To: The Team at the Firm Where I Was Bullied, Harassed and Assaulted

Elle Woods, pictured on the poster for the fil...

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Quick Preface: This is one way to stop work place bullying and harassment. Bullying has gotten a lot of attention in the main stream media lately. Technically speaking the word for bullying by a group is mobbing. Regardless of what it’s called, it’s immoral and insidious. It can be traumatic and cause suicide. The first three paragraphs go into my personal situation. The last five paragraphs would be effective at stopping most instances of workplace bullying and harassment. Paragraphs four and five address bullying. Paragraphs six and seven are about harassment. The last paragraph pertains to either or both. When I execute on this project I’ll e-mail the entire professional community. Not just the team, but the entire professional community. It should be effective at stopping bullying by a group, or mobbing, and victim blaming.

To: The Team at the Firm Where I Was Bullied, Harassed and Assaulted

We are about to have a Legally Blonde moment and then a lesson in ethics. The perpetrator did not hire me because I am attractive, he hired me because I am competent. He abused me because he felt threatened by me professionally and that is the most common motive for harassment and one of the three most common motives for workplace abuse, or bullying. Your assumption was extremely chauvinistic. Moreover, if that had been the case then I still would have been the victim and the behavior of the team was socially irresponsible.

I hope that you all enjoyed running around and explaining how the perpetrator’s employment had been terminated due to his “having a mid-life crisis,” “bad emotional problems” and, “making bad judgments” including but not limited to having hired an agent who was, “possibly insane” because she was “attractive”, meaning me. Watch how quickly this can be turned around on you. This might end up in the mainstream media and I’m attractive.

Also, I’m speaking truth to power in one of the most progressive and educated cities in the world. There is a copious amount of evidence to support the fact that I am telling the truth, including your own statements. You can either acknowledge the situation or retaliate. Heads I win, tails I win. I hope that you will all think long and hard about being cruel to someone whom you perceive as powerless in the future. It isn’t behavior to be proud of.

Moreover, it’s extremely apparent that we have a serious challenge with bullying in schools and on college campuses. This affects the LGBTQ community disproportionately, but severe abuse of any nature can cause post traumatic stress disorder. That condition almost always creates some risk of suicide. Not everyone recovers from it and it can be permanently debilitating. It can prevent someone from living a healthy, happy life and thriving. It mitigates one’s capacity to love.

I’ll explain exactly why we have this pandemic problem with bullying in schools and colleges. It’s because we are a society of adults who ignore and partake in bullying and victim blaming.

One in three women in America is harassed. The effects of harassment range from mild humiliation to post traumatic stress disorder. One in five female undergraduates is the victim or survivor of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. This is true at Ivy’s and local junior colleges. The way that the majority of you behaved made it easier for the perpetrator to get away with abusing me and an even more painful and humiliating experience.

Most of you have daughters and nieces. It isn’t a question of if something like this will happen to some of them it is a question of when. The decisions that you make within your lifetime define the world that you leave to your children.

I hope that you all will conduct yourselves in an ethical and mature manner from this point forward.

 

To: My Former Employer ~ I hope that you know that this is true!

Quick preface: “Workplace Issues” is a work of creative nonfiction based on my true story of being bullied and harassed. It’s told in a series of open letters.

How’s it going? Alright, in my interview with the perpetrator he asked me about the firm. I said that I, “loved it” and “loved the team.”

Anything else that I said was within that context. Bullies and predatory individuals love taking matters out of context. It’s one of their favorite tricks. So, I’m setting the record straight in case there is any confusion.

I hope that you are well!


To: My Former Employer ~ I never thanked you for this!

Quick preface: “Workplace Issues” is a work of creative nonfiction based on my true story of being bullied and harassed. It’s told in a series of open letters.

When you initially purchased the firm you were completely unaware that the founder had been teaching me management. In fact you specified that I seemed to need an unusual amount of help with my work. You explained that you wouldn’t necessarily keep me on if I continued to need so much help. ROLF!

Anyway, shortly there after the founder explained that he had taught me management. You and I studied English. He studied Business. For whatever reason he taught us traditional theory without having us read the theory. At any rate, at one point you told me that the original founder of the firm, “told” you “that he had taught” me “to manage myself and told” you “why.”

You told me that it was fine for me to stay at the firm and continue training agents. The theorist on that is Drucker, by the way. There is something that I almost explained to you at the time but didn’t. I didn’t know why I managed myself.

I’ll explain exactly how this happened. As you know the original founder of the firm and I had a mentor-protégée relationship. You probably recall the fact that he very much loved to pick on me.

Early on in my training he made a joke. It was, “Manage yourself for long enough, manage my office for free, train yourself to be the best rental agent in” the city “and someday little Cobra I’ll teach you big important things.”

I didn’t get the joke. When I didn’t get the joke he thought that it was hysterical and put a lot of energy into keeping the joke going.

In fact, about a year after you purchased the firm I explained to him that I had been successful at completing my tasks and that we should probably move on to important things. He laughed and said, “Do it longer.”

About a year later I said, “I have realized that you will never teach me anything but that’s okay I still like you anyway.”

In the following year he realized that the Bully-Perpetrator entity had lied to me during the interview process with the specific intent of manipulating me out of reinforcing my skill set at management. He was extremely distraught.

The he said, “Think hard, why do you manage yourself!?!”

I still didn’t get the joke. Actually, it was during my traumatic stress breakdown that the punch line dawned on me. I swear to God this could have only happened to me!

Anyway, I didn’t know that you were always operating with the assumption that I would start my own firm. I knew that I was operating with the assumption that it was a possibility. But I didn’t know that you knew that.

In retrospect I realize that it’s why you never gave me a formal position as manager. And, while I resented it at the time, you were right.

So, I wanted to say thank you.

 


About “Workplace Issues” and Mob Psychology

“Workplace Issues” is based on my true story of being bullied. It’s told in a series of open letters. I address the bully as well as individuals who partook in mobbing, or bullying by a group.

Mob psychology can only be maintained when the individuals in the group feel no sense of personal accountability. When I execute on this I’ll send all of the letters to the parties whom I’m referencing, as well as a link to the site. That should be effective at creating accountability.

It’s likely that it will take them out of their comfort zone with mobbing because they will be concerned about what others think!

I’ll specify that this combine with the letter addressed to the team sent to the entire professional community should be effective! It’s the combination of the two!

Stop fourth and fifth phase mobbing as defined by Heinz Leymann ~ It’s only nearly impossible! ~ And, I’d love to help…

“The first phase (of mobbing) is usually an unresolved, festering conflict. This triggers aggressive acts and hostile communications in a second phase. In a third phase, management may become involved, i.e. the level of interactions increases, and often, at that point, the target is being slandered or, in the worst case scenario and in the fourth phase, may be branded as mentally ill. This can then lead to the final chapter: expulsion. All that may very well be a tragic outcome of deliberate office politics, but it may also be thoughtlessness and a terrible lack of empathy.” ~ Dr. Noa Davenport

I’m working with the phases of mobbing as defined by Heinz Leymann and articulated by Dr. Noa Davenport. It’s worthy of note that Wikipedia defines this as stage three. Regardless of how stages are quantified researchers agree that distinct phases of mobbing, or bullying by a group, exist. I’ll add that I’m focusing on workplace abuse here. In the fifth stage of mobbing the targets professional reputation is almost always ruined. Currently, it’s considered impossible to fix that damage. Typically the target must relocate or change professions, if not both! This is completely unacceptable!

In order to be effective at correcting damage to their reputation the target must be effective at holding the perpetrator accountable for their behavior. This isn’t mean or confrontational, at all. According to the Harvard Business Review blog we can’t get workplace abuse under control without holding the perpetrators accountable. Moreover, these people reoffend. It’s saving someone else’s mental health and reputation! It’s a good deed and the more ethical course of action!

In the fourth phase of mobbing bullies and employers, frequently they are the same person, create a zero sum game. Either the target is mentally ill or the bully and their cohorts have caused a state of duress that may well have caused a mental breakdown. This zero sum game is easily won, provided the target is healthy again.

Naturally, it will be important to address slander as well. That’s simple. It’s only a matter of addressing it directly. Gossip is almost always inherently irrational.

Severely abusive individuals almost always project their severe emotional problems onto their targets. It’s intuitive that the aggressor is the one with the emotional problems. It’s inherently irrational to trust an abusive individual’s analysis of their victim’s character, period. But people do it. Address both directly!

Bullies count on secrecy and fear. As soon as they are held accountable and the silence is gone, their power is gone. Now, some are potentially physically violent and honestly I’m concerned about that in this case but it makes sense to use discretion there and also confront the possibility directly. It’s ideal to threaten to press charges.

They will try to say that it was a unique and unfortunate series of circumstances. Sometimes victim’s who are in denial come to that conclusion of their own volition. It isn’t true. Address it in advance. These patterns are well researched.

There are two components to handling the abusive behavior by a group. One is to confront each individual publically but without naming their name or position if it distinguishes them, unless they are a decision maker. All decision makers have to be confronted by title. I illustrate how to do this in “Workplace Issues” and in the open letters addressed to decision makers, all of which will be sent publically. The second is confronting the mob mentality. I’m writing a separate instruction page on that.

This is a real situation and I personally was harassed and bullied. The abuse counted as assault as well. It caused post traumatic stress disorder. This is a test model.

I intended to create a model that anyone could duplicate. It’s actually a model that a management professional can duplicate.

For now, anyone who wants to duplicate this please contact me.

I’ll be happy to help for free.

Bullying Intervention

Please see the pages above or the section below marked bullying intervention.

Let’s end the silence to end the violence!

With sexual harassment, sexual assault and bullying in schools and workplaces silence is the norm. With gender based and sexual orientation based hate crimes silence is the norm. Silence cannot create social change, ever. The norm is completely unacceptable.

As Warren Bennis, one of the world’s authorities on leadership, observes in his work “Transparency” it is nearly impossible to suppress information now. These usually are not actually instances of he said and she said, he said and he said or she said she said but instances of all of the parties who do have reasonable knowledge being complicit and unwilling to speak.

Unfortunately our social norm is to turn a blind eye and consider the abuse to simply not be our problem. This happens with bullying in schools, on college campuses and at workplaces. It happens with violence against women be it harassment, assault or domestic violence. It happens when individuals are targeted based on race religion and sexual orientation also. As long as it is socially acceptable and considered normal behavior to observe abuse complicity and par-take in victim blaming tragedies such as the recent series of suicides* will be common place.

There have been more suicides that we don’t know about than we do.

Included in this site is a model that most victims of severe harassment or bullying could duplicate effectively. It holds the perpetrator accountable for their behavior. It holds the institution responsible for neglect. It’s effective at correcting unjust damage to a victim’s reputation by exposing the truth and putting a stop to victim blaming.

This is a real situation and I personally was assaulted. The company acted with gross neglect and flagrant disregard for law. Unfortunately, this is still common with gender based hate crimes and bullying.  It happens in work places and universities.  Companies, intuitions and perpetrators count on the victim’s silence. Let’s speak!

Until very recently most people were unaware of the high coloration between bullying and suicide. This doesn’t just happen in schools and on campuses. It also happens in work places. We know that there are adult suicides for the same reason. Work place abuse can cause post traumatic stress disorder and suicidal urges are a common symptom of PTSD. Unhealthy and unsafe places of education and work are unacceptable.

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to end all abuse. It’s absolutely possible to have a zero tolerance policy toward abusive behavior of any nature in any one environment. We know this because it’s been done successfully by many companies and universities.

Moreover, these are public health risks that many people are unaware of. Confident and assertive individuals are at a higher risk for work place abuse than others. Frequently, bullies and predatory individuals are motivated by jealousy. One of my goals is to prevent this from happening to others. Please take a moment to review the section categorized, “Early Warning Signs” and forward it to your friends and family.

In preventing hate crimes, violence against women and suicides due to bullying every voice matters, including yours! One person cannot break this silence or create change but as a team we can. Please take twenty minutes to join our team.

We don’t need your money or your time, we need your voice!

To the Current Manager

This isn’t your fault at all and believe it or not I actually feel badly for you. The unfortunate truth is that most professionals have witnessed work place abuse, frequently gender based, and done nothing about it. You didn’t actually witness it but you clearly had reasonable knowledge. I consider it extremely likely that your attempting to handle this in the ethical and legal fashion would have jeopardized your position at the company. It’s quite common that companies retaliate against the victims of harassment and anyone who aligns themselves with them. Since one of your supervisors had reasonable knowledge I feel confident that the corporate culture includes covering things like this up and turning a blind eye. Who knows, maybe they will prove me wrong. But, this wasn’t your fault, even if you were the one who referenced the perpetrators notes.

Honestly, when someone has to choose between their own job security and taking the ethical course of action most will chose their own job security. That is a complex moral decision, not a simple one. And, I’m not saying that’s what did happen it’s just an educated guess. It’s exactly why most people remain silent and turn a blind eye to this type of thing.  The bottom line is that one of your supervisors had reasonable knowledge and this isn’t your fault, at all.

Simply put, it isn’t ethical to hate someone or try to ruin someone because they did what is considered normal within their own society. However, as long as the silence continues these tragedies will continue. Some are teenage suicides due to bullying, some are sexual assaults that go unpunished by our legal system and even universities and others are cases of workplace abuse so extreme that they are traumatic be they harassment, assault or otherwise. We are also typically silent about domestic abuse and child molestation, both of which are disturbingly common.

In short, we are silent about abuse of women, other minorities and children. This isn’t okay. I have always been quite passionate about women’s equality and I see no distinction between women’s rights and human rights. If I were to remain silent then I would be an incredible hypocrite. Moreover, these are human rights violations and public health issues. Something must be done. And, nothing will be accomplished as long as silence is the norm. The silence can only be broken one voice at a time. And, every single voice actually does matter.

But, I don’t hate you and I hope that you aren’t used as a scrape goat or ostracized. What you did is considered normal by society and it’s what most people in that situation do. It’s the social norm that is evil and wrong, not you or your team members.

Possibly Insane!

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Image by peterhut via Flickr

I had an interesting conversation with one of my childhood best friends yesterday. I told her that the perpetrators notes from our interview process read; “Attractive, Charming, Witty, Funny, Intelligent, Confident, Ambitious…possibly insane.”

She fell silent for a second and then began laughing. The punch line is that it’s a fairly accurate description. Frequently in a situation like this a woman is instructed to seem conservative, docile and non confrontational. Now, unless she happens to actually meet that description then it may well be a strategic mistake. Basically, working within traditional confines the cards are stacked against a woman.

I’m applying a management concept here. Within traditional confines it’s nearly impossible for me to pursue justice and have a voice. The PR and legal team involved is experienced at playing this game and they will probably win the traditional game. However, what I’m doing is changing the game. Candidly, it will confuse the living hell out of them and quite likely frighten them. Their normal protocol won’t work! 😉

So, while it’s entirely true that I’m possibly insane a great deal of what I’m doing here is strategic. Also, I studied English not business and I’m having fun!

To the Team Implicated: You all do know that you are guilty, don’t you?

A friend of mine called your firm and asked about me a few years ago. The team member who he spoke with practically hung up on him. If I was actually an insane petty thief who were lacking in aptitude and intellect then you all would have absolutely nothing to be afraid of, now would you?

You do all know the truth already. I can understand exactly why you are afraid.

You have excellent reason to be!

Quick note to readers: “Workplace Issues” is a work of creative nonfiction based on my true story of being bullied. It’s told in a series of open letters.