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What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know

Bullying at Boarding School (Lifegaurd Work)

At the age of 17 I began my first job as a lifeguard at a well known boarding school in the UK. At the time of starting I was happy to be in a profession that I was interested in (the leisure industry).

I went in with the attitude that if I worked hard and kept my head down good things would happen, unfortunately that couldn't be further from the truth.

The first major incident was in a first aid at work training where I was assaulted by the manager's wife (who was taking the course at the time) for no reason at all. I was doing two man CPR on the training dummie, when my partner decided to shout out that I was doing it wrong (which I wasn't). Next thing I know the manager's wife has come up behind me and walloped me round the back of the head really hard. I didn't know what happened at first then I looked around and saw her standing above me. A few people gasped when they saw this, in which point the managers wife came up to me and starting hugging me, manipulating her way out of the situation making it out to be unintentional or a joke, truly sickening.
This incident made me feel really depressed and suicidal thoughts crept into my head. I thought that I must be a bad person or must have done something wrong to deserve this. I felt humiliated and was in total shock that this could happen for no reason, especially at work (a place your suppose to be safe). I knew that I had been put in a no win situation as this was the manager's wife and I would have to quit if I reported her and also there be no guarantee of action been taken against her.

A short while after this I was tricked out of days leave by my manager. A few months before xmas I was told I could take this year's leave and add it onto next year if I wanted to. I looked at the rota and thought it was a good idea to do that. Next year came round and my days leave that they promised me from last year had been wiped off. It was eight days in total (quarter of a months pay in money terms). When I questioned why they had played me along, only to trick me I was told simply, Shut Up!!

After about eight months working there we were put with a permanent manager to work with every day. This seemed ridiculous to me as this guy was a aggressive type and I had been working really hard whilst Other lifeguards who were turning up late, sleeping on shift, doing little or no work and nothing was done about it were been let off. It seemed I was been set up to burn me out and compensate for the lack of work other people were doing (this was later confirmed by the a employee close to the manager)

This manager who I worked with made my life a living hell over the next eight months. He seemed like a mad man, some of the stuff he was doing was diabolical. He would make false accusations about my job security telling me that I had been fired and also writing stuff like job cuts with a arrow pointing towards my name. When I saw it I almost vomited, I had to scribble it out I couldn't bare look at it.

Other types of abuse were crazy making techniques(gaslighting?) such as when I cleaned the squash courts perfectly and he went round there and got a muddy broom and covered it in dirt. He then dragged me round there and told me to look at them, I was obviously hesitant cause I had just done them bout 2 mins prior. I looked at them in shock, him telling me, "no you haven't done them now do them"!! This made me doubt my own sanity and I felt like I was going crazy!

On another occasion when we were alone he started coming out with a story of how he nearly killed someone in a bar brawl. This then directly led on to him asking me, "Do you think you could beat me up in a fight"? This made me feel really frightened and intimidated by him.

He seemed to think he was superior to everyone. On one occasion he was going on about much he did (In reality he did very little) and turning to me and telling me I was nothing, and I didn't do anything. I knew it not to be true, but that didn't stop it from making me feel absolutely worthless!

Other incidents briefly he did were, taking me off lunch early, screaming at me when I questioned why he wouldn't take me off poolside. Lying about me when it was he who deleted important information off the computer etc etc.

He had a Jekyll and Hyde persona and seemed to be able to hide his true colours from other people. Charm played a big part in this as he seemed to have a on/off switch.

He eventually left because he couldn't get his own way. And a few weeks before he was leaving he announced in the most chilling voice , I'm a right piece of sh!t here, I don't do anything here. All I do is lie to everyone, customers… everyone! It's the best way to be. This made me feel physically sick, the realisation that I wasn't going crazy, imagining things and that his abuse had been deliberately orchestrated.

After he left the bullying continued for the next two years. All in all there were probably seven or eight people involved, getting mobbed pretty much every day. The manager who was suppose to be managing this place would flat out refuse to. He was doing on average 4-5 hrs when he was suppose to be doing 8. So some days he would do six, sometimes three sometimes even 1hour!! When he did turn up he would ignore what was going on, lock himself in his office and go into ostrich mode (put his head in the sand ignore what was going on). This allowed bullies to thrive and I just so happened to be on the end of it.

After three years of constant abuse I developed severe depression and social anxiety. I left 5 years ago and have not been able to live my life or get another job. I am constantly suicidal and get migraines and chronic joint pains, have hardly left the house in a year and can barely function etc etc.

Sorry if this is a bit long but, I hope you can get a brief idea of what this place was like. This was kept short, as I could truly write a book about this place.

Thanks for reading and I would appreciate feedback.

Comments for Bullying at Boarding School (Lifegaurd Work)

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by: Mary of Australia

So sad, so sad! That's all I have to say. I have no advice as I am speechless. Take care! 25 Dec 2011

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