Getting out from under an office bully — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Feel exhausted, even on a vacation day? That’s one sign you’re being bullied at work, according to a “you know you’ve been bullied at work when ...” checklist by Workplace Bullying Institute.

Other signs that you’re in the bully’s bull’s-eye, according to the Institute:

Experiences outside work

  • You feel like throwing up the night before the start of your workweek.
  • Your frustrated family demands that you stop obsessing about work at home.
  • Your doctor asks what could be causing your skyrocketing blood pressure and recent health problems, and he tells you to change jobs.
  • You feel too ashamed of being controlled by another person at work to tell your spouse or partner.
  • Your paid time off is used for “mental health breaks.”
  • Your favorite activities and fun with family are no longer appealing or enjoyable.

Experiences at work

  • Surprise meetings are called by your boss with no results other than further humiliation.
  • Everything your tormenter does to you is arbitrary and capricious, working a personal agenda that undermines the employer’s legitimate business interests.
  • Others at work have been told to stop working, talking or socializing with you.
  • You feel agitated and anxious, waiting for bad things to happen.
  • No matter what you do, you are never left alone to do your job without interference.
  • HR tells you that your harassment isn’t illegal, that you have to “work it out between yourselves.”
  • You finally, firmly confront your tormentor to stop the abusive conduct and you are accused of harassment.

Tip: Making a private appointment with your bully in order to confront him or her is a necessary first step—before escalating the issue—says Vicky Oliver, author of Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots.

She tells Inc. magazine: “Many times if ridicule is involved, the bully will try to claim it was all in good faith. You should politely persist,” Oliver says. “The reason this can work is because you are showing a little flint yourself. You are not going to cower in fear.”

Read more tips in "Handling a Workplace Bully." And if you’d like to find how your fellow admins deal with a bully, you can read their advice on our Admin Pro Forum: "Dealing with a bully."

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