I received a huge response from people from the article I wrote a few weeks ago on the late Nicole Lovell, and how bullying had ultimately driven her to people responsible for her tragic death. You can read the article here. Many people contacted me either directly or through forums asking about how to deal with their own issues of being bullied.
But what I found shocking (and a bit disturbing) were the people who were reaching out to me; Nicole Lovell was a 13-year-old girl. Every person who I interacted with was an adult. Further, each person made it clear that the root of their victimization came from their professional life, their jobs. These people were getting pushed around on a daily basis by supervisors and co-workers alike. Their careers ranged from the private sector, to blue-collar work. Even in the military and the civilian sector of the government. It seemed like no workplace was out of bounds for workplace bullying to occur.
I had one person tell me that her boss would drop random meetings on her and expect her to brief on things that she knew nothing about. Someone else I met confided in me about how they would become physically ill each morning prior to leaving for his office, his symptoms a manifestation of the stress of his environment. I myself had a supervisor lead people down the hall by holding up his index finger and middle finger and keep it close to their nose as they walked behind him. Workplace bullying is very real, and can have serious consequences on a person if not addressed. A work environment is no place for a person to feel humiliated or stressed to the point of physiological illness. It doesn’t belong.
A lot of places justify their treatment based on a “earn your place” mentality. In much the same way as a rite of passage, some professional environments feel like new employees need to go through a probationary period, or a time of “hazing.” This is incorrect; they are incorrect. It’s this kind of mentality that infuriates me on personal level. An individual, who is supposed to be getting paid for furthering a business, is spending time demeaning and humiliating others. After a long day of ruining someone else’s day, he/she goes home to family guilt free with a clear conscience of the hard work that he/she put into the career. Meanwhile, the victim goes home demoralized, and dreading the next day in the office. I wish I could say that I never saw this happen, but the truth is that it is too real and happens all of the time.
There is an organization, The Workplace Bullying Institute, which addresses these concerns and how to deal with them. The important note is that if you are feeling targeted in your professional life, and you have made efforts to make it stop, then you are justified to be concerned. Your professional life is the means by which you survive and provide for your family, and you do not need to risk all of that for suffering that you may feel at the hands of your employer.
Jason Wells is the President and Founder of the National Advancements for Proactive Safety, an educational non-profit organization committed to providing a safe community through intervention processes. He is a former Special Agent
with the United States Secret Service, and holds a Masters of Science with highest honors in Strategic Security and Protection Management. Mr. Wells is currently pursuing his doctorate in Strategic Security with a focus on proactive interventions to stop threat-related behavior. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: workplace bullying