Join our students and instructors on Wednesday February 27th, for annual “Pink Shirt Day” to support anti-bullying projects across Canada. We will be out on the streets communicating this very important message. Bullying happens not only in schools but also in the workplace and other places. Do you have a bully in your life? I remember my first “real” job in an office when I was 18 years old and fresh out of high school. Everyone treated me really kindly except for Josie. Josie was older (19) and assigned to train me. She was extremely impatient with me as I was trying to learn the (not too difficult) tasks. She would often sigh impatiently and raise her voice if I wasn’t performing up to her expectations. I grew to fear her and dread going to work. One day, I got up my courage and spoke to another woman in the office. She informed me that “Josie was always rude” and advised me to not worry about it. This helped me immensely to not take Josie’s behaviour too personally. I made other friends and Josie eventually found others with whom to take out her frustrations. Most every workplace seems to have a “Josie”.
Bullies are everywhere. They are often people who don’t have the self awareness or communication skills to effectively manage their emotions. These individuals have found an outlet for their frustrated, powerless, or angry feelings. That outlet involves taking power from unsuspecting others. Bullying can take the form of unwarranted criticism, spreading rumours, withholding information all the way to outright yelling and using abusive language. People experiencing bullying at work often dread coming to work, have lower productivity, may feel depressed and even suicidal. If you believe you are being bullied, you can do something about it. Firstly, bullies usually stop bullying someone who will not react or will directly confront them on their inappropriate behaviour. Secondly, check to see if your organization has an anti-bullying policy and review it. It is important to take action sooner than later. Bullying tends to escalate over time. It is also insidious, as it affects the self esteem of the individual being bullied. You don’t deserve it and you can stop it. For a great resource on workplace bullying and what you can do about it, check out www.bullyonline.org