In the Workplace (A Personal Story)

Bullying in the workplace is getting some attention, but certainly less than childhood bullying. I think that might be because adults are embarrassed to admit they are still bullied and can succumb to that bullying. I think it brave when someone sends me their bullying in the workplace story, because I think many of us also experience this issue and don’t know what to do, other than quiet and be out of work or deal with the abuse on a daily basis. Gayla shares her story below and is looking for some advice, so please comment if you have some feedback for her. ~Alan Eisenberg


In the Workplace

In my quest to find help with a current situation of Workplace Bullying, I came across your webpage. It seems that childhood bullies must grow up to be Workplace Bullying Supervisors, like mine.

In my part-time job as a receptionist at a local Private School of Music and Arts, sounds like a fun, great place to work, right? Well, that is what I thought 9 months ago when I took this job. In the first several months at the job this person had no issues with me, my work performance and nothing negative. All of my work seemed to be a great help to the school, and I absolutely loved going to work everyday. Being told my cheerful attitude such a positive addition to their registration office. It seemed I asked all the right questions about how to do the job in the most efficient organized manner, many times I was told “in comparison to past employees in this position, you are great.” All of the parents seem to like me at the front desk, all of the teachers seem to like conversing with me, all of the students liked a helpful, smiling face as they come in to attend their music lessons or art class.

At some point this person turned into my worst nightmare on the job. This person is my supervisor and all of a sudden I am being talked down to, as if I were a naughty child. If front of others my every action is questioned, scolder and reprimanded beyond petty. With my co-worker and peers being within hearing distance, I ve been told “why are you taking the files out of the draw to organize them, simply leave them in the folder and alphabetized them in the folder.” Or “look at me when I am talking to you, so I know that you are hearing me.” My every sentence has been corrected, I ve been told “I do not like the way your tone of voice changes when you talk to the children.” The other person in the office has acknowledged this person being rude and unprofessional to me ( as well as others in this school ), even to her at times.

Now the worst slap in the face, I had scheduled a few days off work, as my 80 yr old mom was coming for I visit and I am picking her up from the airport after work. So that afternoon, I arrive at work and I my supervisor informs me we have a meeting with the HR representative. I should have seen it coming, she had asked me the day before “why are you giving out wrong information regarding classes” and it was something she had heard incorrectly, I told a parent summer classes are 9 weeks, and she heard is as me telling them the Private Lessons are 9 weeks. So, we go into the meeting and I am shocked, she is placing me on a written warning for false and unfounded statements, on the day my mom is coming in for a visit. I challenged her on several of the allegations and tell her and the HR representative I will be writing a rebuttal. She is shaking as we then return to the Registration Office, and looks at me with her belittling look “if you need to take a break now, feel free to do so.” I simply turn and look her straight in the eyes, and say “no, you go ahead.” Needless to say, my time spent with my mom and family could have been much better without this cloud hanging over me.

My rebuttal has been written and presented to HR, whom in turn sent her a copy. Now I am expecting to be terminated from this job next week, after their follow-up. And since I also have suggested to HR this is a “hostile work environment”, they followed up with an investigation of my claim and deemed it is NOT harassment and my claim is invalid.

In the meantime, I took 2 weeks off the job for personal time, due to experiencing sever anxiety attacks, depression, lack of energy, outburst of tears, and loss of self-confidence. At one point I thought I was having a heart attack, these feelings are so debilitating. Now that I ve returned to work it is, of course, even worse since she feels she has HR and Managements approval to treat people in this manner.

How do we stop the epidemic from spreading? How do we stop Childhood bullies from becoming Managers at a School?

Thank you for reading my story, I hope to hear back from you.

~Gayla