No matter how old you get, it seems like bullying never goes away.
People often think of bullying as something that happens mostly to the young, and picture it occurring largely in cafeterias and schoolyards.
They don’t picture it as something that can happen just as easily to adults at their places of work, even though thousands of adults report experiencing workplace bullying every year.
But if you find yourself victim to workplace bullying yourself, have no fear.
Generally speaking, bullying occurs because one person feels the need to increase their standing by making themselves look better than another person, which they believe they can accomplish by putting down someone else.
In this sense, bullying comes from a place of deep insecurity — no one who is genuinely confident in their own abilities would be self-conscious enough about someone else’s success that they would feel the need to sabotage them in some way.
That’s why it should come as little surprise that some of the most frequent targets of bullying are veteran employees or workers who are otherwise the best at what they do.
You see, while bullying in the adult world functions similarly to how it does in the world of children, targets are chosen very differently.
Rather than looking for the weakest or least popular group members to keep down, workplace bullies tend to target those that they perceive to be a threat.
There isn’t a lot a person can do to avoid being targeted in this way because the threat is a perceived one. That is, it may only exist within the bully’s mind.
But there are some things you can do to mitigate or even ameliorate the bullying itself — and a few things you might want to avoid doing entirely.
Even attentive managers and HR workers can have a tough time spotting and dealing with bullying problems in the workplace because bullying can be tough to spot.
What’s more, most people aren’t naturally equipped to deal with workplace bullies, so when they’re faced with the problem, they might find themselves making a few mistakes that can give bullies an unnecessary advantage.
If you are making these mistakes, don’t feel bad — they’re easy ones to make. But if you can recognize that you’re making them and take steps to correct them, you might find the bullying can get a little bit better or even disappear entirely.
Here are some things you should avoid doing at all costs if you find that you’re being bullied at work:
As we mentioned, it’s difficult to know what to do in the face of a bully, especially in the moment.
That’s why it’s useful if you can come up with a plan before the bullying happens for how you’re going to deal with the situation.
Planning your actions out ahead of time can make it easier to stick to your guns when the situation arises, which might just make all the difference to you when it comes to finally kicking your bully to the curb.
If you find you’re being bullied at work, here are a few big things you should try:
That’s all for this one! Just keep in mind:
No matter what the reason is that you’re being bullied or what methods your bully (or bullies) is using to do so, you should always keep in mind that bullying is never the fault of the victim.
Even if you find that you’re making many of the mistakes listed in the second section of this article, don’t feel bad about having made them. In general, people aren’t naturally equipped to deal with workplace bullying — it’s the kind of thing that really sneaks up on you.
That’s because, for the most part, we just don’t expect it to happen. There are rules in our society, unspoken or not, and it can often feel like the place that those rules are the most observed are in work situations.
And always remember that if you find yourself in a situation where you’re being bullied, there should be someone higher up who can help you — and if not, there’s always the nuclear options of leaving your job or seeking legal help.
Best of luck! Here are some other links to help you on your way: