If you’ve been a victim of workplace bullying (also called “mobbing”) or are currently being bullied, there are several free online sources in which to find relief.
First off, know that your greatness is a wonderful asset. Know that the bully often targets someone competent, friendly, and highly skilled. This threatens the bully and causes them to strike due to feelings of inadequacies. In knowing this, hopefully you gain strength when feeling as though the world is against you. Please relish in the fact that you have wonderful skills to take to another job or begin your own business on the side. You are not trapped, despite things looking so grim. And they may feel grim for awhile.
The economy is still strained. Jobs are scarce despite improvements in unemployment numbers. When money and survival are on the line, people who play by aggressive tactics increase this tendency. Try not to “get on their dance floor,” although this may be easier said than done. Sometimes leaving a job is unavoidable when all other measures are exhausted.
Many questions arise in regard to workplace bullying:
1. Should I report it to management? Will I be viewed as the problem if I do say something? Do I have enough evidence? Will others back me up?
2. Is management part of the bullying problem? If I leave, will this problem follow my reputation in a reference or employment verification from a prospective employer?
3. Is bullying part of the workplace culture? Is it best that I cut ties and move on quietly, knowing that I may spend years of emotional and financial stress fighting the problem? Can I financially and emotionally withstand a lawsuit or arbitration, knowing that my character will be called into question and various personal things may be revealed about me during a trial?
4. Are my family or outside (non-work) friends supportive? If not, where can I go to find answers as to why I am experiencing the stress, depression, and anxiety associated with the bullying or prior memories of recent workplace bullying? If there is no one to turn to, sometimes simply doing online research or finding a good book can provide peace. Long walks are great, too.
5. Is the workplace bullying causing me to lose sleep, thereby exacerbating the problem? Know that bullies love when you’re at your weakest point. This is a huge dilemma since an unknown future (mostly relating to money) causes horrible sleep. Try to avoid caffeine, chocolate or alcohol before bed. If sleepless nights still plague you, trying reading before bed or searching for a new job and saving the results in an e-mail, to answer later (not at 3:00 a.m.).
6. It’s tempting to want relief from the stress through alcohol, tranquilizers or food. Know that alcohol and tranquilizers may bring temporary relief but then have a nasty dark side where you’ll feel worse later. I once knew a woman whose new home was in a six-month escrow. The only way she felt able to withstand her boss during this time (a perceptive and bright female bully) was to take one Xanax before her boss arrived in the afternoon. Once the house closed escrow months later, she quit Xanax forever and moved on from the position. She believed that Xanax saved her job for the short time and helped her not lose the home loan that would have fallen through had she walked out on the job. However, this tactic is not for everyone, especially those with a history of addition.
7. Document incidents (on a non-work source) and save hard copy versions of workplace e-mails. Keep this information to yourself, even if you’re closest friend at work supports you. When jobs are on the line, people will do anything and everything to defend their right to stay employed, which may include not supporting your story.
8. Keep yourself looking and feeling good. This may sound vain, but when you look great, you feel great. Sure it may make the bully mad (usually this is part of the problem), but you’ll feel stronger about yourself. Don’t look like a victim. Again, some of this is easier said than done. It may take some faking on your part, however, don’t let the bully know they’ve succeeded in bringing you down. Most bullies lack compassion and thrive on suffering. Look, feel and smell great. You will feel stronger, even if it’s merely to find another job.
9. Tell yourself this is only temporary. We fully realize how tough the job market is. It can takes years to find a similar position with a fraction of the pay. Consider if you cannot make a lateral move, does the situation warrant getting several part-time jobs? Money and status can be some people’s entire identity. However, failing mental and psychical health causes financial and family problems.
10. Know you are not alone. There are many who have endured terrible taunting, teasing, and even stronger behavior such as workplace violence. Most have survived to tell about it. As difficult as things may seem now, you can move through this!