I feel as though I am being bullied at work and don’t know whether to face it head on or just leave for another post elsewhere.
I can’t approach certain members of my team for help because they go out of their way to make life difficult for me, or they’ll mock me instead of assisting me. There’s obvious whispering and sniggering when I enter the office which makes me feel self-conscious and uncomfortable.
I hate the dread I feel when I wake up in the morning to prepare for work. Adults shouldn’t be acting this way!
Part of me wants to prove that bullying isn’t acceptable and that it should be tackled face on, but I don’t know how much longer I can put up with it before I completely crack. I don’t want to reach a position where I lash out in exasperation and end up looking like the bad guy!
Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
I am so sorry to hear that this is happening to you. I feel very strongly about this subject and it upsets me to know that a person would deliberately go out of their way to make it uncomfortable for a colleague in the work environment. This says more about the tormentor than it does the target.
Any form of bullying is unacceptable; whether it is cyber bullying or face to face. No-one is expected to put up with it.
What fuels a bully? Knowing that they can humiliate, cause fear and control someone. Every time that you react in any of these ways, it will make it easy for the bully to do it again.
Please do not be forced to leave your current post under these circumstances.
For whatever reason, and through no fault of your own, this bully at work appears to want power over you. Remember, you are in your position at work because you are good at what you do. Therefore, your work bully could possibly feel threatened by you.
My initial advice would be to inform your line manager of what is going on and let them know how this conduct is making you feel about coming to work. Management within the company have a duty of care to you and will have policies in place that stipulate that this behaviour will not be tolerated.
My second piece of advice is that you try and defuse the situation yourself. It may seem scary, but remember bullies are often the weaker party and feel safer in numbers.
Your letter tells me that you know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. So next time you are greeted by sniggering, whispering or comments, face them head on in a professional and polite manner and ask what is funny or ask the bully to explain what he/she is saying. This new reaction will change the dynamics of the situation. You can also subtly change the situation by asking a question that puts the bully on the back foot.
You mentioned that other members of the team are going along with this behaviour. Experience has taught me one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. The other members of the team are likely being influenced and going along with the bully to avoid being targeted themselves. Therefore, your stand-up-for-yourself attitude will probably be doing them a favour also.
Good luck! Please come back to me if you require further advice.
Let me know how you get on.