Employees who don’t report workplace abuse are more likely to resolve it…

Workplace Bullying And The Things We May Control

When I was still being bullied at work I did speak up to management and the response was so frustrating that it wasn’t hard to conjure up fantasies of purposely making mistakes or other similar actions.  My older sister, who became my best mentor, counseled me repeatedly not to give in to these desires.  Instead she argued for what she calls the “Girl Scout Approach” [GSA].   Always there ready to slog through any job issue no matter how repetitive, unnecessary, demeaning or delusional.   Personally I draw the line at giving anyone a cookie when they are systematically trying to destroy me.  While this tactic did not prevent the devastating impact on my health or finances, I did survive with my resume intact and actually won in the end.  In no small part because I was able to remain a positive team player able to attract and build a support system of co-workers.  Wayne Hochwarter, a Professor at Florida State University,  conducted research that found that employees who remain silent about abuse were “three times more likely to proactively fix problems, including perceived abuse, than those who reported mistreatment.”   That’s a startling finding:

  • Thirty percent of those who reported abuse slowed down or purposely made errors, compared with 6 percent of those not reporting abuse.
  • Twenty-seven percent of those who reported abuse purposely hid from the boss, compared with 4 percent of those not reporting abuse.
  • Thirty-three percent of those who reported abuse confessed to not putting in maximum effort, compared with 9 percent of those not reporting abuse.
  • Twenty-nine percent of those who reported abuse took sick time off even when not ill, compared with 5 percent of those not reporting abuse.
  • Twenty-five percent of those who reported abuse took more or longer breaks, compared with 7 percent of those not reporting abuse.

Changing Our Work Environments

So, if you’ve reported to HR or your superiors that your boss is a bully and the investigation is going nowhere – if it’s happening at all – and you find yourself in your work cubicle plotting passive/aggressive revenge you definitely aren’t alone.  But, it’s just as easy to imagine that acting out these fantasies can wreak havoc on careers and resumes.  This month Channel 10 in Tampa reported that while findings indicate that our workplaces have become more toxic “Professor Hochwarter does see hope for the employee-boss relationship.”

An improving economy could shift expectations for employees from daily benchmarks to yearly output, and that, he says, could help make horrible bosses a little more human.”

Hochwarter is hopeful that creating a work environment that fosters “civility” and “a commitment to active communication, may cure many of these problems.”   It would be interesting to see how the types of behavior above are reflected in the responses and actions of HR, Arbitration, Mediation, and  Ombudsman services in their attempts to resolve these types of issues.

WORKPLACE BULLYING: A 9/11 Story of Healing

9_11_01 WTCFor fifteen years my husband Farrell and I lived within 3 blocks of the WTC.  On Sept 11th I stood on the corner of Warren and West Broadway as the first plane flew over my head and became lost in a fireball.  I ran an excruciating block to find Farrell and the two of us shared what we thought were our last kisses.  We continued watching the Twin Towers helplessly while so many lept to their deaths.  The crowd around us hushed as the next plane appeared ominously in the sky and the world turned upside down.  After months of evacuation the City finally deemed our building safe and we returned to our artist loft — only to be priced out three years later by the “recovery efforts.”  Our neighborhood had become the most expensive and desirable real estate in NYC. But, whatever happended and wherever we would end up, we were thankful to be alive and have the gift of rebuilding our lives. Continue reading

RELEASED: 2009 Workplace Suicide Statistics

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics  (US DOL) released preliminary results from the “National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries In 2009.” While the homicide rates include incidents like the shooting in Fort Hood they also include other types of homicides at work. Continue reading

Bullied at work in the UK


Recently I asked people who are currently being bullied to send me their stories to share with others.  Here’s one from TWITTER representing the UK:

Anonymous: “I’m still with the same employer, its been an an absolute nightmare.  It started with a newly appointed manager; being particularly nasty, abusive voice mails on my personal phone which escalated to not being invited to meetings, disability discrimination both direct and third party.  I’m partially deaf and was refused safety equipment that the same manager provided for another member of the workforce, being told I would gain no further promotion owing to my disability, being accused of lying about attending the hospital when our son, who is autistic, was rushed into hospital. So, I took that through the grievance procedure and the manager was moved to a more prestigious job with more responsibility and even perks. His PA developed stress and eventually resigned at his new place of work owing to his behavior and treatment towards her…I’ve been with the company for 15 years, and worked hard to get to where I was.  Continue reading

iTunes Therapy for the workplace : )

When I was suffering the tyrannical grip of a vicious boss I found that music helped me tremendously and every day I downloaded a song or album to help get me through.  So a new permanent feature of this blog’s sidebar will feature music videos that are some of my favorites.  They may not all be your taste, but then again they often surprised me (like when I suddenly couldn’t get enough Frank Sinatra.)  For me they were best played LOUD over and over and over again. And, I got so I NEVER opened my email software without first starting the theme song for JAWS.   Continue reading

There Is Hope After The Bully Is Gone And Other Resolutions For The New Year

Midnight is just a few hours away.  It will signal the start of a brand spanking new decade.  Yeah!  That time can’t tick by quickly enough because this particular celebration is really precious to me.  The list of things I am grateful to leave behind include financial losses, family illnesses, broken arms, surgery and being evacuated from my home barely two blocks North of the World Trade Center as I stood by helplessly watching as thousands died.   It took years to recover but I did.  And, shortly after I finally breathed a guilty survivor’s sigh of relief, I suddenly found myself working for a vicious and abusive boss who brought me to my knees.  Once again I’ve moved on and rebuilt my life and – although I bristle when other people say this – I have indeed made lemonade out of lemons by making this site that includes the videos already posted, those in progress,  and meeting all of you.   Continue reading