Bullying in the Workplace ~ A Personal Exposé

October 21, 2014 at 6:19 am 7 comments

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Bullying In The Workplace Week is October 19 ~ October 25

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and injustice.” – Robert F. Kennedy

I am ready to share a story with my readers, one that has been rising up in me like an emotional tsunami,  begging to find an outlet to release its pressure. Writing… my perfect outlet. Sharing… my greatest catharsis.  You could say, with certainty, that over the past two months I have embarked upon a voyage that has significantly served as a journey forward as much as one inward. As should be with all voyages, there are new opportunities to learn about the landscape and the people who make up the villages. The excitement of discovering new cultures and appreciating the universal needs and desires of all people, reminds us that we are never very far from home. On one such recent journey, a career opportunity of a lifetime became a turbulent and unpredictable ride instead. In hindsight, the “perfect-ness” of finding my dream job as a full-time writer for television, may have come with some hidden agendas that were never exposed (thus hidden,) or so subtle that I refused to see them behind my rose colored glasses.

After surviving a lengthy interview process, writing assignments and meeting with dedicated and loyal executives, I was offered a career as a pre-production researcher/writer to develop original, creative talk-show style segments. I was entrusted to create compelling content, and to tell purposeful stories that are going to positively impact the lives of our viewer audience. “Sign me up!” was all I could wish for. “This job is right up your alley” was the emphatic response of anyone and everyone who knows me. I called it write up my alley!” My final interview question was to describe myself in one word. Hmmm… compassionate, caring, trustworthy, creative, empathetic, hard working, a team player, purposeful, all came to mind. How was I to know that adjectives like naïve, gullible, trusting, victim, unassuming, would later describe how I saw myself? Nor did I ever expect to feel the forthcoming vulnerability from an organization that touted a “collaborative, synergistic, approachable, purposeful culture.” A company that welcomed me into their “family.” Seemingly genuine to have me join the ranks of other “creatives” and ambitious “out of the box” thinkers. Within the first month of employment, I realized that my manager had a different path intended for me. My “out of the box” approach seemed to bother my boss and he began to curb my enthusiasm. He attempted to do so through controlling and intimidating measures and through insults and negative, discouraging feedback. His so-called style of managing escalated into a daily dose of bullying.

Note to Self and Others: You are not alone. You did not cause bullying to happen.”

My boss reprimanded me for over thinking, and for spending too much time on (invaluable and necessary) research. He criticized me for using “my” personal time at home to write and create, and confined me to produce within a controlled period of time (on his watch.) Professional “attacks” blended with negative personal comments and clear signs of anger through his actions began to instill a level of surprise, shock and fear for my career and my health. Embarrassment, humiliation, verbal and non-verbal threats brought distraction to my workday. The very job I loved and adored, performed with pride, compassion, and intelligence, was being sabotaged by my boss and his chronic attempts to make me feel incompetent and unworthy of this coveted position. “This just may not be the right job for you” were his nearly final words to me. I responded, “This is the perfect job for me, and I will continue to embrace it with dignity, professionalism and passion.” Those were my final words to my boss.

Fearful of losing the job I love, I chose to take a very courageous step and file a formal complaint with Human Resources. I had prepared detailed documentation of my completed work along with specific dates, times and forms of abusive remarks, non-verbal intimidation and conversations that undermined my abilities. As I expected, Human Resources was supportive and protective and I had a sense of relief when I left the office that day. I had felt that through the bullying and intimidation, my emotional wings had been clipped. But after purging the truth to HR, my wings began to grow back and I could fly freely again. “All is as it should be,” I thought to myself. Two and a half days later, HR and an executive called me out of my office and asked me to follow them into a conference room. I was fired on the spot for “lack of performance.” In shock and devastation, I asked about the bullying and abuse I was subjected to. I was informed that, “there was no abuse. It was my perception.” They wished me luck, assisted me in packing up my office and escorted me out the building. I cried all the way, while they tried to even “control” my emotions that last day, completely insensitive to my predicament.

While my employer had the final word, terminating me from my role as researcher/writer, no one can ever take away my paper, my pen and the gift of being a wordsmith. It is not about having “the last word,” but about how you use your words. Since actions speak louder than words, it is through this vehicle of blogging that leads to providing solutions, awareness and ways to stop this form of abuse. Through my sharing, research, counseling and empowering others on this vital subject of bullying in the workplace, I can only hope to open up a critical line of communication through continuing this dialogue. Peruse the incredible websites below to immerse yourselves in resources and education that allow us to protect our children, families, friends, colleagues and yes, ourselves.

October 19 ~ October 25 is Freedom From Workplace Bullies               Bullying is a systematic campaign of interpersonal destruction that jeopardizes your health, your career, and the job you once loved. Bullying is a non-physical, non-homicidal form of violence and, because it is violence and abusive, emotional harm frequently results. You may not be the first person to have noticed that you were bullied. Check to see how many of these indicators match yours. Remember, you did not cause bullying to happen.

The primary reason bullying occurs so frequently in workplaces, is that bullying is not yet illegal. Bullying is four times more common than either sexual harassment or racial discrimination on the job.

http://www.workplacebullying.org/2014/10/19/fw-2014/

The Workplace Bullying Institute’s Definition of Workplace Bullying

Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators. It is abusive conduct that is: Threatening, humiliating, or intimidating, involves work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done, or verbal abuse. This definition was used in the 2014 WBI U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey. Its national prevalence was assessed. Read the Survey results.

Workplace Bullying  is driven by perpetrators’ need to control the targeted individual(s), It is initiated by bullies who choose their targets, timing, location, and methods. It is a set of acts of commission (doing things to others) or omission (withholding resources from others.) Requires consequences for the targeted individual

Escalates to involve others who side with the bully, either voluntarily or through coercion. Undermines legitimate business interests when bullies’ personal agendas take precedence over work itself. Synonyms that reflect the seriousness of bullying: Psychological Violence, Psychological Harassment, Personal Harassment, ‘Status-Blind’ Harassment, Mobbing, Emotional Abuse at Work

Euphemisms intended to trivialize bullying and its impact on bullied people: Incivility, Disrespect, Difficult People, Personality Conflict, Negative Conduct, Ill Treatment. Not calling bullying “bullying,” in order to avoid offending the sensibilities of those who made the bullying possible, is a disservice to bullied individuals whose jobs, careers, and health have been threatened as the result.

http://www.workplacebullying.org/individuals/problem/being-bullied/

Workplace bullying is a complex phenomenon because it is systemic with the majority of causes dwelling in the work environment ~ organizational culture. It is much more than personalities of targets and perpetrators. Thus, to stop it, we all need to pressure employers to stop running on autopilot and allowing bullying to happen as a normal routine way of doing business. Professionals need to pressure employers to reign in their out-of-control miscreants, to stop rewarding the misconduct, and to establish a positive workplace culture free of abusive conduct for the future.

 

 

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Fight Like a Girl B The Difference

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Aubrey  |  October 21, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    So glad you shared your experience with others! It’s good to know that no one is alone

    Reply
  • 2. Vickie Mazza  |  October 21, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Beautifully written. You will persevere
    Jayne. I have no doubt. ❤️

    Reply
  • 3. Ed Bennett  |  October 21, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Jayne,

    Another terrific article. Sorry the story became so personal. It’s like a good country song written from the heart. Your message will resonate with many and empower those who may experience similar inappropriate behavior. Thank you for sharing. All my love and keep writing from the heart or for the heart. Ed

    Reply
    • 4. jaynebonilla  |  October 21, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      Eddie, your support, faith in me and the motivation you show in reading and sharing my thoughts, makes me ever grateful to have you as my friend.

      Reply
  • 5. Dale Eisenshtat  |  October 22, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Jayne,
    The way you shared this difficult personal experience was amazing! You continue to bring the sunshine out on a rainy day and move forward with a positive outlook. Keep writing from your heart and soul! With so much pride and love.

    Reply
  • 6. jaynebonilla  |  October 25, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Thank You Aubrey, Vickie and Dale for taking the time to read and comment and share. Words are the catalyst for Actions.

    Reply
  • 7. JoAnn Laskin  |  October 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Workplace bullies were often schoolyard bullies or were bullied by others. They have not learned the social skills that would allow them to communicate with others and treat others with respect.

    Reply

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Welcome to my blog!

"It is better to improve than it is to prove"
- Jayne Bonilla

Since the road to success is always under construction, this blog is intended to serve as a visceral compass empowering readers/writers to find their own direction along the way.

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