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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Being Different

by Lisel

I work in an office environment and get along with the boss, his boss right up to the MD. I have never been one to join in social events etc. I often keep to myself although work as a team member. A lot of the people I work with I have known two years. I am the highest paid person there as a tutor but no one knows this except me and my boss.

Just before Christmas a colleague a newbie claimed I was talking about her. My boss pulled me aside and asked me if I had I told him the truth that I had talked to her but not what she claimed I said. I thought that was the end of it. Then my boss told me 'they' were saying I kept myself too much to myself and I had to join in more.

I talked to my colleagues and they all said the same thing. They thought I had not changed and agreed that if there was a problem they would talk to me directly. Feeling better I became happier, in fact the happiest I have been. I have more work than them and always get my work done on time. Appraisals are due in a few weeks.

This last week after returning from the Christmas break I had not been able to be with my colleagues a lot because we were being audited and my boss wanted me to get all the paperwork in order which meant staying behind till 7pm four nights a week. I normally finish at 5pm. I only said a few sentences to people usually in passing.

My boss pushed me into a meeting with the auditor so I got roasted instead of the boss then immediately after that my boss told me three people had complained about me - he said he did not believe them and was not going to take it further but would not tell me who (although I do know who) or what was said.

He told me to be ultra careful when talking to colleagues about other work colleagues. I was confused as I said I had said very little and asked him to tell me what was said. He refused so I was wondering how I am supposed to watch what I say on certain topics if I don't know the topic I was supposed to have talked about anyway.

When he left the building I returned a phone to a colleague and accidentally dropped in onto a file and it slid down the file. She was busy on another phone so I went back to my room. The door slammed as my window was open. The next thing I knew one of the said colleagues came in and proceeded to give me a lecture as to how I'm not a team player and how badly I had just treated this other colleague.

I was gob smacked. My boss rang and I told him. He heavily suggested I apologize. I did but felt I did not need to. Later on the colleague slammed my door yet nothing was said. I have not said anything to anyone. Irony is I have not had time to stand around and talk like the others do!

Should the boss have told me what was being said ? I am keeping a diary and recordings of any conversations I have with people now.

Comments for Being Different

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Being Different
by: Linda Guirey

Hi. Your boss doesn't have to tell you what is being said, but a good boss will know that it can do more harm than good to make allegations like that and leave them hanging.

Personally I think there is the need for some more talking in your group and with the boss present. I have been a manager for over 18 years and in this situation I think I would firstly talk to people (if they are my direct reports) one to one, to find out if there is anything that is causing tension or stress, or anything that is proving difficult. I would also ask them to be honest about anything they thought I could do better.

Then we would all come together with my boss present and talk about the perceived recent change in the team dynamics and how we can all bring it back to effective and supportive team work. But that has to be done in an effective and facilitated way. That means there are ground rules about how we talk about one another in the meeting, respect, no shouting and one person talks at a time.

Unless something like this occurs, you will always be wondering what is being said about you and to whom. Good initiative in documenting everything - very important in this situation.

Linda Guirey - Professional Speaker, Facilitator, Business Coach and humor consultant

new events
by: lisel

today one of the placements and a customer told me what had actually been said and it was a private conversation i had with another colleague over 5 months ago - she didnt seem upset then!! she had mentioned she had noticed alot of the people in the office used patwar talk i commented in a priovate conversation that i knew but if i talked in my own slang i would get pulled up for it - now 5 months later she is accusing me of being a racist and the other comments were about me being the boss' favourite and that he always takes my side etc etc basic jealousy i text my boss and told him i knew about what was said but didnt say where i had heard it from and that he had to come and see me and tell me the truth unless he wanted to prove he didnt trust me . On entering the building he came to me and told me but he also mentioned two customers who had complained about me and that his boss was going to discuss this with me on thursday once again i was stunned into silence but i did say who wont kill you only makes you stronger again he refused to tell me anything and said he prefered his boss to say something - again another customer came to me concerned about what two other customers were saying about me and that turned out to be othersa in the class saying things they found uncomfortable its a class for unemployed mums and they talk about their families and problems and thsi is what is supposed to have upset them and they said they felt they did not get as much attention yet they have recieved more attention as they kept asking me for help!!! i did however see them talking with the colleagues that made the complaint so i have to wait till thurs till i get a 'telling off' i have tolds my boss i am not ther to make friends but to work and if he wanted to keep me there then he had to stop listening to small talk and let me get on - he told me the centre could not run efficiently if i left and he is now concerned - i have told him if he doesnt trust me i cant work for him - all day he has been ultra nice and told the others to leave me alone and let me get on with my work- i am now not being spoken to but you know i know i have done nothing wrong i can hold my head up today i said hello and smiled at all of them today and went out of my way to be positive back to the old me - they didnt like it - especially when one of their friends said 'are you ok' and i replied couldnt be better in fact better than that no negativity is going to get to me today or any other day no matter how hard people try. the three women marched off and slammed doors - i refuse to let bullies win i am good at my job and i want to keep it .roll on thursday

by: Anonymous

on thursday i was shown the letter from the customers complaining and i had to laugh out loud non of what was in the letter was actually said by myself but other mums in the group which they joined in they did have as comment which stated i said my son was a computer hacker! something i never said and told my boss that needed to re addressed or i would take it further myself he agreed. i also said i hadf nothing to say as he should know me well enough by now to know if i was telling the truth he backed me and said he believed me and said he was going to drop the complaint as it held no ground he then told the others and they were not amused- one by one they came to me when he left the building and said 'did you say ...... about me ' I told them the truth no I didn't one agreed with me that the private conversation i had with her over 5 months ago meant I was telling the truth as I automatically associated it with her instead of what happened in the classroom and she admitted she jumped to the conclusion i had said something when on reflection it was not something I would say and we had discussed this 5 months ago she apologised and we moved on another came to me and said did you say I actually said yes but not in that context after I told her what I said she also apologised next another came to me and we cleared the air all except one person and I knew she was the one who started it so I approached her and asked if we could clear the air she was very cold but accepted that i had said nothing that i was supposed to hopefully it has ended all agreed in the end it did not sound like me and they should have come to me instead of assuming things -

Twisted Words
by: JessicaLouise

Sounds to me like your words have been twisted to suit one person's agenda, and they have managed to recruit others, including the two students/mums, to join them. Sounds hard but is surprisingly very easy to do - it's amazing how people become pack animals in situations like this. It's how bullies get a foothold in the first place - their success depends not on them, but on the people around them and how easily they are manipulated. I feel certain that you will be able to trace this back to just one person, likely a woman. Look for the quietest one - perhaps the one that was initially hostile in the beginning,maybe raised the first complaint, but then slowly piped down. This will have occured at the point when she successfully recruited others to do her dirty work for her. She will have been pulling their strings behind the scenes all along.
I hope it has resolved for you now, and I really admire how you openly stated that you would not be brought down by negativity, and made them march off! Your words have been twisted - I doubt very much that you have said ANYTHING offensive to anyone, but that you had a Queen Bee bully in your midst, who wanted to bring you down. You are probably a threat to her. Work out who she is by looking back to the start of it, as I outline above, and you will see what I mean! Namaste.

moved on
by: Anonymous

I was about to be made redundant the idea being I was the highest paid person and they wanted me out. I was made redundant because I had doctors appointments and couldn't work further afield and so they put me on the redundancy list I had to teach the people who caused me a lot of hassle how to do my job and how to use computers !!! I was then offered a interview for 5 jobs within the company I had a 1hour 30 minute interview and had to wait 8 days to find out whilst the people I worked with were 'bagging' my chair and desk and papers ... my room was also assigned to someone else. Then I was told I had a job as a employability case manager in Hounslow Middlesex I accepted but now I have a two hour travel every morning and evening having to get up at 5am to get there on time and i get back at 8pm i am no longer working with the women from hell and my boss was also made redundant and is working on the same programme as me but in a different centre I no longer get talked about expect when people often praise me for being exceptionally organised apparently I am unique. the money is more and there are bonus' the problem I have is I hate the job and I'm tired of people saying 'at least you have a job' I know I am lucky to have a job I had to fight for it but its not what I want to do my heart is not in it I'm there for the money only which I think is wrong i know is wrong I sit at a desk all day and deal with people one on one whom don't really want jobs and I have impossible targets to reach and the boss' changed again so I have a third boss in as many months people are quitting as they cant hit targets and I have reached mine but its now gone up to an impossible one. for those who have been bullied i say stand strong don't answer back don't lower yourself to their level write everything down of what was said by whom and when and yes your right I now know who the person was who started all of the hassle and she often asks me for help now I am 2 hours away I sometimes drop in to my old office and the atmosphere has changed no one gets along they all forgot i think I was the central one everyone came to me and talked knowing I would not pass things on they didn't even have to say 'don't tell anyone' so they could whine about each other to me and i would not repeat it that element has gone and they only have each other and its not working they dislike each other now whereas I have a new team mostly men thank god one of my boss' is my old boss' girlfriend so that's a little awkward but i get on with the new boss and my colleagues i am older than all of them and even my new boss is younger but already they have accepted me being different (slightly autistic) just wish i didnt hate my job so much!

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