So often we think that when we leave high school or university, the turmoil of bullying is left behind upon entering the real world – the truth of the matter is, no matter how old one gets, bullying never ceases. Bullying is one of the few things that no matter how old we get, no matter where we go or what we do, will always exist. When we enter the workplace, we go in with, at times a sense of naive as we think any bullying we experienced when we were younger will stop now that we are older and wiser. Though we can wish and we can hope, sometimes we find ourselves in situations that are not only uncomfortable but also unwarranted.
In America, it is estimated that 60 million experience some form of workplace bullying while 61% of those claim their bullies were upper management. From that staggering number of 60 million victims, 40% will go on to experience stress-related health problems, such as anxiety or panic attacks and even depression.
Set Your Limits
It is not always easy dealing with bullying – for some it is hard to know the lines between jovial and office banter to workplace bullying. At times, it can be a fine line but that is where one must set the boundaries and limits to what they consider to be bullying and what they consider to be just locker room talk. Though at times it can be intimidating and hard, it is important to set the limits of what you tolerate and consider bullying. Sometimes openly expressing what makes you uncomfortable is the first step to preventing if not stopping workplace bullying.
If openly expressing your limitations and what you consider bullying is still not respected then its important to start documenting.
Keeping Record and Keeping Track
With many identifying management as their workplace bully – it can be hard to not only stand up to them but to also report the bullying itself. Sometimes the best thing that can be done is to record and document the instances of workplace bullying. Keep a journal with the dates, times and instances of the bullying. It may seem as though this will do nothing – but when you need to file a report with union reps or to confront your bully, it wont be just your word against theirs, it will be documented and proven.
Bullying isn’t just verbal – it’s emotional and psychological
We often associate bullying with words; however, some of the worst forms of bullying and the ones that can have the most impact is the type of non-verbal and emotional bullying that is often associated with women in the workplace. More often than not, women are subtle with their bullying unlike men who tend to be explicit and direct.
The stress we experience in work can sometimes be enough to drain a person, add in bullying and sometimes you can find yourself exhausted emotionally and physically. Sometimes the best thing a victim of bullying can do is to ignore the bully’s advancements. Easier said than done but trying to keep your head up and ignoring their words, their actions can be a step towards silencing the bullying.
You aren’t alone – Don’t tackle bullying alone
With 60 million victims of bullying it’s important to remember one isn’t alone. In a workplace environment, we often may feel ashamed or even embarrassed that we, as an adult could be a victim of bullying but what one has to remember is that bullying does not discriminate. Bullying does not stop because we enter to workforce or that we are no longer on the playground – bullying can actually be worse as adults. More importantly, bullying when it happens in adulthood can have more repercussions on our health, especially with regards to our emotional and mental health.
Sometimes we don’t always know or want to deal with bullying – we think that it’s below us or that no one will want to help but the reality of it is, bullying is as much a mental health matter and issue and the impacts of it can have consequences that not only impact the workplace but also ones personal life. From esteem to confidence, bullying, when it is not addressed can push a person to their limits.
Bullying in the workplace can slowly break down one’s moral and it can be poison to the environment. If you feel as though you are a victim of bullying or maybe you know someone who is a victim of bullying it may be time to reach out to management to put a stop it to it. Depending on the severity and the situation, you may find yourself needing to take a mental health break, which could result in you looking into social security disability. Don’t wait for things to escalate and don’t risk your well being for a joke – you never know when it may be too late.