Beating the Workplace Bully

Marie Lowe By Marie Lowe, 22nd Mar 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Diaries

I was bullied by the best, but in the end I came out a winner.

Workplace Bullying Laws are proposed

Workplace bullying is more common then most realize and according to many states have introduced pending anti-bullying bills in hopes of making them laws.

The calm before the storm

In 2002 I experienced a workplace bully and although I didn't realize it at the time, it was a growing experience.
I graduated college in December of 2001 at the ripe old age of 31 and was fortunate enough to land a position in my field in January 2002. For 10 months I worked at a small daily paper as the sports editor. I worked night and day and weekends, growing and learning as time went on.
In July the tables started tilting just a wee bit.
My editor went on vacation and the company decided to terminate her while she was gone. This moved turned out to be the end for her and the beginning of the end for me.
The decision was made to throw me in the driver's seat until a replacement editor was found. My staff consisted of two elderly workers that had limited computer knowledge.
For a couple of weeks, I struggled with my new added duties but with the help of workers in other departments we got it done.
After a few weeks, the decision was made that a retired man with limited newspaper background would assume the role of editor.
To add insult to injury I was told that I was to young for the position and then asked to train him. I was disappointed but just happy to have an income.

The nightmare begins

With the debut of the new editor, Bob, came the beginning of my nightmare.
Bob immediately began letting everyone know he was in charge.
He insulted and disrespected everyone.
He made it quite clear that he was not going to take any direction from a woman especially a young one. The publisher ignored the entire situation.
Bob insulted customers and employees. He printed offensive things in the paper and readers begin to flood the office.
It seemed his mission was to insult everyone on earth with myself being the number one target.
He told me I was not fit to work at a newspaper and that if I could not read several papers in a two hour span, listen to public radio, while in may car, and watch C-SPAN at night, I should quit and take tap dancing lessons.
This was rather tame compared to most comments.
For two weeks, I was tormented. I could not eat or sleep. I lost 10 pounds and was consumed with finding a solution.

I strike back

I contacted the paper's owner only to find out that the publisher had called him and blamed the entire situation on me. That is when I decided it was time to get a tape recorder and protect myself. For two weeks I taped the outbursts not knowing what role if any the tapes would play in the outcome of this situation.
Later I learned that the publisher was accusing me of plotting to destroy the company computers, that was the end for me.
I quit as I could stand no more, my mental and physical health I felt was at stake.
I headed to the employment commission and filed for unemployment benefits based on a hostile work environment.
Then I contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and was told there was nothing I could do. Finally I found a lawyer who was willing to help me fight for my unemployment benefits.
The paper fought the claim and a phone hearing was scheduled. A normal phone hearing usually lasts around 20 minutes, mine was three hours.
Thanks to my recordings, lawyer and one honest co-worker, I won, at least on one level.

Time to overcome and move forward

Now I had to overcome the mental damage. Not only was I drained and had no desire to find a job, Bob and the publisher had decided that I would not work again.
Well after six months, I found a job opportunity and I went for it. I was hired as a copy editor for another area paper and ironically my first week on the job, was Bob's last day at my former place of employment.
The proverbial, what goes around comes around had begun and it continues today. The new paper begin inserting a monthly publication in my former employer's paper, so my byline graced their publication again. Then after 21 months at the new job, I encountered bully No. 2 resulting in another job hunt.

What goes around comes around

I found peace at my hometown paper and was awarded a state award in 2005.
I have been there 10 years now. In the beginning Bob was a frequent guest at my office,repeatedly making submissions.
On occasion I had the pleasure of editing his submissions.
He has been brazen enough to apply for a job, but his nasty demeanor has prevented him from being hired.
I used to run out of the building when I saw him but with time I can now stand to be in the same room as I now understand there is nothing else he can do to hurt me.
I have the job he once wanted and there is no chance of him becoming my coworker or boss again.
Working with Bob was not pleasant but the experience topped with another bullying experience has made me stronger and a more aggressive reporter.
In some respects I'm lucky, I made it through the experience and was able to rebound.
Some are not so lucky. I hope sharing a tidbit of my experience will help someone else that may be encountering a similar situation and show that you can come out victorious.


Workplace Bullying

Meet the author

author avatar Marie Lowe
I earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Central Oklahoma.
My motto- Life is like a marathon, the closer you get to the end, the more it hurts.

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author avatar Retired
22nd Mar 2015 (#)

I can never understand why people bully in the work place, these are grown adults, not school children. And I'm really sorry for what you've been through. Bob is a nasty piece of work! How you refrained from kneeing him I'll never know!

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author avatar Marie Lowe
22nd Mar 2015 (#)

CoffeeQueen, it was the worst work experience of my life and still is to this day. He came in my work place 1 time and told me I must have found a mentor because I do good work now. I told him I found a non-hostile work environment.

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author avatar SaigonDeManila
23rd Mar 2015 (#)

Bullying at least gave the best of ke to shine in my early childhood..but it also scarred my fervent love to my hometown neighborhood to return.

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author avatar Marie Lowe
23rd Mar 2015 (#)

It was and still is the worst job experience I have had.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
23rd Mar 2015 (#)

Been there and literally quit a well paying job for the big fat arse tongue the boss had and walked out. Didn't argue or shout but got the picture as she turned off my account as I was working and I realised it was time to live. I wasn't fired, but walked out on the last day of my contract.
Ended up in a bit of a mess because of it because joblessness kicked in but I needed the break to heal after the torture she put me through and it was the second job with just treatment back then.
Any way its life, learnt my lesson and now am very careful with the way that I handle myself with people.

Bullies are quite nice to the face until you see the behind the scene politics and I won't take you there as its got a lot of 'other' happenings that you must never know of. I thank my stars I am alive after that particular job, it was that bad.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Mar 2015 (#)

There are nasty, incorrigible, specimens everywhere. They create hell wherever they go. They unload their rubbish on others without fail! They get some pleasure in making others miserable.Thankfully, we can move on though chastened by the scars and experiences! siva

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