Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Rat in a Glass Aquarium

The following quote is from a woman who told me of being bullied by the person in the adjoining cubicle—another woman who had been hired the same day and quickly developed intense jealousy toward my contact.

“The long-term effect of working under these conditions with such a toxic personality was that I began to feel like a lab rat in a glass aquarium. I suffered from mild depression, gained weight, and watched my blood pressure rise to the point that my doctor prescribed medication. I had no energy, no drive. I felt beaten and worthless and trapped--and it began to show in my work. After seven years, I was terminated, but ultimately, found other work where I thrived. She is still employed there, but reportedly, has driven off two of my successors in the same manner--one after only six months.”

This is just one more example of the devastating effects bullies have—psychological, physical, and financial—on targets and the companies they work for. In the United States, fifty-four million employees are bullied at work, both men and women. Yet, management turns the other way.

The toll should be too great to ignore.


Stephanie Angelo said...

Having just extracted myself from a similar situation, I'm still feeling the physical and emotional affects.


The BIKE Lady said...

I'd really like to know why this is allowed in the workplace, why owners or managers think this is acceptable behavior. It behooves me why they'd think this is motivating in ANY way. From where did that mindset come?

I remember being a part of a Toastmasters group not that long ago where I felt the leadership engaged in bullying to get what they wanted. And that was an all-volunteer situation!

Jean, you're doing good work if you can do anything to remove even one bully from the workplace or from the non-profit/volunteer setting. It doesn't belong anywhere!


Bad Apple Polisher said...

Stephanie, thank you for your comment, and I'm sorry you have been through this type of situation. It's terrible.

Info said...

I want to reaffirm your story about your client whose health suffered as a result of workplace bullying. While I was in practice I had several patients who were faced emotional and physical effects from bullying.

No medicine in the world will make that go away - it has to be addressed - the sooner the better!

bmattick said...

A Rat in a Glass (?) Aquarium - absolutely true, as I encountered this during a brief return to the corporate world a few years ago. The organization allowed bullies to thrive, even though management and others complained about it. The CFO was a bully and took pride in being a "yeller" whenever he could.

The best remedy I found (prior to quitting) was to stand up and say something like this: "I find that your behavior is hindering our communication and yelling at me will not gain you anything. When you are ready to speak in a normal tone of voice, give me a call."
Bonnie (Blog)

Bad Apple Polisher said...

To those who choose to remain anonymous, I understand that you must, and I want to thank you for your confirming comments.