The Work Bully

by Joe Lavelle on May 16, 2011

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There has been a great deal of media attention on the bullying that is happening among our children, particularly the recent trend of cyber-bullying that has brought great devastation to young men and women through vicious text messages, You Tube videos, and Facebook taunts.  This lack of courtesy and respect for one another is disturbing and each new story is just as sad as the one before. It sometimes seems that, along with wonderful conveniences, technology has managed to disconnect us from civil behavior.

While I would never compare what our young people are dealing with during what is already such a emotional and turbulent time of life, I wonder how often we think about the bullying that some men and women are still facing as adults.  Is bullying just an adolescent problem that goes away with maturity?  Apparently not.

A survey just released by CareerBuilder.com reveals that one in four workers have had to deal with a bully in the office.  They are publicly belittled, forced to do work that is not their responsibility, and are accused of mistakes they did not make.  Women who were under the age of 24 and all workers who were at least 55 years old reported the highest level of bully problems.

Three years ago, Forbes magazine determined that the percentage of workers who had office bullies was even higher and laid out ten signs that such behavior was indeed taking place.

Maybe you aren’t being called names on the playground or getting stuffed in a locker, but abusive treatment in the workplace is still upsetting and certainly can affect your job performance.  How can you be expected to focus on the tasks at your desk when you are worried about the next verbal attack?

Have you witnessed or been involved with a confrontation at work that you would consider bullying?  Was it brought to your employer’s attention and, if so, how was the matter handled?

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