What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Career Advisor

I have worked for a college for five years. The first two years were good; really good and I thought I had found the place from which I would retire.

Then he, that Director, was promoted to Dean in another functional area of the college and I was left to run the entire department by myself with no time for training and one campus and one off campus center to cover. I did it, but it was two extra hours every day.

A new director came in a year later. Her first conversation was that she wasn't here to make friends. Her second comment was that people at her former college said that she hurt people's feelings. (Okay... you starting to see this picture?)

I would guess that my director is 20 years younger than I and we are a department of two, she and me. That's it.

She slams her door when she is angry. At one point she was angry with me about something and did not speak to me for six weeks. She has not spoken to a Director at another campus since April (four months ago) because she is peeved at her.

She says I talk about her to everyone. This is not true.

This June, with no warning, she gave me an unsatisfactory rating based upon "failure to control my written and oral communications." She says my e-mails are nasty. I have saved 700 e-mails and I can't understand how she could say any of them are aggressive. I can't go above her because her Dean thinks she's wonderful because my director is a mole who tells on everyone when she perceives they said or did something wrong.

Leaving is not an option. I am 59 years old and the job market is impossible for someone at that age. I have to survive at least another year, but I now have all the symptoms of stress. HR says it's between me and my supervisor.

I have an appointment with my counselor and my doctor today to see what to do about the stress and if I can at least get a short term disability.

I cry for hours every Sunday night.

Info On Dealing With Workplace Bullying: What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Comments for Career Advisor

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Problem solved
by: Paul Drakeford

Simple solution. Let it be known that you are collecting material for a book on bullying.

All threats will cease together.

Too Close to Home
by: Rosalea - Kansas USA

Your post is so painful for me to read, so close to home. No doubt an additional part of your treatment is your age. I have learned that as I grow older, the treatment by bullying types grows worse. And to really need the job makes it even more stressful. Yes, you can hang on for one more year...it can be done! I have gone through horrendous attacks and situations where I was unable to leave. I did this one day at a time by treating myself very well privately. I took long leisurely Dead Sea Salt baths every morning and did a simple Meridian Tapping Technique routine to calm me down and give me strength to face the day. In the evenings I'd do exactly what I wanted in order to relax, such as reading or listening to music I love. (I do not drink alcohol as avoidance keeps me more stable.) I kept no social commitments unless they were healing and positive. I wrote out my feelings of frustration to a trusted email friend and to a journal. I did this for more than a year. When there is no other choice due to the age of our life, it can be done. Everything always changes and sometimes Karma bites the bully! (In my case, a fire destroyed much of the downtown where bullying leadership had made my life living hell.) Life does get better once we learn to sidestep, shut out and overcome the toxic situations. And now I am giving speeches to share my story with others as to how I survived years of intense bullying. I am cheering for you!

To Rosalia
by: Anonymous

You talk about giving speeches. If there is any way I can support, help, prevent a Target from being bullied, when I am done here, I want to do that.

I know of other cases at my organization where this has happened. I am sick beyond words that so many go through this.

I would like to know, once I'm gone from my job, how to offer this to organizations?

I can share
by: Rosalea - Kasnas USA onymous

Have Anton give you me email... I will be happy to share what I know.

To: Paul
by: Guitar Girl

You made it all sound so easy... maybe you were trying to be humorous...

Keep in mind that this goes for two people, both my boss and the dean.

It's Not You!
by: JessicaLouise

This woman clearly has a track record of behaving like this. You have the upper hand here, because you have a two year positive track record with your college before she arrived. She has already made it clear to you, (rather stupidly I'd say!) in that first conversation, that she was having issues at her former college, that they knew about. You can use this to your advantage, and do something about this, if you are clever and subtle enough about it, but you have to do this right to make sure there is no legal comeback for you. Find out what dept she was in, at her former college (ask her casually perhaps - be clever!) and contact them informally - in fact I would advise anonymously initially, until you know whom you are speaking with. Explain that you are having problems with this woman at your current organisation, and see what they say. They clearly knew she was a bully, and it looks like she was dismissed on those grounds, so you may well get more support from her former employer than your own current one, at this stage CONT.

It's Not You! CONT
by: JessicaLouise

Her former college may not necessarily support you in your individual case against her at your organisation, but their testimony helps strengthen your case against her. You have information to go on. Do some digging on the witch - I would! She clearly caused problems in her last place, and she is doing the same at yours when you were happy for two years. She has NO right to do this, and for the sake of future employers and staff she needs to be stopped. Either she has a personality problem, and needs a psychiatrist, or is in the wrong job. Whichever- time to put a stop to it. Don't be nice - she doesn't deserve it. Makes me mad, her treatment of you - she's horrible :(

It's not worth it.
by: Anonymous

You are 59. I am 60. Staying in a similar situation almost cost me my life. If I had died, that woman would have danced on my grave. IT'S NOT WORTH IT. Save up all the money you can and get out.

But if you aren't going to....

Having been in a similar situation, I advise that you get advice from a lawyer. You need to start a written record of all communications with date, time, who said what, what the behavior was; foul language, accusations, door-slamming, shouting, screaming, desk hitting, etc. If you can get witnesses, even better. But if it isn't documented, it's your word against hers.

In addition, bring in a usb backup drive and back up all digital communications. If you don't know how to do this, get help from someone.

I ended up in the hospital with a life-threatening illness from the stress caused by the bully director where I worked. After I came back, she got worse. I now out of there.

The next of my coworkers she bullied (for the year after I left) did all of the above. My coworker just quit, has retained a lawyer and is going to take that woman down. I'll enjoy watching.

This co-worker called me the day she walked out. She said she would rather starve and be homeless than spend one more day working with that woman. And she's right. In retrospect, I should have given two weeks notice and bailed the minute that nasty director walked in the door.

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