Here’s the deal: mobbing can kill your career. It can kill it through rumors and gossip and intentional lies. It can kill it by cutting you off from the social networks that make it possible to enjoy professional opportunities, to get a job and to be recognized in your field. And it can kill your career by being so psychologically wounding and traumatizing that your brain may actually be changed, your emotional strength nearly crippled, and your sense of hope for the future so darkened all you see before you is the black, blood darkness of a dawn that never comes. In other words, once mobbing commences, you have to scramble to safeguard your career just when your capacity to do so is at its lowest.
And it’s this mortal blow to one’s career that has so many of your coworkers and friends turning against you—they know what’s up ahead for them if they support you, and you’re missing the lifeboat if you don’t get it, too. So get it—these are dastardly times and you’ve got the choice to sink or swim. Here’s how to swim.
Assume you are constantly monitored. Just because they’re out to get you doesn’t mean you’re paranoid. But as an FBI agent once told me, if they are out to get you, it pays to be paranoid. Always assume that there are cameras watching you. If I had said this a decade ago you would have had cause to consider me nuts. But these days, there are cameras everywhere; in the hallways, in the bathrooms and even in your office or cubicle. Do not do anything stupid like defacing the public space, or even your own office.
Assume every keystroke you log on your computer is being monitored and recorded. Almost always, once a mobbing starts, management alerts the technology folks to keep an eye on what you’re up to. That means do not go shopping on the internet, do not check out dating sights, do not log on to Facebook or Twitter and do not use your workplace computer for any personal use. I can’t state this warning clearly enough, and it is probably the most disregarded—and important—piece of advice I can give to any mobbing target. You shouldn’t be doing any of this stuff anyway, but most workers do, and if you can’t stop, then they have cause to fire your ass. Get it together and segregate your personal life from your professional life.
And that also means do not send any personal emails, or especially emails seeking advice or discussing your problems at work, from an email account your employer has assigned you, even if you do so from your own computer. I regularly receive emails from mobbing targets who are writing me for advice from their work email accounts. Never do that!
Every worker should follow this advice at all times. An even better piece of advice is to get your own laptop which is used only for work and not connected to your workplace servers. Unfortunately, in many if not most cases, that is not practical advice. Either the workplace servers are necessary for you to access, and/or you cannot afford a separate computer just for workplace use.
At the same time, you should never use your personal computer for workplace use, because once you do, you risk having to turn over the hard drive in the event your conflict gets to the courts. If you have used your personal computer for workplace use, and if you sue your employer (or someone from work sues you), you can be compelled to turn over that hard drive. So in other words, use the workplace computer only for work use, and/or get a separate computer just for work. Do not use your personal computer(s) for workplace use and vice-versa. (And that includes smart phones and iPads.)