“Rats Jumping Ship: Scattering The Workplace Bully”

  There are many things I don’t understand but I do seek an understanding of them all. One thing that baffles me, is the childlike behavior in the offices across America.   A movie came out not too long ago called Bully.
http://youtu.be/W1g9RV9OKhg  The movie focused on school but it appears that bullying is also found in the Workplace…
   A place where adults goes to make money to provide for their families. A place where many have graduated from college and hold multiple degrees. In some cases; at blue collar jobs, workers hold only a high school degree. But in all cases the Workplace is filled with mature adults familiar with manners and social graces… right?  So, how is it that bullying exists in the office?

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    Growing up, we called it teasing and being picked on… since the late 90’s it has been called bullying  or perhaps workplace harassment. Today the term bullying has encapsulated the phenomenon that has exploded with a generation saying, Enough!   If it hadn’t been for the many deaths connected to cyber bullying, it would have probably gone unnoticed…
    Now, before I go on I must say I come from a different generation and I do not understand cyber bullying. My thoughts are, if you post something negative…Oh well! I can “un”friend  you, erase it or just plain ignore you. Unfortunately, the younger generations live in cyberspace and lack the strength and filters to drown out or adapt to the foolishness. Therefore they are quick to become depressed, as a result; far too many young people have committed suicide over public humiliation. As a kid, public humiliation was a kick me sign taped to your back…then again, that was a different generation.
    I started a new job about 4 months ago. Where I come from, when a new employee comes aboard; you usually welcome them with open arms and most of the staff put their best face on display. Not so where I work, the newbies are hated, look down upon and despised.   If you are the type that goes about doing your work with little play and diligence, you tend to make others look bad and therefore make yourself a target also becoming one of the most hated amongst the hated.
   

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Have you ever seen a building under construction or someone move a garbage can and watched how the rats go running off? Or my personal favorite; rats jumping off a sinking ship!  I went into the office the other day and as I was working at my desk one of my supervisors came for a visit. When the person walked into the room there was about 7 others in it. The room quickly erupted with… “Oh my God!” “Why, why!” “Secret service..!” and then the rats ran off the ship’s deck. My visitor joked about “clearing a room”…but I could see a bit of distress in the person’s face. Surely we joke about things to defuse our hurts and it can’t be easy being in a supervisory position, I know because I’ve been there but that’s not the issue here. I did some digging around and discovered that this person started at the very same level as I. Within a year,  rose up the ranks and surpassed folks that have been working in the building for years. Can you say, ouch! But was this person’s promotion well deserved? My suspicion is, that it was. Guess what, since I’m somehow tethered to this person I am no longer liked.  Oh dear me! The people that I would often say good morning to no longer responded… well, I stopped wasting my time.

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Day after day I sit and endure the whispers… “He’s working hard for that” (meaning a full-time permanent position) or “secret service” “spy” and of course when my visitor comes “Why is ____ here?!” Always said with venom, bitterness and distain! On top of all that,  there’s a constant flow of juicy gossip that continues for 8 hours. The drama is always about someone else talking about someone, talking about someone else…and the people in the room, are the chief disseminators of the news!

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   The culture of the organization is such that it cultivates such bitter division and no one seems to care.
    There is a guy who looks different, he dresses kind of gothic and has been the butt of many jokes, even from a supervisor during the morning meetings… I looked at him one day and thought of all the school shootings done by boys who look like him; who were tired of being singled out and bullied. Yes, I asked him if he was okay with everything he said something like “it’s not that bad…” it is to me! The kid doesn’t come to work to be treated like trash.
   I know I am not alone in this, there are so many more in this country that go into the office to work, get a pay check and receive a bonus of affliction to boot. It’s a crying shame. I guess the school kids never grew up after all…
   I don’t understand how this behavior has become commonplace on the job. People younger than I seem to have a harder time dealing with it and I feel deeply for them. You see, I’m bothered by the level of childishness. But like I tell my kids, cowards talk about you not to you. The knuckleheads can say what they want behind my back because they lack the courage to face me and my friend. None of the people where I work have said anything to my visitor face to face (or to my face)…this dear reader, should tell you the level of their cowardice…whether they are in cyberspace or the Workplace.
    I am sorry that you go through it daily. But please dear reader, hold your head high. Don’t keep it to yourself and by all means find and get the help you need, including filing a complaint. I wouldn’t be too concerned about how you look doing it. Firstly, they already look at us sideways. Secondly, the bully has been allowed to get away with it for too long. You’ve had enough courage to go in every morning, take courage and stand up for yourself.
    Those poor kids that shot up the schools, the college students that committed suicide, the adults that skip work or drink themselves half to death…got it wrong. It’s not the only way to handle it. Cry if you need to dear reader, wipe your tears and take courage. My faith tells me that God is the defender of the weak.
  

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