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Bullied at work? The third way.

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Bullied at work? Workplace bullying? Bad manager or coworkers? Multiple bullied by officialdom, clients etc. Recovery from the trauma, solutions and coping. Building resilience one step at a time together!

21 signs your job is no longer any good for you.

We all get that Monday morning feeling where the prospect of going to work just does not appeal, but sometimes that feeling goes on. Here are some reasons why.

1.Your job is routine and there is no prospect of that changing despite the application form promising great things.

2.There is no talent or educational development that is meaningful

3.You have no input and your ideas fall on deaf ears.

4.You are treated in a disrespectful way

5. Your boss makes it clear that you do not fit in

6. Your colleagues do not gel with you or there is general low morale affecting employee relations

7. There is no unqualified feedback and you are criticised or threatened when you fail

8.There is no respect for you

9. Your salary does not match your skills or input

10.There is a huge discrepancy between salaries between staff and management

11.You are not trusted. You are required to prove every request with evidence, such as sickness, dental or hospital appointments

12.Your manager has no interest whatsoever in you as a person or your personal life, health or mental wellbeing. You are just a widget.

13.You are regarded as dispensable and easily replaceable. You are expected to be grateful you have the job.

14.You are not promoted and are passed over

15.You would not want to be promoted, you just come in, do your job and go home

16.Nothing on earth will stop you leaving on time, every minute seems like an hour.

17.Your job does not meet any requirement for personal satisfaction

18.Your job does not match any of your dreams or goals in life

19.The culture of your workplace is out of sync with your personal belief system. Inside you wholly disapprove of the culture.

20.Management operate their own code. Their behaviour is morally or financially suspect and your company disciplines detractors with impunity and is regularly sued.

21.You have mentally checked out. You are present in person but not in mind

If you are dissatisfied with your job, you owe it to yourself to take action. You may need to update your skills and this can be done in your own time. Your local authority and library may have details of any free or cheaper courses that you could consider.

It may be in your interests to consider engaging a coach or recruiter.

If you are staying just for the money, remember there are many other jobs out there and many employers who may do the same thing as your employer just better!

You could consider uploading your CV onto online web sites to see what is out there.

You owe it to yourself to research any company you wish to join to see if it would be a good fit

Many large recruitment companies and job search engines such as Adzuna,Glassdoor and Indeed may give you comparative salary information and even reviews of companies as a potential employer.

If hating your job is leading to depression it may be time to consult a professional such as your GP or a counsellor

You could take time to work on yourself and spend personal time working on your goals and dreams to try and get back to where you feel you should be and what your aims in life really are.

Could you or would you consider self employment?

There comes a time when being in a job that does not appreciate you becomes soul destroying and no amount of money will change that.

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We want to write more on the so called Gig Economy but feel it requires more research. However, we pose the question is the GIg economy going to fight back against its working practices. THe UBER cases will no doubt be looked upon with interest and New Zealand has passed laws banning it.

Within the economy of zero hours contracts, transient and casual work is a ripe source for the bully.

Curating this article from a company called Workplace Insight we hope you find it a good read and will come back to the subject shortly

Where are zero hours contracts and the gig economy taking us?

If you want to comment on your experiences or views please tweet us at @bellemarsh4

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RANK AND YANK

We should not be human capital!

Human capital, cultural fit, talent analytics, talent pipelines, human resource, asset, unit, value creation . Sound like a robot? Actually, that is one of the many arguably remote descriptions used in the recruitment of employees or prospective employees. You will note the word person has all but disappeared in recent years. Recruitment is described as a science, almost a religion. Detachment from person centred references arguably risks dehumanising us.

We have said consistently throughout this blog that being bullied is not your fault. It is important to realise that you may be surviving at the mercy of an inherent culture.

Is management at your expense

It is the important to recognise that there are a number of different managerial styles. These styles are becoming increasingly scientific, psychological and maths based. Managers may be reliant on structure’s they do not really understand. A bullying culture can develop where the manager risks appearing incompetent to staff by not understanding the higher culture or ineptly explained changes. Hiding incompetency or lack of knowledge can become cultural.

Organisations can become shrouded in secrecy. Frequent inexplicable changes can be more an attempt to shore up a collapsing structure more than anything else and an aggressive, ask no questions stance can be used by employers who little understand their own complex business jargon. These may be reasons why you find yourself bullied. You may not suit the culture, or worse the culture may just be inherently based in incompetency.

What sort of culture do they operate?

There are many possible management styles. Cooperative, linear, flat etc. There are even some companies with no management style at all. However by far the most popular form of style is hierarchical. It is has been regarded as the most productive for the creation of profit.

Is a hierarchy necessary in the modern workforce?

Historically, the role of most managerial styles has been hierarchical, the reason is that hierarchical structures are inherited from the old fashion master and servant structure. This is the basis of many types of companies. It is a hangover from farming and subsequently industrialisation, it is also arguably a hangover from class systems. It may also actually be traceable to slavery and serfdom. Now of course we think we have come quite far on from those times. Yet ask the average employee why we work 5 days a week for around 7 hours and no one really knows. It is just a historic hang over from old historic models of work.

If you put one man in charge of another man it is ultimately inevitable that some of those in the position of dominance may subordinate the other. Additionally, there may be anthropological reasons based on our very evolution. In order for a work place to prevent bullying there need to be very clear structures and cultural changes to protect those within the power structure.

Rank and yank and similar ideas?

Recent structures have emerged such as ‘rank and yank’ and some forms of performance management that have been open to public critique. Perhaps most famously in the case of areas of commercial work where it has been suggested that a Ranking system can encourage a form of working that can lead to commercial failure and even fraud.

Rank and Yank is that exactly what it says, the employee is ranked on some sort of scale set by management and then a percentage of those that don’t pass that ranking are fired or yanked. Such competitive systems are open to misunderstanding or worse abuse and fraud. Modifications of such systems exist in many public and private firms.

Performance management is often badly executed!

Performance management in simple terms means that performance is rewarded and failure to perform is not. The problems arise when companies do not properly implement these models fully or do not really understand what they are seeking to achieve by the implementation of new models. Does your company know precisely what it is measuring or why?

The Learning and development myth.

The other dark sister of this, is the emphasis placed on continual learning and development. Innocuous enough you may think, but development can mean unfair appraisal and heavy reliance on metrics, statistics and arbitrary targets which in reality measure little or nothing. The question is how qualified is the management team to even understand the model they are implementing.

It may be that the corporation simply has not implemented its systems well or that there is a clear and present intention to run a rough and competitive management style. The implementation of aggressively competitive cultures can develop when there is a recession, job uncertainty or political will. It may also just be faddy and slavish implementation of new and untested structures or fashionable leadership ideas.

Dehumanising staff costs the employer dearly!

The unintended consequences of badly working systems are moribund staff, fraud, hidden agendas, and self-protection including workplace sabotage by disaffected employees. Bullying and backstabbing can fester where there is an inadequate understanding of the complexities of a management system, it is poorly instituted or that it is run with slavish reliance to systems at the expence of people. Such poor management simply does not make business sense. Take for example the sort of company that trials every faddish new system it hears about.

Is your management faddy?

Because management will be loath to admit it does not understand its own processes, there is the risk of remoteness to staff. Staff also do not understand the real agenda by which they are measured. Some of it may even be based on pseudo science. Staff who question the inexplicable systems are vilified. Systems are slavishly followed without critique or input from staff, no one understands the system anymore.

Bullies thrive on confusion.

Within this milieu are ripe pickings for bullies. They may guard the system and punish detractors with a religious zeal or they may misinterpret what is good about the system and enforce something rigid. So for example, slavish reliance on figures and targets may override pastoral care for staff or meaningful and visible wellness.

Take time to understand what others do not see!

To understand how you fit and how you can function within an organisation you need to take time to analyse its structure. Is it a structure you can live with and is it a structure that has a heart?

If you suffer bullying it is important to seek professional advice. This site is just the views of other bullied people. Please look through our links and our posts for other ideas for recovery and understanding of workplace bullying.

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Bullied at work. The Soldier effect.

I was listening Eminem’s fantastic song Toy Soldiers and thought to myself that being strong in will, whilst it has its advantages, can also have its disadvantages.

WHAT IS THE EFFECT?

We have have coined the phrase “soldier effect” because frankly it fits. It is not a thing, it just seems to fit what we want to say. OK, so when I was diagnosed with cancer my doctor said to me “You are going into battle, you must fight. Fight to live.” I took chemo and radiotherapy on the chin and always saw myself as a soldier going into battle with my sword and shield fighting a dragon. This was very different from the shadow fight with an invisible enemy, the bully. Like a sniper it haunts you from above, behind and makes sneak attacks.

MY EXPERIENCE

When I went into therapy from workplace bullying whilst in recovery from cancer, (see my story the first post on this site) I realised that my whole life has been one of going into battle and refusing to be beaten into submission. I discovered this pattern was one that had existed since childhood. I had once been a sensitive and artistic child, but I soon got that kicked out of me. I learned the mantra, if someone hits you, hit them back; hard! I guess many of us learned that. So I learned to hit back, but not using my fists. I learned to be steadfast using my rhetoric and my mind. There was an added aspect to this, never give up no matter what, never bend, never walk away, never show defeat. It has it uses doesn’t it? Well maybe?

But then I encountered the workplace bully. I had just fought cancer. My shield was dented and my sword was broken. But I still stood up to them. I had encountered bullies before. But this one was different, this one had the arsenal of the power of management which was like having an AK47, several grenades and a rocket launcher. It was a bit like bringing a bow and arrow to a gun fight. Yes, I would get in a few strikes but eventually I was about to be mortally wounded. Yet my spirit kept me fighting even as the enemy was about to blow my brains all over the pavement or office in my case.
image

KNOW WE HAVE CHOICES

So why am I giving this analogy. Because sometimes we do not know what is good for us. We do not know when to walk away, when to go away and strategise or when to surrender, to lick our wounds and fight another day. We sometimes need to take our dented pride and get the hell out of Dodge.

bullyonline.org suggests that the target is usually an able and talented individual who has a great belief in fairness, rightness and the correct outcome. However, bullies do not operate like that. They will trample all over your village and burn down the church for good measure.

YOUR WORKPLACE MAY BE THE ENEMY

Targets will expect their workplace to support them. They will expect HR to do the right thing. Unfortunately, too many workplace targets have discovered that their workplace would sooner take them out than the bully. There are mercenaries everywhere and no where more than in the work environment. Bystanders, cowards and soldiers of fortune who will do the bullies dirty work.

Unless, you have a battleship to your bosses tank and you are totally sure of your ground and have the support of your workplace and the law on your side, you may not necessarily win the fight today, but you will live to fight another day!

TO PROTECT YOUR MEN YOU MUST PROTECT YOURSELF

You may feel you have a duty to protect your men ie your colleagues and stay in the fight. The question then to ask yourself is, are they on your team or are they on the other side. If your colleagues cannot square up to the bully they are bystanders or your enemy. At the end of the day any innocent civilians can only be protected by a General and that is their workplace and the law. A lone soldier like you fighting alone can only do so much. Do not forget your colleagues have the same options you do. In this you have the right to self-preservation.

DON’T GO IT ALONE

Sometimes, rather than a fighting a guerrilla war alone for years at a time against an impervious bully and their foot-soldiers, this may be time to reflect. Like the injured soldier we must be removed on a stretcher from the frontline and seek help. This may be in the form of counselling, coaching, leaving that terrible job, seeking legal or union advice or medical advice and support. In some cases all of those together. Sometimes the bravest solution is to retreat and find another job, business or life. This is not weakness. All dictators eventually fall or destroy themselves on their own ego no matter how long their dynasty.

TAKE STOCK AND DECIDE!

It may be that taking help is not emotionally possible now. You are just not ready to confront your own demons. In which case focus on other areas of self development. Brush up your CV, re-develop skills, there are many free and cheap courses on line on sites such as Amazon and others. Take up a sport or develop an exercise regime. Chunk down your dreams and turn them into reality, get a career or life coach. What you are doing is making yourself physically and mentally stronger with a view to taking back control. Build your support networks by discussing your options with trusted friends, advisors and forums. You are not making yourself stronger to go back into battle without a a plan or backup to fight alone. You are building the resilience to have a choice.

THERE IS SUPPORT OUT THERE.

A workplace bully cannot be tackled all alone. Like the lone soldier in no- mans land you will ultimately pay the price and that could be your health or worse, your life. Yes, some targets have died from ill health brought on by bullying or worse still, sacrificed themselves, because the fight was just too hard.

Do not under-estimate the pernicious damage a bully can do. You are not alone. See our older posts that have lots of supportive ideas for recovery and our quick links. If you want to be a soldier, know that all soldiers do much better in a battalion of thousands of other soldiers, just like them.

We cannot give professional advice and these are just our ideas and experiences. When bullied it is important to get legal, medical and union advice and professional advice.

If you want to comment on this or any of our posts please contact us on twitter @bellemarsh4 or facebook (share button). We have disabled comments here due to crawlers.

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Are you an introvert?

Whilst I have been recovering from some surgery I read some very interesting articles on entrepreneurship. The general general tenet for entrepreneurs is that they cannot go it alone they need backup, a team.

Bullying can be lonely

Bullying is a lonely experience but I have wondered whether, if you are an introvert, it is more likely that you will try to deal with it alone and therefore suffer more?

I am someone who very much likes my own company and in my dealings in life and work have gravitated toward a rather independent road.

My career path has tended to be one where I work independently on projects and travel a lot, although with managers and senior teams who are part of that structure. This has meant that building support networks and socialising at the main office, where most of the staff are based, has not really featured in my career.

I am not the Christmas party type. I am now wondering whether this has been a mistake? It seems to me that getting to know people in your job from top to bottom (unless your organisation is really toxic) cannot be anything but good. I am talking getting to know people, that is not the same as trusting blindly. To give an example, when I was bullied, I did not really have a bank of support that I could rely on. I was not known by senior managers who might have had more trust in my judgement when I reported the bully. And though I ultimately was completely exonerated from any of the bully’s assertions, the bully was not tackled because they had more trust than I did.

I heard later that the same bully was reported to senior management by another colleague who had taken the trouble to be more visible and known. They were male and I do not know whether that would have meant they had more of a barrack room relationship with senior management? However, their experience was very different, in that their assertion was dealt with swiftly and firmly. They were immediately trusted and the bully paid for that.

We are not an island

We are not an island and from my own personal experience being introverted and sensitive has meant that trust is not my strong suit. Has this backfired? I wonder now whether I would have had more confidence to have left my job and set up my own business if I had been more social and trusting of potential business associates? If I had had the guts to make connections out there that could have lead to a greater knowledge of how to set up and sustain a business?

More importantly, during and after the bullying, I might have moved much more swiftly to seek help both medically , legally and psychologically. Perhaps I need to be more confident in myself?

Getting help.

Whilst I did have the makings of a lawsuit against the bully, I decided that I did not feel personally able to go through with it. The thought of all that scrutiny and weeks and months of angst did not appeal. I do not beat myself up over this or regret it. It takes nerves of steel to go through with a legal suit and it is certainly something that has to be carefully considered with a good legal team.

However, my point is, that I did not even start the basic consultations to consider the strength of my case, because I already knew that as a relatively shy and sensitive person it would not work for me. It might, at least have been worth seeking a view on the value of potential damages for example.

Taking your personal route

Recovery is a personal journey and my personal preference has gravitated toward a quieter more contemplative recovery. But that is not for everyone and we all have choices.

Accepting who you are.image

I do not regret being introverted. It has given me insights into the world that others may not even perceive. I feel with intensity and experience the world through art, beauty, music and nature. I am OK with that. However, if being introverted is stopping us taking chances then it is something we need to work on, through counselling or other ways of exploring who we are and what we really want. (See our section on books to read including the Highly Sensitive Person by E Aron)

The point of this short article is really to recognise who I am and what I am and to realise that it may at times be worth popping my head above the parapet and doing something a little bit brave.

This is just my personal view and cannot compensate for professional advice.

Please scan through the pages at the bottom of this post for other ideas that can assist recovery.

If you like our posts please interact with us and let us know how you feel at @bellemarsh4 Twitter and let us know what you think.

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