March 14th, 2011

Post-bullying economic woes for bullied targets

In a recent WBI 2011 instant poll that asked how the next job compared financially, the news is not good.

The question: For those who have ever lost a job to bullying, how did the next job compare financially?

Responses from 241 site visitors (a sample of individuals known to declare themselves to be targets of bullying at work)

26% — That job was never replaced – there was no next job

25% — Less money, but safer

13.7% — Less money, bullied again

11.6% — More money and safer

17% — More money, but bullied again

5.9% — Got another job, no change

Of those who did get another job, the financial status was:

LESS money earned — 52.8%

No change — 7.9%

MORE money earned — 39.3%

Thus, nearly 40% did come out ahead confirming the validity of our advice that there will be an eventual end to the bullying. And if you move along quickly enough without suffering severe health harm, you will have a new life. Getting out can be positive.

The fact that 53% did suffer an economic setback is probably based on the dwindling number of well paying jobs on the market to replace the job the target once loved. To those people, we emphasize the benefit to personal health and sanity of leaving the toxic workplace. You were too good for that place anyway.

The saddest fact is that over one-quarter of bullied targets were not able to replace their lost job. We know that bullying comes uninvited. No one asked to be intimidated or humiliated. Since the most veteran, competent workers are targeted, it is safe to assume that they once loved their jobs very much. They simply wanted to be left alone to do the work for which they were getting paid. But bullying displaced them and put them on the street involuntarily, regardless of whether they were fired or had to quit to preserve their health. This is the tragedy of workplace bullying.


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This entry was posted on Monday, March 14th, 2011 at 10:07 am and is filed under Bullying-Related Research, Tutorials About Bullying. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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  1. LB says:

    Tragedy doesn’t even begin to describe the fallout from being bullied.

  2. kachina says:

    If that’s what ethics and integrity cost, I’ll pay the price. Not gladly, but I’ll pay it.

  3. J. says:

    I wonder how many people who left their jobs due to bullying, whether they did so voluntarily or due to termination, made career changes as the result of bullying. A change in career might also account for a gain, or loss, in income. I could understand why a bullied person might choose to change career paths, as opposed to finding a new job in the same business/industry. Sometimes a different career looks better than another job in the same field. It’s just a curiosity on my part.

  4. Diane W says:

    I have been five months without unemployment. I have been lied to, misdirected, and given wrong information by both the State of Tennesee, and the State of New York. Now, I am starting all over again, submitting proof of workplace bullying and violence to the State of New York, so they can take another five months to investigate my claim. If anyone knows am employment lawyer in the area of upstate New York, please, please e-mail me at The fight will never end, until all 50 states pass the Healthy Workplace Bill! AMEN!

    • Jay Jacobus says:

      When asked about his intent, here are statements the bully will say,

      “I’m not a malicious person.”

      “I was just following orders.”

      “I need to have control. Don’t I?”

      “The (so-called) target was a problem worker.”

      “He was after my job. I should be allowed to protect myself.”

      “Bullying? What bullying?”

      “He was playing games. He lost!”

      “I spoke to HR and they told me how to handle him.”

      “I was testing his loyalty.”

      “Being tough is an effective management technique.”

      “He never complained. How am I supposed to
      know what is going on in his head.”

      “I heard that depression runs in his family.”


      • J. says:

        I would like to a few to the list:

        He/she is a bully.

        No one can get a long with her/him; or, the more childish version: No one likes him/her.

        She/he is not a good fit for our (department, office, fill in the blank).

        We have had anonymous complaints about him/her. We don’t keep records of complaints, but we have had several.

        She/he is a prima donna.

      • Jay Jacobus says:

        Most people don’t object to abuse on the first day or even the 90th day. Targets try to resolve the bullying by working with the bully.

        It is only after many, many months of trying to cope that the target finally takes action.

        The organization should understand the reluctance of people to report their bosses. When a complaint is made, it is usually because the bully will not quit. He is a serial bully and should be stripped of his power.

        He might be fired or placed in a non-managerial role, but the target should be given safe harbor.

        To think that a target would complain for ulterior motives is to give support to all bullies.

        Victims know that our complaints will be suspected by HR and their organizations. Why else would we suffer in silence?

      • J. says:

        I believe the problem may lie mostly with upper management’s influence on workplace culture, for good or bad. Even when the employer’s policies offer method for filing official complaints, there may be no support for the target. If the employer accepts bullying as part of its culture, complaining can be as dangerous as doing nothing. The target must hope that upper management does not approve of bullying. My guess is that where bullying goes on at mid-level, it is supported and even encouraged at upper levels of management.

        My employer has a written policy for filing a grievance against a supervisor. After more than two years of escalating bullying, I filed a grievance against my two immediate supervisors with their supervisor in accordance with policy.

        My complaint was well documented with supporting evidence. His response was to essentially suspend me with pay. He told me not to talk to anyone and accused my of harassing my co-workers. He informed me that I am now his only contact. He did nothing in compliance with policy and punished me for following rules.

        The director of HR has renewed my belief in the existence of evil – she personifies it.

  5. Gary Hoover says:

    I wish you folks were around back before 1993. I have been unemployed for over 4 1/2 years. There are issues in my past. Some my fault and others not.

    When I came to your website and viewed your video it was like seeing myself up on the screen. This is the same stuff I’ve been preaching for years. Keep it up. Workplace Bullying, in my opinion is one reason that things are the way they are in American Business. American Businesses are becoming casulties as it can ruin them. You know of course if the powers at be start considering your organization a threat, that you are probably going to meet some sort of resistence down the road if you haven’t experienced it yet. In my opinion, Workplace Bullying is a tool for those who choose to use it. I’ve been forced to be up against it on occasion and it is very hard to defend against. I hope visitors to your website watch this and take heed as it is exactly how they operate – almost to the word. It is a weapon, available to use against so-called undesirables considered such by the fancy of one person(s) or his/her buddies. I wonder what the
    Right Wing Republicans would do if someone would start up an all out campaine against this problem and try to get it intoduced into law for the entire United States? I bet they just may forget about the tort laws, after all that is one of the reasons that they went after the Tort Laws. Too many menace law suits! Best Wishes and Success. – Gary D. Hoover

    I don’t know what I’m talking about. I am just full of envy, jealousy and hatred, and I am apparently trying to practice vengence against the best of America’s workforce.

  6. kachina says:

    I look at those statistics and I see 64.5% of targets never recover financially. And of those who do recover financially, two thirds will be bullied again (likely with the same dismal prospects as the first time around…but they’ll be less resilient). All in all, once targeted, prospects of a better life look like 11.6%.. Nobody in their right mind would choose to gamble with those odds….unless they could afford to lose. Or do those who pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and march back into the fray really believe that they are the one in ten who are special enough to come out ahead? Just asking…

    • J. says:

      Type of employer/career must be a factor. I understand that high achievers, the ethical, and others who appear different from their coworkers may be more likely targets, but some places and types of employment are far worse than others.

      My current career is not my first and I never experienced bullying in any other context than academia. It would be interesting to see a survey address bullying by industry.

      • kachina says:

        Good point. As I worked in healthcare, I assume my prospects of recovering are worse than I calculated in my previous post. Healthcare and education are about the worst offenders…largely because of the pro-social target types they attract in those fields.

      • kachina says:

        Further thought….if you’ve recovered sufficiently to go back once, and are bullied out a second time, what are the odds of a successful third run? Chances are good that that’s exactly the position you’d find yourself in…

      • Jay Jacobus says:

        Forget about surveys. Surveys can be ignored.

        But a bomb is hard to ignore.

        Do NOT set off a bomb. That would be wrong.

        Like bullying is wrong.

      • J. says:

        kachina, I think most people would find themselves bullied the second time and headed for a third. Targets could never learn enough about a prospective employer to entirely avoid bullying. The one thing I have learned about applying for faculty positions in higher education is to always check out the qualifications (research and experience particularly) of potential administrators and colleagues. I’ve learned through painful experience that it is essential to avoid those whose qualifications are different in quality and/or quantity from your own. If the CVs of faculty and administrators are not available online and you cannot find their names attached to publications or other academic contributions, look elsewhere. However, even a cautious approach will not guarantee a bully-free environment in an industry that has a large population of bullies.

        A career change doesn’t sound bad to me.

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