The petition for British citizens is now closed, as its deadline has passed. Wishing Vicky and all of you across the pond the very best.
If a person shoots another person (target) in the heart and the target dies it is not because the target didn't handle the bullet correctly. It is not the targets fault s/he died due to the bullet in the heart. It's not because the target "gave their power" to the shooter.
I've heard "you should just laugh it off", "life is 10% what happens and 90% how you handle it". Both of those are true for normal pitfalls or annoyances in life. Like getting a flat tire (I'll have to tell you my flat tire story sometime, it was a great day), burning dinner, gaining a few pounds so your favorite jeans aren't comfortable, getting cut off in traffic, having to work all weekend, you see where I'm going here. You don't laugh it off if your mother is murdered right in front of you, if you're severely beaten even though you handle it the best way possible it won't remove the scars.
I'd like to change the name "workplace bullying" to what it really is - workplace terrorism.
When someone says "I'm being bullied" what comes to mind? "Bullied", mean children on a playground taking lunch money, making fun of hair color, freckles? They don't have the power to make the target kid's family do without and they aren't around long enough to cause long term health problems. I'm not saying it isn't horrible but not the right word for adults.
Hi, I'm Mary (not my real name) and I'd like to share my experience with you in a desperate attempt to stop this violence.
I've been at my job since March 2005. There are only two of us in the office which is very unfortunate for me because I have no witnesses. The workplace bully / workplace terrorist's name is Jean (real name, goes by Jeanie). There are two owners, Joe and Marsha (everyone's name has been changed except the terrorist's. Why protect her)? They are out of the office most of the time allowing Jeanie to torment me, knowing that she does. It seems to be entertaining to Marsha. What's ironic is Jeanie completely controls Marsha. She pulls her strings by lying to her and sometimes getting her really upset. While Marsha isn't looking Jeanie grins wickedly at me as if to say "see me control her? Look at her getting all upset not realizing she's being had". Right before Marsha looks Jeanie straightens her face to show a concerned expression. It's quite the performance. After Marsha leaves Jeanie laughs hysterically. I don't look or listen to Jeanie anymore at all which irritates both of them. Jeanie told me a long time ago she doesn't care about Joe's business because Jeanie and a customer had a disagreement once and Joe took the customer's side. The happiest I've ever seen Jeanie was when Joe and Marsha's house was hit by a tornado, Marsha was there by herself scared and Joe was in traffic with several tornadoes popping up trying to get to her. Joe let us know this via cell phone.
Jeanie is a sociopath. I didn't know what that was until I had been there for a while. When I told the owners they asked me very sarcastically if I have a degree in psychology. "What makes you an expert" they said. Profile of the Sociopath (this is exact), Sociopath (dictionary.com), I know, it's called Antisocial Personality Disorder (Mayo Clinic) now. She also has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Mayo Clinic). Laws are what prevent sociopaths from committing other violent crimes. I told them a couple of times how Jeanie treats me, they say they can't understand me (I don't have an accent or speech impediment), laugh it off, they don't remember our conversation. So I wrote them a five page letter explaining her atrocious behavior, how it has hurt me, their business, and their relationship with their only son (they're no longer on speaking terms) and we had a meeting on a Sunday in February, 2007. I strongly suggested they get video cameras in there and they said they would. This came up again in a meeting with the owners, the lady who wrote our Policy and Procedures manual and myself two months ago. I reminded them they said they'd get cameras and they replied with "we will". I guess they meant the year 2035? I also sent them the link to The Workplace Bullying Institute and told them this would help them understand what's going on.
What does she do to me you ask?
- Since we're networked at the office she'd come onto my computer and delete my Excel formulas, sabotaging hundreds of files that I had to fix.
- She holds back information I need,
- has shuffled my paperwork,
- has yelled at me trying to get me to overcharge people's credit cards,
- stares at my breasts, butt and crotch (serious crotch, I'm a woman nothing to see here) every time she sees me,
- yells often, loud enough to physically hurt my ears,
- steals (she stole materials I was mailing out, next time she tried I caught her and had to physically take them away from her) and steals reports,
- accuses me of stealing,
- lies constantly (she even makes up stories about me and tells ME)!
- Convinced the owners that I don't do much work or anything right, they are out of touch enough to believe her. They know some of what I do now.
- Put something sticky on my keyboard that lead to my Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, very painful.
- She must've changed her diet for a couple of weeks so she was really flatulent and would walk back and forth through my office farting, over and over and over.
- Gets on my computer and visits strange websites, I don't know which ones. Marsha seems to believe it's me, she has someone watch every move we make on the computers and giggles while looking at me saying "I (Marsha) know what goes on in this office". Nothing could be further from the truth.
- She has snuck up behind me several times looking over my shoulder at my monitor (I could see her reflection in my monitor wearing a very angry expression and smell her bad breath).
- She put brand new knives on the counter behind me and I seriously considered bringing my loaded gun to work.
- Tries to get way to close to me physically on a regular basis, I move away quickly and have told her several times I like enough room to stick my elbows out and spin around.
- Has told me to do things a certain way then yelled "it's only common sense not to do things that way". I was convinced I should do these things this way cause Joe agreed, that was before I knew he doesn't know much about his business.
- Has freaked out about the smallest obvious typo and the like.
- Has opened my mail.
- Scratched my new desk.
- She's rude, derogatory, condescending, and just plain mean every single day. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.
Someone said to me not long ago outside of work "you're friends with Jeanie (last name omitted)". I said "uh, we work in the same building". She said "oh you work at Beech High School" I replied "no, (company name omitted)". She talks about going to Beech High School football games often; she's close to 60 years old with no kids, nieces, or nephews in high school. She must go there to stare at the cheerleaders. I figure she got caught trying to sneak a peek into the girls' locker room and told someone she works there so at this point I thought she's most likely a pedophile too. She has also talked about "watching" little girls at church.
Four months later, one of our cleaning ladies who had a one month old baby at the time brought the baby by. Beautiful baby and I was happy to see them both. Seeing Jeanie staring at the baby's (vagina? I don't even know what it's called on a baby) while Robin changed her diaper three times was the last straw for me, now I know she is a pedophile. She stood behind Robin staring at the baby while I was watching her. She barely blinked, and often says "I like 'em little". I went home, called in sick (and boy, was I!) the next day and the following day quietly went in, cleaned out my desk, came home and called the owners and told them I quit. I had severe heart palpitations, upset stomach, and headache. I talked to Marsha who told me they were working on getting rid of Jeanie and were about half way there, that's why they hired the lady to make a Policies and Procedures manual. Marsha also said they'd give me a home office, new desk and everything so I wouldn't have to drive into work. A month later I emailed the owners asking when her last day was, should be coming up. They didn't reply and I knew they chickened out. They say she knows a lot of people and all their financial business and they're worried she'll tell everyone. OK, I was relieved in a way because I don't want Jeanie to get another job where she can hurt even more people especially children.
Our other wonderful cleaning lady, Suzanna, is also made uncomfortable by Jeanie staring inappropriately at her while she's cleaning. Jeanie won't get out of the office and always says "I've been a bad girl, I'm going to stand in the corner" and stares at Suzanna while she's cleaning especially bending over. She's also yelled and screamed at her. Every time people tell me Jeanie has yelled and screamed at them they always mention her weird red blotches she gets on her neck while she's doing it. Not that anyone would say she screamed when she didn't but I know for sure because of the blotch description.
Other people who have witnessed some of Jeanie's behavior include a guy who owns a business I mostly use - she went in there yelling and blotchy. The people who remodeled our office, one of the workers said to me "she really needs to figure out what she's so bitter about and address it". The guy who installed the screen doors wouldn't come back and fix a problem until I called him one day and told him Jeanie wouldn't be in that morning, he was there in twenty minutes. And the people the owners bought the new furniture from.
My biggest long term health problem from this is Periodontal Disease. It's caused by stress, smoking, genes, and/or poor oral hygiene. I have impeccable oral hygiene but the extreme stress has caused me to double my cigarette smoking (from half a pack a day to a whole). My dentist and periodontist are baffled by the advanced stage especially at my age. Last year I had bone graph surgery (4 bone graphs to replace bone lost around my teeth) in all four quarters of my mouth that cost me $4035 co-pay and a molar extracted (doc said it was only adding to the problem though it was a perfectly good tooth). I was happy to have it done though because I got three days off and then the weekend, five whole days away from Jeanie. Three of the graphs went well. I am and will be in pain now every time I eat for the rest of my life. Periodontal Disease can also lead to cardiovascular diseases. I only have dental insurance, can't afford medical too at $200 per month. I only make around $11 per hour (I'm salaried), Jeanie makes much more for doing a very, very small amount of work. I do the work three people used to do. I'm sure a physical would show other ailments like why one of my lungs hurts in one spot. It's so hard for me to sleep I started taking more and more sleeping pills, I take them every night - Unisom maximum strength, I'd take up to five (dosage is one) and one morning last January I woke up with a dislocated shoulder. I did my best to relocate it but now that'll probably hurt me for the rest of my life too. I also have indigestion / heartburn almost every day, heart palpitations (often but not every day), and Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. Mentally, this has made me a lot more cautious of people. Knowing that a person can be as repulsive as she is has made me much less trusting, feel isolated, depressed, spend more time alone, and much less happy in general. I don't look directly at Jeanie anymore, it just disgusts me so much. Sometimes even in the grocery store I wonder if the person next in line is also a terrorist or pedophile and wonder if they trade child porn. I feel like I'm nothing like other people on Earth and have begged God several times to just call me home, I don't belong here.
I know what you're thinking - good grief dummy, get away from there! Well, would I have to face more bullies at a new job since this is all legal? I mentioned before people's lives depend on me. We test people in hazardous work environments, ironically. Years ago I happened to be looking at reports Jeanie did before I took over and noticed she sent reports out without the correct results of the tests. I told her and she laughed and said "oh well". There were others where the results were all mixed up. Were they mistakes or was she trying to kill people? We'll never know.
Could someone please explain to me why slow murder and terrorism is legal as long as it's done in the workplace? It effects 37% of American workers directly, is considered roughly four times more prevalent than sexual harassment, and effects so many more indirectly. Yes witnesses and families of targets, here's another example - Jeanie stole some of the reports that belong to the companies we work for. If they get inspected they will be fined and possibly closed for not having those reports. People own stock in these companies. Most companies she stole from called and the owners re-did the work, I re-did the reports, others didn't seem to notice. Why not? Maybe they have workplace bullying distracting them from their jobs.
"The cost to employers is estimated between $6.4 billion and $36 billion per year in lost productivity, diminished public image, insurance expenses and increased security." From the Charlotte Business Journal. Workplace bullying is detrimental to the economy in this very weak time.
The good that's come from all this for me is:
- I know, even more then before, how super incredible my husband is! He's so supportive with all this though it has gotten on his nerves.
- I appreciate my parents so much more for raising me to be strong, courteous, empathetic, companionate, and especially for teaching me right from wrong.
- I am even more thankful then before for my husband's family (our family) who remind me every time I see or talk to them there are still good people on this planet who know and love me.
- I'm very proud of myself for my abundance of self control.
- I'm now great with Excel, I didn't know it at all when I first started working there.
- I get to work from home (but still feel sick when I have to go to the office one to four times per week).
- I'm determined to help everyone in this situation now!
I call it terrorism because I always wonder what she's going to do next. Remember how we all felt right after 9/11/01? That's what it feels like every day. She gets worse and worse though I've always been civil. I think she wants me to sink to her level but I have way too much self respect to act like that. Here's what the owners got for all the money they spent on the Policies and Proceedures author - a piece of paper for me to sign that says "I'll treat others as I expect to be treated". In other words they want me to play these outrageous games too. Is there not enough violence on TV? The author once told Marsha and me about a friend who has an aggressive co-worker and the friend just says "shut-up bitch". I said "can I say shut-up bitch to Jeanie"? They said simultaneously "NO"!
I need your help! The whole world does. This will only get worse if it isn't stopped now.
I hope everyone who lives in the United States will sign this Anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill petition. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who have signed so far and/or passing the link to your friends! Sorry friends in other countries, I know you're having problems with this too. Hopefully if we get this passed it will give you some leverage where you live.
I know this should go state by state but I want everyone to sign and I'll send it to the Whitehouse, State Senators, State Governors, Congresspeople, Legislators, Representatives, the US Surgeon General, and every Lawmaker I can find.
Please feel free to post any questions or comments, I'm here to help. I believe this is why God hasn't called me home, He has a job for me here.
Peace and Love,
PS - I'm usually a little more articulate, I was really trying to keep this short.