There has been a fair bit of discussion on here about bullying in the workplace recently. Co-incidentally I have recently come across it in my own work life. I work for myself giving technical and other management advice/consultancy in legal disputes. I have been dragged into working on a new case that seemed interesting at the outset but is fast losing its appeal. Principally this is due to the attitude of a couple of the people I have to work with. Unusually for me I am working via a small company. They approached me and asked if I would work with them because they needed someone like me for this case they had taken on and couldn’t cover it from their regular staff. Things are quiet and even though it meant dropping my normal fee rate so that they could have a margin, I took it on.
I could tell at the “interview” that the chap running it was not comfortable engaging someone like me. He is a director, one of the founders of their company and he was visibly reluctant. I asked and he said it was so, but they had failed to recruit anyone and unless I wanted a job (I didn’t) then he was happy to give it a go. His co-directors are happy as sand boys, incidentally. What I am about to describe is a very localised matter.
Three weeks or so into the job and I understand. This director chap is a bully and manages his staff by browbeating them and constantly putting them down. He seems congenitally unable to accept anyone is right when they manifestly are. Even if he agrees he will argue with them at length before restating what they did in different words, so he has "put them right". However, he isn’t stupid and doesn’t try it on with me. I am in a very fortunate position these days of working because I want to and although I am not by any measure rich and need to keep earning year on year, I am well insulated from periods without work. So if I don’t like something, I will just walk away. Something else will turn up. He knows this. However, his management style with his employees is clear.
So we move on to “Twerp”. Twerp is the RHM to boss and seems to have decided that the way to become a proper manager is in the mould of his boss. I suppose because I am from outside the company he feels that he can try it out on me at low risk. I recently had enough and had to say to this tendentious little shit that he appeared to have me confused with someone that needed the job and was prepared to put up with his crap. I want the job because I like to be busy but it was losing its appeal by the second.
Then he threatened to fire me! At least that what I think he did, it was sort of ambiguous. So I shrugged my shoulders and made away to clear my desk, accepting his offer in a heartbeat, which he blustered to explain he hadn’t meant. A further joy of my position is that I felt free to point out that his head appeared stuffed deep into where the sun never shines. Apart from anything else there’s no contract and so I can just go at the drop of a hat. I think that they wanted to be able to get shot of me easily, but forgot the reverse applies, or dismissed the possibility.
Anyway, I am still working there and little shit is sheepishly a bit better behaved although he doesn't yet leave a room when I enter. I have also declared that I have other things to do on Fridays, so I won’t be available unless there’s a specific and important reason. Which is why I am here :DThe moral to this, if there is one, is that if bullying in the workplace succeeds, then it breeds. So don’t put up with it. You don’t have to and we have a duty to others to stamp it out. When challenged the emperor often has no clothes. In any event, teach children early and they learn it for ever.