Monday, August 03, 2009

580 Workplace Bullies

580 Workplace Bullies

Is there a school where they teach bosses to bully workers and co-workers to bully others? Or does it just come naturally?

An item in the Sunday paper detailed the case of a woman of late middle age who was all but forced out of her job, as a health professional and who tried to sue her employer. The story goes on to describe the toll it took on her, on her family and on her surroundings. And it gave some statistics that while hard to verify show a troubling trend.

It said 37 percent of Americans believe they are being or have been bullied at work. The figure seems low. The question should not be "have you been bullied at work," but "have you managed to avoid it?"

It's not that every workplace is a lower east side sweatshop. But almost every place has the potential for it.

There are companies famous for this kind of behavior. And non-profits can be even worse: churches, hospitals, schools. The non-profits hide behind a "good works" excuse to justify brutalizing the people on their payrolls. Governments, too.

Sometimes, the bully is one person -- someone whose life is fear driven. Sometimes it's an institutional mindset.

So what do you do? Roar back? Shrink down? Walk out?

That depends on the case -- and on you. But no matter the solution you choose, this advice might come in handy. It comes not from an expert on labor relations, a gravely pontificating scholar, a pipe smoking psychologist or a union organizer. It comes from a reformed streetwalker named Mikki.

Mikki says you get bullied because you identify with the bully. You give him enough rope to hang you. You want to make peace and to make peace, you start thinking like he does.

If there's anyone who should know about bullies it's women with pimps.


--The administration says taxes may go up to pay for health care. Oops. George H.W. Bush must be smiling about this one.

--Ford, the only solvent American car company is a little less solvent now, and it has nothing to do with today's automotive climate. They've settled an old suit charging one of their SUVS was more prone to rollovers than they admitted at the time. Some said they were so unstable, they sometimes turned over while standing still and empty, but that's not true... right?

--We're learning more and more each day about the habits of our neighbors, now that the AC is busted and the windows remain open. It's not stuff we want to know or in which we have any interest. But it also proves that the windows, when closed, block a lot of extraneous sound.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2009

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