there who foolishly believe that workplace bullying isn’t a big deal. It’s a HUGE deal. It ruins lives and in some cases, ends lives. My mind is forever boggled at the fact that some companies blindly allow these sociopaths to spread their negativity throughout their workforce like a cancer, and then choose to do nothing about it. Why aren’t more companies focused like a laser beam to stop this sickening behavior once and for all? I sincerely don’t get it. You are so right Maria, “threats of abandonment” do create a hostile work environment and it’s things like that (among other things) that have no place in a civilized workplace. I feel so sad for your former coworker and her family, because while we might not know the whole story about why she ended her life, it would be pretty naive to believe that your raggedy old hag of a boss didn’t contribute to it in some way.

      Speaking of your boss, karma is definitely going to pay her a visit in the near future (if she hasn’t visited her already). In the meantime, keep doing your part by documenting everything that you can on this woman. I’m so sorry that you have to deal with someone like her for 8 hours every day, but based on your very thoughtful comment, there’s no doubt in my mind that your bully boss messed with the wrong lady ;). Good luck Maria, you know that I’m rooting for you!

      • RadioMelissa says:

        Dear Shola,
        This is the first time I’ve seen your blog. Thank you for it. I’ve been reading your replies to people here, and you are very concerned and loving. It’s refreshing for those of us who’ve come in search of some relief from negativity!

    • JulieAnn Kelley says:

      Wow, I read Maria’s post and withe exception of the co-worker suicide one would think I was writing about my own boss.
      The problem with my boss is that she is a total control freak, she wants to know where you are and what you’re doing, who you’re talking to and why all day long. I’m one of the department heads, my staff complain all the time how she snaps at them when I’m not there, and then she actually deflects her behaviour on to them. When I arrive to the office she’ll be complaining about how rude and disrespectful my staff treated her. My staff tell me exactly what happened and I believe them, why ? Because I witness her behaviour all the time, she tries the same control tactics on me from time to time, but I always let her know she isn’t going to treat me rudely. I read that one should not confront this behaviour, I’ve been confronting her as it happens and it will stop for awhile. During her last act of bullying/controlling antics I told her if she wanted to continue on her course she better get her boss down from Corporate or she better back off. It’s always this way, she thinks everybody is out to get her, and if anyone speaks their mind she turns into a cry baby-stating how rude and disrespectful everyone treats her. And then she starts on her rant about how she’s the boss. I’ve lost staff because of her behaviour. It really is a toxic workplace atmosphere and 96% of the staff including other Departments have come to me about her. Of course this puts me in a difficult spot, I just remind them that she is our boss and we have to show respect. While I’m actually thinking- ” I know, she’s a bitch from hell and I can’t stand her behaviour, let’s all join together and get the corporate office involved”.
      We don’t have an HR, in fact-this little Natzi bitch has informed all of us that we are not allowed to call Corporate. If we need something we have to go through her, this includes myself and other Department heads. I’ve actually sat and daydreamed about walking into her office and saying look, knock all this shit off, go see a shrink-get on some good psych meds and shut the f*#^ -up. Oh, I have to add too that I recently had a talk with her about the way she was treating an employee, I let her know that I would be this employees advocate and would not allow anyone to treat her badly. And even Employeed in confidence the help of another Department head to look out for this person while I’m not there. I too was bullied as a child and will not tolerate it. Because we don’t have an HR I really don’t know where to turn to, I’ve taken matters into my own hands. I know with certainty that this little Nazi won’t like the results if she pushes much more. Corporate will be called soon if there isn’t a change. She has actually made statements to all of us that our jobs are not secure and we can all be replaced. Anyway, any suggestions thoughts or ideas are soooo welcome. Ready to blow…
      My health for the last several months has been compromised by stress.
      I can’t leave without another job in the wings and wouldn’t leave without a 30 day notice because of the type of job duties I perform.
      It would affect innocent people,
      “I’m a Director of Nursing at an Assisted Living Facility”.

      • Corporate has a responsibility to address bullying in the workplace. There are attorneys who work with employer bullying and when the pattern is established with person after person leaving or transferring to another dept. due to one particular manager or supervisor, all of those people can be interviewed and a case can be built upon the facts presented. I say fight!

  6. Thank you. No really, thank you. I had to leave a job without another one because I was ill with stress-related problems and needed time to heal. That has turned into a lot more time than I’d hoped due to the economy. What you wrote made me feel like less of a failure. :)

    Another point that might get bosses on the No Bullying Bandwagon is that workplace bullies are spending a LOT more company time cooking up plots, gossiping, complaining, sabotaging the work of others, and generally wreaking havoc than they spend actually producing a product. These people are detrimental to the bottom line long before problems like increased absenteeism and health care costs start rolling in.

    • Hey there Maria! You are SO welcome, my friend! Believe me, you are FAR from a failure. The biggest failure in this situation are the companies that allow bullies to roam their hallways on a daily basis completely unchecked. And yes you’re absolutely right, the cost of workplace bullying is enormous. Health care costs, legal fees, lost productivity, absenteeism, bad public relations/press…the list goes on and on. It all could stop if companies did more than just “talk” about removing bullies from their workforces, and instead, they actually did it with ruthless precision. I will continue to fight to make this happen because I’m tired of seeing good people being abused by workplace bullies. Enough is enough. Thanks for reading Maria, and remember, you are NOT a failure in any way. Don’t forget that :)

  7. Hey Shola,

    I am glad you wrote this piece. I have a bully boss. Fortunately, I have a new position lined up, but I still have 2 months more to endure. I was contemplating whether to write a letter to report my bully boss. Now, your article has convinced me that I should make it happen. Let’s put a stop to the bullies!

    -June

    • Hey June #2! Congrats on your new position and your upcoming escape from your bully boss! I’m all for writing a letter to report him/her. Hopefully it will raise some awareness in your company and prevent the bully from destroying another employee’s life with his/her behavior. Hopefully you have some documented incidents to make your case as solid as possible too. Good luck my friend, and it’s time to put an end to bullies!

    • June, do it!!! But at the same time, be aware that people don’t like trouble. HR departments are no exception. The reason why you have to do it though is that once a bully, always a bully. He/She will most probably do it again. The first time someone reports a bully, HR might think that the person who reports is too sensitive. But if a second one, and a third one do it, there is a pattern and the bully will get a reputation. We should speak up and not let us paralyze by fear. I myself am very open about the fact that I leave my current post because of the bullying of my boss. I don’t care if people will in first instance think that I am the problem. I know that ultimately they will look at my bully boss with other eyes, especially since I am really professional and in general well-liked by people.

      • Five women at my place of employment (a national law firm) have complained about a male bully (a partner) to the managing partner and to the firm’s general counsel. The bully is a passive-aggressive bully and tries to be sneaky and do and say things when no one else is around. We were all told (1) maybe you’re too sensitive; (2) maybe you’re reading him wrong; (3) I don’t think he does those things on purpose, that’s just his personality; and (4) do you have any proof? I even offered to wear a body camera since I had no “proof” of what he was doing to me but was told that the firm would have to email everyone and let them know ahead of time that I was wired and that they were being recorded. All of us have had to go on Xanax, etc., and have told management that and that he is affecting our health. All of us (the women) are over 50. I cannot believe how management turns things around and puts it on us, as if we have the power (we are staff members) to control a partner who is a sociopath. I have no faith in the HR system in this firm. I cannot quit. Being 56 and trying to find a job is extremely difficult. If I could retire, I would.

  8. Shola
    I got the biggest chuckle after reading your article. Thank you!!
    My problem is two co-workers that I teach with. They’re best friends and exclude me from most decisions. They play really weird mind games that are never ending. You hit it on the head. They have such low self-esteem. Normal, healthy people don’t act this way. I am close to retiring and have learned how to handle them, but it gets really, really old. Thanks for the humor and the insight.

    • Hi Catherine! Yeah, people like that are incredibly annoying to deal with, but it’s true, it all stems from their pitiful lack of self-esteem. Like you said, normal, emotionally-mature people don’t engage in that type of foolishness on a daily basis. Not that you need me to tell you this, but their behavior toward you says MUCH about more about them than it will ever say about you. I’m glad that this post was able to put a smile on your face, and don’t let their silliness take that smile away from you, ok?

    • I’d love to know how Catherine “handles” her coworkers daily. I am currently in the exact position–exclusion, rumor spreading, weird mind games and all—the only thing that works is ignoring and keeping a flat affect. But I don’t like being at their mercy with decisions that affect me and the young students I work with. If I speak my piece even calmly, I am accused of hurting their feelings and being pushy. Why is it that when victims stand up to a bully, they get accused of bullying? It disturbs me but I see it happen with children too, if the whole situation is not observed.
      I want to love my job again.
      Workplace bullying is definitely a deadly crime.

  9. Workplace bullying is very complex. For one reason is the fact that these are adults. Adults bullies as much or more than kids do, but adults are much more craftier than kids. The tactics are much different. Also, because of usually no resources, but HR, which is usually self regulation of the bullies, it can be very complicated. The bully usually has the attitude of the typical abuser. S/he intimidates the victim with the sense that “no one is going to believe you. Everyone is on my side.” This is unfortunate because many times the bully is totally counterproductive to the interest of the company. These bully are the cause of high turnover rates, stress, and decreased job performance. The good thing is that we are still in the dawn of the information age and anyone can be exposed about anything. I recommend that to anyone who has been bullied by a boss to go to takethisjoborshoveit dotcom. You can find or add your company’s profile page at the click of a button and instantly add your bully boss to the company’s profile page. One the bully boss is added to the company’s profile page, you can click there name and write a review in order to let others know.

  10. I reread this and see how it translates to my own work. Although I’m not bullied anymore, because I stood up and dished out more than they could take, I see the younger ones coming in. What people consider a hardening up process has now turned into bullying, and I protect them as much as I can. I’m just worried that my protectiveness has made me a bully. I don’t attack, but I do take people on when I believe they’re wrong, and my approach has gone from assertive to aggressive. It’s worked, in that no one’s game to take me on, in higher or lower management, but I’m scared I’m becoming one of them. :-(

    • I hear you, Shazz. I’m all for standing up for ourselves, and I’ll never consider that “bullying.” But when the process of defending ourselves ends up changing us into aggressive people, then it may be time to re-evaluate. I used to work in an environment where I felt like I needed to be an ass in order to survive there, and after doing that for a year, I woke up one day and realized that I didn’t like the person I had become, and I ended up quitting 2 months later. You are 100% right, we must always stand up for ourselves, but no job is worth changing who you are as a person.

      • This is kind of what I was wondering about–how hard core do you have to become in order to put a stop to bullying? It changes something inside when you are a sweet person and you have to take up a strong assertive stand just to survive in the workplace. I don’t think I am that old, but really, work used to be fun and the people used to treat one another with kindness. We need to get back to that–thanks for this site, it is so necessary. I thought I was the only one besides someone close to me who died very much in part due to bullies at her job.

  11. I often wonder how these people who are bullies as adults see themselves. Do they even realize how nasty they are? Are they living some kind of alternate reality where hurting people is a good thing? Do they believe they are good people and good bosses? I think they must because I can’t think of any reason why a grown adult should act that way unless they are suffering from delusions about themselves. I don’t know if it’s jealousy, low self esteem or just “misery loves company”, but I feel like there are more adult bullies than kid bullies. I don’t know why I concern myself with why people are the way they are, but it is a good coping mechanism. I don’t get bullied anymore, b/c I simply won’t allow it, but when forced to deal with mean people, I try to keep it in the back of my mind that they clearly have issues. Glad you re-posted this one Shola. The only way bullying will ever stop is if we keep talking about it!! You rock!!

    • I wonder the same thing, Spring! I honestly think that bullies’ brains are wired differently than other people’s brains. I remember reading somewhere that they did a study of known bullies and had them watch videos of people being hurt and crying, and when the researchers watched their brain activity, they showed the response of pleasure that normal people have when they see people laughing and smiling. Sick, isn’t it? Just like you, I’ve run into quite a few adult bullies, but I remind myself that their behavior says much more about them than it does about me. Hurt people, hurt people, right? You are so right–the only way to stop bullying is to keep talking about it, so let’s keep the conversation going!

  12. Thank you so much for posting this. I am doing what I can to spread the word about bullying in the workplace, having been a victim myself.
    Well done.

  13. Omg! You are a genius!

  14. Thanks Shola,reading your stuff made me more stronger to speak up. I myself feeling bullied by boss and she does not like to hear any explanation at all. I will keep a diary from now on. I even plan to plan a medical disability due to stress that my insulin is rising because of stress.

    • Hey Rhenz! Yes, please keep a running journal/diary of the abuse (dates, times, exact wording, etc) because it is very likely that it could come in handy if/when you choose to report your boss to HR. Remember, your health should always be your #1 priority, so don’t let your bully boss mess with that, ok? Good luck!

  15. Hello Shola

    Thank you. reading everything on here,really made my day lol!! im from Scotland, i work in the hotel industry and i too have a bully boss. not only that, but over the past 5 years or so, he has managed to get rid of at least 3/4 of the workforce that was there when he started, and replaced them with friends, family, his wife and people that used to work for him, so, whenever you fall out with him over something, its almost as if you fall out with everyone!! it also been suspected that he and this other girl that used to be a ordinary receptionist were having an affair, while his wife was working night shift, and even some gusts have commented on how close my boss and this other girl seem to be, almost too close to be related!! she has made her way up the ladder and first became a shift supervisor and is now assistant general manager, and she treats other staff just as badly as he does. sometimes its even been suspected that they have been getting it on while at work. well, anyway, just like all the other staff before me that have been forced out of their jobs, i just feel as though im next in line, i never get informed of anything, get excluded from social events, get threatened with my job, get constant emails from him regarding what he see’s as being poor performance. since he has been in charge, i have seen his staff and longer term staff members fighting, my old food and beverage manager told me that one time our boss threatened to beat him up, one of my co workers also went home early one day in tears, after she had an argument with him, and he told her to watch out, because he could do bad things to her and when she went home and told her husband what he said, he nearly ended up driving down to the hotel to beat up my boss, but she told him to leave it alone, because he would then get himself into trouble. iv’e even known my boss, on his days off, to drive to the hotel, and park his car at the front entrance, and just sit there and look in for a couple hours, to keep an eye on staff, and to top it all off, i think my boss has been under paying me over time i worked, but i need to get that checked with my union rep first!! im almost at the point where im going to put in a complaint against him, because the last 5 years of my life have been hell!! i have been trying to look for something new, but as with so many other people, with the economic downturn, the area where i live has become a pretty high unemployment area!! but anyway, i have saved all my emails from him, kept every letter he sent me, and made sure i photocopied everything i could over the past 5 years, so lets hope my company’s HR will do something about him with all the evidence i have against him!! if they dont do anything, then i guess i’ll have to go to my doctor and at least get some time off!! p.s. this is only the short story of it all, if i were to write the whole story, i would be here for a long time indeed, as there is too much to write about in such a short space of time lol!!

    once again, thank you for writing this blog, its always good to know that im not the only one with a bully boss!! lets do everything we can to get rid of bullying in the workplace!!

  16. I’ve just started a job I love and all was going swimmingly for the first three weeks — until the passive-aggressive bully co-worker from hell returned from leave. Apparently she ‘has form’ but is still there as no-one has ever formally complained. And she is permanent — a rare privilege these days, and one I don’t share. I am now feeling totally down and despairing that I will ever be able to just enjoy my work and do my best with this creature undermining me and reporting me for overstepping the line by showing initiative (something as simple as making a call to a colleague has gotten me reported as, apparently, she ‘owns’ that relationship). I just don’t understand how undermining other people could be a fun way to spend your days.

  17. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for this blog entry. It makes perfect sense. I have a co-worker, in my small office environment of all females, one male guy in a different department. Anyhow, she is the ring leader and if you are not in her gossipy “clique” she turns her backstabbing ways on you. She is two faced, being nice to you one second and tearing you down behind your back. I have watched and listened to how she is with the other department in the building. Anyways, my fellow c0-workers, especially one, is just as caddy, going right along with her, laughing along with her negative comments. Anyways, per a Sunday school lesson, I learned how awful gossip is. I used to play along. Anyways, I pulled away from adding fuel to her little fire. What does she do?? Start bullying me! I lost a large amount of weight the past few months. She continues to shove junk food in my face and make fun of me. No compliments, what so ever. None of my co-workers either. She compliments them on stuff all the time. Then, I am going in for major surgery soon. It was discussed in our morning meeting as my manager told us that the day after my surgery is our annual Christmas get together with the other office. The co-worker responds saying that she is going to enjoy the day for me and eat sweets at the mall. Could one be more cruel? Not to mention, it is a tonsillectomy so I will be miserable and unable to eat solid foods for a few weeks. Anyways, that is just a few examples of her nasty ways. Confronting her in this little office would cause more issues, I know. I am thinking of being so nice to her and complimenting her, not expecting anything in return, might do the trick? Obviously she has low self esteem and must need to be hateful at work, to over compensate for a miserable personal life?? Dunno… anyways, I think being nice will get under her skin, a lot! Just seems the type. She is such a pretty lady and has a nice figure so I just don’t get it?? Anyways, thanks so much for the article and tips. Made me laugh and learn a lot! Take care and God Bless!!

    • Good on you for losing the weight! She sounds like a real piece of work. The thing is that your happiness can’t be dependant on her. Look at yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself every day that you’re beautiful, competent, cheerful and clever. That you’re worth more than this insignificant scrap of humanity. I’ve had to go through the whole “hardening process” and have had to become a bit of a hardarse, but I will not permit people to be bullied around me. Be competent and capable. Your work will speak for you. I hope that this helps. If you can, speak out in front of her and tell her that her behaviour is not okay. If you can, treat her professionally. These people aren’t your friends, they’re your work colleagues. They may be acting like children, but that’s a black mark on them, not you. They start getting worse, document everything. Even write it out in front of them and tell them what you’re doing. I honestly feel so bad for all the people here that are experiencing this.

    • You have nothing to feel bad about…good for you for losing the weight…your co-worker must be the sister of mine….impossible to believe that someone can exist like that an no one —-especially the boss will stop it. Take heart…I would rather be counted among the nice people than the bullies…

  18. Oh, by the way… we are social workers… doesn’t that take the cake!!

    • I can do you one better…we are therapists…ot and pt and my boss is right in there with the “bully” actually she has formed a click…from the day I became a permanent part of the so-called team she has tried to make me uncomfortable. Her scope is so narrow and she is so obviously a coward and the sheeple that willingly follow her and cooperate with her are clearly fearful of incurring her wrath. I am not invited to outings or parties and they never tell me anything. The patients have noticed this behavior and I have basically retreated to another area which works out perfectly on the one hand but undermines the heart of what the company wants and ultimately hurts the patients I am assigned to treat which I feel is a sin. I never get help with treatments and our transporter never transports my patients on time or at all with every excuse in the book. Luckily I have been blessed with a nice area to treat in, excellent continuing education $ and a nice amount of self esteem. My boss on the other hand NEVER compliments me…foes out of his way to visibly avoid me when I need his imput then when I alter the schedule so that I am productive b/c of some foolish mistake or similar I am asked “why I did this”…I answer b/c I couldn’t reach him…which is true he claims not to have a cell phone and doesn’t answer emails and has deliberately stopped and changed direction and continued walking even after a patient told him I was calling after him in a serious matter…. And although I am the one that tries to make things nice in the place he never has anything nice to say and the “TEAM’ doesn’t clean anything….but the transporter WILL clean the treatment area and put everything away although I am still treating….. They choose to live and work in a pigsty. In my own area things are immaculate. I can decorate how I want and do as I please with treatments. I find them rude but have managed to circumnavigate the worst of it, I am a social person but associating with them would NOT be my first choice. The problem is that b/c of the way they behave , the patients suffer…their treatments are limited to what I can do alone…my “team” is in their late 20’s and the ringleader is 50…unfreakingbelievable. I know it stresses me out but the facility is beautiful, really close to my house and I am payed just fine plus I get overtime to help cover the bills….all in all I find myself sad b/c work is lonely….and sad that these people can be so narrow….and so mean. I feel the world is a sadder place because of them. I am trying to stay long enough to get more classes under my belt and open a private healing place in my home….I hope to be able to do this …I know this too shall pass. I hope it does before too long ….

  19. I found your website because I am currently in a work situation with a bullying boss but it is very subtle. There is no screaming or yelling, he bullies me by being very difficult when it comes to authorizing me a holiday. It always turns into a battle with him saying that there is too much work (although there are colleagues who can do my work – and of course I do their work when they are on holiday). I found another job where I can start in January but until then I have to sweat it out and boy, does he turn the screws on!!! I wanted to take a longer Christmas holiday to be able to start my new job well rested and also see my dad who had health problems this year but the boss won’t have it, even though the 2nd half of December will be quiet at work. I have tried to reason with him but at a certain point I realized that this is not about the arguments he is giving me but simply about making me bleed. So today I have decided that I have no other choice than to go to my doctor and ask her to put me on sick leave because I am so upset that I am in a total state of anxiety and rage. I want him to leave me alone.

  20. Jayjay2014 says:

    I had the unfortunate experience of confronting my bully in a one on one meeting, only to find out that a couple of weeks later I had lost my job, so be careful and at least let someone know about such a meeting, perhaps HR or a more senior party beforehand, then document what was said.

    I would also advise if you are being bullied, keep a secret high powered recording device on your person AT ALL TIMES. You never know when your bully is going to attack, so you must be prepared. It is not overkill to have this on the entire time at work (hidden somewhere of course). This is gold against those covert bullies who will deny everthing and even try to turn you into the perpetrator. I’ve had this done to me and wish I had invested in such a device, you never know when you might need it. Don’t worry about any legalities, it isn’t designed for a court room, it is for the person one up from your bully who believes the bullies story over your own.

    • Hi Jay do you know of any such devices that can be concealed yet still record clearly?

      • Mikki, I have been unfortunate enough to need to use a recording device recently, so I thought I’d share what I’ve found. I bought a mini digital recorder ($30 or less for basic Sony model, though I would say it’s worth the extra $ for one with a USB connection). It will pick up a conversation when it is in my purse, but it has to be on the table and any movement obscures the voices. For a guy, it would work in a shirt pocket, but would probably be noticeable. In general, even if you are able to have it hidden and close enough (can’t be on your lap or more than a few feet away), it can be very hard to understand the recording.
        I highly recommend getting an app for your phone instead. There are lots of free ones for any device. Most importantly, no one will ever question it sitting on the desk or even if you’re holding it in your hand. If you have a job where that’s not allowed, maybe you could say you’re expecting an important call from your doctor, kids, whatever. The quality is probably better than a recorder anyway, and much more convenient. If you have decent memory, it will record for several hours and if nothing happens just delete it. I push record before I go into the room or if I expect my ‘target’ to be around, turn off the display and try not to show my satisfaction every time she says something incriminating :)
        I will add that I’ve never actually used any of the evidence, and honestly I think it would be really a last resort. Even a sympathetic HR person or boss will probably see it as somewhat malicious, in my opinion. I don’t want to seem like I’m preparing a lawsuit! I think if you’ve tried documenting and you’re still not taken seriously, it is a good option, and in the meantime it helped me feel empowered :)

    • I always take my union delegate in with me, whether I want him to say anything or not. Usually I speak for myself, but I have that witness, just in case. That’s our rule in the Railways. NEVER go in without your Union Delegate. Never.

  21. Hello Shola,
    I read your article, I am currently in supervisor position. I work with 4 other women. 2 of them been there since dirt they act like they own the place one ofthem worth than the other she complains on everyone but second later you see here working beside them and show how to lear the job(train) and I’m sure she complains behind me and saying “hahah she is supervisor? she don’t know nothing” and as soon as she move to her area she complain about the person that she was working with a few second ago she love to control everybody. I cant beleive it how these people are. The buss I’m working with or better to say I’m her assistant she is manipulated by above person get on me over evry singl small thing and yell, loud, scriming on me and saying THIS IS ME I grow up in such family that everyone of them were asking me fo final decision. I don’t like to be loud and if people do that I just get away from them. She cortisis me because of this act and she saying I have to stand up for myself but I’m wondering how she expect me to stand up for myself when I am victim of bully by her and other employee. They way she and others act I feel like they want me to leave my job because this position is not mine because I don’t yell or every 5 minutes don’t get on some employee but this shouldn’t aply on that employee that likes to control eveyone.
    Sometimes I feel so low level of employee and depr.ss and sad, don’t know what to do with these 2 or 3 faces people or employees and buss.
    healthy people don’t act this way to me they are sike need help because I can’t change myself they need to review their mind.
    Now can you help me who kind of buss but is victim of bully by both employee and buss?

  22. I’ve been working at my job for at least 13 years…and I’ve seen alote of thing that go on…but not as much as it has been recently …we hired a young girl she’s 16…and she’s a very good worker….I mean she’s better then most the workers we have there…but I mean she can be slow at times…but who can’t…anyway the other supervisor has a son who works with use he’s 22…and everytime..he works with this girl he’s always making fun of her…and she’s come to me about it…but I don’t know what to do…cause the other supervisor is our boss pet…she does No wrong in the boss eyes…and that goes for her son…I went to the supervisor about it but just stands there and laughs about it all the time…and there’s Nothing I can do about it..cause our boss always believe what they tell her…and if I go to someone higher then my boss… I will loss my job…so there’d pretty much Nothing I can do but to stand there and let this happen cause No one at my job seems to care…what should I do?

    • Document, document, document. Then document some more. Go to HR, or go to a lawyer if you have to. No one should have to put up with this.

  23. Hi Shola

    I want to say a big thank you! I decided to google today “if I’m scared of how someone is going to react is that bullying” and your blog came up first.

    Yes strange that the question I asked is so vague and may not firstly appear as bullying or nothing serious but the universe led me to your explanations. I’m a manager at work and have been having situations with a coworker (or non manager in organisation chart) who seems to be targeting me. It appears she wants to be the head female in the company so is doing everything that she can do to make me appear the problem. She’s the first to bring situations up to the CEO but when he is in the office is sweet as pie to everyone. When he is not there, well different situation. She physically excludes saying hello or goodbye to me, whilst saying good bye by name to other staff in the office (open plan too). Apart from that is always on the attack. She is nice one moment having a chat and then will come up attacking you with legal (company in breach) jargon for not doing something she never asked to be done.

    I started thinking it was my imagination that maybe I’m being over sensitive, but I’m physically and emotionally/mentally stressed on anxiety tablets and walking on egg shells trying to avoid any conversation with her as I do not know how she is going to react. I’m a manager for goodness sake and cant even ask her a professional question without being scared. I’ve brought my side to the CEO, but he seems to dismiss this reaction from her and has actually rewarded her by saying shes just a tough cookie.

    Am I silly for staying???

    • kim martin says:

      There is what I needed to hear. I have the same situation with my coworker and I said I’m too sensitive or it’s my imagination. I’m so glad I found this site. I’ve been dealing with this person for a year and have been around and around it with my supervisor and nothing is changing…I asked the universe for some help and here it is. I just needed to know what was happening.

  24. Hi. I’ve been a victim of workplace bullying for some time now. I’ve been working for my boss for the past 5 years now. She’s always been rude, sarcastic, and confrontational but I always some how dealt with it to just keep going another day. I would just come home and purge by talking it out with my husband which after 5 years of talking about the same issue with no change has put an undue burden on my husband as well. I recently was promoted under a different boss but in the same department. I love my new job, my new boss is great! I thought that would end the bullying from my ex boss, but it only made it worse. She’s even more crazy now that she’s my colleague and no longer my superior. I’ve stood up for myself numerous times and have gone to higher-ups to explain my issue with her. She emails me constantly at work now trying to tell me what is and is not my responsibilities and undermining my work. I keep having to remind myself that I too am worthy of my job. Its gotten so bad that I’ve had to start seeing a counselor weekly and am getting daily migraines and skin irritations from the constant stress. I guess I don’t know what my next steps would be and why is this happening to me? HELP!!

    • This wisdom is well earned. Thank you and keep sharing.
      I am transferring to a new position largely because of lateral bullies at my current position. If you are struggling stay strong and agree with all this assertive communication. Do not let them break you or see you breaking you CAN make it in your career without becoming a bully. Best part my new position is going to be awsone and I never would have been looking for it if this struggle hadn’t come my way.
      Like Joseph in the Old Testament… I can say what you meant for evil God has used for good.
      Have faith

    • Have you gone onto the EEOC website for your state? Physical stress? Mental stress? You may be able to get compensation. Document and make copies of your related medical bills.

    • Get a position description. That outlines what your duties are, and what is expected of you. When she emails you, email the position description back, stating you’re unable to find where it states that in your position description, could she point it out. Then keep the emails. You may need them soon.

  25. Only thing I wish were different about this article was the strong language, so that I could print it and hang it up at my work!! Though the language totally helps emphasize the point so I can’t really knock it either. Thank you for such a great and helpful article.

  26. Wow! I only wish I had seen this a few years ago. I and a few other females in assistant management at a large retail chain in the midwest were bullied by a male store manager for quite a long period of time. I was recently back in the workforce after a divorce and was afraid to lose my job by reporting him. The company had undergone changes and there were new corporate staff that were all male, part of the “boys club” if you will. Now I’m not saying all corporate staff that might happen to be male are that way, I’m just saying in this situation they were. Needless to say, I was bullied for months and then abruptly terminated. I fought to receive unemployment benefits, which I finally received after 2 weeks and more phone calls and meetings than I can remember. Then the company decided they wanted to fight the benefits I finally received ( in our state they had 30 days to dispute it and they waited til day 28 I believe) and being the big corporation they are, they won. I didn’t have the money to go to court to fight it and now they expect me to pay back what I received. A few years ago karma stuck the company back and some of the women filed a lawsuit which they won. While it didn’t really benefit me and I still have to pay back to the state, I am glad those women banded together against the bullies and made an example of them. I hope the bullies have learned that their behavior is unacceptable. Hindsight for me, I wish I had stuck up for my self and had someone in my corner. Thanks Shola, for getting this message out there and letting people know that they are not alone in this.

  27. Portuguese unhappy says:

    Bully bosses is what there is more in Portugal. There is one boss or another for whom it is worth working. The rest… 95% of portuguese bosses are bully. Portugal has become a paradise for those bastards. And even in the State there are bully chiefs. And it seems that I’m being one of the victims of bully. I was in a workplace that I liked and I was changed to another workplace that I don’t like and I would be fired if I refused to leave that workplace whose I liked and which was closed/automated for I can’t go back there. And if my maximum chief bumps that I’m unhappy, he will offer me the exit door or fire me.

  28. Hey I had issues with bullying at my job as a medical assistant I was on my probation period and up to week 5 I was getting great reviews from my supervisors and boss. One of my Co workers ask if I was gay and I said yes after that I got treated different I was being criticized every day told I wasn’t doing my job right when I know I was then my boss joined the crew as well so I decided to go to hr and explained everything the very next day I got fired. So I called hr and she basically brushed me off saying there’s nothing she can do. I feel robbed and humiliated I don’t feel I was given equal opportunity now I don’t know what to do next I’m thinking of the better business bearu. Is there something you think I can do about this?

  29. Sr Level Victim says:

    Glad I found this post! As a Sr Level Executive, I am supposed to keep my mouth closed and not participate in the office rumors. Yet I feel people come to me because they can’t work with their bully-boss. So when I stand up for them or defend myself in meetings where I am his target, the BOSS tells me I am making it personal and he “won’t tolerate his management not getting along”???? I can’t koom-by-yah with someone no one wants to work with…. updating my resume tonight. Thanks for being so direct!

  30. Thank you providing a very important message. Bullies, at their core, are weak & frightened people who want to feel ‘stronger’ by demeaning & controlling ‘subordinates’; or…..they are ‘closet’ sociopaths. Thank you for addressing a very real problem, that can gravely harm an employee’s health and livelihood.

  31. I’m sitting here in bed having read this wishing that you ran the building I work in. I’m a director of nursing and have only been a nurse for 6 years and am ready to walk away from nursing because of the bullying. My former boss bullied me so badly that I was near suicidal by the time my boss finally stepped in to remove her, and It wasn’t because of the severe bullying that she directed at me – inclusive of telling the boss with me present that she was intentionally setting me up to be fired because she hated me, as well as many of our staff; all of whom finally threatened to quit if it didn’t stop. I now have the job and my predecessor might even be worse than my old boss. I found a job that paid significantly less than what I make now, put in my notice and I was begged to stay. Once I agreed my assistant got even worse than she was after I was promoted. I have zero authority or voice in my dept. And even though I’m not passive by any means, directors of nursing are so notoriously tyrannical that I’m viewed as a push over because I’m not nasty and over bearing. I’m desperately looking for something else but I’ve begun to get so physically ill that I wish to god I never would’ve done this for a living. My husband is demanding that I stay for the money and I’m actually ready to leave him AND my job because I’d rather die alone than be forced to work another day this way. It means alot that someone understands. Thank you.

    • Oh no. I’m so sorry to hear this. Well I do understand the loneliness and isolation you feel when bullied at work. I’m like you in I am not a passive person at all. But OTJ bullying is not like you have to be passive. The bullies usually have a gang that all turn against you. Then, you feel powerless. But you do have power. Call in the EEOC. But this can be tricky. Make sure you have documentation with names, dates and times, and EXACTLY what happened. And there is a specific time frame of reporting for it to be effective.

    • Unfortunately, the nursing profession is notorious for this. All I can say is keep being calm, competent and professional. I’ve found St Johns Wort helped immensely. (Don’t take it with anti anxiety drugs.) It let me deal calmly with stresses of the job and helped me keep calm when stress puppies tried to make my problems their problems. People expect you to run around and panic, but you already know that the person who quickly evaluates the situation then works to fix it is infinitely better to work with. I’m so sorry that this happened in such a worthy position. The patients are bad enough!

  32. I have been reading all your comments in the search for comfort from my situation. I hadn’t considered my situation as bullying until someone pointed it out to me, but certainly it had started to affect my health and my life as it was insidious. I work in a team of 3…you know what they say, 2 is company and 3 is a crowd. My workload has just got more and more unmanageable, and being at the bottom of the food chain I also feel like the scapegoat. Anyway, it is in the throes of being resolved but I am so scared of the consequences that I am starting to blame myself for their downfall. Can anyone help with these feelings? I am so confused…

    • Hi Ella

      I feel a lot like you- in a small company being bullied by a very passive aggressive lawyer. I am bottom of food chain there so she takes all her stress out on me. It is very upsetting because she is incredibly fake- she is so charming to me in front of the partners. but as soon as their back is turned, she comes out with subtle yet cutting jibes about my work, putting me down in a very insidious way, asking the partners about work I have found tricky, just to to find out whether I failed. I can’t do anything because I’m a trainee there- and so my qualification depends on the partners signing off my training contract. I don’t know what to do- I cannot leave, and unfortunately, the partners love her. She is such a saint to me when they’re around, they would never believe me anyway. I dread work every day because of her.

      You mentioned that your issue had largely been resolved. How did you go about this?

      Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

  33. I had a bully boss at the company I am at currently. What really turned the tables was when she decided to have me fired because I was “never going to improve,” (even though they wouldn’t train and forbade me to ask questions others asked daily). When I was called up to HR and told I wasn’t making the cut, I pulled out my daily journal. I had documentation from the day I was hired. I had noted many unanswered emails, nasty comments, unreasonable requests, instances of exclusion and being singled out. There, HR was dumbfounded, completely caught off guard. I challenged the comments about my alleged poor performance with hard facts. I in turn was floored when they backed off, rescinded the termination, and moved me to a less hostile department.

  34. Bullying and intimidation is not always verbal. Sometimes it is written, in articles, remarks, comments, and even in contracts and terms and conditions of contracts (verbal substitutes, the earmarks of unconscionable contracts by law).

    Deciding to do civilized society by actors or leaders is a choice to uphold civilized principles or undermine them. The choice is personal because humans are the only ones who speak, or are spoken to, and what is said is a conscious choice of how and what to use words for.

  35. Robert Gonzalez says:

    I’m dealing with a bully at work, doesn’t work as a direct coworker but he shares the office/break room/locker room with me and my coworkers. To top it off he is the head of security at our location. Everyday I go into work is the most terrible day every single day it gets so bad some days that I just don’t feel like its even worth being on this planet. Some days are okay like not super okay but ok enough that I can bare with the stupid idiotic remarks about my weight and appearance. I do recognize myself as a homosexual and he ridicules me for it, I feel like eventually it will blow over, but it’s been 6 months and it seems to only have gotten worse. I try making my stand and it seems to hit home for a bit. But then the next day comes abd it’s right back to the same b.s.. I blow up, get heated and he just laughs in my face and calls me more derogatory names. He’s pulled support from the other coworkers and when I tried blowing the whistle before they rallied to support him. I’m really looking for a new location an new job. But in the mean time I’m stuck with the same b.s., but i’ll try another tactic oh talking to him in a calm manner, have not tried that. My two cents.

  36. My job is killing me :(

  37. shiva007 says:

    I am dealing with a cover/passive aggressive bully. Thisvis my first job in my field after graduating with my bachelors degree my bully is the two headed snake; nice in my face while behind my back she looks for ways to sabotage my work, undermine my work amd spread rumors. She is the ring leader over the other 2 girls. they exclude and single me out. the 2 girls are normal towards me when the bully is absent. In my advantage i was bullies from age 5-17 by a female cousin. So i do know some strategies for protecting myself. my bully is obviously insecure and she see’s me as a threat. im good person, i smile and im passionate about my career. i know in my heart that i will defeat this beast because as big as this beast is god is bigger. No one has mentioned the power in our “higher power” and thats fine, we all have different approaches. the universe, god, buddha whatever we each call it will deliver us.Its tough feeling powerless, cornered and depressed. we have to stand up for ourselves as advised in thos amazing blog. whenever i feel the bully’s negative energy I silently chant “No weapon formed against me shall prosper” I worked hard to get where I am, VERY HARD and I wont allow this to happen. Ill be sending out prayers and positive thoughts to us all and even forbthe bullies especiall since in reality they suffer as well with internal torment. I will certainly refer to this article and all of the helpful and inspiring information. Be blessed!

  38. Hi, my case is a little different… I’m a boss who is being bullied! I work in a Government organisation with very strict rules and code of conduct. I have two staff members who have joined forces against myself and the rest of the team because I did not give one of their family member a job. Most of the bullying that happens is passive aggressive and has created a toxic workplace. It all started after I returned form relieving in another department and immediately received a chilly welcome back. One of my employees had her sister filling in and she had to finish up once I returned. I left a happy productive team and returned to a team that had been fighting, arguing and bullying each other while I was away! I talked to all staff involved and they refused to sit down and talk it out! Since then I become a target… There is constant bullying in a passive aggressive way. Things like not attending meetings, refusing to except change and consultation, not calling sick until hours after a shift starts, repeating things I have said in a negative way, exclusion from problems and solution’s, exclusion from social events, nasty comments to co workers etc, etc, etc. I been supervising staff for a long time and I have never come across anything like this! I can pin point it down to one person who has influenced her co-worker but because it is all passive stuff it is very difficult to pull them up on it. Other staff members are also being picked on and excluded and I’m not too sure how to handle this? I’ve brought it to upper managements attention but I have received a lot of support on how to deal with the problem. My job has gone from one I love to one I hate in a matter of months.. People are nice to your face and say horrible things behind your back! the atmosphere is awful and staff are often in tears and feeling picked on! I intervene whenever I see it happening but so much of the bullying is subtle little things pretending to be your friend just to get information and then using that information to turn others against you…. it is a really horrible situation and many staff members are considering leaving! More advice on bullying up would be great too as there is very little information on the net about it. I like the website though it has given me some insight.

    • We have to call in sick a minimum of 2 hours before a shift, or we don’t get paid for the shift, and get hauled up for a welfare check. If we do it too often, we get dragged up for an interview, and asked to reconsider our job prospects. After that, it’s the door. Perhaps you could institute something similar? Again, read your position description and see what you’re entitled to. Read theirs and see what they’re entitled to as well. Don’t know if this helps?

  39. I love this page, it is exactly what I’m dealing with at work now and have dealt with since a child. I will read this over and over again for inspiration! I just hope I can turn into that strong person, because right now I’m looking at Quitting and putting my family in financial jeopardy to save my health and sanity. Thank you so much!

  40. It was wonderful to read your information on bullies. Strange how people feel a need to degrade another person. You are oh so right about being bullied stays with you for life, yes it does. As a child I was bullied by a boy in my class who moved to our school when I was ten. He was adopted by a wealthy family and it was a small town. I tried to be kind to him but all he did was make my life a living hell for four years. I finally went and lived with my Grandmother, where I found happiness. None of the Teachers are Administration would do anything about his actions, because of his wealth the other kids just allowed it to happen. I can not tell you the anger I feel for this town and disappointment toward my schoolmates. I have moved on with my life and life has been good to me, but it is because I escaped, not everyone can do this. I have three sons and I have taught them to be kind and stand up for others, all are good men and have done just that. The bully from what I understand married once (well) which lasted a year, then married again. His life has not been a good one. He has not been able to keep a job and never found happiness. It took me many years a great husband and time to put it to rest, but at times it still comes back. When I see someone being bullied I stand up for them without fear. They say everyone has been bullied and I disagree, it so there is no reason. Life is too short to be unhappy and parents should stand up for their children and not allow this to happen. Income should not have special allowances for their behavior or position in the community. I find it strange that people find others that are kind and gentle as weak, when it comes to my family don’t mess with MOMMA BEAR she will eat you alive and without a second thought. One problem that I have seen from my childhood is that it has affected me on making friends and this has been passed on to my sons .One has many friends the others are quiet and gently with hidden anger,they are like me don’t mess with their families.! So please stand up for your children it does have a lasting effect.

  41. Shola,

    I cannot thank you enough.

    Your words have reinforced that every decision I’m making in my own situation is the right one.

    It took only THREE weeks of being bullied by a new boss for me to stand my ground and manage the situation. And while I walk forward scared of the repercussions from the actions I’m taking, I also feel confident in knowing that I control how I am treated. And it is NOT okay for people to treat others in this manner. It is NOT okay to make people feel devalued, insulted, scared, or intimidated.

    My union representative told me he had never met someone who had so quickly wanted to resolve this situation. That most people wait months and years and someone don’t address it at all. And in those instances, it’s just too late.

    It is so important for people to say “STOP. How you’re treating me is not okay!”

    Everyone deserves respect, appreciation, and to be valued.

    I’d like to think that once I get through this I can act as an advocate for change and support to those who need it.

    Your words were very inspiring. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  42. Great article! We have a new regional manager that fits the profile to a T! Fortunately, a much higher power in the company says the issue will be dealt with tomorrow when he is back from vacation. I worked with another bully boss a few years back and decided then I would never tolerate that again. It’s strange to me how these bullies fit the pathology of Narcississtic Personality Disorder. My former bully boss would come in late 3 or more times a week, I was late one time in a year and he had a fit to which I reminded him he is late 70% of every week. He said, “Well, what’s good enough for me may not be good enough for you” followed by the horse laugh they often use to belittle your observation. I hope the issue is resolved at this job as it provides the best insurance I have seen in a very long time. Truly, that’s the only reason I am staying now. Thanks again for the article. I was printed out for my GM.

  43. Jessica Dorado says:

    My professor tells me that the hospitality industry is a magnet for crazy people. I’ve got 4 bullies for coworkers, two girls and two guys. I’ve been having trouble dealing with them up ’til now, but I’ve decided to learn to stand up for myself. I get the feeling these won’t be the last bullies I deal with. I don’t want to leave my job and I shouldn’t have to. Lastly, it’s just the right thing to do, for me and for the rest of the people who will ever have to deal with these people.

    This article helped me a lot:

    http://www.oprah.com/spirit/How-to-Stand-Up-for-Yourself-Martha-Becks-Advice

  44. I think my manager is bullying me. The reason why I say I think is because I’ve never been bullied, not even in my high school days. I called off once in my 3 months of working there and I got written up for not calling off properly. Then she cuts my hours down from 25 to 13. Meanwhile, every part time worker has 25 and let me just say that my availability is open and others aren’t. Then I tried to help cover a shift but they told me not to go in unless I want to trade my 8 hr shift from my total of 13 hrs for the 5.5 hr shift that needed to be covered, so I would only be working 10-11 hrs for that week. She doesn’t even speak to me and she’s telling everyone that I dont do my job and that I’m a bad worker and it brings me down and I just stress myself out and when I get home I just cry…

    • Squeakyclean says:

      You don’t do your job she says??? The fact you are even employed proves that you are doing something right. The longer you are in the job also proves that yet again you cant be as bad as she is making you out to be. If you are not doing your job satisfactorily what has been done to support you? Your manager has FAILED you by only criticising and not forming a plan of action in order to help you out. Oh and by the way I’ve been in a similar position before about 2 1/2 years ago.

  45. Brilliant article. Bullying at work is hard to deal with because we are ADULTS! This isn’t meant to happen so we normalise it and hope it will go away. We think we are exaggerating or being too sensitive when we go over and over situations from our working day.
    In the end I left. I worked for a government institutions – I was a lecturer at an art college. The worst thing I did was go to HR. At the end of the day, they work for the institution. Speaking up sealed my fate. All doors closed to me, the bullying was now unofficially sanctioned because HR and management did nothing and for my own mental health, I quit. I was an award winning lecturer, with brilliant KPI, excellent feedback from students and worked very hard at a job I relished. Being too good led to my downfall. Be mediocre, be invisible, don’t stand out and don’t disagree – at your peril.
    Your article made me feel better about quitting. As Dr Phil says (yes – we get him in Australia!) did I want to be right or happy.

  46. Squeakyclean says:

    Hi, I just wanted to share my experience of workplace bullying and how I handled it. I work in a hospital as a nurse and found that the people that I trusted being my managers were the source of my bullying. All was well with me and my seniors until one day I spoke to one of them and well feeling that I a reasonably good relationship with them I spoke to one with regards to some meds I was on. I suppose I was expecting for just some support but no I didn’t that was the start of my problems. I had a meeting with two of them and after a talk I was pressurised into going home and taking some annual leave. I came back to work nothing was said then I had another meeting about a month or so later. This meeting was totally unexpected, totally unprofessional and all can say was a pure example of bullying behind closed doors. I came into work started my shift already and not too long into my shift I had a phone call to say if I could come to the office. I did so and came to the office, the door was closed and I was in the corner of the office like a scared little rat. I was outnumbered 3 to one then one of my seniors left before the meeting finished and there was two. I was accused for something they had no evidence for.
    A day or two later I after much thought I contacted my union who are unison I explained what happened in detail and the rep was absolutely fantastic. I was advised to not go to any more meetings on my own and that I can exercise my right to have someone with me either a colleague or a union rep. I was also advised to do my own occupational health referral which I did since I was well aware that my manager had not done so even though she raised concerns about me in this meeting. Also to find out if these meeting were formal or informal and if they were formal what policies and procedures they were following, my union rep said they can approach on my behalf but it would probably be best to come from me. I in the end did not approach any of my managers as I did not feel confident to do so. I ended up going to occupational health as I had been signed for two weeks by my GP and because when asked by manager what kind of stress I was signed off with I said it was work related she ended up doing a occy health referral and in one line mentioned that she had met with me before and said that I was emotional. I went to occy health as I had an appt with one of nurses. I told her everything that had happened that of course I was upset at that meeting I actually felt bullied (we didn’t use the word bullied but the words intimidated and overwhelmed were freely used). She said that on the feedback that she was going to request that my manager clarify if the meetings were informal or formal and what policies and procedures she had been following, exactly what my union rep had said but I had not had the confidence to do. The feedback also included that there was no reason why I could not provide an effective service so long as the issues with management were resolved. Now Human Resources also get a copy of this so now they have a record of what has been going on. Of course I don’t believe that my manager was that happy about this at all but hey I have been bullied before I learnt that you either tolerate it, run away from it or face up to it. I had just come from a job where I tolerated 2 years worth of bullying and now I could not just leave this alone. My manager approached me after 4 weeks of being back to work to a return to work which really made it formality now and she tried to do it with another member of staff, I declined stating what my rep had told me so it became one to one but my return wasn’t done. My manager sat with me and started to go on by my occy health feedback and gave me the option to have her manager do my return to work interview which I accepted. My manager still tried to justify why there were so many people in the meeting and that junior member of staff may be present as they maybe shadowing. This was a load of rubbish as I went back to my rep again and told me that my consent was still needed and “return to work” interviews are confidential. My managers, manager who is absolutely lovely one day asked to speak to me to ask me about permission to my return to work. She gathered that I wasn’t happy and she said go on tell me all about it so I did. She told me that my manager had gone to occy health to apparently verify something from my feedback. I don’t know what was said but I was told the occy health nurse was on my side and verbalised that the meetings were highly inappropriate, not the actions of an innocent person from my point of view. She was also surprised that my manager still deemed it ok to carry out a meeting with more than one senior person and said that she had to speak to my manager. After that day none of my managers ever said anything to me and I was left alone. I found out from other colleagues that I was not alone but they were not willingly to say anything and just wanted to get on by. I had been told not to do anything about what happened just let it go – I couldn’t as I knew that it would persist. I was told that it happens everywhere – um this is me and this my workplace I have the right to come into work free from intimidation so yes it happens everywhere but what is important is that this was happening to me and I didn’t find it at all acceptable. I was alone with regards to me standing up for myself, other than my union to support me. No one else wanted to be involved. My managers, manager I have no problem with and she always she has never heard anything bad about me.

    When I talk about manager/managers there quite a few where I work so some my experience has been one of them or two of them and three at different times

    What I learnt from this experience:

    Document, document and document with as much detail as possible, dates, times, location, what happened and esp how it made you feel.

    Get to know any policies and procedures of the work place.

    Ensure you are part of a union and seek advise as soon as you can but don’t let the bully know. Knowledge is power definitely.

    Beware of entering any meetings alone with more than one member of management take a colleague or a rep with you if need be. Don’t actually refuse just that you need time organise someone to be with you.

    In my situation I got occy health involved before my manager did anything about it. The fact she did not bother doing one for me when she first had concerns showed really no one actually cared anyway. Just being one step of the bully it is really helpful.

  47. Cowpatty says:

    Does the company I work for have an obligation to protect me from a new employee whom I’m scared of.

  48. Tony Ball says:

    Im a lawyer and was forced out of a job due to bullying!

    I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression due to the large amounts of work put upon me whilst trying to do duel roles because of the company’s financial position following the financial crisis.

    My doctor recommended that whilst on the meds in the first part of the day my duties be limited.

    My employer agreed on paper but then set out to pile on pressure through doing exactly the opposite.

    I was informed of client meetings which I had no knowledge of 10 mins before they were about to start and to review complex corporate transactional documents without the chance of any preparation.

    The boss also made sure that his lieutenant, my line manager, heaped on the pressure by piling his work also on to me, especially early mornings. When I received an email from him that I either attended his meeting on his behalf I protested that I was medication and that the management were aware I received the reply: ‘you either do this or there will be consequences’! This was forwarded to HR who then called the said person into a meeting and then later walked back onto the floor, laughing and joking, and later promoted him.

    I suppose my point is this -don’t waste your life in an organisation that tolerates this. If you see huge staff turnover it’s for a reason and that bully will look for its next target to deflect from themselves (and it could be you)…

  49. Hi Shola

    I wanted to say thank you for your blog. It is amazing how your words speak to me. You truly have a gift.

    How would you feel about me writing a guest blog post on workplace bullying? It happened to me too and I really wanted to share my story, anonymously. I thought perhaps if you are interested, I could send it to you and you can read it and see if you want it on your site. If not, no worries. It’s too long for the comments section and all of it needs to be said.

    Take care and keep doing what you are doing. Thank you.

    Best wishes
    Amanda

  50. Shalom Mbendana says:

    Hey thank you so much for your article, workplace bullying has been happening to me at my job and never realised I was being bullied. I cry a lot, stopped eating and I’m so restless but tired because of my job. My boss is hell on earth in my life. I stood strong thanx to God 2 who constantly helped me on my lunch times when I went to the toilet and cried out. I was on my annual leave and was hoping I would find another job and not go back but it didn’t happen that way. Tomorrow I would be going back. I stumbled over this page when I was looking for ideas how to make it work. Thank God I found your article, I admit I was one of those suicidal thoughts over this, knowing that I’m not alone and there is a way around this has given me hope and strength to go back tomorrow. Thank you and God bless you!

  51. I have a question.. What if your bully-boss is the daughter of the owner and it’s a family business? (There is no HR.) I currently work for a large family-run daycare and preschool. When I first started there, both my boss and the owner were singing my praises. Now that they’ve hired my boss’s husband’s cousin to be my co-teacher in the toddler room, they seem to be pushing me out! I’m actually in therapy because of this.. I sense they are gossiping about me.. She makes remarks of all my short comings.. Yet im doing and acting the same as when i was hired! And the kids and parents love me, they have no idea this is going on, but it’s unbearable just waking up to go to work. It all sort of bubbled out one stressful Monday and I made a sarcastic remark. I was told I had an “attitude issue” and was being hostile. I have never had an “attitude” with anyone ever before at work. I directly appologized to her after my remark, told her that it was stress related and that it was an off day for me. So.. The next day, both of my kiddos were actually sick and I had to take them to the doctors due to ear infections & fever. I thought, oh no! She’s gonna think I’m a coward or something.. But I had to do what I needed to do for my kids, so I called in & got someone to cover my shift. She texts me that night and says, ever so passively aggressively, and I quote: “Sorry the kids are sick. We errored on the side of caution and covered your shift for the rest of this week. Take care. No need to come in.” I texted back saying I’d be available if needed and that, if not, I’d see her on Monday. She didn’t text back. I’m thinking next week will be my last. I would really tell them how I felt if it weren’t for my daughter being a student in the preschool there. Me being fired might hinder her from going to her preschool graduation ceremony coming up this June! :( Its a sad situation to be in. :(

  52. Jayjay2014 says:

    I worked as a secretary for a Senior Manager many years ago. He was one of the worst bullies I’ve worked for and soon after he started, he fired several long time managers simply for having an opinion during a meeting. He was horrible to women and had about 6 wives previously. A few months later, he fired me for some ridiculous trivial reason after much abuse. I watched with dismay as he climbed the corporate ladder and was quickly made CEO. I really thought that there is no karma and it was disheartening to see such an AH have success he did not deserve.

    A year went by and reports started appearing in the paper about some fraudulent dealing going on. It got worse and worse and finally the shareholders started screaming. Eventually, there was a hostile takeover and the CEO was the first head on the chopping block. He was fired in the most humiliating way possible, publicly, in the news for all his past victims to see!! I can only imagine the number of people (myself included) enjoying the spectacle. So don’t ever think that your tyrant can go on forever avoiding their karma, they eventually become a victim of their own behavior. They can sometimes get away with it for years, but like any other criminal, they get complacent and then boom, karma smacks them harder than they ever imagined possible.

  53. THAAAANK YOOOU!!!!:):)I am self empolyed,working with a BULLY who has ignored me for MONTHS and get this…I HAVE NOOOO IDEA WHY????The other day it was 101 degrees and SOMEONE turned the Air off?As it began to get hot, I started to ask “Did anyone turn the Air off?”.My coworkers replied a kind “NO” UNTIL I reached “THE BULLY”..who responed with a YELL…”WHY YOU ASK ME”(can she speak ENGLISH?)and continued to tell me “NOT to EVER speak to her?”WTH???In front of the staff & clients?My blood began to boil as I remebered she has ignored me for FIVE MONTHS,I have not cared until now!She was quite pleased when I SNAPPED!I told my boss,the bully interupted,saying “I LOST IT WITH HER?”I sat there,my head spinning,wondering what just happened?My boss told me…GET THIS….SHE IS AFRAID OF HER ,but would talk to her???OOOOHKAY???I realized I was going to have to deal with her myself!I found this and cannot thank you for the suport:)The next day (WITH HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE WHICH I DO NOT HAVE) I went in and looked her STRAIGHT in the eye(with no one around of course:) and told her quietly “I had had it with her BULSHIT,so had everyone else and she needed to STOP it NOW”…she had F###ED with the wrong B###CH!.She ignored me told me never to speak to her again???SHE NEVER BROKE A SWEAT???Over the next TWO days I could think of nothing else!I came into work, my head high,(sacared to death of her??) looked her straight in the eye,(FOR TWO DAYS IM EXASUSTED HOW CAN ANYONE KEEP THIS UP???)every time I was alone with her I asked “ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE IT,you are so pathetic?”(with no one around of course:) She continued to IGNORE ME???(She has ignored me for FIVE MONTHS????)Broken english (I now know this is her weakness….YEEES:)She cant rat me out if she cant speak english:):) she said “WHY YOU ASK ME?”I told her (alone:) “LEAVE YOUR PERSONAL SHIT AT HOME”.Yesterday I said (IN FRONT OF A COWORKER””Hello wow you are busy today?”She ignored me AGAIN,and I said to my boss (IN FRONT OF HER)”Do you want to know why she doesnt speak to me?”I HAVE NO IDEA???????BINGO!!!Caught in her own trap!!SWEAT!This sounds so STUPID but she is a sociopath to all of us!!!I said goodbye to her as I normaaly do(xpecting SILENCE) with her saying NOTHING TO ME (but saying goodbye to everyone else)SHE SAID HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND????WT???I BROKE HER!!!NOW Do I keep this up?I am sooooo not enjoying this,but NEVER,EVER,want to go through this again with her???I need DAMAGE CONTROL; advice!!!!
    Thank you for any advice:)

  54. Katherine says:

    This is a school. We teach our children not to bully but I’ve never worked for a place where bullying is accepted.
    Sharon has done similar things with me all year. She has gotten me in the middle of trouble all year. She has set my schedule but we are supposed to do what the office tells us. So, a lot of times, there is miscommunication. And then rumors fly and the teachers get mad at us. I should have stuck to my personal belief, you go to the person, but when you do that at this school you get slammed and slammed hard.
    Here is the story from beginning to end.
    I was told I would be doing the field trip for 4th grade. THAT is all I knew. I didn’t know when they were leaving, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I didn’t even know really what it was supposed to be doing (remember, I don’t get pink notes). So Wednesday, I went to the auditorium where I knew the 4th grade would be. Mrs. Leopard said, “I don’t need you right now, I need you …” and she turned to Mena and asked what time they were leaving. She then said to me “I don’t need you until 9:15. Meet me at the middle school doors.” About 9ish, Laurie overhead paged that the buses were ready and 2nd through 6th grade were to be out to the buses. So I headed out there. I asked Jesse if he knew what buses 4th grade was on. He said “I don’t think they are out here yet.” I asked if he knew what bus they would be on, he said no. I saw Annisa and got on her bus and we were talking when Sharon came out and said “Mrs. Leopard’s been looking for you,” I know she said something else but I can’t remember. So I said “I’m where she told me to be, by the middle school doors.” She had stomped off the bus and was walking to Mrs. Leopard’s class. So I am thinking why would Mrs. Leopard send her looking for me when Mrs. Leopard told me where to be – THIS should have been my first clue. I thought Mrs. Leopard was mad at me so I followed to get the kids. Sharon was already in the room and I told Mrs. Leopard that I was where she told me to be, at the middle school doors. She said, “Yes, at 9:15, Don’t be so mad.” I said I wasn’t mad, I just wanted her to know I really was where I was supposed to be. Someone and I really don’t remember who, made the statement that there had been an overhead page.
    My gut all day kept telling me something wasn’t right. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had been manipulated by Sharon – and the more I thought about it, the more I realized this had been happening ALL YEAR. All night, I started putting the pieces of this crappy year together. Mrs. Leopard knew NOTHING about sending Sharon to go look for me. So, I apologized to Mrs. Leopard and she said, We don’t get the announcements overhead. I told her it had nothing to do with that, that she had been put in the middle of something and I was apologizing for my behavior. She
    thanked me. Then I went to you. After your office, Mrs. Fisk was in the hall and I asked if she had a moment. I told her I learned something yesterday and I think that’s been part of the problem. If I had done something or said something to offend you would you have come to me. She said of course. I said, I feel there is a lot of negativity between us and I would like it if we could start over. She smiled and said she would like that. We shook hands and “introduced” ourselves. I FELT GOOD for the first time in a long time.
    I had been told last week was our last time with Headsprouts, but in reality, it hasn’t been and I’ve tried to keep up by asking Mrs. Lewis if we had headsprouts. I learned we had Headsprouts so I went down there – relieved and feeling pretty positive. Sharon asked where I was and I said I am sorry, I was in Charlie’s office. She asked if he knew there was still headsprouts. I said, I didn’t know but that I really had needed to talk to him. I didn’t say why. She said “We’ll see about that…” She literally stomped off. I have no idea what happened but she was rude, abrupt and almost violent with me when she came back.
    My dad had requested that I go to the middle school computer lab, that he was there. I was helping out Mrs. Skersick so she could take care of a student thing. After, I walked over to the lab. My dad told me Sharon had come to him and said I was telling other people that she (did something but I can’t remember now, I’m sorry). Sharon came in and my dad told her … I asked her to come so we can discuss this. I started telling what happened and Sharon went off. She said she never told me Mrs. Leopard had been looking for me. She said let’s go to Charlie’s office, let’s get Mrs. Leopard there. . I said Annisa had been there, she said let’s get Annisa there too. She told me (in front of my dad) that she had been with my dad all morning (nothing was said) She called me a liar and said she was sick of my lying, that I had been lying all year. She was walking away and I asked her “You never got me off the bus?” And she said no, I never did.
    So, let’s look at this. People lie. But they don’t lie when it’s something that is so easily checked in to. I mean, I have so many people that played roles in this scenario. It doesn’t make sense for someone to blatantly lie on something that is that easily checked. I couldn’t wrap my head around this. I started thinking I had lost my mind. I really truly thought I was going crazy because no one, and I mean no one unashamedly lies like that. Not even crazy people. She sounded so convincing.
    My dad looked at me and I told him I was frightened. He told me to go back. I went to the office and tried talking to Charlie. You asked me why I was in the auditorium. I tried to tell it was because he told me to go on the field trip. I became even more confused and wanted to continue but I was told he was upset because I was always in the middle of things and he was tired of people complaining. Mrs. Leopard was called but the entire story had not been communicated and so he asked her what she had told Sharon. SHE DIDN”T TELL SHARON ANYTHING. I was then told to do my schedule, don’t be a minute late. I said we were no longer in Headsprouts. He changed my schedule — AGAIN. This incident has nothing to do with me not being where I was supposed to be. Once again, I don’t think anyone has the entire story just bits and pieces of what Sharon wants people to know and she is absolutely positive she can get away with this – because she has all year. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have lied, and especially lied my dad. She manipulated this entire course of events – she’s manipulated the entire year. I left, I went outside, but by then I was crying. After my recess duty, I found Annisa and I asked her Annisa, did Sharon come get me on the bus. When Annisa said yes, I broke down. I don’t mean crying. I was sobbing, I was shaking, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk. I was so relieved that I wasn’t crazy. Charlie came up and I told him I was going home and I wouldn’t be back on Friday.
    Annisa tried to tell him I was on the bus and that she had been doing similar things to her all year – she was waved off.
    I am tired of being in the office for things I don’t understand. I don’t think like people like Sharon, I don’t purposefully get people in trouble, I definitely wasn’t talking about her, I don’t understand people like her and I have never had to work with someone that sets out, every day to bully someone and verbally, mentally and emotionally abuse another coworker. It feels as if I am always in trouble and Sharon has been at the bottom of it each time. I cannot continue to defend myself for things that she starts. She isn’t going to stop and I’m wore out from her. And one of these times, it isn’t going to be something I can have verified, it will be a she said/he said situation. I almost feel as if my license is in jeopardy.

  55. What if you document everything and then your boss denies it all?

  56. Marilyn says:

    Hi Shola;
    I was very inspired by your post, and I’m glad to know that I’m not alone.
    I was recently terminated from my [JOB] of 41 months.
    It all started over me goin’ over my boss’s head because the lazy bastard wouldn’t do what was needed for his staff. And almost immediately the intimidations & retaliations began. It got sooo bad that I had to be hospitalized for [STRESS]!!! So I kept a journal about how things were for me on daily basis in that environment. I also recorded my boss statin’ to another member of staff that he was tryin’ to get me [FIRED]!!! (I know that you’re not supposed to record someone w/out their permission), but the way this asshole spoke to me (Like I was some [WHORE] that he just met that was tryin’ to steal his money & his dope) I felt compelled to.
    I have “FAMILY HISTROY” of Breast Cancer and it returned around the time of my birthday. So when I informed my boss about it the day after I was admitted. This “Moron” deleted my texted message (’cause that’s the way he prefers to communicate w/his staff). Then told another member of staff & his superiors that he didn’t receive anything/message from me in his phone. Well I documented that in my journal as well plus I still have the texted message in my phone. My co-worker had informed me about what the boss had done by( texted message) on the day of my release from the hospital. I was so stressed-out that I’d returned to work against my doctors orders to rest for two weeks after [CHEMO]. I know my former co-worker won’t speak up on my behalf for fear of losing his [JOB]. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to give the “VP” a copy of my journal & my documents until I was terminated.
    Will this affect my claim for unemployment benefits, or should I be consulting w/an attorney now?!
    My name is Marilyn, but I prefer to be called [KNUCLES].

  57. Thanks for the article! Bullying anywhere is clearly the worst of worst unacceptable sin and must not ever be tolerated at any level from highest to lowest period.

    No. 1 Question:

    To ensure one doesn’t have to tolerate bully bosses who could control employment, what is something one can do to earn stable income and not have to work for a boss besides running a business and have autonomy and excel? The worst of worst out there as I solemnly swear is when you do the best you can and act professionally to the highest but the other party doesn’t change and at worst doesn’t care and continues with abuse and disrespect?

  58. I am so glad to see people voice their grief about bosses that bully employees. I also noticed how people keep saying, “document” everything that is going on. Unless it is physical abuse or sexual harassment, I do not see what HR can do to help and to correct this boss. These bullies are psychopath and are ready and willing to destroy lives just because they have the power to control you. I have lost my job to a boss like that. I ignored it, I then moved to documentation, I called HR, and spoke with other bosses that I thought could help. I was the one labeled as a bad person. I was referred to see a shrink twice because I was getting stressed. I got to the point of going to work one day to kill as many people as I could and then take my own life. I changed my mind and decided to kill just her. Along the way, I changed my mind and went in to offer my resignation and walked away 5 years ago. I changed my mind to kill this woman because of my kids and wife. But, the scar is still with me and anger still raged sometimes when I think about it. I saw this bitch at the store couple of time and could sense the fear in her eyes.
    I know what people go through whenever you have to deal with people like this. Document all you want they will always deny it. Call HR all you want they will disappoint you. Call EEOC of your state only if you already have another job lined up. So what are your options?
    1.Ignore this person and deal with it.
    Result: You will continue t have a pay check, you will be stressed on the job and at home, and die from sickness that could come from stress.
    2. Confront this person professionally to talk and apologize for things you did not do.
    Result: You will be seen as a loser and may be left alone. You will empower this person to continue at a different level most likely at a lower rate of abuse.
    3. Give fire for fire.
    Result: Feel good that you stood up to a bully and then get fired.
    4. Quit without saying anything.
    Result: Still a loser because the episodes will still hunt. You may also be less trusting in your new job.

  59. Great article, Thankyou.
    I’m being bullied by a jealous co worker, I’m a truck driver she’s a forklift driver. We used to be good friends until I got my forklift licence and learned warehouse/transport supervisors job for holiday cover. She has always wanted the company to put her through her truck licence but they won’t do it as it is not necessary for the company. She started giving me really bad attitude and swearing at me so I stayed away from her when ever possible. This made things difficult so I tried to talk to her, wow she went mad at me calling me deluded over and over. The boss called us in to find out what was going on and she came out with so many lies about me and sounded so believeable it really hurt, I backed myself up and told it how it really was but not sure who my boss believed, I think it was me. He asked if we could work together she said no because I would twist everything she ever says, but I said yes that I could work with her, (I thought that now the problem was known to management she would just get over things) how wrong I was, she won’t speak to me at all if she can help it, she is rude to me if I ask her something and there’s no one around, she sticks her fingers up at me when no one can see, people know she is a trouble maker as she’s put complaints in about so many people, she’s been rude to management but somehow gets away with it. I know she has a troubled private life as we used to be friends, she was living with a man and seeing another man, then she started seeing a married man at work, she split up with the other man she was seeing, then the married man told his wife about the affair and she had to move in with him, but she didn’t properly move out of her partners house so she actually lives with two men and they know about each other, (crazy, I know!) I think she manipulates these men in some way to keep them hanging on, perhaps a bully at home too it’s the only way she knows to control people around her. Maybe it’s because I know too much about her private life that she wants me gone. It’s not going to work because I’m stronger than she thinks, it’s my job and I like it, why should I leave because she doesn’t like to see me doing well. I have told my boss about her attitude towards me and that she sticks her fingers up at me but he says “you can’t prove it and you’re strong enough to handle it” great help huh!

  60. Thank you Shola for this brilliant article. I have never allowed myself to be bullied. Many years ago whilst walking in a restaurant as a new starter, my manager tried to belittle me by calling me stupid and silly. I put her right back in her place, by telling her to never talk to me like that again and if she feels that I haven’t done something properly, to tell me in a professional manner so that I can learn and do it right. She immediately apologised and such behaviour never happen again. I have always been strong and vocal, and this is something I am well known for among my friends and family. However, after 2 years of unemployment and desperately trying to find work, I just recently secured a the job of my dreams. I was so excited to be back at work after so long on benefits. The problem I have with my team leader is, she constantly try to pick apart my work and shouts at me. Although I have done similar work for over 20 years, I have never worked on their system. The training I was offered was rushed and inadequate, not to mention short. She even gives me work that I have received no training for. She constantly screams at me in front of other workers and always assumes that I haven’t done the job properly, until she goes through my work and realise that I have don’t it right. God help me if I make a mistake no matter how small. She will stand behind me and shout, and sometimes push her way through and take over my mouse. After 2 years of being unemployed, I fee so lucky to get this job and I don’t want to loose it. As a result, I have allowed myself to be intimidated by this woman and when she stands behind me it makes me feel nervous and almost puts me off my work. It is only my experience and my ability to use self calming techniques which gets me through in such situations. Not only am I one of the first to be in the office, I am almost always one of the last to leave, sometimes working 2 extra hours (unpaid) to finish off work. In the past 3 weeks since I’ve started, I have only been late once due a roadside accident which resulted in a huge traffic jam. I was 10 minutes late. I didn’t have credit on my mobile to call her because I have not been paid yet. Even if I had credit, I still wouldn’t have been able to call her because after repeatedly asking for her number, she kept saying she will give it to me but never did. When I came in, she made me sign her late book and started yelling at me. She didn’t even want to listen to my reason but kept asking me why didn’t I call her? I told – first, she didn’t give me her number, and second, I didn’t have credit. She didn’t even listen and kept asking me the same question. A good leader is someone who listens, but her listening skills seems to have deserted her. All she knows is shouting. Interestingly enough, when her pet came an hour late (50 minutes after my arrival – which is a regular occurrence for him), I observed she didn’t even ask him to sign the late book nor did she screamed at him. In the weekend, I wanted to find out a bit more about this company using review websites. Actually, it was her I wanted to find out more about but came upon an online review where former employees talk about systematic bullying from the top to the bottom. Indeed, senior management encourages middle management and team leaders to try and intimidate so that those employees at the bottom of the ladder will feel insecure about their jobs and try to reach unrealistic targets. As a trainee, the money they are paying me is very little, but I didn’t care about the money. This is the ideal job for me with a potential to progress my career with another company in the London West-End. The labour turnover is so high you will be hard pressed to find someone who has worked their for more than 3 years. I recently found out that this witch is leaving the company in a months time for another job in the London West-End. I want to know whether I should bear it for another month or whether I should stand up to her as I would have done in the past? Having to bite my tongue is eating me up as I have always spoke up for myself and does I feel are being bullied or victimised. However I know that the moment I speak I will loose my job because she is such a witch she will try every dirty trick in the book, and as someone who has a short fuse, I will not be able to control myself the moment I open my mouth. Also I don’t want to be seen as weak and an easy target by other colleagues even after she is gone. Indeed, our team is so nasty and unwelcoming to the core. I am regularly ignored by other team members which is totally different from how I treat new employees in my former jobs. I always used to go the extra mile to include new employees and welcome them and make them feel part of the team. I know how tense it can be joining a new team as the new employee where everyone knows each other and have formed their clique. Therefore if I see a new staff sitting on their own I always go the extra mile. That is just my nature but not everyone behaves like this and certainly not in my team or the whole company for that matter. I can’t understand the coldness within this team. Interestingly, I have also observed similar coldness among other employees in other teams. I have never witness such a ghastly corporate culture in my entire working life. Should I bite my tongue about this witch or should I speak my mind? Thanks.

  61. I think it’s easy for most ppl to assume it’s always the boss who is a bully-I’m on the opposite side right now.
    I’ve just started a company as a female operations manager and I’m being ignored and harassed by a long serving supervisor who runs to my boss at every opportunity and sends out god awful emails publicly bringing down my decisions and performance. My boss constantly undermines me in front if her and has weakened my role as far as I’m concerned. Maybe he just gets off on showing off in front of her, either way I feel I have no where to turn really. I feel like I’m being bullied from both angles! In an ideal world I could walk away but I’m not going to, I haven’t struggled to get to where I am without taking a few knocks-I guess I’m just a bit off my feet from leaving a company of 20 years service and moving in to develop and walking into this mish mash bullying work environment!

    Any tips??

  62. Jennifer says:

    I work for a school district and I am the only female custodian (janitor) in my building (6 buildings in our district). Our boss of 5 years was nice when he first came to us. The past 3-4 years it seems as if I am the only one in his sights for everything. I have been there 9 years and have seniority over the 2 gentlemen I work with at night as I have been there longer then them. I haven’t given my boss any reason to pick me out of the bunch. I have been told by people who know him that he needs to be in control of his wife and daughters, so does that mean he needs to control me as well. I have been in contact with my union rep on many different occasions but nothing has been done. I’m ready for a lawyer at this point. As of this posting I have now been separated form my co-workers and now have to work alone lifting heavy furniture for summer cleaning. I feel like he has broken me. I have lost all my spunk, my spirit. I don’t feel like a women anymore, I feel like a slave to him now. This is the school district I graduated from. Many of my teachers who classrooms I now clean even see how I am treated by him but can not say or stick up for me, as it is against their contract. I’m at my end. I need to work and need my benefits as I am going in for surgery soon. I feel lost and sick all the time just knowing I have to see him 5 days a week. When he’s not there it’s a BIG relief to me knowing I can have a good day for once.

  63. Wow! It is amazing to read these stories. I work for the government and although I have had some bully bosses, those are usually here for such a shortwhile and then move somewhere else. I have a co-worker that has bullied me for many years. We had to share an office together about 4 years ago and she was terrible to me. She yelled at me in front of soldiers. I couldn’t bring anyone to the door or she would scream. I had to run back and forth from exam room to my office in the back because I couldn’t bring anyone close to the office. But, she often had patients sitting right at my desk with HIPAA information all over my desk. When I confronted her, she said that was different. She has always put me down in meetings and to others. She filed a grievance on me and I had to move out of the office and she has a nice large private office. Meanwhile, I was put in the breakroom with no privacy or ability to do my job. I try to just focus on doing my job and taking care of our patients, but it is hard. This morning, she called me up and yelled at me for 5 minutes. Her husband is the vice-president of the union, so she gets her way with everything or says she will go to the union. I think everyone is afraid of her. I have complained to my supervisors multiple times and nothing is ever done and nothing will ever be done. I would like to change jobs, but it is hard to do with government. My whole body was actually shaking after I got off the phone with her this morning. I know she bullies others, but, it seems she really has it out for me. It is hard to be strong when someone is yelling at you. Usually I think of the things that I should say to her after it is all over with.

  64. This is well written, and thank you for posting this.
    I didn’t know this actually a bigger problem than I thought.
    I wasn’t a victim of bullying, but I witnessed it at work. This guy was usually in bad mood and not too many people liked him. Although he really believed otherwise. He was a DoucheBag. He started a confrontation with another employee in front of many of us. He kept saying he wants to kill the other employee. Either in the building or outside.
    He got fired. It turns out he had 3 other confrontations with different employees not long ago, but it wasn’t reported. It seems that if no one reports the bully, it can escalate to something worse.
    Thanks

  65. LesMerveilles says:

    The more time you are distracted by bullying me the less you have to concentrate on your work and believe me – it shows. Maybe if you spent less time thinking of creative ways to make my life hell and more ways of generating income yourself, and not stealing my ideas, then the business would do better. But I guess only time will tell when I leave and you are left to fend for yourself…

  66. I hung up on my boss because he hangs up on us all the time and screams and yells. The other day he was screaming at me on the phone and then I couldn’t think strait and he just hangs up on you; so I did it first. I’m 61 years old and it stresses me out. I do everything that is asked of me and with a great attitude toward everyone including clients, (which he treats like crap after he gets paid up front). He’s a busy defense attorney with a totally screwed up life – personal and business. I’ve been in the small office for 2 years. He has a dedicated paralegal (who feels the same way about him but makes good money compared to me and has put up with him for 13 yrs.), I’m (part-time). He simply ignores you, walks away if you try to talk with him, will not listen, yells, slams doors, pulls his hair and grits his teeth, etc. etc.. One day he even told us “a monkey can do this job”. While at the office, when needed, we babysit his 6 month old and 3 year old . We change diapers, feed them, run them around and never have I gotten a “thank you” or one cent for my gas. The last time I tried to explain something to him he screamed “I didn’t ask for your opinion”. Since then I just keep my mouth shut. I can’t quit because until I get more work at another job I’m doing, I need the money and then I’ll run. I have faith in God and pray very hard to keep my mouth shut. I did write a short apology letter because I don’t want to get fired and left it on his chair for when he gets back from vacation. I typed this letter:

    (” Dear __________, This letter is to apologize for hanging up the phone on Wednesday. I was very busy and I lost it. I’ll pray a little harder next time. Seriously, I was maxed out on patience that day. You are my boss and I respect that. Sincerely, ____________”).

    He will not see the letter until after the week-end. What do you think of my situation? Any advice? What about the letter? Should I do anything else?

    P.S. – He laid me off a month ago because he said he couldn’t afford to keep me.and wanted me back the very next day so I went back til I get more work on a job I’m doing on the side. He just jerks you around and doesn’t care.

  67. Thanks Shola for your work. What is helping me to cope at the moment is reading other peoples’ comments and stories. It’s the only way I feel supported as I feel less alone. My heart goes out to anyone who has suffered at the hands of bullies. For nearly three years, I’ve been bullied at work, but have been made to feel that I’m being oversensitive and paranoid. It was a relief to speak to counsellors who validated my feelings as my boss and HR had done the complete opposite. I didn’t realise the full extent of this bully’s behaviour until I spoke to counsellors earlier in the year who said that I’d been “groomed”. This made me feel even more sick, however, I think it explained why I had struggled with recognising the signs of bullying from early on and my inability to document any hardcore evidence. Bully would swing between being utterly charming (because they wanted me to do something) to very passive-aggressive (when, for example, I couldn’t do something IMMEDIATELY). The latter example is why I would blame myself for their negative behaviour towards me – most of the other people in the team would be very understanding about my workload. When someone is being charming, you can’t accuse them of bullying and when they’re being passive-aggressive, it’s difficult to prove that that’s how their behaving. Bully was undermining me too and this was also too difficult to prove. I work in a sales environment so when bully was being (in my eyes, overly) demanding, their behaviour was excused. I think sometimes it’s difficult for some of us to understand what exactly constitutes as over-stepping boundaries. It seems that when you work in a very demanding environment, your boundaries get stretched and stretched, especially when you don’t have a supportive boss. I’ve witnessed bully being overtly aggressive to fellow workers – in front of management and they don’t bat an eyelid.

    When you’re dealing with a covert manipulator who is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and you are being targeted (whilst they they suck up to management who think the sun shines out of them), you are in trouble. The company I work for supports bullying it seems as I’m not the only one who has not been supported by their manager or HR. The turnover seems to be rather high.

    I’ve decided to look for another job as I need to save what is left of my sanity, self-esteem and confidence for interviews. I’ve even had to take drugs to deal with anxiety.

    I wish I had got legal advice outside of work as things have turned very sour for me, even though I don’t work directly with bully anymore. I I realise my boss is a cold emotionless person who is able to mimic warmth. It was never his intention to support me, although he acted like he cared when I first told him why I was feeling the way I did. I work for a medium-sized company and I believe they are protecting bully who is a huge asset to them.

    I hope I can escape soon.

  68. Hi Shola,
    I loved your article! I work in a place dominated by women where kids are not allowed to be bullied, but workers are: you guessed it, a school! I’ve already dealt with a bully boss and quit. This time, at a new place I love, I have a bully coworker and cannot quit right now. She never yells or name calls, but has a million different criticisms, mean comments, and passive-aggressive techniques. Others have told her things as bold as “Get out of my face.” I find that hard to do and worry about upsetting children or getting carried away. I work with her alone all morning in front of little ones. I’ve already been through so much employment wise and this task of dealing with her, work, and continuing my education have now made my life feel overwhelming. I’ve already enrolled into therapy and solicited my boss for help (which so far hasn’t done much). Any other advice?

  69. Lois J Trzaska says:

    I had no idea what was really going on with my workplace until I read this article … I will be documenting every situation from here on in and once I have enough proof I will be making my way to the HR department. The last straw happened yesterday and this situation will no longer control me now that I fully understand the signs of a bully. I have been intimidated to the point where I thought it was me. All the signs of a bully are as plain as day! Thank you for this article, it will help me regain my sanity!

  70. This one time I got fired for standing up to a bully at work. :)

  71. Shola. I have posted here many times most of them in sadness because of my experience with workplace bullies. I am seeing a therapist because of my depression. I love to read hows passionately you are against workplace bullying. I am so with you and I want to end workplace bullying once and for all. I admit I got discouraged when I presented the issue to my boss. I even volunteered to create a workplace bullying training program. I know now that I have not done enough. I will finish my presentation and go over my bosses head. I need to be part of the solution instead of wallowing in my depression. Thanks shola you are inspiring and I need to get to work

  72. Hey Shola,

    I actually skipped over this post a few times because I never really thought that workplace bullying was a real thing. After reading some of the comments, I see I was wrong.

    In fact, and I’ve never thought of this as bullying, I was involved with a boss like many people describe here.

    I actually quit my career as a financial advisor and a huge potential income to pursue my passion for fitness about a year ago. I took a job running a small personal training gym and loved the work, the clients, and the opportunity to grow with the business.

    But what I discovered was that the owner was an incredibly overbearing micro manager who seemed to thrive on treating his employee like shit and making them feel worthless.

    He would blow up at me in front of the staff for asking a standard question and curse like crazy. He would make snide comments and shitty remarks about me and constantly “remind” me that I was close to being fired.

    I would confront him after each outburst and tell him I didn’t appreciate his behavior and he would always back down. He had a huge ego and thought he knew better than anyone. It as so frustrating.

    After 4 months of giving the gym my heart and soul (I lost 15 pounds because I worked so hard and so long), I went into his office and told him exactly why I was quitting.

    I told him I loved everything about the job except for him. I told him he treated me like his worst employee and I couldn’t handle his behavior any longer. All he said was “OK”. Talk about an ego.

    I have been far happier since leaving and subsequently all of his other employees have quit as well. Shocker!

    Thanks for this..

  73. I have just returned a week ago from my sisters funeral. My first day back and two woman whom I got them the job ignored and believe I had parted them working together. I’m not the boss or do rosters. This is not the first time they’ve started gossip about me. There are four woman involved and all of them are unhappy at work and in their lives. I have management who refuse to let me go and what I think instigated all this was putting out a report and one whole page devoted to me about how well I work etc. I have read your post and also spoken with my kids and friends. Before I start work tomrw one if our managers is going to speak individually with them. I have armed myself up with strength and I will not show them any emotion. I work on my own and so I’m lucky I do t have to see them. But I will not weaken or show them I’m affected in any way. It’s particularly hard also getting over my sister passing but I can do it and I will. I will take your pointers and think of all of you and that will keep me going. Thanks I will let you know how I go.

  74. I’m a writer and couldn’t have written a more cogent argument to end workplace bullying. Unfortunately, most companies do zilch and look at the bullee as a complainer, whiner, troublemaker and further isolate that person. Sweep it under the rug even if the crumbs remain scattered everywhere. At work, we have all these articles posted, one which I found, and saw myself in. My boss has created an atmosphere of distrust, causing people to tattle on each other even if there’s noting to tattle about. They run to him and he wants us to go to the “vomitorium” (his word) or his office and let the battles begin. This gladiator walked away from the last meeting stating that I refused to be at the but of the secretary causing the problems. We were called babies for not participating. She was furious because she didn’t have the opportunity to point fingers and lambaste me in front of everyone, poor woman. I feel sorry for her kids. She’s a bully and my boss is a bully. This is a great article – I saw myself and my boss in it and it opened my eyes.

    http://gbr.pepperdine.edu/2010/08/are-workplace-bullies-sabotaging-your-ability-to-compete/

  75. The bully at my workplace was cold and unfriendly to me from my first day with the company. For almost 9 months, I greeted her warmly every time I saw her, only to continue to receive either a cold response, or no response at all. If another co-worker was around, she would greet that co-worker, but totally ignore me. Finally, I just thought, “…you know what, f you and the horse you road in on…” and from that point on, only talked to her when I had to about company business. At that point, she started telling other employees that I no longer spoke to her because someone had told me that she had made a negative comment about me, which is an absolute lie. I stopped speaking to her because I was tired of dealing with her coldness towards me.

    She finally transferred to another company location, but, several months later, I also took a part-time position in the same building she transferred to – working, wouldn’t you know it, right across the hall from her. Shortly after I started working at the company location she was transferred to, she moved her desk so that her desk faces entrance of the office I work in. Every time I leave my office, she stares at me over her computer monitor. Without fail, when I return to my office, even if I am only gone for a few minutes, she will have shut the door to her office. What she doesn’t realize is that, by doing this, she is doing me a favor, because I want to see her even less than she wants to see me. If I use the ladies room, which is very close to both of our offices, she follows me into the ladies room every single time.

    Once, when we got off of work at the same time, she drove up behind me pretty aggressively at a stoplight near the office. Because I’ve never confronted her (because her bullying is so subtle), I believe she thinks she intimidates me, which is far from the case. What she didn’t realize is while I’m a pretty friendly and warm person, I do not tolerate driving bullies. So, I just stared at her in my side mirror until she looked away and backed off; the same way I handle any road bully.

    The interesting thing about this woman is that she professes to be a Christian, which absolutely floors me. I keep telling myself that nothing lasts forever, and that every day that I work across the hall from this troll puts me closer to the day when I never have to work around her hateful behind again.

    I try to treat everyone who will allow me to with kindness and respect, because everyone we meet is going through something. Some days, when I see her several times during my work day, I actually start to feel physically sick. She’s that toxic. I guess I should feel sorry for her, because anyone who treats another person so coldly when all that person ever tried to show them was friendship, has got to be miserable.

    • My bully claims to be a christian. Probably not unusual. I think it gives them some mental authority to do what they do.

    • My entire workplace is “Christian.” I work in a church office. This is the worst bullying I have ever endured. Actually, it’s only the second place I have worked that even had bullying. I’m in my sixties and have worked four places. The boss says we can’t do anything about it because the bullying co workers are church members. Argh. I can take it pretty well, but it is horrible to watch it happening to other good workers. The stress is unimaginable.

  76. Inquiring Mind says:

    Are you there, Shola? Thank you for your website which is water in the desert for bullied and beat down employees.
    When the managers and key players are all in the same bed together (figuratively) and certain employees are close confidants to them, it is futile to take workplace bullying incidences perpetrated by boss to any one of them. Vindictive responses follow. How can we stage a peaceful but powerful protest without attacking “the boss”?

  77. Shola,
    Your article above is exactly right. My form boss as of three days ago is exactly above. I filed a complaint and grievance against her almost a month ago, and what I received for it in return was termination. She is very arrogant and conceded. She bullied me, sent me a daily task, micromanaged me, constantly criticized me, did not invite me to meeting, held information from me. She told me one time I could not go to the bathroom until I reply to her email as she only sat three feet away from me. She made me feel like an idiot and made me second guess myself. This organization I worked for and was dedicated to and held great passion for, and even have a Master degree in this field. Is a higher educational institution. No remorse or help from HR either. I do not know if I should forget it all and move on, but when it was my lively hood and my education I worked so hard to build a career in. I almost want to put up a fight.

    • Note; I stood up to her that I did not appreciate the treatment. I never called her any bad names or yelled at her. She was only one level above me, I am also about 18 years older than her as well. But she has a Ph.D. from Princeton and she is all knowledgeable and wise.

  78. I have been a victim of a bullying BOSS for many years. I did not realize it til just recently. The bully BOSS is my manager and she is the type who has to know every little thing that you do. She is the Store Manager of a retail store which she does not own. She has talked down to me and belittled me in front of staff and customers for small mistakes which could be corrected. Prior staff has been furious at how she has spoke to me. I thought this was just part of her personality. I have been an Assistant Manager for years in retail and know my job, however when she talks down to me she makes me feel so in secure and Im not like that. A new assistant has come on staff, as well as new associates. The new assistant has already had her bouts with her. So we have decided to confront her together and try to get this to stop. Luckily the new assistant is very good friends with district manager. So the meeting will take place with the district manager as well. So she wants us to speak up to her.I’m preparing myself for the retaliation. However at least I will feel better about myself. If retaliation occurs I will be asked to transfer to another store. Until then I will stand up for myself and fight I don’t want to drive home anymore in tears. I’m getting to old to have people walk all over me. There is a difference between giving someone “constructive criticism” and belittling. This bitch has two sides to her outside of work she is totally different. At work she has to show she’s in control all the time, no matter what!

  79. Why Can't we all Work Together?! says:

    I am SO glad I came across your article!! For the past two years I feel I have been bullied in the workplace. I suffer from Anxiety and Depression, but this has just made it all so much worse. My scenario is I work for a boss that is very dedicated and has worked very hard over the years to get to where he is at with his company. My Co-worker – is HIS wife. We each sit at the same work counter – arms reach away. He has a satellite office in a town near by, who he has one more lady overseeing that. About two years ago, the boss and his wife were on vacation and the other lady came to our office to help out. During that time, she felt the need to tell me all the terrible things that I do that mainly my boss’s wife dislikes about me. I was devastated, as being in a small environment, we shared many personal things as well – I know BIG MISTATKE. Since we have now received Instant Messaging on our work server, I will see them IM each other all day long, as well as seeing my name bop up numerous times. I try to focus on work, but it’s so hard. I feel I can’t go to my boss and it’s his wife we are talking about. This past year, my adult son, his wife and their adult daughter and her husband and both families have kids have become good friends. Now the wife has the daughter checking up on me to through my daughter n law. I know SICK – right??!! When I make mistakes at work, they get thrown in my face by her, but when she makes them, I just shut up and correct it. I love my job, or I should say I used to, now I dread going to work. I have really started to actively work on finding another positions by I am 56 years old, and there is just not much in our area. I don’t know how to deal with all this, so I stuff most of the time. Every time something happens or I see them instant messaging, I can barely control the tears. This just plain sucks!! Your article helped me to see I am not alone. I thank you for that.

  80. I celebrated my birthday in the office (October) and as a tradition the birthday celebrant must treat his co-wokers. During that time I was on a tight budget (it’s not even close to payday) and I have this particular co-worker who keeps on calling everybody’s attention by saying, “Eunice will treat us pasta today because it’s her birthday!” Damn as much as I want to spend a dime I know I can’t so I ended the day with nothing to give to my officemates.

    Almost all of my coworkers moved on from that incident but HE did not. After that, he keeps on asking me where is the pasta, and when will I treat them. The bullying gets worse, not only does he created a tune for “Where is the Pasta, Eunice? Where is the Pasta?”, he even tells me not to eat if our other coworkers celebrate their birthday. Not only that, he always calls me a MISER, and even generalizes our province as a home of MISERS.

    As of now, I am not talking to him. But I still feel harassed and bullied because he always sings that annoying song, “Where is the Pasta, Eunice? Where is the Pasta? Miser.. Miser.. Miser Eunice.” and if i don’t look at him will say “Aww, she became deaf huh?” .. I really don’t know what to do. I want to turn to our administrative officer for administrative action but I fear it will sound that I am being childish.. But when I told my problem to my friends at work, they told me it’s normal for that person to pick on almost everybody. BUT DAMN, I DON’T WANT TO BECOME HIS APPLE OF THE EYE. It started on OCTOBER 2014, AND NOW IT’S DECEMBER 2014.

    If you want to give me more tips, you may email me at
    ejenacis@gmail.com
    Thank you for reading.

    LET’S HELP TOGETHER TO STOP WORKPLACE BULLYING.

  81. Thank you for your words of sanity to a very distressed mind.

    It all started 3 years ago. I was desperate to get a job. I have 3 school aged children, and needed to get a mortgage and pay off debt to my dad. So, as a result of being so grateful and insecure about my job stability, I ended up working an extra hour every day unpaid, then foolishly took on more roles to ensure that I would not lose my job. Thankfully I got a permanent contract and my mortgage,

    However I’m now in a situation where I’m expected to do so much I can’t fulfill it all. I discussed this with my boss and she said that she worked unpaid so why should I not do it? (I’ve seen her time sheet and she is paid for everything she does.) I discussed this with the manager above her and after 2 1/2 years I managed to get paid 15 mins per day of it .

    The situation has never been good between us as she has taken every occasion to undermine me by changing procedures so I will never be right no matter what I do. This I could deal with as it was my own doing, but its now gotten worse. She has started to rant at me in front of customers. The latest was on Friday when I offered to help before I left work when she needed the toilet she turned on me saying look at the state of you .

    My life sucks, I try to do as much as I can on a daily basis at work and its never right or enough. I was diagnosed with Asthma last year and struggle with my stomach and I know its all based around the anxiety I feel about working in job that I desperately need. I’m going to start making a log of this behavior and log the events I can’t stand living like this.

  82. Janice Henning says:

    This is the best article on workplace bullying that I’ve read. I’ve been experiencing this from too many employers in Denver and I have found other jobs and in even one case, I quit and was awarded UI as I documented the rage issues that one employer displayed towards me. Now I work as an independent contractor for two people who bully me but I can’t quit until I find something else because I don’t have UI to fall back on now. Today was a bad day. I cried all the way home. I have to get away as it is slowly killing me. But thank you for your article! It gives me hope to push forward and get the hell away from these two sociopaths.

  83. As a previous member and volunteer at the Chinn Aquatics& Fitness Center I would give Chinn a 4 or 5 except for the following! I am disabled and was endangered and abused by Chinn Water Safety instructor Rommel Bradley, who I worked under as my GM at another health club chain.
    I recently reviewed Red Cross water safety training, It has sections on considerations of disabled individuals “Chapter 9, Disabilities and other health conditions” ( during a leave of absence, a serious heart attack disabled me, just weeks before I met Rommel.) and general safety procedures, including “foreseeable hazards”. While working elsewhere under ” Water Safety instructor” Rommel Bradley, calls me a thief. (I was not) Demands my front door key and tells me if I have to stay late to finish my job. ( I often stayed late, to close the day, during the more than five years I worked there). I have to exit the club though a self locking rear door at the far back of the building. An exit into a blind alley of a problem shopping center. An area known to locals, over the years, for murders and assaults. Gang activity, and a constant problem of vagrants and intoxicated individuals that constantly hung around. A situation Rommel’s red cross training would call a “foreseeable hazard”. He evens writes me up with lies and exaggerations after several requests to return the key for my safety. He writes, (I still have the writeup for my records) I have to do my job no matter what and If I don’t shut up he will fire me.
    In parts he even SCREAMS IN LARGE CAPS. like that! I had a key for five years as the night MOD under 5 other GMs and The GM that replaced Rommel gave the Key back to me. He showed better judgment than a trained “Red Cross Water Safety expert”. I say it again. What kind of Red Cross Safety Trained individual, much less just a decent boss with common sense. Would send a person just weeks after a serious heart attack. Or even a healthy person, into a foreseeable hazard. A hazard such as the back alley of a problem shopping center late at night. Why Get trained and just disregard it. I always thought people who engaged with the Red Cross were special, caring, compassionate people with a higher calling. Then I meet Rommel, A mean, lying, insecure, immature, Office Bully, and worse, willing to indulge an immature, juvenile grudge by sending a sick, disabled man, just doing his job out the back door. late at night. into a “foreseeable Hazard”! Despite him being trained to know better! What a choice. Be locked in by a Front Desk person, who wouldn’t or couldn’t stay late and close the day. Or leave by the front door, for my own safety and risk being fired for it.
    I am somewhat satisfied that at least one of his peers at the Red Cross, after reading more details, agrees in writing that he has some “flaws in his character.” Now If I can just convince the Chinn Center. Apparently, as long as he doesn’t demonstrate his “flaws of characters” while actually teaching water safety he can do what he wants elsewhere. Even if he proudly displays his Red Cross Safety “expertise” credentials on his wall, over his shoulder, he can do what he wants. Even humiliate and endanger a sick man. A man 15 or so years his senior, A man he disliked, mostly for standing up to him. He’s got love for the ladies too. I personally was witness to him, frustrating a least 2 female subordinates and a female member to tears. Mostly just because he could, being the boss and all that. No need for grown man tact. Hey, he almost made me cry. He was that awful. A number of times frustrated coworkers would barge screaming out of his office and most would quit. I never saw such workplace drama, in 40 years of work, not before Rommel. These and his other bully abuses occurred in maybe just a couple months time that I worked under him him. The list of abuses against me and others goes on and on. His Linkedin Resume claims 22 years as a manager. 22 years hard working people have been putting up with this man child. My research indicates he may have violated ADA/EEOC laws. I disabled by a heart attack, asked for a “reasonable accommodation”. Just to have my Front door key back. As getting over a heart attack, inhibited my ability to fight robbers or run a gauntlet of drunks in an ally late at night. This if circumstances dictated I had to be locked in, (and they did at times) to work late to keep my job. At least that’s what I meant. He denied the key, and after several more requests wrote me up even though this last conversation started with him saying his “door was open”. He wrote me up that day. A real Pro! Actually a pro would have waited a week or so! For appearances sake. And he couldn’t even do it to my face. Told me to read my email as he walked out the door for home. He included that I couldn’t have personal property, etc at work. That might explain why mail and prescription medicine being held for me by a coworker disappeared off his desk, while I was away. 3 felonies! Rommel didn’t care much when I reported the 3 felonies in his club to him. The way he treated me and others. His duplicity, And If he cared to endanger me. Maybe he came upon my unguarded “property and etc” he would later ridiculously write I couldn’t have at work. Expensive Medicine that would have prevented the aforementioned Heart Attack. If it had been re forwarded to me on my trip as arranged. Maybe, How dare I forward my mail to “his” club. Maybe “woosh” in the can. Instead I almost died and am crippled for life. Anyway the thought of him giving “safety?” lessons , or being a manager makes me nauseous. Even if he doesn’t get anybody hurt, it is at least disingenuous.

  84. Bad situation says:

    I have been in a very uncomfortable situation for a few months now. And the rumors started spreading after, I said that my co workers are loud and you have to do what you have to and go home, to someone else. But I said it loud and from there on the attacks are very subtle like, constantly co workers are complaining about bosses and other co workers waiting for me to bite so they can continue the gossip to destroy my reputation. And they even throw in hateful words that starts with a familiar letter to see how I would react to use it against me. They also are very quiet or no one is present when I enter the office, going on for months. This is a very sneaky or under the radar bullying and I’m not sure if I should tell management or not because it might make matters worse.

  85. How do you deal with a co worker bulling situation when you are in a union? Is it wrong to go to management for these concerns or talk with you union rep?

  86. Travis Smithlin says:

    I work two jobs. I work as a part time freelance web developer, and I work part time at mcdonalds. For the first week, I had witnessed the sharp tongue of one particularly nasty manager, but I managed to avoid her bullshit, even when she snapped at me for taking a sandwich from her too early, snapping at me to ‘let her do her job, and you just do yours’. I have worked on and off for mcdonalds since I was 18 and had never beeen told this before. Well, I let it go until about a week later when the schedule the store manager gave me differed from the schedule that was actually in the book. I had no idea, I had documented proof in the form of the date and time taken down in my smart phone and the words of the store manager still in my ears but she wasn’t hearing any of it. I was half an hour late because I did not know I had to work that day and instead of calling me, she told my girlfriend that I was late and to not bother to come in. I was already on my way in and when I got there, she loudly proceeded to send me the message that SHE was in charge, SHE was the boss and SHE had the power to send me home by telling me I was late and that I was not to dare clocking in, except that she said it with such a hateful tone and made sure the whole restaurant heard it. She didn’t know that mcdonalds, in this incidence, had literally dragged me in off the street and forced the position on me, but that is neither here nor there. She had not been aware that I had been keeping an eye on her and asking other employees about her, who all told me the same thing: She grows on you, which translates to “she’s a bitch but you get used to it”. I don’t get used to being publicly humiliated and sent home for such a petty infraction, especially when I had proved it was the companies fault, not mine and that her actions were just an irresponsible display of power that was not necessary. Anyway, I spoke to the second in command the next day, telling him I didn’t know exactly who it was but that she was overly aggressive and that she could have handled the situation differently without sending me home and he knew EXACTLY who I was talking about. Now, she refuses to speak to me, even avoiding eye contact and not calling out meat trays as she empties them. I am documenting everything even if I have no witness. I am not scared of her, I am not intimidated by her and I will never bow to her bullying. However, I do not think I will take it any further because her attitude towards the other employees has changed radically. I’m not afraid to stand up to her or report her, but the other employees obviously were. The point is this: Bullies are cowards and even something as simple as making eye contact or questioning their irresponsible actions can make all the difference in the world.

  87. I’m dealing with an immature, ignorant, narcissist female boss that slaps me kicks me and insults me whenever she wants. She will intimidate my coworkers into bullying me as well. I went to hr and have one message that says don’t try to grow any balls. I can’t be hurt no more I’m already broken.

  88. It is wrong to say to go to human resources as they do not care about employees only the bottom line of the company. There is not a lot of information out there about bullying because you are hurt on the job. I had a nasty accident at work (and I was not the first) because my employer did not care nor watch out for the safety of employees. I did not realize that even though I was allowed to return to work they were just waiting for me to make a mistake at work and then they could launch their vicious attack on me. I had hints along the way but I did not get it. Once I made a minor mistake (3 yrs later) they went into attack mode and this was right before my second surgery due to the work place injury. Since they could not seem to get rid of me due to being a bad employee they decided to make something up and even report it so that my national license would be taken away and I could no longer be employed. Fortunately, I was able to fight this and keep my license. I have had the union do nothing and even with hold information from me in support of my employer. I had to sit through a meeting where the head of human resources ranted and raved and stormed out of the meeting all while telling me I was a nasty person and she had proof of it in my file. When in truth she had nothing. I let them scare me which resulted in me not trying as hard to get better from my second surgery and just not being in touch with the fact that I needed to fight for myself. I still do not have my fight back and I feel distrustful of any future employer. I don’t know what to do. I have no options as they did not fire me as they knew this would get them into trouble so they took away all my benefits and are starving me out work wise, one day here another there. There is so much more, one thing is they took my insurance so that now I can not go to my private md (not that they were much help) and have any chance of it being documented that I truly do have work injury related problems. No matter what they do to me there is no punishment for them only myself. I would love any feed back to help me. I would love to quit and but don’t know that I could collect unemployment. I had to go to work thinking maybe they would pay someone to shoot me as I went in for work since they had been unsuccessful in getting rid of me so far. I worked so hard to get to the point in life I was at and it all got destroyed be cause I got severely injured at work. What hope or reason to go on is there if this is how the world works? I have had all kind of mean nasty things done to me but this one has been insurmountable for me.

  89. Finally! Someone who doesn’t tell me the usual BS, ‘watch for their triggers,’ ‘praise them when they do something well’ blah, blah, blah. My boss is a bully, plain and simple, she will regularly lose the plot and yell at the whole team for one person’s minor mistake, and I mean MINOR. We’re all sick of it, I’m hoping I have the cojones to walk out of the next meeting if she starts on her usual destructive, negative ways.

  90. dira torres says:

    Really need some help! I work at a Medical clinic. I am doing work experience at my job, where I volunteer my hours for free and I’ve been working for 6 weeks now, I went from being in medical records for 2 week’s to getting moved to the phones department to schedule appointments. I’m very new and still learning but ive been doing pretty good as some other coworkers in other department’s have mentioned to me and i was told by my trainer before she went on vacation that i was doing great. My boss offered me a per diem job in medical records, I’m just waiting to sign paperwork which is taking time.But lately ive been clashing with a coworker. This co worker has been with the company for about 4 months or so, is very close with the girls in that dept and she has been difficult towards me and has been stressing me out and I just don’t know how to deal with it exactly, so I’m reaching out for some advice on how to deal with such a difficult coworker. She is very bossy, hot headed and feels the need to act like my supervisor and this behavior started a week and a half ago. Before that she was very nice, helpful, easy to talk. These girls are young and I’m definitely getting treated like the outsider, i get treated as such and im close to their age just a few years older. The girls really don’t talk to me now when they do Its with a very firm voice but with each other, they are happy, helpful with each other, they chit chat amongst each other, sometimes very loudly and they ignore some calls or put pts on hold for a long time. I do remember these girls everyday asking me the same questions, who are you volunteering through? Are you getting paid? Why would you work here? etc. Then they would joke amongst each other ( oh, i would never work for free) its a small office and i can hear almost everything they say but I would ignore them. Two days ago my coworkers had complained about me to my boss stating I have a really bad attitude. I think they don’t want me to get the position. My boss stated to me she was surprised and she told me what was said and I was very surprised and as I stated to my boss, I have been nothing but nice to them. I told my boss how these girls have been towards me, with the bad attitude and the lack of help ive been receiving. I am still learning and Its creating a lot of tension upstairs. My boss simply replied ” treat them as if they are your bosses” they just don’t know you yet, she then sent me on my way. But I don’t think that’s right, this isn’t ok right? So I just need to know, is it okay for coworkers who have only been there for a few months, to yell out from her desk (you better have more than 1 phone call on hold) I had a few calls on hold at the time and I was in the middle of one call! this coworker just yells out so everyone can hear but its obvious im the only one in the room that this is directed to. The other three girls are her friends. She has also yelled out while sitting at her desk (you need to pick up more calls!!!) Very loud and has also said to me when I went on my break and I had 5 min left I go to my boss to pick up some paperwork I forgot, as I go back to the office, the bossy coworker stands up and says (where were you? I didnt know where you were?) my response was (oh, I was on break and during that time I went to go meet with our boss) the girl says (you need to tell me where you were!) and then I said (I was with our boss) she said (I don’t care you need to tell me so I know where you are) I just went back to my desk and said nothing . We all have our assigned schedule with breaks and lunch. I have also noticed her friends in other departments not say hi to me. I say goodmorning and I get ignored. Really awkward

  91. Merline Augustine says:

    Hello Shola,
    I liked your steps on bullying management. I was looking for some tips on bullying management.

    Recently, I started a new job at a community home care agency that has a small office in our hospital. Since the Day 1, I witnessed some unpleasant behaviour. Most of the staff (10 staff) go together for lunch. Four of them declined to join this group. As a new staff member, I got an invitation to this group as my female mentor is a member of this group. During break times, this group gossiped on the employees who were not there. Being a new hire I wanted to fit in with this group. One day, I witnessed a horrific incident. One hospital staff from another employer was complaining about our colleague (declined to join the group) to my male mentor and he advised her to inform our manager about it.

    At the end of the day, I asked my mentor about it. “Did you get a chance to talk to her?” He replied, “It is her assessment and I do not want to get involved in that.” I made a comment that the external employee should have discussed her concerns with our colleague as the first step of a conflict resolution strategy. My mentor was not happy with that comment. He added, “it is your opinion.”

    Our manager was investigating this incident and my male mentor never told me about that. I saw my manager was talking privately to everyone. I asked my mentor “why is the manager is in our office unexpectedly?” He replied to me saying “it is our performance review.” Also, I asked about the frequency and he replied twice in a year.

    Next day my female mentor had a one-to-one meeting with my manager and she also told me that she is going for a performance review. That evening my female mentor invited me to join a meeting. Before starting the meeting, my manager told me that this meeting is about some situations that happened before my arrival and requested to leave.

    Next day, I spoke to my colleague and she was in tears. This six member group was trying to isolate this colleague and were gossiping about her in her absence. I couldn’t trust my mentor anymore and didn’t go to work this week. I took unpaid leave for personnel emergency. I couldn’t sleep well for a few days. I am a new temporary staff member and do not want to jeopardize my work. But at the same time I am scared to go work. My mentor’s sister works there too. My both mentors are in this group. My own conscience is telling me not to gossip without that person. At the same time, I do not want to be isolated? If I report to the management, I may lose my job. I am not sure what to do?

    Any suggestions?

  92. Carole Kern says:

    Thank you so much for this website! I am a postal worker and you would think the post office-with all of its bad publicity over the years- would not tolerate bullying postmasters….but it does. We have a very nasty postmaster who is the ultimate bully. She changes her mind daily what she wants us to do-therefore we are always wrong. A question is answered with an eye-roll and hand on hip. She is the one who reads our bullying service talks-describing herself to a T! Luckily, the majority of us are not afraid to speak up and have begun talks with our union. Next, we will file an EEO complaint. Thank for giving us hope! We all have too many years in and can’t just quit and go somewhere else. Our office is a powder keg-I don’t want to be the one to lose my cool and jepordize my career.

  93. Read how a Managing Director at BNY Mellon bullied and abused employees and how one employee is fighting back. Visit http://theothergerald.com/employeeabuse.html

  94. My assistant manager at work is a kindergartner. It is impossible to ask her questions without getting the look of death or getting snapped at. One day, when I asked her a simple question about a policy, her response was, in a loud, condescending tone: “what do YOU think?”

    Today, she snapped at me for not performing a task when I was busy on the phone with a client for nearly an hour and had absolutely no ability at that point in time to complete it. I feel as if I need to bring a lawyer to work in order to speak to this crazy woman, as in the past I have been belittled for not phrasing a sentence to her satisfaction, or have not completed a task on demand although I either may be in the middle of several tasks at once or it is impossible to complete the task right then and there. She expects the impossible out of me.

    If I make one little mistake, she will make up policies on the fly to embarrass me. And here’s the epitome of her craziness. She once asked me to contact another member of our office for assistance. I contacted the employee by our instant messaging system and got an immediate response. A minute later, my manager asked me if I contacted the employee, to which I replied, “yes, I IMed her.” She completely flipped out. She said I was supposed to “call” her, not IM her. She then forced me to type an email to her, like a child in detention writing “I will not disobey the teacher” on the chalkboard over and over, stating that I will listen to her instructions to a tee. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. The task got completed, and I was scolded for HOW I did it. You can’t make this stuff up.

    She is the worst human being I’ve ever met. I know pre-schoolers that are more mature than her. If I go to management about her behavior, I will be tuned out. I have tried in the past, but the same excuse is used: “that’s just how she is.”

    I’ve had enough. I am inches away from unleashing a tirade at her that could cost me my job. I need help, and I need it fast. This woman is a total loose cannon, and it makes me afraid to go to work on a daily basis. Unstable people like this shouldn’t be in the workplace, they should be institutionalized. I hate her, and I wish her nothing but the worst.

  95. 80photo says:

    Shola- I bet your name means teacher. I went from head hung to …. what the heck. Realizing I’m telling the wrong people and all they can do is nothing. So I’m gonna work on me. So thank you. I wish people would become more awake that its not always yelling … its the small things that they do. And the whole office seems to cackle at every time my name is mentioned.I could go down the list on all the day to day She was good with me for a while … and now I’m ignored and made fun of on a daily …we work at the unemployment office where everyone that walks in is struggling…(which we all are in some fashion) I am a mother. I am a sister. I am an Aunt. I am a photographer. I am a girlfriend. I am a loyal employee. I am love. I am not who they make me out to be.

    All cruelty is based in weakness–and cruelty is act of cowardice, not courage. – Shola …This statement is beautiful.

  96. My situation is a little different… I work in a very small office of 5 people and my boss happens to be a partner. We don’t have an HR Department to report back to. My boss’s bullying behavior is so bad, his two partners’ even comment on it behind his back. It sucks. What sucks even more is that for the most part the other partners are pretty fair but they can become bullies, too and gang up on me. And what sucks even more, my counterpart’s husband is the VP of a large firm in the same industry as ours so they treat her with special privileges.

  97. And by the way, I don’t see anything unusual or out of the ordinary or anything with you as a youth for Bullies to target not that even if you did, it would make it right or acceptable or make sense but I think you know what I”m sayin.

  98. Your mom says:

    I can’t stand bullies, period. I think they’re scum of the earth and honestly I have no remorse for anyone who picks on anyone.

    I’ve been bullied a lot growing up and currently there’s a bully at my work who’s been on my case since the day I walked in. I’ve given him enough chances and was really cool, nice and respectful with and he’s been nothing but an absolute, low level, piece of crap.

    He picks on me, insults me, swears at me, etc.

    He doesn’t understand who he’s messing with, I have tons of experience with these parasites. I wish him nothing but the worst in life and he’s in for a surprise next time I see him. I’ll never respect or like anyone like that no matter what happens now, because I hate people like that from the bottom of my heart. It’s personal.

    I can be the biggest troll on the planet if you get on my nerves and cross the line over and over. I give people the benefit of the doubt but he’s proven to me that he’s a waste of human life and I wish he didn’t exist.

  99. Just read this post and, WOW! Our director was recently let go for creating a hostile workplace after years of reports to HR. Finally, a newly elected leader asked us how things were going and got an earful. This guy would break you down into sobbing hysterically and then sit and watch you cry while he kept hammering on whatever had set him off that day. The one time I got mad and didn’t cry, he told me he didn’t like my attitude. He was a nut job. The problem many of those who were victims face now is what I call the “bully void”. The few people he protected (suck ups who weren’t productive anyway) have now turned on the rest of us. I have no idea how this will play out, but I still see it as a big WIN for bullied employees!

  100. Hi Shola, I am happy I found this because I am experiencing bullying at my workplace. I have 1 year 5 months working there. My supervisor hated me the time I put my foot in that place. I feel like quitting because I have been trying to find a new jobs because of high unemployment rate it’s hard to find one. My boss doesn’t scream or insult me, she does it silently but my coworkers can also see that she doesn’t like me. I really don’t know what I did to her, and I am starting to think she has a mental problem. She tries to make me look incompetent by gossiping stuff to my coworkers. She’s always trying hard to make me look and feel incompetent, and I have no one to report to because the higher management is afraid of her. She doesn’t follow the set procedures she takes the workplace like her own home she has too much power its like she’s untouchable am thinking of quitting because I feel I have no way out. Sometimes I feel she will get me fired, so I would rather quit than get fired.

  101. I too am a recipient of workplace attempted-bullying (from the management at NHSBT (UK) Processing). I admit I was bullied at school, for the usual bully reasons – I knew the answers (not through swatting). I had a hard time but I didn’t lose every fight LOL! (Just most of them, because I was physically weak). The real reason I lost was because I am non-violent.
    Violence aside, I’m at a low ebb today, Shola, because a bullying manager has given me an envelope, ‘inviting’ me to a meeting with HR (which is just another branch of management, now), where I will have to defend myself against various baseless accusations which all boil down to the same thing – ie an inability to kow-tow to ego-tripping knob heads. Competence doesn’t come into it.
    The thing these tits don’t realise is that I HAVE experienced violence.
    If it comes to the crunch, it will literally be the crunch for them.
    In a strange kind of way, I’d like to go out fighting! ha ha!
    I was buzzing to find this excellent thread. (BTW, refering to the kid who ‘looked different’ or had ‘horrible teeth’ – what a lovely looking kid in that picture (ie, you!) – just goes to show how bullying c***s can alter your sense of self worth).
    There’s no need to reply to this post, but I really do wish you all the best, for making a stand against bullies.
    Sincere Love
    James

  102. Thank you for putting together such a clear, concise article on bullying. A serious problem which you have dissected in all of its horrible glory. I support your aim and wish you progress and luck with this campaign. I will also be featuring this on my blog: http://www.bajiequ5.wordpress.com

  103. i work in a warehouse store in canada where i’ve experienced tremedous amount of bullying. sometimes it comes from someone whom I work with almost everyday. Her name is sasha. Shes always giving me mean looks as if I did somethig to her. She’s always rude to me the way in asking a favor or if i didnt hand her some products. she bosses me around.

    There’s jhon, who doesnt have manners. He’s not as nice as before. He gossips about me to others and makes fun of me thinking i dont speak enough and doesnt aknowledge in a good way.

    There’s my manager eho did scream at me in front of ohers for no reason or yelled at me for not going fast enough at something. Then she’d make fun of my name a lot. sometimes she’d mock thr way I speak if i asked her something in french.

    It doesnt just happen in workplace where I work, I feel it happens on metro, bus even when i go to school.

    I like having a job and coping with life. It upsets me, deep down hurts my feelings when people treat me like this. They just have to pick on me or be mean for nonreason. i havent done anything or said anything to them. It also frustrates me as I work at my best in my job even though im there some days. I try hard yo be nice to these kind of people too. I dont know how to react anymore. I feel like changing jobs, maybe not working with colleagues.

  104. Ive also had my lunch thrown out a bunch of times at work by a colleague. They want to make me look bad and doing these things. It upsets me too for that. brings me back to highschool times.

  105. This subject is an accurate description of my life for the last four years. Four years ago a new manager came to my workplace. His first move was to present himself as everyone’s friend. He had no experience in the work we were doing and needed us, especially me as the senior employee, to learn the operations of the area. Once he gained trust and got people to open up, once he got the tools he needed, he began to exercise his authority. He suddenly decided that he was the subject matter expert. With his limited knowledge he began to change the tried and true process in an effort to improve it. He used his authority to “improve the process” but instead impeded production and quality. He let it be known that he had a master’s degree in psychology and a black belt in marital arts. When his methods caused problems in production he shifted the blame to us workers. I tried to explain to him why the old process was the best method. This only brought his attention to me, seeing me as a threat. From that day on I became his harassment dummy. For three years he put me in situations where I could not perform at my best. He began to say demeaning things about me to my coworkers, trying to dissolve the respect I had earned from them. Last October he put me in a position where he was able to fire me. He confided in one of my coworkers that his plan was to take out the old guy so that everyone else would fall in line.
    I did document the events that lead to my discharge and my case is currently in negotiations. The problem I face now is that the HR department as with management are under a directive from upper management. “Create an environment that will inspire the desire to retire”. I have to fight this to the end. I have 33 years of seniority and my pension at stake. All I wanted was to retire with dignity. Then I confronted a Bulldog.

  106. Wonderful article, and so very much needed in these times. With the rise of narcissism in our culture, bullying is on the increase as well. I have experienced this in the workplace and know how destructive it can be. I chose to stand up and fight, it was not easy but worth it. Once you do stand and speak up, you also learn who are the talkers and who are the real deal. Few stood by me out of fear, but it absolutely had to be done. It was not easy and it caused me much stress, but it raised awareness, and some changes were implemented as a result. These individuals are cruel, lack compassion and truly do not consider how their behavior effects others. Management needs to wake up and understand how deeply bullying effects the workforce morale, well-being and ultimately productivity. Thank you for bringing awareness to this topic. I am in the process of writing an article about narcissism in the workplace, I feel very strongly about this as well. Thanks for the Positivity! TWT

  107. Bully Victim No More says:

    Hi. Just wanted to say that I love your article, so much of it hit the nail right on the head with me! I had a bullying coworker. This person had the sweetest, softest voice and seemed so nice. I was on to her games almost right from the very beginning, but I had to sit by and watch my coworkers fall for her fakeness one by one. It was torture! I didn’t try to convince them of what she was capable of because I knew that that would be a fruitless effort since they were going to give her the benefit of the doubt. So I decided to sit back and watch her hang herself, knowing that everyone else would soon be on to who she really was in due time. When they finally realized it, then and only then, could I talk to them about what how her bullying behavior had been affecting me. The bully would constantly be going to the office to tell of every little thing she saw that she thought was wrong in an attempt to get all of us coworkers in trouble and even going so far as to try to get us to lose our jobs. She would call everyone lazy, but when we worked with her, she would do the bare minimum, or make some trivial task take much longer than necessary in an attempt to make herself look “busier”. She would gossip about all the other coworkers behind their backs in an attempt to get all of us to hate each other. I always knew when one of my coworkers had been taken by her because I would come into work and get the cold shoulder from someone who just the other day had no issue with me and I hadn’t talked to them since I had last seen them. The stories would go around the workplace faster than the 5 o’clock news, but the bully would never confront you to your face about the “problems” she had. Also, she would constantly say she was going to do something, but the task would never get done! I wanted to pull my hair out of my head on more than one occasion! I felt like I was working with a tattle telling 5 year old who took credit for everything that was done in the workplace. Frustrating beyond words! But the good news is that karma knocked on her door the other day and she is not going to be bullying any of us anymore. I forgot to mention that she is also a pathological liar and when she lied to the bosses about something that happened recently, some coworkers took a stand and called her out on it. We fought fire with fire and it worked! It was her that messed up, but we are the ones who made sure the right people knew about it. I kept thinking maybe I should feel bad about it (even though I didn’t), but after reading your article I know we did the right thing! We needed to put an end to the hostile work environment she was creating and we did what was necessary and there will be many happy coworkers now that the bully has been removed from our world! My sanity thanks me every day and thank you for showing me that I did indeed do the right thing!

  108. Yeap, Shola, you’re absolutely right! Our sanity is in our hands. I had this shit at school, I-dont-want-to-count-how years ago. And I found another school, with harder program – but better people))) Thanks for writing this)

  109. Hi! Thank you so much for this article. I am 31 years old, just started a new job and within the first 4 days of my new employment have been experiencing bullying from day one from a co-worker. I have no idea if I unknowingly took a position she was seeking or perhaps her hours were cut due to my hiring but she has gone above and beyond to let me know that she is not happy that I am there. Had I been in highschool I would’ve easily put her in place with a nice healthy brawl lol But this is not highschool and I know I need to use my noggin to overcome the situation. I’m usually observant when I start a new job. I like to see what my co-workers, boss and environment are like to see how much I can expose of my personal self. After reading you’re article, I feel that I might have to just show her what I’m made of a little earlier than planned as it seems she has confused my observant character for someone weak and vulnerable. It’s nice to see that others can relate to my situation and that I am not alone. Thank you for the advice and taking the time to write this. I appreciate that so much. A few words can really give someone the strength they need. Life is good and life is short, we need to enjoy every single day that we have. :)

  110. I am retired and took a part time job at a big box Home Improvement Store to get off the couch and feel I was contributing to society. I am a former Engineer and was a Licensed Plumber. The job I got at the company was as one of the Cashiers, which I have learned is the lowest paying job in the store. I have high blood pressure, am disabled and have trouble with the nerves in the front of both legs when standing on my feet for more than two hours at a time. I have congestive heart failure and arithmea. The only time I get a chance to rest my legs is when I am given a break for fifteen minutes after two to two and a half hours. I usually end up leaving a four hour shift limping and really fighting the pain if it is a five or six hour shift. When I started I realized I was new and was in a learning curve at this HD store and so I accepted the criticism I got from this supervisor. She was the only supervisor who was nasty and disrespectful with how she would correct a person. The other four supervisors are very courteous and know how to get their point across without threats of firing etc. It soon became clear to me that this person would put me down for some small thing every shift I worked for her. I never had any problem with anyone else. After two months at a corporate meeting I stayed after and spoke to the Assistant Store Manager and the Store Manager. I was sot distraught that I broke down in tears and told them I could not work with this person and they have my resignation effective immediately. Either it was that they saw some potential in me or whatever but convinced me to stay on. However this person two months later is still the same. In fact after yesterdays dress down she ran right to the Assistant Store Manager who came and corrected me about the same thing. I bought a soda for a dollar ninety to check out the receipt machine that I had to rethread the paper and got chewed out for this. This was the third time on that shift that she came down on me for something. I was appaled when I confronted by the Assistant Store Manager as there was no reason for her to turn someone in for a mistake made by a new employee when trying to make sure the register was ready for the next customer. When I got home my head was spinning and when I checked my blood pressure it was 190 over 130. Two days before at my Cardiologists Office it was 118 over 78. So as you can see bullying does have adverse affects upon ones health. I am planning to move to another state in March and so have decided to bite the bullet till then. I will lay the facts out to the Store Manager who always is shaking my hand and asking how I am doing. I have been a Director Of Engineering in the past years for a large company and I have fired several employees who worked for me because of their bullying tactics which I would not tolerate. I feel sorry for anyone who has to work under these conditions. Get another job and get out. I have read that people who have complained about things like this have had their hours cut and were ultimately forced to leave or laid off. There are good companies and stores out there where they treat employees with respect and help to properly train a new employee and bring them along. As I said, I will never go out of my way to go in on a day I am scheduled to be off so they are actually the ultimate loser in this case. And in two months I am out of there.

  111. Great website, and uplifting. I just quit my job because of a bullying head of department who dumps all work on others & takes credit for it himself. Very nasty face to face & has the ability to make lies up faster than anyone I’ve ever met. Thanks again for a great website.

  112. Great article! Wish I’d read it a long time ago. My workplace bully always has to have one victim. It’s misery when it’s your turn and hard to watch when it’s being done to someone else.
    “What we allow will continue.” So true! I’m through making allowances!

  113. About six years ago, I was bullied by my boss. I’d always been a ‘boss pleaser’, never finding a boss I couldn’t keep happy. I met my match! I spent a year frustrated, upset and angry. Do I sound calm now? Only time has made it so.
    You’ve all written what is was like. Arbitrary, contradictory orders, micro-management, humiliation, leaping on minor oversights and never, never providing a word of appreciation for hard work done.
    I blamed myself. All the good job reviews I’d received in the past, and, ironically, the ones this manager gave me now, were nonsense. Truly, I must be useless. Feel familiar?
    I’d had about a year of this, also witnessing others “getting it” even worse than I did, when it came to a head. It was an innocuous occasion, a meeting where the boss humiliated me in front of co-workers and another manager from a different unit. The boss, verbose as always, had talked her way through time meant for asking questions of the other manager in order to inform us of how to proceed with a work plan. With ten minutes left of the hour, the six senior employees were allowed to ask questions. I had 5, and was allowed to ask 4. The boss peremptorily announced that time had run out. I respectfully asked permission to pose the final question. She said no. I tried to plead my case. Oh dear. She tore a strip off me, raising her voice like a 19th century school ma’am, telling me she had TOLD me to STOP speaking and that I was to STOP speaking NOW! I said nothing, but I know my body language had to show how outraged I felt. (Incidentally, as the next part of the meeting unfolded, we needed the information my question would have elicited. Being right never helps, however.)
    I suspected there’d be fallout, since that boss loved to create hell for people she felt were being insubordinate as my body language and daring to repeat a question proved I was. Uh-huh.
    So — I went straight to my desk and – what else? Researched! Google found me advice on ‘bully bosses’ that described mine to a T. I discovered text on how I could change MY behavior, and reactions to hers. I bookmarked that. I prepared my mind, and planned my reaction (all while my stomach was churning, my head aching, and I just wanted to go home.)
    The summons came. Called to her office, she ordered me to shut the door and dressed me down again, characterizing my behavior as unacceptable, unprofessional, etc.
    I apologized. Yup. Very nicely, too, saying that indeed, I felt my behavior, exhibiting anger through my manner, was unprofessional, and that I had gathered the material online to guide me to improve. (Acknowledge the behavior, and describe actions to mitigate it.) She nodded and was starting in on me again when I said, “however,” and added how as a senior employee, I had felt denigrated, disrespected and belittled by her action toward me, in that setting. (Describe the behaviour.) In fact, I told her, my distress was such that I had considered seeking employment elsewhere. (Explain how the behaviour affects you.) Note that I said all this earnestly but calmly, using a non-inflammatory tone, and keeping it brief. (Be factual.) Even breathing and hiding trembling hands under the edge of her desk helped. (Keep calm.)
    She was utterly taken aback. She floundered a bit, then said she saw that I was concerned, and that she would follow up this discussion with an email. “Ah, progressive discipline,” I said. “No!” she said, again taken aback. I nodded, and said, “Very good. I will respond to your email.” The meeting ended.
    Her email came, repeating the criticism, but taking into account what I’d told her about my reaction and statement about seeking other employment. I responded in a similar careful, formal tone, reiterating what I had said, and adding that if I were to seek employment elsewhere it would be to broaden my professional horizons and not from pique. I then (this was a bit over the top) said that I was sure her intentions were to ensure the best outcomes for our work unit, that I fully supported her in that and would endeavor to behave in ways that would help her achieve her goals. It took awhile, and advice from friends and my wonderful, supportive husband, to come up with this letter which actually contained a record of my side of the story, but didn’t contain one word that could be deemed offensive. Was it fun? No, it felt awful. Did I get any work done that day? No.
    There was a honeymoon period. Sweetness and light. Never trust sweetness from a bully boss. They’re just finding a new angle.
    Of course, it didn’t stop there. However (I do like that word), I began to take control of MY life (since I could not control her).
    Did I mention my fabulous husband? He’s been active on both sides of labor and union disputes. His coaching got me through. Here, under his guidance, is what I did.
    I tracked everything in writing. Every incident, I noted down, as soon after as possible. I kept all her emails, singly quite correct, but together building a picture of micro-management, negativity, inconsistency and frank dishonesty. I reported on instances I’d observed where she bullied others, yelling, abusing, banging her fist and conducting campaigns of harassment and isolation. I put the relevant collection of these items in a file on my work computer called ‘issue’. I also backed it up on my home computer. Throughout all this period, I did not rise to her baiting, I remained silent and calm and pleasant. My stomach churned, I slept badly, I abused alcohol. But I kept up the painful facade and leaned heavily on my patient, loving husband. (who was mighty sick of hearing about it!)
    My campaign sort of worked. She isolated me. I did not receive invitations to staff meetings. I was not informed of developments that affected my files.
    I developed my own plans, moved my files forward as best I could without too much of her oversight, since she perpetually “lost” my requests for permission. No problem. I kept every repeated request for response. I developed numerous tracking mechanisms and informed her about them, showing them how they made it easier for her to keep her awareness at peak. Kept it all. Always polite, never accusatory. Building a case for . . . I don’t know. It felt like a defensive fortress, in case of further attack.
    I wanted to talk to her manager, but my boss did not allow us to go over her head. That really got us in trouble! I was also afraid to complain. After all, everyone knows that’s career limiting, right? And, really, it wasn’t THAT bad. Not as bad a some others had it, right? Think of an excuse for doing nothing. I made it.
    I remained miserable.
    Throughout these painful months, and despite my own sense of worthlessness, I brushed up my resume, (pretending that I was the good employee described in the CV and not the hopeless case I KNEW myself to be). Fake it ’til you make it was my motto. I applied for jobs.
    I worked to develop necessary skills through intense training sessions. I worked my contacts. Through one of those contacts, I found a temporary assignment in another unit and applied. I needed to study for an exam. I got my doctor to give me stress leave (paid) and studied for it. I passed. I said nothing to the boss until, miracle of miracles, the paperwork showed I’d got the assignment. A temporary reprieve, the assignment morphed into a permanent position. More miracle. While I’d loved my old job, the new one challenged the heck out of me and forced me to develop and grow. I am still there, soon to retire, and it is the most amazing position I’ve ever had. I had another difficult boss, believe it or not, but nipped the cranky behavior in the bud and, mercurial but not entirely unreasonable, he behaved himself reasonably well after I called him on it. I’d never be bullied again, by gar!
    As for all that ammo I gathered? I kept it for years, and even gathered it once when a friend started to take the boss to HR to complain about being bullied. (surprise). My mail box got full. I had IT store the files. They lost them. My home computer crashed. My records are gone.

    The boss? Her boss finally tried to discipline her, and she countered with a harassment complaint. The senior manager, close to retirement, backed off. But the complaints against her continued. Rumors floated to my ears, avid, eager, useless. At last one and then another employee tried to tackle her. She fended them off, brilliantly using the system to counter-attack. She’s still doing it.
    HR senior management argues and intimidates complainants to back off. In-organization mental health pros explain they can advise, but do nothing. An investigation was swept under the carpet, the angry employees who investigated her re-assigned right out of the unit. No ‘official’ complaint existed against her. On paper, our organization does everything right, all policies correct. In fact — it’s otherwise.
    However. . .
    That institutional obtuseness cuts both ways. Madam boss has been hoist on her own petard. As she honed the fine art of making her employees’ lives a living hell, she left a wake of damage, a trail of shattered refugees to other units who whispered their tales. They continued to move up in the large organization, talk behind closed doors, murmur in elevators. She finds herself isolated, no one willing to give her a promotion, no one willing to let her near their work units in our huge organization. She’s poison, and that poison will follow her wherever she goes.
    Her unit is advertising, yet again, for a position to be filled in her team. They seem not to be getting applicants, and not keeping them when some are foolish enough to join the team.
    Senior management has spoken out against bullying. They’ve formed a committee. Rumor has it another complaint has been filed against her. She’s applied for investigations of the files of five people who complained about her, raising the spectre all over again for them. I’m not one of them, and I have no records. But I’ve told one of them, to whom I’m close, that I will stand up and tell my story. Any place, any time. When it’s thrust in my face, I remember it, and shake my head. Otherwise, I don’t think of that episode, or her.
    My heart goes out to those who are suffering through this. My advice is to be canny, be cool (despite the inner turmoil), plot and plan your way out of the situation. When it ends, and, when you escape (you WILL escape), you will take yourself with you. The evil monster, despite its best efforts, will remain behind. You may let it live inside you for awhile, but, eventually, you’ll boot it out, and get on with your life. The sooner the better!
    I’m retiring in six months, on my OWN terms, with a great pension and a loving family. I survived, and thrived.

  114. Recently acquired new supervisor who had been with Co. For 15 years. Reaching into his experience bag, tried to control a slight issue in department by overreacting. Through my experience, 16 years. in same Co. But 12 in actual department, exposed his poor management decision and it was off to the races. After 3 attempts to regain control of this loose cannon, me, with privately held meetings that did not go as he planned. 4 months later, he took 2 incidents, one true and other a lie, and convinced HR I required letter of discipline, performance improvement plan and be placed on 90 day review based upon his approved performance development guidelines. I’ve got 89 days left and only hope is a possible “peer review panal” if another HR rep can manage to arrange one. Discharged is his favorite term to use when giving me his demands to live by for next 3 months. Its amazing how quickly your life can change when someone with athority over you is hell bent. Never being accused or disciplined, never having poor performance appraisal, 6 other supervisors without issue, but HR agrees with him. Also, both HR and asshole found it necessary to let me know if I speak to anyone about this I will be, yep you guessed it, wrongfully (my way of taking power away) “dismissed”. Rock-me-asshole!

  115. Mary Anne says:

    I worked at this job for 20 years an 2 months already , I’ve been there more than my boss I had never felt this way before til this boss .
    All he does is bully all of us yell , scream, curse at us I’m so tired he bullied me for 2weeks and yesterday it took a tool it made me snap .
    For a short period of time I was thinking to walk outside and walk to the bridge to end my life… But I got to think it wouldn’t do no good if I did that cause it won’t stop him. So I went to the HR lady and I talked to her but I’ll see how it goes if she’s true to her word. Cause if he’s going to treat my life a living hell then I will go to the board and let them handle him!!!

    • You did the right thing. It’s overwhelming, but try not to let them become more powerful than your will to live. Reach out to someone, anyone.

  116. kim martin says:

    I have struggled to understand why my coworker doesn’t like me. I knew after the first few months of work that we were never going to be fuzzy friends, we have nothing in common. I have gone home upset and sometimes in tears because of the meanness of her words, actions, and degrading behavior to me. I have been around this issue with my supervisor and I think it will soon go to her supervisor because no matter what I try things are just getting worse. I really don’t think this will go on much longer. It will be me or her and I’m not at all sure it will be me…enough is enough! I just couldn’t put a name on the problem until I found this site! I’ve decided to take my mini recorder in my pocket and record our conversations and hopefully get the proof I need to call her the Bully she is!

  117. After dealing with it, rising above it, and ignoring it for almost a year, I finally verbalized today that I’m being bullied by a department manager at my job. It’s definitely targeted at me, I got the promotions he wanted, And when I got injured on the job a year ago he started in on me and hasn’t let up. I finally work in the industry I’ve always wanted to, and he is absolutely ruining it for me. I’m miserable. I have expressed his poor work ethic, policy violations, and employee de motivation to our boss and she has done nothing. After bullying me behind everyone’s back, he actually resorted to texting me and I forwarded it to my boss immediately. I’m now waiting for something to be done, or I’m going to have to leave and it’s going to break my heart.

  118. Bullied by my last 4 jobs says:

    Wow, I was searching for information on older worker discrimination and found this site. It is bang on. I have had so many bullying experiences in the last 4 years I now have PTSD and am terrified to look for another job. In the first job my ex boss befriended me and then lied to me on several occasions about prospective positions then gave them to other employees. In one incidence a group of 8-10 people were all screaming at me and threatening me because my ex boss and the boss of the mine I was picking up workers from could not set a specific time for the bus to depart. I threatened them both with legal action and the next day they made up their minds and the workers apologized to me.
    The next job was at a fast food restaurant and the owner (who was known for his abusive behavior by nearly everyone in town but me, I found out later) angrily berated me and another new worker in front of other coworkers and several customers. I turned to him and said assertively with a confused look on my face, “really _____? What’s your problem here? Are you serious? He stopped for a few seconds, gathered his composure then proceeded to follow me and chastise, harass and in a demeaning manner, everything i did until I could not longer handle it. It caused me to shut down emotionally and physically to the point where I could not move and barely breath. As soon as he finally walked away, I got dizzy and almost fell to the floor from the stress. Once I regained my composure enough to stand, I told his wife I was leaving. She said, right now? I said yes. My face was white as a ghost. I got in my car and just sat till I could compose myself enough to drive. (This was probably not wise, but I had to get away from there). I promptly quit. That was 21 months ago. I am applying for EI and need my ROE from them and they are saying I can’t have it. So I am now having to deal with them again. Sigh.

    The third job was at a bank. I was doing the computer led training course according to the supervisor’s and company instructions with little to no human help. Only an occasional “how are you doing?” To which I replied, good because I thought I was doing well. When the training allotted time was up, they came to me and put me on the till. (I wasn’t finished all the online training yet and told them that I wasn’t supposed to go on till yet but they put me on anyway). So, needless to say, I didn’t know everything yet. As, I was learning on the till they instructed me not to talk as this would divulge private customer information. (the new tills are all on an open counter and no privacy is afforded the customers anyway). So I was not able to ask for clarification of anything I didn’t understand. This went on for a few days and the Bank Manager called me into her office and asked me “What’s going on”! To which I replied. What do you mean? She repeated her question “What’s going on?” I said, What do you mean? Nothing’s going on. What do you mean? (It was getting funny at this point and I almost started laughing). She said, Well, You’re not doing very good. What’s the problem? I was surprised. I thought I was doing ok. Several coworkers and my immediate supervisor kept encouraging me and saying it takes time. You’ll get it. It just takes time. She then informed me that I wasn’t doing OK. And that I didn’t finish all my computer training. I told her I knew that, and that She was the one who told my immediate supervisor to PUT ME on till, now. She then said, that well, I wasn’t “getting it” and all her years of working in a bank she could tell if someone wasn’t going to ever get it. She then fired me.
    The fourth job involved me being trained by a young woman who was very rude, demeaning and snarky. I immediately took offense to her way of training. She often reminded me that I forgot what she just told me. She was very impatient and inflexible. Everything had to be done EXACTLY how she told me. She stood and stared at me when I was doing the job and would often (like every half hour) set me up to fail by giving me little erroneous tests then chastising me for doing it wrong. She would also fight with the manager in screaming matches and insult me in front of clients. When the Big Boss called me into her office, she told me “I made her tea wrong”, they had cut backs in their funding and would no longer need me but were hiring two students who had previous experience and were already trained (I had completed my training period) and I didn’t take instruction well from the girl who was training. There were times when the girl who was training me warned me to “Watch out because the Big Boss was coming in”. She seemed terrified of a backlash from The Big Boss’s punishment. This job was a wrongful dismissal on two counts. First off they hired two new people to replace me when siting they couldn’t afford me and there was no reason to let me go. (I didn’t do anything wrong) Also it appears to me to be a case of discrimination because I am an older worker and was replaced by young students.
    I did not report them because I live in a small town and feel like I would be black-balled as I have now had problems in three jobs here.

    I am at a point now where I am afraid to work for anyone for fear of this happening again. I am fighting to regain my confidence and self esteem.
    Any positive suggestions on where to go from here would be welcome.

  119. Stacey E. says:

    The bully in my new job is a supervisor. She is capable of being a decent person, but out of nowhere, will just go on what I consider “the attack”. I have yet to do anything worth being yelled at for, yet she’s verbally stabbed me in the back nearly every time I’ve interacted with her. I took forever to get this job, and I’ve never made this much money, so I can’t quit, and I can’t (yet) talk back to her. We supposedly have a union (we’re a government regulated entity) but according to several co-workers, they won’t do anything about the problem. She supposedly has only been here a little over a year, and most of my co-workers hate her. I can’t wait til I’ve been at the job long enough to tell her that her attacks are unconstructive. I don’t know if she has a mental problem, or if they instruct them to be “tough guys”. I could understand these unprovoked attacks if I was doing my job wrong, but so far, I haven’t. An example of her ridiculous behavior is that she told me to come in at 7:30 to start work. I said, “that’s weird”, and she proceeded to insist I define what that means. It was one of the most moronic wastes of my time I’ve ever had with a so-called superior. There is something shockingly wrong going on when “everyone” hates the supervisor. I don’t particularly want to interact with her if I can look forward to being attacked for absolutely nothing. The main boss seems to be a good guy. It’s very odd.

  120. You can stand up to them, but that doesn’t mean anything is going to change, Only the person dealing with it knows this for sure, or maybe that situation is a way for you to do the things you want rather than staying in a job you hate. Unless you’re going to die of starvation on your children will, the best thing you can do is leave. I’ve seen people die of stress from these situations never seeing their retirement, and it’s not worth it. Leave and find your niche in the world. That is why I’m resigning tomorrow. My health has suffered enough to the point I got Shingles, frequent colds, and am up to packs of cigarettes a day. HR is useless and if your coworkers are not in the bully’s line of fire and are comfortable, they won’t back you up, but you can send your reasons to HR when you leave. Karma will do the rest when the bully moves on the their next target.

  121. I left a severe situation about 2.5 years ago and I am still suffering the effects in my new job. I paranoid and suspicious and go about every day in a constant state of hyper vigilance. I have seen some signs of dysfunction here but it all seems magnified by the awful experience I endured in a higher education institution medical facility! I don’t trust my own judgement or feelings and afraid of self sabotage. I think most work places are a dysfunctional pit, with variations of misery. I will never understand any company that allows the destruction of human beings, or the sociopathic narcissists who perpetrate the abuse.

  122. I empathise with you Lisa, all the way. I too worked in education and the system did nothing to stop the talentless , envious slacker who robbed me of my career. They also robbed the students of the best lecturer they ever had but, more importantly, took from me the joy of my job toward unemployment. You are suffering from PTSD and need to get help. Do not underestimate the damage your experience has done to you and that you have genuine cause to get help from your doctor etc. We can never change these people and the places that let this behaviour fester. We are better off out of it and trust me, you will not be their last victim. Stay gorgeous.

  123. Katherine says:

    My question though, why does the person being bullied always end up quitting or getting fired? We have seminars, and counselors and all sorts of things that discuss bullying, especially in regards to kids. But how can we teach our kids to prevent and stand up to bullying when we as adults cannot?

  124. SO TRUE! You should see my post! (I’m a teacher!)

  125. Detroit says:

    children and teenagers that experience bullying can respond by punching the perpetrator in the nose. That typically is not acceptable in most work environments. Also, your classmate does not have the power to fire you or influence/manipulate management into believing that you are the problem, not him/her. Workplace bullying is typically psychological, not physical actions. If workplace “bullying” is physical such as pushing, grabbing, or throwing something at you, or hitting you, then call the police and press charges. I am not a lawyer, but this is either battery or assault.

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