“A 2017 study on abusive supervision found that people who have worked with a bullying boss report being more withdrawn and depressed, and that targets of abusive supervision report symptoms that bear ‘striking similarities to those diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder’.
“Research has long supported a link between workplace abuse and negative consequences for employees – if your boss is antagonistic, you’re more likely to have anxiety and stress headaches, and lose sleep and your ability to concentrate. A new study from the International Journal of Environmental Research and public Health even found people coping with workplace abuse had a heightened risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
“In some cases, workplace abuse can be contagious within an organization. For instance, in 2013, the Journal of Applied Psychology found American soldiers in Iraq were more likely to admit to hitting and kicking innocent civilians and were less likely to report misdeeds by others when their supervisors were also cruel to them.”
“‘I would start by asking – am I safe having a gentle, backstage conversation with this person about their behavior?’ says Robert Sutton, Stanford professor and author of 2017’s The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People who Treat You Like Dirt. ‘And if you don’t feel safe, then who in your network can you recruit to confront this person with you?’
Certainly not HR; they’re just tying to keep their jobs and get through the day themselves.
“One such trick is just to see the existential absurdity of your torment in the context of the fleeting nature of time. …huh ‘When something’s unpleasant, you remind yourself that this is just temporary, and that “when I look back at this, a year or two from now, it’ll just be nothing”,’ says Sutton.
I worry that if we all start looking at the existential absurdity of the way we live now, society will collapse to “Walking Dead” levels without Rick Grimes or the zombies.
“Yet if the idea of needing to dissociate from your dreary plight as a beleaguered office grub just to survive seems a little too soul-destroying to be a viable solution, studies suggest you can, in fact, fight fire with fire. Research from 2014 found that employees with hostile bosses are better off when they respond with passive aggression.
Feh… but interesting.
“The study, conducted by Professor Bennett Tepper of Ohio State University, found that employees who responded passive-aggressively to their abhorrent bosses by ignoring them, feigning ignorance of the cause of their rage, or just giving a half-hearted effort were ‘less likely to see themselves as victims’.”
You’re not alone: how to survive your horrible boss, by Adrienne Matei, The Guardian, 19 Nov 2019
Gah! and sad. Bitterness is indeed contagious. Or something. And it doesn’t help that because bullying isn’t actionable, options for addressing it ON ANY LEVEL are very limited. Yes, vile and ridiculous, but there you have it.
Makes me wonder if bullying, like wanting to have sex with someone you shouldn’t have sex with, isn’t just part of human nature at this moment in evolution. Let’s give it another thousand years and circle back, shall we?
You might be thinking ‘why not just get another job?’ well, it’s trickier than that when you get in a big organization and/or a certain age and/or there are a million reasons why just getting another job isn’t viable. It took me a long time to understand, long ago when I was a temp, and asked a young abused admin why they stuck around, and they said ‘I’m not quitting a big company over this’. I was just passing through so I didn’t really examine the idea. I can only hope things improved for them in the last 20+ years. Things have been all over the map for me over the last 20+ years, but I can now kind of dig what they were saying there.
I’m starting to think incidents of employee harassment, bullying, and suchlike would be better handled by external entities that will do it for free, and therefore not have a financial or career-based stake in the outcome so they can be brutally honest in their assessment of the issue. Groups like, oh, Amnesty International, Jesuits, Chabad, those kind of groups. Too weird? Too revolutionary? Well, good thing I’m here to think these kind of thoughts so you don’t have to. 🙂
In other news…
The 2019 Wapshott Press fundraiser continues with our Angel matching donations up to $1K until December 31, 2019. We could sure use your help again this year, thanks. www.donate.wapshottpress.org. So far we’ve raised $520, thank you everyone! This will be matched to bring our total to $1040, which will help us publish 4 issues of the fiction journal, Storylandia, and now at least 3 issues of the new poetry journal, Poetrylandia (see update on fundraiser page). And remember, when you donate $100, we’ll send you a copy of EVERYTHING we publish this year.
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
“Great minds have purposes; others have wishes.”
“The less you talk, the more you’re listened to.”
“Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it.”
“One faces the future with one’s past.”
Pearl S. Buck