With the many back-to-school topics, bullying is a hot one. But all the topics (apart from the cute little kid lunchbox notes and stuff), like clothes, supplies, bullies, authority figures, political agendas in the background…reminds me that the corporate world shares a lot with elementary school.
I won’t talk about where I work or what they do on the blog, but I do want to share that I’m dealing with a bully. I don’t hold this against my workplace. A company is made of unique individuals so there’ll always be ones more extreme than others—sometimes good, sometimes bad. And, for whatever reason, one of the bad ones has decided I’m a target. I have a fantastic boss and a great boss’ boss. But what I do hold against my company is the way they’ve allowed the bullying to continue for as long as it has.
I’m not getting slushied or physically shoved into lockers. But I’m taking quite a bruising from this mental warfare. It’s an ugly side of working that I was naïve enough, until now, to think wouldn’t happen. Sometimes people don’t get along, but that’s nothing that talking it out, realizing you both want the same thing even if you disagree about how to do it and developing an eventual mutual respect can’t fix…Oh yeah, unless one of you is working in earnest and the other party is just an ass with an ego for days.
I like to think of myself as a pretty strong person. I’ve worked for charities, overcome adversity, and been an all around stick-up-for-the-underdog, protect-those-who-can’t-protect-themselves kinda gal. Not that I have any illusions of perfection or superiority, just that I want to be that kind of person and I try to make choices that benefit everyone. And even on my worst day, I’ll ignore people. Calling them to harass them about a made-up issue wouldn’t cross my mind. Living in the your own world where you can be awful and then explain situations to make everyone else look like the bad guys is actually an impressive talent.
Luckily, I do not work for this person, and the person I do work for is also treated poorly by this unstable individual. Today, it accumulated and I officially had enough. I had a very professional conversation with the person and then hung up… and I cried at work for the first time ever. But they weren’t sad, woe is me tears. They were hot, angry, unprofessional, all I can do is cry because I can’t kick you like I actually want tears. It was an embarrassing display of human-ness that I try to avoid at all costs at work (successfully until now).
Even luckier, I have my boss’ support. And after my display, I also have some more serious attention toward this individual’s behavior. We’ll see what happens. It’d be really uplifting to see one won for the good guys. Otherwise, I’m calling Mayhem.
Big picture: me, my health and my contributions to my company are much more important than this individual. I will continue to work hard and look for ways to continually improve for my company’s future and my own. However, it was a valuable lesson that I’m defintely paying attention to. I’ll go right back to letting stuff roll right off me and smiling–only with a better understanding of those (at least one) who don’t share my perspective or any desire for a positive outcome.
I also just want to add the disclaimer that I’m not judging this individual. I don’t know what kind of parent, driver, voter, cook, boss or citizen this person is. Maybe a wonderful one. Maybe an orphan-rescuing, disease-curing, multi-lingual superhero to cheer for on the weekends. But in my experience, as my coworker, they suck. Just a fact.
I’m so glad tomorrow’s Fit Friday! I’m ready to shake off this week, get back to regularly scheduled (lighter) greenhorn programming and be one day closer to the weekend! 😀
Since I know it’s more prevalent than anyone would like, please share any bullying stories you have. Or how you avoid them.