I’m going to go out on a limb and be honest: For a lot of people, bullying is tough, but it shouldn’t be the end of the world, and some people really do need thicker skin.
But bullying in the workplace, after you’ve graduated high school and presumably been done and through with all that crap, is another story. You’re spending the bulk of your waking hours in this environment, so being miserable, picked on or ostracized feels like Hell, especially when, you know, you have to suffer through it just to eat. So what do you need to know if you’re being bullied at work?
It can happen to anyone.
You probably hear about certain groups (racial, cultural or religious minorities, LGBTQ, or women in general) being targeted more than others, but plain old Joe in accounting may be being bullied, too. Sometimes the most comforting thing–and the most depressing, simultaneously–is knowing you’re not alone.
Your company probably has an anti-bullying policy …
Most do, and chances are it’s included in that giant company handbook that you were never bored enough to bother reading through. Educate yourself on the company’s policies and restrictions towards harassment, and maybe, with the aid of a photocopier, a highlighter and some subtlety, give your bully a refresher course on it, too.
… And anti-bullying training …
You know, those seminars and orientation meetings no one pays attention in?
… And if they don’t, you should offer to spearhead its creation.
Suggest it to HR and your management. Let them know that other companies have clearly stated anti-bullying policies, and offer to help launch it for yours. Also be sure to explain why you feel like it’s necessary–because it is.
How to file an official bullying complaint
If you’re being harassed or bullied, there are official channels within most companies to monitor and deal with cases. Find out what they are and follow through on filing it–and then follow up on it to be sure it’s enforced.
You may have to leave.
Sometimes the only way to stop being bullied in the workplace is to leave that particular workplace. This should be a last resort, because no bully deserves to have the power over you to force you to leave your job–but if all other channels fail, it may be up to you to seek self-preservation at a new office.