HBO’s “Getting On” and Workplace Bullying

409454_PA_Getting-On_27x40Given the epidemic of toxic workplaces in the healthcare industry it shouldn’t surprise viewers¬†that the second season of HBO’s “Getting On” opened with the topic of workplace bullying front and center in a very sensitive way. As the title implies, the¬†show takes place in a hospice center. Nurse Dawn is being pressured by her superior to help with a research project in addition to her already emotionally overwhelming job tasks.

Dawn’s immediate supervisor, Patsy De La Serda, tries to help her understand the situation she’s in:

“Dawn, I think we both know what it is. It’s Dr. James. You’re in an abusive and toxic relationship with a woman who hates women and she’s taking it out on you. I think you have difficulty maintaining firm boundaries and saying no.”

Dawn responds: “I say no to her all the time even though it’s very hard for me. It’s true that I am sensitive and it’s true that I let people take and take and take and take and I’m not very comfortable it doesn’t come natural for me to focus on me.”

Patsy counsels her: “Which is why we need to work on your mindfulness training. You can’t be solid in life unless you’re solid with yourself. I take care of me first and then you. I put my seatbelt on then yours. Mindfulness is mind fullness.” [more below] Continue reading

The “Enlightened” Narcissist

Enlightened_StuntArt_LauraAmy, played by Laura Dern, is the main character in the Golden Globe winning HBO series, Enlightened. The program’s brilliant co-creator, Mike White, often steals the show as loveable, and presumably invisible, Tyler. When the marketing team for the series contacted us with artwork and a request to help promote their show on this blog I couldn’t resist imagining what would happen if “Amy”, whose newly enlightened state leaves her with an inner need to defend the victimized, decided to advocate against workplace bullying. The way Dern & White have written her character, she would no doubt end up as both victim and perpetrator. I once had a friend who was an Ad Exec who suddenly saw the light and the crass error of his career when he spent a weekend at an EST “experience.” His marketing talent helped him quickly rise within the packaged enlightenment program. That is, until he was ousted for attacking too many disciples as not getting “it.” He was brutal in his desire to show the newbies that they could never reach his level of awareness. Amy would no doubt find bullies everywhere in her corporate walls and neglect to see that she has become one herself. Here’s an example of a storyline from season one: Continue reading