Last weekend, my blog about bystander apathy had a few nerves twitching and subsequently Twittering.
I can understand why.
I mean, it touched on those work colleagues that compound your problem by doing nothing when you’re faced with 8 hours of workplace bullying. And it’s a no-brainer that the apparent lack of compassion from co-workers allows the abuse to continue. Every claim that they didn’t hear a word screamed at you by your boss is a knife in the back. Talk about being lonely in a room full of people. Bystander apathy is enough to convince you that you’re completely invisible.
So why am I showing the silent, unhelpful onlookers such lenience? Well, consider what you’d do if it was happening to the person next to you. Really think about it. What would you do if your boss was abusing your nearest work colleague on a daily basis?
The name of the game here is doubt.
We all doubt ourselves, especially when our moral concerns might require us to tip an established workplace hierarchy on its head.
One of the first things you’re going to question is your right to involve yourself in someone else’s business. You’ll worry about getting the wrong end of the stick. If you wade in wagging a disapproving finger, you might come across like a meddling do-gooder.
Offers to help can backfire spectacularly. What if you’re misreading a 50/50 personality clash? What if it’s a case of office politics and they’re both used to it? Perhaps it’s a flash-in-the-pan flare up which will be settled later over coffee and a chuckle of how stupid it all was. What an idiot you’ll look if you took sides and offered to compile a witness statement!
But there is something you can do if you see a colleague going through it. Remember the Rope-a-Dope technique from my WEEK 152 blog? Being quiet is very different to doing nothing.
Record the specifics of the bullying behaviour you witness and leave it there – for the moment. You’ll know what to do with the information should the need arise. This way, you protect yourself and your colleague at the same time.
It’s the first step in creating a Neighbourhood Watch dynamic as opposed to a room of callous onlookers. Just because no-one knows you’re a curtain-twitcher is neither here nor there.
So let’s get those curtains twitching in your work environment and keep the Tweets coming.
- Bullied By The Boss
- Welcome to my blog. My pen name is Eva James. I'm an aspiring writer paying the bills working as a legal secretary. Relentlessly bullied by my former boss, I looked for another job but the recession hit. Feeling trapped, I recorded everything in this blog, which serves as a revealing insight into workplace bullying. WEEK 1 starts the story and, as the weeks progress, you'll note what starts as banter soon spirals out of control. Sadly, it's all true. Whilst along the way I've found alternative employment, my passion for blogging about workplace bullying remains. Trevor Griffiths, legendary theatre, TV and film writer said at the outset, "I like the writing a lot: smart, cool, placed. If you were prepared/able to take your prick of a boss on, you'd marmelise him."