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Life After Workplace Bullying
Hello everyone. Here's my workplace bullying story which I'm sharing in case it helps someone else out there. Also good to get it off my chest.
A few years back I started a job that was 65 hours a week which was hard on my kid also because I am a mom and worried about my family, but it was a dream job in some ways so I hung in there and worked hard with 100% positivity. From day one, I came with a fair bit of experience as I had done other jobs similar in the past, and had worked towards this career goal, so was off to a good start.
My boss sort of gushed about me which was a bit embarrassing but I figured that's just my boss's personality to gush over the new people and flavor of the month (boss was a bit eccentric and seemed a bit off) so whatever. I got a sort of unofficial promotion and had to hang out in the boss's office which was a bit weird and I tried to put some boundaries down so I could get back to my real job role, but I did this carefully walking a fine line because didn't want to upset the boss. Also, I enjoyed helping people and getting to know everyone on the team.
There were some nice people there who supported me to the end, not publicly but in private they supported me and that helped my sanity. I was new though so most people didn't know me that well yet which I believe the main bully colleague used to her advantage. I could see she just didn't like me from day one and she was subtly undermining and sabotaging, but I thought "ok no big deal, I can handle this, I will just stay classy and be nice but do my own thing and work even harder so that she won't affect my work results."
I worked twice as hard to make up for this colleague who kept messing up projects on purpose, and our boss was still happy and oblivious... this must have really annoyed my bullying colleague, as she then took it up a notch. Next: my bully spread rumours that I am a bully which was mortifying and confusing, especially as some people even believed her! Some rumours about me being untrustworthy or having some sort of dark side that only comes out when I am alone with that one person. Or something.
No one would tell me exactly but this is what I pieced together. It is completely false nonsense. I am the last person that would bully someone. Unfortunately, I had to work alone with this bully and from day one (I was still pretty new and she had been there a while) she "needed to go to the toilet" then she would disappear for long stretches each day, I never said anything about this because I thought well it's kind of personal if she has a health problem or if she needs to be in the bathroom, that's really nothing to do with me, but apparently she was using that time to record what I "did" to build a case against me—OMG. And she went crying to people about me and I never found out exactly what I apparently did, but I know in my heart and God knows that I never did anything "bad".
Fortunately, not everyone bought into her ongoing lies and slander, but a few people believed her to some extent became cautious and uncomfortable around me, some people even stopped talking to me, the boss started to treat me way differently, like ignoring and not believing what I say. My name got tarnished for nothing. She also sabotaged my work and did a ton of other things, I believe she stole my belongings too and some of the things I will never even know and can't prove. I believe she started to get one or two other people to gang up and stalk me. Bullies can be smart and cunning.
After not even six months of this rubbish, I actually had a breakdown and walked out of the job. Guess who got my job when I left work, yes the bully, she got what she secretly wanted. By this point I didn't care about that. I have never in my life left a job abruptly like that, but I was a mess, stressed to the point of not sleeping and not coping at all. Also felt ashamed, why couldn't I have handled it somehow better? I often have courage to stand up for others, so why not stand up for myself? What a loser I am.
Well, a counsellor helped me realize that there was probably nothing I could have done much differently really, because the bullying was an underhanded campaign, and it was just very bad luck that I can move on from and not to dwell on it. I found a new focus and a bit of a new career direction even. I now work two part-time jobs and love them both. A pay cut but I am SO much healthier in a bully-free environment. I now feel safe and productive with a normal team of people, a very good boss who trusts me and I'm just treated exactly same as everyone else, and although I'm still pretty hypervigilant, my faith in humanity and self confidence is slowly returning.
My love to anyone going through a similar nightmare at work. Don't blame yourself. Trust your gut. If you feel something is deeply "off" at work and people hate you for no reason, it is probably even worse than what you can see, but don't panic and don't blame yourself, just make an escape plan if you can, or stay and fight, your choice, but whatever you do—don't lose perspective, don't lose your health, your sanity and your life over a job. I was so overworked and freaked out I wanted to die and only stayed on this earth because of my family... and now two years later life is totally different and am so thankful to be alive. Hold onto hope. Keep a journal, talk to a counsellor, be gentle on yourself. These bullies should be in jail seriously. But life is short. I believe only God will have justice.