Archive for the ‘Let’s Talk with Kalola’ Category
Friday, February 28th, 2014
My bully boss enacted a posse of others to support her gossip and lies. She ran several major grants at a public university. I was her star employee, the go-to for all the hard tasks that she felt she did not want to do (or procrastinated on doing). She relied on me to support more than $8 million in grant-funded project activities. And, she never gave me credit or praise for any of my hard work or dedication. I remained behind the scenes as her “secret weapon.” She called me on weekends, evenings—just about any time she pleased. She gossiped, slandered and complained about everyone in the organization. I listened to her endless lies and complaints—all generated from her own insecurities—for nearly 7 years. I always knew, listening to her, that it was a matter of time before I became her next target.
After nearly two years of working for her, I had my first warning sign that I was under unusual stress. I went the the emergency room at my local hospital with stroke-like symptoms; they told me it was a TIA and sent me home with aspirin. That first warning should have been my last, but it only incited the bully to heap on more responsibilities and a little bit more monetary compensation to keep me in her grasp.
At year five, a fellow employee attempted to expose her bullying and discriminatory behavior. Courageous soul; the university backed her up because she brought in millions from government grants. He left distressed, distraught and demoralized. I knew that I was next—I had complained to several co-workers and one higher-up about her bad behavior. I had started to capture the outrageous lies, the slander, the falsified data she used to support her claims that she was “doing good” for students in need.
My second TIA was more dramatic. It happened nearly two years after the first one. I ended up in the hospital emergency room again, but this time the doctor issued a warning: Get rid of the stress. After that second TIA, her madness escalated. My productivity had plummeted. I scarcely realized that I was depressed and could not focus or function much. Thoughts of suicide were daily and normal. I dreaded each new day … even the weekends, because I knew that she would probably call me to continue her gossip and lies.
When she realized that I was planning on leaving, she resorted to keeping information away from me, using our shared social network to malign me and my good work; she even paid off several of my colleagues with “new” contracts and enlisting them in spreading lies about me, anything to keep me dis-empowered.
I did finally get up the courage to leave. My doctors helped me to make the decision. Medication also helped with my depression. It’s been over a year and a half, and my health has rebounded in the most miraculous ways. My spirit has been set free from the tyrant and her posse. I only hope that I can help others to break free and claim their right to greatness and joy.
Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
From the very beginning it was made known to me that I was not liked simply because I am Cuban. I was insulted on a daily basis, yelled at and sent home if I attempted to defend myself.
The final straw came when my son’s father came to the job asking for me in order to get insurance cards and perhaps go to the hospital as our 12 year old son had gotten hurt while rough housing. Not only was I not told that he had even been there, the general manager denied that he ever said that, that he was just there to pick me up. I was told that I had a bad attitude and was promptly fired. I was a mother that was rightfully furious at how the whole situation was handled.
I had made several attempts to speak to management about the abuse, even asked for an HR department and or to speak to the owner was told he didn’t wish to be bothered. This company promotes racism and fear in the work place. At the back of house is where you will find all the minorities and in the front of the house are where you will find the pretty white waitresses.
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
When I found this website I learned so much more about myself, and what is going on. I want to lead off with this.
In 1996, I left the military after three years as an infantryman. In that same year, I started working in state government. I have put in about 16 years of state service, and have worked for three different agencies during this time. I worked the longest for the state department of corrections (12 years). During this time, I re-enlisted into the Army National Guard and volunteered for Afghanistan.
After 10 months in theater, here are some things that happened to me in Afghanistan: I was told by the commander that all the equipment has been accounted for and that the property book was straight. Come to find that it was the opposite and learned only a few months prior to my arrival that the previous property book officer actually had to take a pad of paper and inventory all three F.O.B.’s, We had missing high-dollar equipment and even lost a vehicle. Not knowing my job very well I had to search for missing paper work and equipment with no help from anyone.
From 7:00 am to 10:00pm, I was constantly trying to locate paperwork and inventory. Once the Captain realized that I was having trouble the bullying and harassment began. He started to become very paranoid questioning everything I did because he was actually the one responsible for millions of dollars of equipment. I was just the book keeper basically. Then after a month or so as our mission continuously was changing, I started to receive verbal abuse and on several times threats of verbal abuse. Just being in a combat zone was stressful enough. I can’t list all the incidences that I remember but give an idea.(more…)
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
I am a partner in a major law firm. At the time I was bullied I was one of two female partners in the regional office in which I worked. For three years before that I had been the only female partner. In total, there were about 17 partners in the regional office, and 150 staff.
The bully was another partner, who was also the manager of the regional office.
The campaign escalated over a period of about three years, but this is a summary of the types of things which happened:
- at the weekly partners meetings, during which each partner was asked to detail what they had been doing, he would either pass over me, or if I did speak, look down while I spoke, and either harrumph when I had finished and change the subject, or make a belittling comment
- If there was good client feedback about a partner, the usual position was that it would be mentioned at those meetings or more broadly. If I got good client feedback (which was not uncommon), nothing was said
- there was one important client of the firm which had a manager who, for reasons he would not articulate, would not give me any work (so there was no negative feedback, even though it was sought; he would just not give me any work). The fact that I did not get work from this client was mentioned at least once in every two weeks in a public forum
- when I won large retainers from clients (not infrequent), this manager would tell me the work should be done by another partner(more…)
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
We work for FedEx and we have a senior manager who has verbally humiliated us. We do not have a union, and we have poor representation by the personnel representative.
Because we are not an independent department, the manager can kick out employees from meetings. The manager talks bad about past administrations, and has said things like we are not working good enough for what we do. Our concerns are not accepted by this manager and that what we have learned in the past with other managers was wrong, and more. We have witnessed this and follow the proper steps but the problem is not solved. This person has a record of the same behavior with other shifts and management only fixed by removing and sending the manager to work in another area. We have documentation and employee testimonies in the group......thanks for listening… We are desperate for solutions. They talk too much about how FedEx is great company to work for, but the public does not know the reality.
Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
I was bullied by my supervisor for nine and a half years. I complained to the administrator . Wrote letters. documented the abuse. I tried everything to keep my job as work is difficult to find in my state in my field. She refused to help me advance. She cut my work load and then wrote me up for not completing the work required for my job even though. She threatened me , ridiculed me in front of co workers, took me off of cases that were going well. Called me names did not give me credit for work I did. She fired me . It has been a year and I am still trying to gain back my confidence. I won at the unemployment hearing, but the unemployment office states Susan blackballed me. Thank you fore offering a place to tell my story. I am still angry but trying to move on.I found a part time job with experienced works, I am sewing bags to sell and spending time with my family . I am thankful I do not have to work with her anymore.
Saturday, October 5th, 2013
First, I would like to thank you for this site. It has been a tremendous help to me. I understand myself a bit better and am trying not to feel so much guilt and blame. I hope legislation is eventually passed and that victims will no longer have to suffer in silence. We see the attempts made to address bullying among school children, but how can we accomplish that when the adults cannot even set the proper example? It is an exercise in futility.
I am currently a PhD student at a large, public university. It has been my dream since I was a child. I was funded for two years, up until this year, when it was discontinued as a result of my bullying experiences. Funded graduate students are technically employees of the school, but they are rarely regarded as such. It also seems to be common knowledge that grad students are often subjected to poor treatment. I expected to be worked harder than ever before, which is not a problem for me, but I did not expect rampant emotional, mental, and sexual abuse.
I am not going to go into terribly specific detail as it would be far too long. The bottom line is that I was targeted for whatever reasons and subjected to various forms of defamation, sabotage of my work, illegitimate failing grades, and sexual harassment by a trusted adviser. Failure to respond to the sexual advances led to the loss of the one person who had the power to protect me from the other abusive faculty. When I took a class in another department and prepared to apply to their program because I heard they were far less dysfunctional, someone from my department sabotaged by admissions and my work in the class.
My funding was pulled and my reputation in a department I wanted to transfer to was tarnished. They know that without funding it is incredibly difficult to continue as a full-time Ph.D. student. They also treat their non-funded doctoral students as if they do not exist. You may be exempt from certain forms of bullying, but you also miss out on many of the perks that lead to good job prospects in research universities.
Even though I could take legal action for sexual harassment, I have been unable to find an attorney who will work on a contingency basis. I cannot afford to pay as it costs thousands upon thousands of dollars. The faculty are well aware of that and they know that grad students are often poor and so beaten down by the time they get through with them that they often leave with their tails between their legs. Sometimes they commit suicide. Dreams are shattered, insecurities are exploited, and futures are ruined. But whenever a student leaves, is expelled, or even dies, the faculty always blames the student. They usually manage to convince the student and others that it is the result of shortcomings on the student’s part. It makes me sick to my stomach.
I am still a registered student there while I search for a full time job. I do not know what I will do next, but I know it will be extremely difficult for me to walk away without holding them accountable for their actions. I’ve been through a lot in life and I am lucky to have loved ones who are emotionally supportive so I know I will survive this. I see other students, younger and more vulnerable, and I am scared for them. The risk of suicide is real and I see some on the brink. Faculty even joke about it in front of them. It is despicable. It should be criminal. There is a university I will not name where, over the past decade, five grad students under the same adviser have committed suicide and nothing has been done. The professor is still employed there and his abuse continues. I know I will do whatever I can to bring attention to it at my university before I walk away. I have already brought my concerns to the attention of several university officials to no avail, but I will figure something else out.
At the same time these abuses are occurring, other university officials are holding seminars to address violence and bullying on campus. What is wrong with people? How hypocritical can you be. But I guess it is the same ole same ole. Do as I say not as I do. What’s really scary is that I’ve heard grad students who are subjected to this abuse talk about how they can’t wait to become professors and have the chance to bully students themselves. Real nice. If that’s how academia works, then I want no part of it.
So yes, I agree that workplace bullying needs desperate attention and I also believe that higher education must be included, particularly graduate programs because those students are known targets. Submission to sexual exploitation and psychological abuse should not be a prerequisite for earning a doctoral degree.
Saturday, September 28th, 2013
Two months will mark the year anniversary of my disillusionment from employment. I continue to have many sleepless nights, suffer from depression and am frankly scared to even look for work. For anyone who thinks bullying is a playground taunting toward the weak or society’s outcasts – think again. It can be a subversive, calculating and cruel breakdown of a good person/employee’s belief in themselves and their abilities.
For a bit over eight years I worked in a large corporation as an Executive Assistant. For the greater part of that time I was considered one of the best – independent and proactive with unquestionable integrity. Then my organizational structure changed/grew and 4 other Assistants joined the department.
Over the course of the next two years one of these Assistants (peer) lied, set up “failure traps”, twisted my best traits into weaknesses and effectively gained the support of the other Assistants and her Executive. The mob grew fast. It was shockingly evil and efficient. And I was shockingly naive for far too long! Not until it snowballed into my PIP (performance improvement program) did I fight back. Defending myself at this point fueled the bully’s fire. Speaking with my boss put him in a difficult position with his own peers (the bully’s bosses). Bringing in HR not only was ineffective, but strengthened my reputation as a liability to the company.
After living under these circumstances for months (some incidents got quite ridiculous: one involved Ms. Bully writing an email to HR and my boss because I hadn’t put an envelope in a travel packet, breaking some unknown, unspoken and un-requested protocol; Ms. Bully actually gave my name and phone number to a police officer as a possible suspect in a crime!) I put in my resignation. My boss and I worked out a 6-week transition period so I could train a replacement and find another job within the company. By this point I was a broken, anxious, emotional wreck but I still had the hope to stay within the company. I had multiple interviews during those six weeks and for the month following my official last day that went very well, and then mysteriously disappeared.
I know there can only be two or three people in my life who actually believe this blow by blow and those are the select few of my closest friends whom I worked with and confided in at the time. My poor, dear husband and family have only seen it’s devastating affect on me.
Society will only start believing and understanding when stories like mine combine with other types of workplace bullying – education must include types, prevention, interference techniques and recovery.
Companies will only start taking workplace bullying seriously when a potentially large monetary penalty is involved – if discrimination is illegal, workplace bullying should be illegal.
Saturday, September 21st, 2013
Ok, I need advice.
My son is a young autistic man and has been employed in a private club in Birmingham, AL. When he began employment 4 years ago, the club agreed to communicate with his job coach about his performance. During the last 2 years, he has complained of workplace bullying, being yelled at, and ridiculed in front of other employees. He has been sent home and written up.
The club has refused comment regarding our attempts to communicate and will not return phone calls and emails to either his job coach or myself.
He was fired last week. As this is a private club he is not protected by the ADA, which may explain why they refuse to deal with his job coach.
Alabama has no law to prevent this type of behavior and a cause of action would be difficult to prove, because of the difficulty of getting a current employee to testify.
Saturday, September 14th, 2013
I was the assistant to a manager of a large department in a department store. I had nothing but good reviews, got along great with my boss and with her boss. One day her boss was promoted and her replacement moved in from another store. He had formerly been the manager of our department before my boss. He came in being mean to me and my boss.
I have lupus and a seizure disorder. The new boss was advised by HR not to put me under fluorescent lights for prolonged periods because I had notes from my doctors. He would make me stand at the registers all day or until I'd have a seizure, even though it wasn't my job. Once he grabbed my arm so hard he left bruises just because I said "hi' to one of the associates. He would time me in the mornings, set impossible limits on my crossing the building doing tasks.
My lupus flared from all the exposure to stress and lights and I had difficulty walking. He would trap me in his office and scream at me and spit in my face. He would make me move heavy boxes, once I had to move 80 cases of cosmetic gifts down a flight of stairs. I became so sick I could hardly walk or think. I would spend my lunch breaks alone crying in my car.
I went to HR every few days. They would talk to him and he would retaliate for me talking to them. I even went to corporate HR, they finally moved me, but cut my pay. HR ended up standing up for him to protect their company.
After I was moved he still found ways to harass me. My coworkers were afraid to be friends with me for fear they would become a target by association. My doctors took me out on medical leave and I've been out since. I'm told there are no anti-bullying laws where I live so there is nothing I can do. He has done this to others and is doing it to more people now. I do wish I had filed assault charges when he grabbed me.