Friday, February 6, 2015

Recovery Post Workplace Abuse: My "so what?" moment

What is a "so what?" moment?  And why is it important?

As I've been working on my goal for 2015 to work towards becoming a writer, I've been researching about memoir writing.  The first part of working on that goal was to read a memoir I already own to analyze that particular writer's style.  Done.

Next up.  Reading a book on how to write a memoir.  Still in progress.  Very early progress.

I'm realizing that it's much easier to read a memoir - or several - than it's going to be to write one.

The author of the book I'm reading writing & selling your memoir, Paula Balzer, talks about the difference between memoirs and biographies.  Meaning the difference between a regular joe type of person like me who has gone through something I want to share with others and a famous celebrity.

I am not rich.  Or famous.  Or probably even noteworthy.  Outside of a small circle of friends, that is.

I'm just a regular person who has gone through a horrible experience (actually two back to back) in the workplace and has survived to tell the tale.  What is going to compel someone to read about my experiences in the workplace?

This is the basic gist (although she writes it quite differently) of the so what? moment.

In my case, the so what moments are occurring not because I want to write about my experience.  Heck!  I haven't even put anything on paper ... er ... I mean computer screen.  Yet.

What I do have in the planning stage is an on-line workshop combined with a meet-up group which will be based in the great state of Washington.

Washington?  What?????  Wait a moment, Suzanne.  I thought you were in Ontario.  Canada.  Which is a totally different country, let alone state.

You are right.  I am not anywhere near the state of Washington.  In fact, I'm three time zones away.

However, during this journey I've met another individual - also a woman - who herself has gone through workplace bullying.  In fact, you might have met her on this blog as she's written a couple of guest blogs for me.  Stasia Sowers.

She has come up with some incredible ideas on how to bring workplace abuse out of the closet and into the open.  One of them is on-line workshops about the phenomena.  The other is a Meet Up group close to her with on-line access to whoever is interested in attending.

As we've gotten together via the internet to discuss our ideas and try to put some form into them, I've done a lot of thinking about my experience.  About what I have to offer a group of women who are going through the experience and desperately want some encouragement.  That's where my so what? moment comes in.  I don't have anything positive to offer.  At least not in the sense that they can resolve the issue.  Not in the sense that a dysfunctional work environment will - or even can - become functional.

They can't.  I couldn't.  It won't.  It didn't.

There are no magic wands.

Bullying involves an incredible imbalance of power.  Like the proverbial young child paired up with a heavy adult on the seesaw (or teeter totter - depending on which wording you are used to).  The kid is stuck up in the air and he's not going to get off the seesaw until the adult allows him to.

Bullying is not going to stop unless the bully is somehow, someway motivated to stop.

Unfortunately, in most cases they're not.

Bullying is not about change - at least to the bully.  It's about maintaining the status quo.

I could have stood on my head in the corner and sung the hallelujah chorus and it would not have changed a thing.

Bullying is not about the person who is targeted.  It's all about the bully.

And that is what I do have to offer.  Insight based both on my experiences and on the research I'm done both while I was being actively bullied in the workplace and now after it's ended.

And this is my task right now:  to get past what I can't offer i.e. hope that the situation will magically resolve itself, but rather how to put the whole totality of what I do have to offer in context.

Until tomorrow....

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