Archive for the ‘Let’s Talk with Kalola’ Category


Let’s Talk for Kalola: The Bully is the Assistant Principal

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Dear Kalola,

My story began 3 years ago when we got a new assistant principal.  The first incident that happened involved myself and my aide at the time. I was told by the principal I was moving grade levels but not to discuss it with anyone.  So I honored the principal’s request.  The assistant principal (AP) told her/his spouse about the change and the spouse told my aide who was shocked that nothing was said to him/her.  My AP called me into the office and yelled at me for telling people.  I pointed out that I did not and directed the AP to her/his spouse.  The spouse admitted leaking the “secret”. Although small it really bothered me that AP heard gossip and based on that attacked me.  The next events centered around MAP testing. He/She did not want us to use scrap paper.  We fought and pleaded.  We contacted our assessment coordinator who finally allowed us to use scrap paper. The same year my 2nd grade team scored extremely well on the paper test with the majority in the distinguished range.  We were told that next year we would be given a harder test.  So we teach 2nd grade but now we are given the immediate map test.  Of course scores significantly dropped and we were told we were the issue.

Our AP attacked us in a PLC meeting by yelling, throwing paper, and threatening us.  We have went to our principal and superintendent several times and each time they state they are working on a solution. Our AP spreads mean gossip about myself and my team. The AP also has the resource teacher spying on us to create false accusations. They both turned us in to OEA Office of Educational Accountability) for cheating on a test with our building principal being the proctor.  The case was unfounded because it was a total lie.  The AP held our faculty Christmas party at her/his house and we were not invited. We were told not to have any contact with him/her so we go through our building principal who is just trying to sneak on out and retire in less than a year.

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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Canadian Health Care Worker

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Dear Kalola,

I was in health care, The interview went great, but the question I was asked which threw me for a loop was “How do you handle aggressive coworkers?” I had never been asked that before and so I answered as such. I did notice when I shook hands at the end one interviewer has a confident shake and the other had a limp shake as though she was very passive, I didn’t think much of this, just thought it was weird. And my gut turned it was saying “I don’t really want to work here something is off” I got a call and was hired, and since I had not heard back from another place I had wanted I accepted – though if I had waited I would have received the phone call of acceptance 2 days after starting at this place.

Turns out the people who interviewed me were not going to be my boss. Another weird thing I had never encountered before was my new boss asked me to remove my degree from my wall frame and bring it in so he could verify that I had indeed graduated from an approved college. I said of course I had, that is why I have a license to practice. He said he is in charge and that is what policy states. So I asked my parents to FedEx my diploma from another province and dismantled my diploma and brought it in. It was returned to me with a coffee ring on it. I thought that was rude and said so. He smiled at me and said in a mocking tone “I don’t really care.”

Later on there was a discussion where medical professionals were bashing aboriginals and I spoke up after my boss said “Thank god we don’t hire them.” I found this extremely judgmental and I spoke up and said “Wow, I must have slipped by your radar” and I looked at the other medical professional and said “I am one.” My boss shrank a little bit. That is when it all went down hill. He would stand over me and try and intimidate me with his body language. He assigned me to clean the chairs (I’m a medical professional…), he assigned me to order gifts for a pharmacy rep he liked, he assigned me to janitorial duties. I kept jumping through his hoops. One day in the hallway he sneered at me “You think you are so good, well just remember this, I can have you replaced like this *snaps fingers in a gun finger pointed fashion at me*” I said I understand that, I tried to be humorous with him and I said “You remind me of the boss of office space”. There was a scholarship for a program I was in and another worker and he leaned in near me and said the coworkers name and he kept glancing at me as though wanting me to ask him questions but I didn’t then he said “Well too bad you won’t be able to apply, because you need MY approval” I said “Don’t worry, I know how to work hard to get my education”. Later he said “You have been reported using your cell phone today on the floor.” I said “How is that possible? I leave my cell in the car, go look right now.” He didn’t like that I caught him in a lie. Then he said “Also your documentation is a mess, I have it all here.” I said “How can it be?” He looked at me with a smile and took out a red pen and scratched through all my charting, I was shocked that someone so childish like this was my boss. He told me he couldn’t have me working anymore, and at this point I said “Listen – clearly you don’t like me, you know as well as I know that I haven’t done anything wrong, if you are looking for reasons to fire me, just tell me to quit, don’t resort to bullying.” His eyes looked like he wanted to kill me. Right there I saw the look that he wanted to kill me. After this I brought my cell and put it on record every time I was interacting with him and was able to document a lot of the abuse.

The last shift I worked, after having handed in my tools for the job as requested by my boss… I was injured, bleeding and tissue damage. He never filled out a worker injury and compensation form for me. I called HR and was told they are well aware of his abuse but unfortunately cannot do anything, I asked why, and they said they can’t explain. I came back in from break (calling a few people like a lawyer, a police officer, workplace harassment team, ceo of the organization, HR, past employer, a health professions licensing board) and coming up with solutions as I knew I didn’t think I could handle anymore verbal or psychological abuse as well as preventable injuries on the job without saying good bye to my sanity) and decided to give notice of resignation upon further verbal abuse, which I recorded… and was witnessed by coworkers).

I quit when he proceeded to berate me in front of a coworker on the spot I said “I am going home sick, I’m not feeling well” he said “Oh, do you think you will feel well tomorrow?” I said “Sick enough to hand in my resignation letter at noon”, he told me I couldn’t do that, he owns me for 8 hours a day, I said “No one owns me if they can’t treat me like a human being” Then I listed the employment law act for the province that stated my rights to resign and told him to look it up, then I said next look up criminal harassment. He got the hint and told everyone to go back to work. I said thank you to my team for the privilege of working with honest human beings and said if they ever need help or a witness they know how to contact me. I was able to get written affidavits of the abuse I endured and have them ready with a retained lawyer if in the event he should ever harass me in the future. I have wrote a few for other employees. Never in my life have I experienced that level of abuse with any other human being in my life.

For a year I had nightmares and panic attacks again, all new for me and sought therapy. My allies (co-workers), they too were on the receiving end of some serious petty “one-against-the-other” mind messing but we made a pact and realized he was trying to keep everyone confused and fearful in order to have quick obedience. I think the scarier thing was they had an organization in to address the workplace bullying within the first month I was there, and yet nothing changed, further these were people who people went to get therapy from. The boss hoodwinked the bullying organization.

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Let’s Talk with Kalola: The ER Doctor’s Warning – “Get Rid of the Stress”

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Dear Kalola,

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.

Joyce


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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Restaurant Worker

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Dear Kalola,

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.

Jacqui


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Let’s Talk with Kalola: U.S. Veteran’s Experience

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Dear Kalola,

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.

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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Australian Attorney

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Dear Kalola,

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
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Let’s Talk with Kalola: FedEx Express Workers Bullied by Manager

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Dear Kalola,

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.

Thanks.

Worker


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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Blacklisted

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Dear Kalola,

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.

Teresa


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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Grad Student Issues

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Dear Kalola,

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.

Linda


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Let’s Talk with Kalola: Disillusioned by the Workplace

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Dear Kalola,

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.

Teri


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