Workplace bullying must be seen as totally unacceptable.
Like sexism, racism, homophobia or domestic violence once were, this is a hidden epidemic but it is just as intolerable. The difference is that the conversations on most of these are in full swing and they are being tackled.
Not so workplace bullying.
Our global Workplace Bullying Survey results have been released, to complement the UK results that were issued last year. The survey has revealed shocking results; providing a phenomenal insight into the percentage of Administrative Professionals who have been subject to bullying.
60% of the 3,390 respondents have been bullied during their career.
And these are seasoned professionals, with 42% having more than 20 years experience in the field.
Unexpectedly, women were more than twice as likely to be the bullies – the age-old stereotype of the domineering male boss was not supported by the survey results.
Our findings also make clear the huge costs of bullying for businesses in terms of bullying related absenteeism and productivity. Not to mention the personal cost to health – both physical and mental, not only to the victims but also to co-workers.
We had a great response to our question “What can Employers do better to support Assistants with Workplace Bullying?” with (anonymous) honest and insightful answers and practical solutions.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in our survey; the results aren’t pretty, but we finally have facts.
Please read the survey and share it with anyone you feel would find it useful.
Let’s start these conversations … and change the world!
To download the full survey visit http://executivesupportmagazine.com/ebook-downloads/
Sadly, I’ve witnessed and have been victimized by workplace bullying ever since I joined the civilian workforce in 1987. My harassers were almost exclusively other women who made it clear they had an antipathy for military veterans! The first job was a real eye opener when it came to office politics and workplace bullying. Never had any problems when I was in the USMC but on my first job I learned quickly that jealous and insecure civvies can be absolutely vicious. I can remember one woman in particularly who was exceptionally mean. Found out she was spreading some very nasty rumors about me, but then when I confronted her about it she just laughed at me and said, “Well, you were in the Marines, you can handle it, right?” I found out she hated women veterans. To her, we were all whores out to steal other women’s husbands…and yes, she said this point blank to me! To add insult to injury, she said I wasn’t really qualified and that the only reason I got that specific job was because of affirmative action (I’m African American, she was white.). One time she was so mean to me that I burst into tears. I couldn’t help it. Big mistake. After that, she mocked me for crying. She’d cut me off at meetings and say “Oh, (my name), she’s going to cryyyyyy again…” At any rate, after several weeks of this sort of harassment and belittling, I finally reported her to HR. At the time I was told they’d take care of it. When I went up for my 90 day review, I did get a raise, but the HR person (who also happened to be my boss) marked me down for emotional maturity because I went to HR. Said I should’ve been able to handle it on my own. Turned out the HR person was not only on the side of the bully, but was also part of the clique of women who pretty much made the lives of anyone outside of their clique a living hell. Felt like I had no one whom I could trust to take my side. I stuck it out at that job for a year then finally gave up and went for another job. I wish I could say this was the only incident with workplace bullying in my life. Fast forward 25 or so years. After being on a different job I had worked at for more than a decade, had done very well at, and had hoped to retire from, I acquired a much younger boss who was not only highly competitive, but personality-wise was very similar to the bully I dealt with back in 1987. Snarky, mean, gas lighting….that sort of thing. The woman and I had initially got along as coworkers but once she made management, she got very drunk on power and then she started in on several employees…and her targets just happened to be the female employees who were older and …you guessed it…who also served in the military! Turns out she hated women vets! I’ve spoken to other former military personnel and I was surprised to learn how pervasive that particular prejudice is in the American workforce! At any rate, I tried everything to appease my new boss, but it was to absolutely no avail. If I fixed an issue, she found even more fault elsewhere. Within 4 months of her being the boss, I went from being an award winning respected office professional to being “suddenly stupid.”. Never mind I had trained her and more than half of my team members, she determined that I was incompetent…and she tried to hang mistakes on me that were really her own doing! No, I didn’t go to HR. I don’t trust HR after what happened to me before. Instead, I just tried to keep my head low and look for another job. The stress was overwhelming. I’d wake up and cry every morning because I knew what I was going to have to deal with each day. Eventually came the day that the straw broke the camels back when she got someone else to start doing her dirty work and pretty much threatened me with firing. She couldn’t fire anyone, but she could put bugs in the right ears. I had an anxiety attack on the job and realized I needed to move on otherwise I’d wind up in the looney bin. Despite her insistence on ‘going through channels’ on that day I went to her directly and gave her my handwritten 2 weeks notice. Moved out of state and am at a different job now where I’m finally getting treated with respect! But I would suggest that more be done in terms of researching workplace bullying/harrassment/discrimination against military veterans. It’s more widespread than some people realize.
This is an important piece of research. Well done in kick starting this conversation.