Work should not hurt: Torment in the workplace
Workplace bullying is yet to be established as a relevant social problem.
Some believe bullies are found only in schools, but no, they grow up and start working in various companies. And they don't necessarily grow out of being their harassing selves. There is a need for businesses to act before bullying takes a toll on the morale of talented people; and also for victims to stand up rather than internalise the suffering.
Many companies in the UAE do not address human resource issues effectively. Unlike sexual harassment, workplace bullying is yet to be established as a relevant social problem. The truth is that workplace bullying is one of the top ‘secret' reasons for people to quit the jobs they love.
Bullies are experts in distorting/twisting the truth like suggesting an employee has emotional problems or purposefully misinterpreting what an employee says. They will be charming in public but intimidating in private, threatening to terminate employment or give a bad evaluation.
They will blame other colleagues for their errors by making unfounded claims of incompetence, for example. The bully will be found controlling, and overworking employees, giving them unreasonable timelines, etc.
The bully loves to taunt and dispense inappropriate comments about appearance, emotional stability of his/her co-workers. They will take credit for others' work, while also demeaning others' roles. The bully will take every opportunity to scream at employees, or keep the atmosphere tense.
The grownup bully is a champion in mental torture. Unlike in schools where the weak ones are picked on, workplace bullies pick good employees whose professionalism and expertise threaten their existence. The bully is basically a weak person who seeks attention through manipulation.
The bully makes sure the victim is branded an outcaste as soon as he/she senses threat/rivalry in performance/promotion and troubles people who may be appear close to the victim. The victim and his/her friendly associates are not in the loop of team's important/exciting events as the bully makes sure that a particular email is not ccd to him/her or that particular announcement is made when he/she is not around. The bully feels powerful by keeping the victim confused or let down.
Meanest of bullies
A friend was suffering at her new workplace. It was not exactly the job but the atmosphere that hurt her. She seemed to be harassed by a colleague nicknamed ‘dragon lady' who was at first the friendliest face in the team but soon turned out to be a bully.
Women make the meanest of bullies as they forge relationships and hurt you through those ties. Women are also easy victims because they are prone to feel fatter, uglier, poorer, less loved — at the slightest provocation.
This friend's office stresses finally resulted in a plethora of health issues. Friends and family asked her to leave the job and reclaim her lost life. She was clinically depressed and soon disappeared from the social scene.
The issue is most common among employers who create cut-throat competition forcing people to fight over little budget, time and status. The hyper-aggressive bullies win the rewards while the rest are reduced to being losers. Over time, the workplace becomes prone to bullying, leading to a negative atmosphere, and loses its efficient employees one by one.
Bullies operate at a psychological level and that is the best way to get back and even out the situation. Be positive and confident. The goal is to embrace life and to stand up for yourself. No matter how dreadful it may sound, report the issue, not bothering that you will be seen as a whimperer, because leaving it unreported will only make the bully stronger.
If your boss is the bully, or if you worry he/she will not take you seriously, go higher up. Don't stop till you are heard. Because, work does not need to hurt at all.
By Archana R.D. King