This Workplace Bully Has No Chance
I write this as an article of hope for those being bullied in a similar work environment. I am soon to be victorious and in such ludicrously short time. I've only had a job for under 2 weeks and have been at the centre of bullying with up to dozens of recorded incidents per working day.
You must be wondering why or how I will be triumphant, and you must be thinking that it is due to good fortune and it couldn't apply to you. Well, firstly I will go over the background story (it's hard to be brief on such pressing issues in one's personal life) and then I will write some small tips you should consider BEFORE you work for any employer, to avoid bullying or be in control of it from day 1.
I've been a patron at a bar for over 10 years. I recently was volunteering as part of the governing body of the club, but due to financial problems and paid work arising behind the bar I switched roles. The committee deemed me perfect for the job and I was instantly hired.
This committee and the bar staff have separate powers from one another in the venue and it complicates matters. The committee hired me, but the bar staff manage me. 2 managers have been there a long time, and have been at the height of much controversy, irregularities and tribunal cases against the club from ex workers. They are a husband and wife and also live on the premises, paid for by the club's finances.
Previously I didn't think anything of the comments made against them, and took them for normal managers. Only since being hired have I realised they do almost nothing, consistently breach conduct codes, health and safety, the works. Also they in the past only ever kept dumb, lazy and rude workers which only helped cover their own incompetence.
Now, I have joined the team and by nature I like to work hard and make sure every customer is doing ok there are fireworks going off. The managers constantly interfere with my pouring, my cleaning, my duties often leading to me making mistakes when I wasn't going to make any. They are raising their voice to me for things I am doing even though they are being done correctly. I put items near me for literally seconds while I tend to a customer and they lecture me in front of the customer I shouldn't do that when it is clearly obvious I am busy and was going to put it in the right place. They make me take my lunches before I start work, but make me wait by the bar so I don't get the chance to eat or take other breaks and then work 8-9 hours straight. They use foul language at me. One time they intervened with my cash handling, gave verbal abuse while under the influence of alcohol all while technically off duty but "on standby". One manager told me to do something, I then did it only to be penalised by the same manager for doing it.
As you can see, that's a long list. I returned after one particular day of abuse to be told by the assistant manager all of this was recorded and backed up by many witnesses. I have kept a diary of everything. The committee and a majority of the patrons have my full backing and I am keeping very quiet and presenting evidence to them in documented and recorded form for their next meeting. The only reason they have stayed where they are for so long is because they have bullied so many people in the venue even the committee do not know how to handle it. In fact I have been commended for keeping my cool, and monitoring all the gross misconduct they do not get to see while getting certified witnesses to prove it.
The end result will likely be they will be on a final warning, demoted or even axed entirely from the business and then evicted from the premises should the almost 2 straight weeks of abuse I've taken be proven.
Sometimes the bully will do what they do because you are a threat, you seriously undermine their worth to others through all your positive traits and dedication to your work. With bitter irony, it is the bully that is in fact a threat onto themself rather than you the hard worker. Had they just left you alone and tried equally hard, everyone would be happy and nobody's job (yours or theirs) would be in jeopardy.
TIPS TO PREPARE FOR BULLYING IN ADVANCE OF EMPLOYMENT
1) It helps to have friends or good rapport with people in a company you intend to join. So network where you can, though remember it's not always "who you know" and knowing is only half the battle.
2) Always be nice to people you know that use the business or work for it. Build in your mind a positive image of the business. It's going to pay your bills, and the business are not set individuals within itself you may dislike.
3) Have tools to hand that may help protect your innocence if you feel someone may try and sabotage your work or just give you a needlessly hard time. A camera on your phone, a discreet recorder that is accidentally left on in your pocket, or even just a diary to log everything in your day. With a diary, always be unbiased - say the good things the bully has done, the bad things, the good and bad things you have done, and where possible the times of incidents. You must show you are reasonable.
4) Read your contract. And where possible, read agreements that every worker must sign. Know your rights before you start work to avoid making mistakes that will cost you before you've even got your feet on the ground. Know your rights, their rights, and what your work will legally and contractually see as right or wrong.
5) Don't talk about your job in public. Don't social network it. Keep privacy barriers between your current and future colleagues on social networks. If you see people in your new job that may be problematic try and find freely available information on them from such sites without asking for it, as this tends to lead to positive or negative bias. I must stress though do not breach any privacy or data laws :p there is a difference between looking someone up, and a full scale investigation.
6) Most of all, have faith in yourself and your ability to do well, and you will. I figured out my job and can be left to run independently if things were different in just under 2-3 days, this was not without self belief and focus.
7) If you already feel after a couple of days things may not work out because of bullying and it would be more degrading work than moral reward for combating it then keep your head down and try and find another job pronto.
Thank you for reading. I'd like people to bear in mind I have been bullied most of my working life, and have written this for others that feel there is no hope or simply don't know what they can do before it happens or even worse it is far too late.