Tuesday, November 19, 2013

When Did the Workplace Become So Dangerous?

As I work through this series on bullying, what it is and why it's important to be able to recognize it and deal appropriately with it, I am going to use different formats.  Some will be like the last post on the definition of bullying, working with my research and giving it to you the reader in small bites.  Some may be reviews of books that I've read which have helped me on this journey of self discovery and recovery.  Hopefully, at some point, I'll be able to recruit some guest bloggers to give their perspective on either this challenge or other life challenges that they've encountered and are working through/recovering from.

Today, I give you my thoughts, as written down more than a year ago.  This is only a piece, a small piece, of my story.

This is the prologue I wrote for what appears to be a "book in progress" I've been working on and off for over three years now about bullying in the workplace.  Actually. more off than on.  It's working title is Taking Off the Rose-Coloured Glasses:  What to do when Conflict Resolution doesn’t work AKA The Bully in the Corner Cubicle

Bullying: When did the workplace become so dangerous?

I think perhaps the workplace changed and became dangerous sometime in the interim when I was busy raising my children, occupied with the home and family and not paying attention to the larger, outside world.  

Maybe it was when I ran my own typing service and was self employed and again living within a world of my own making.  

Or maybe just maybe, it has always been there – in the background, the elephant in the office begging for recognition.  Begging for someone to come forward and tell it like it is.  Clamouring for a voice for the voiceless, power for the powerless and justice for those whose lives have been irreparably damaged by the hidden, unseen, unspoken phenomenon of bullying in the workplace.  

I am a victim of bullying in the workplace.  Not once but twice. 

I am also a victim of bullying several times in school.  My daughter was twice a victim of school bullying.  My cousin was bullied in her workplace.  As I open up and talk to people I run into, I find that the woman who now owns a bead shop was a victim of bullying; ditto the woman who is a server as a local restaurant; a friend on Facebook, someone I met in a computer workshop.  

All the stories are different.  But all the stories have the same common themes.  Injustice.  Severe stress.  A workplace unable or unwilling to hear the victim and take appropriate action.  

And then the breakdown of health and the ultimate early leave taking of the victim.  

I have just lost both my health and my job courtesy of my second round of bullying in the workplace.

Workplace bullying is a very complex issue.  No two scenarios are identical but there are threads running through each one.  So far, I've not seen one example of serious, down-to-earth, or what I call tai-kwon-du bullying resolved by management and Human Resources or the union.  Why?  Because none of these sectors have seriously studied the issue and learned of its patterns.

In my present round of bullying, it took me approximately two years to realize what was happening to me in the workplace.  That it indeed did have a name – and that name was bullying.  

Since that time, I have been researching over the net what bullying is, how it relates to me, and does it relate to me?  How to combat it.  It was through this search that I discovered that what had happened to me earlier in my prior workplace, although very different in the way it was carried out, was indeed bullying.  

Since the time I discovered that I was being bullied in the workplace, I have tried, unsuccessfully, to have it stopped.  

This is my story and what I've learned as I've reluctantly trudged down this road I would rather have avoided.

And that is where I will leave us today with this post.  This is indeed my story.  My thoughts.  My perceptions.  My journey.  And, ultimately, my journey into recovery.

See you next time....

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