Workplace: What to do when bullied by colleagues


Bullying at work is awful and may not only negatively impact your work quality, but it can also negatively affect your mental and physical health. Photo: TNS/Dreamstime

My coworkers are bullying me. It’s subvert, but without getting into details, it’s definitely bullying and even gaslighting. How should I handle it?

Sounds like you’ve got a case of mean girls at work. This sounds like a toxic workplace. Sorry to hear you’re experiencing this. When you’re feeling the brunt of their inexcusable poor behaviour, it can feel isolating and like a dead end.

You can address them directly by speaking with them and calling them out on their behaviour, talking to your boss, talking to HR and most importantly starting to look for a new job. This is particularly important if the behaviour does not change and especially if you don’t get support from your boss/ employer. Also, jot down what was said, when and where in an ongoing document so you have proof.

Bullying at work is awful and may not only negatively impact your work quality, but it can also negatively affect your mental and physical health, especially if you’re being gaslit by losing a sense of reality.

Your workplace is supposed to be a safe, supportive place where you can work to your highest potential and soar, not feel undermined and bullied.

My boss resigned and the position is open. They’re looking “elsewhere”, as they keep saying. But I’ve been in my job for more than five years as second-in-command. It’s not even posted internally, but they’re replacing her. What can I do?

Sounds like you probably have the chops to succeed, you know the culture, you can probably seamlessly transition into the role without a hitch.

Look for a new job elsewhere. I think everyone should keep their eyes and ears open for a new job, even if they’re happy in their role, even if they have job security. It can only help to look, but especially in this situation. Let’s say they promote you but it’s an indefinite period or you’re still doing two jobs and getting paid for one because they haven’t backfilled your current one, etc. You can keep an eye on the exit door. You’re valuable. Know your worth and start looking.

Also, speak to HR about pursuing it. Is there a reason why they’re not posting it and first turning to you or your colleagues to seriously consider you? Or at least have a meeting? It seems odd because organisationally, it would cost them less with a quicker ramp up/ assimilation time to promote internally into this role and then backfill externally the direct report.

This speaks volumes to the culture, so even if they do promote you, you may want an exit plan anyway once you have this new title and responsibilities on your resume. – Tribune News Service/Vicki Salemi

Vicki Salemi is a career coach, author and speaker.

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Bullying , health , mental health , gaslighting


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