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!

Bullying Intervention

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

To The Woman Who Says That She Witnessed me Attempting Theft: Careless and Socially Irresponsible

Quick preface: “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.

Here is the bottom line; virtually everyone on that team had reasonable knowledge that I was being abused. Despite that the vast majority of you decided to trust his analysis of my character. This is an excellent example of a low team E-IQ. And, that night you informed me that, “no one…believed anything that (I) said” and, “saw through it.”

I seriously doubt that you are capable of understanding this but I would never speak to another human being the way that you spoke to me that night. It isn’t about who they are it’s about who I am.

The next day the manager who abused me asked me if she was, “someone who I picked up in a bar?”

The above has an obvious sexual connotation. That certainly was not his first inappropriate statement. The truth is that she is from an affluent Jewish family and went to Rutgers University. I had known her for years. I had celebrated holidays with her family and she had celebrated holidays with my family. I told the manager who abused me this but I consider it likely that the information was not relayed. Moreover I said, “If you want to accuse me of theft call the police.”

I handled that correctly despite the fact that I was having a traumatic stress breakdown.

If anyone had actually cared if the allegation was true they would have checked the search history on the computer and checked to see if any files had been opened. No one did. Match dot com is blocked on the office computers, or was then. My friend was extremely anxious to know if she had a date. This is hardly criminal.

The perpetrator was looking for a way to discredit me completely. If he felt confident that no one would believe me then he could continue the abuse. My licensed therapist specializes in trauma. A woman fearing for her safety for a prolonged period of time can be as traumatic as rape and that is what happened to me. To put this in perspective when I relayed my experience to a former journalist he said, “It sounds like you are lucky that you got out of there before something happened.”

Sexual assault is about control rather than desire. According to RAINN one in six women are raped in America. They usually know their attacker and these crimes happen at all socio-economic levels. Given his inappropriate and abusive behavior my concern was extremely reasonable. I do not become afraid for my physical safety easily at all. Either he is potentially violent or he inflicted a state of duress intentionally. The other option is that he cannot control his own emotions and which is immaterial.

Retaliation is unethical but it is ethical to hold individuals accountable for their actions. To say that the firm and the team handled this poorly is an understatement.

For future reference kindness is a virtue. It is also a leadership skill and a strength in business.

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.

OMFG, you are right!

In the summer that we parted company you said to me, “You are so (exploitive) naïve Cobra!”

You were accurate. One of my biggest weaknesses is corrected now!

But, it isn’t quite that simple. Someone with the qualities that the perpetrator has can frequently manipulate and lie to even experienced executives effectively. This concept is covered in “Snakes In Suits” published by Harper Collins Business Press. There was someone who you employed for several months that followed the same patterns. You finally terminated his employment at my firm recommendation. Later you marveled that you had missed it for so long. I only missed it for a few months also. But, people like that are frequently potentially violent, or at least capable of threatening violence so effectively that it causes a state of duress. Henceforth, my traumatic stress breakdown that it took three years to recover from. That guy is sick and scary!

By the way, he is going to feel like he did nothing wrong. And whatever line of BS he comes up with he will believe. But, the chances of his telling exactly the same story more than once are quite slim.

That is exactly why I didn’t see it or feel it at first!

Edited on December 25th, 2010.

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.


To my Mentor: I’ve reduced Bennis to a Tweet!

a table about human ethical charactristics

Image via Wikipedia

Hey, Bennis is Tweetable.

It goes like this, “The ethical decision is always the right decision even when it’s an F’ing pain in the ass!”

It’s unfortunate that the firms founder didn’t think of that while she was ignoring and neglecting the situation. Obviously, I have a great deal more that that to say to you but I have a few matters to attend to first!

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.