Have you ever had one of those jobs that feels like it is sucking the life out of you? Do you have a job that you want to love and commit to, like your other relationships, but it makes you sick to your stomach when you think about it?

A friend of mine calls this a “soul sucking job.” For many people, having a soul sucking job is the result of workplace bullying, or at least the perception of it. Workplace bullying, just like other forms of bullying isn’t always easy to recognize. Sometimes what feels like bullying really isn’t and sometimes what feels like simply being treated unfairly really is bullying. Sometimes what starts as bullying becomes harassment and can even lead to abuse. One thing is clear, bullying hurts everyone it touches. What causes the pain isn’t the words or actions of others but the way they are received.

“Whether it comes from your church members, family, partners, peers, co-workers, leaders or stranger’s, one thing is clear, coercion, bullying and belittlement  hurts, sometimes leaving scars can last a lifetime. The only way to end the pain is to heal the cycle!” 

Bullying has become a catch-all label for various forms of physical and emotional trauma. Humans have always had to deal with issues of drama and trauma, the real difference is that we are no longer willing to tolerate it as normal and acceptable behavior. “Boys will be boys” and “that’s life” doesn’t cut it anymore. As the collective heart of humanity opens we are no longer willing to tolerate abuse, however it is justified.

Mary’s Story: I never worked for men again after that

Depressed-Woman“I was an executive assistant to a high profile executive who brought in a lot of money for the company.  I had a beautiful office in a high rise building tons of natural light in a meticulously decorated space. They even had fresh flowers delivered to my office every day. At the beginning the job seemed like a dream come true and could hopefully lead to advancement in the company. It was a company with a strong reputation in commercial real estate. It didn’t take long to realize that my new boss didn’t see as anything but a lowly assistant. Actually I was more like his personal servant. Every morning I got to the office before he did. All of his employees get to the office before he wandered in. It became pretty obvious that his mood was determined by the success of his date the night before and he seem to have any qualms talking about the most recent lady in his life. Sometimes he had temper tantrums like a two-year old and I suspected he forgot his meds. Of course I wasn’t surprised one day when he asked me to go to the pharmacy for him while I was out picking his dry-cleaning. The men in the office laughed at his crude jokes but they never respected him. He had them on eggshells too. I took the job thinking I was getting a high profile position in a company that could move her into management, but I started having my doubts.  He obviously had no respect for me because he had no respect for women in general. He made that pretty clear I was very good at my work and was making great money for the position, so I didn’t want to complain. But inside, I started feeling more and more depressed. I started dreaded going to work but I needed the paycheck, and I still hoped I could maneuver my way into a better position eventually. Click here for the rest of the story…

Jose’s Story: I was fired 12 days before Christmas

“I use to like people but a bully shot me down! Bosses should lead employees not bully them! People talk about teenage bullies but what aworkplace-bullyingbout work place bullies? Remember bullies come in all shapes and sizes. I was bullied by an adult, my manager at a high level financial institution. After he successfully made me sick with nerves and caused my blood pressure to go up. He fired me via UPS 12 days before Christmas while I was out on a workers comp pending case. My family will never forget the pain he caused us! I haven’t worked since due to all of this. He once told me that I couldn’t wear the hats I’d been wearing to work for almost four years with no problem. He said it was companypolicy yet there was nothing in writing. I called HR and they said there was nothing in the codes about hats. About six weeks later he decided to tell me that I could wear hats again but only a couple days a week. I asked him what about the policy and he replied, “I’m in control.” It was his way of throwing his weight around, what a bully! Click here for the rest of the story…

Amy’s story: I was in my forties and crying like one of my kids. I felt so ashamed.

woman_crying“I started a new company a couple of year ago. It was a business I had been dreaming about for years and thought for sure it was the business that would make my mark in the world and make a difference in other people’s lives. I consider myself a heart-centered entrepreneur. Coming up with the money to start my new concept was a challenge but she found a willing investor who also became my partner. I was to run the day-to-day operations of the business and the investor was a silent equal partner.  Almost as soon as the doors opened my partner began hovering. Nothing I did felt good enough. Everyone knows it takes 2-3 years to become profitable, but when the company still hadn’t broken even after three months, my so-called silent partner made it clear that I wasn’t performing my job. I was pounding the pavement every day doing marketing and managing employees at the same time. I thought I was doing great but it wasn’t enough according to her. My partner began showing up at the facility without notice, telling employees what to do and telling me how to do my job. I had to make this business work, my name, reputation and family depended on it. My partner seemed relentless on telling me everything I was doing wrong and confused employees didn’t know who to report to. Employees became disgruntled and started blaming me for everything that was wrong and the good ones got so frustrated they just left.  The business that I had always dreamed of having become a nightmare.” Click here for the rest of the story.

Where are they now? The three individuals in this article have moved on. Mary used her experience to leave the corporate world behind. She used her experience as the impetus to start her own company and is happily self-employed. Jose’ is still unsure what his next step is with his career and he is using his experience to become an anti-bullying activist. Amy has started another company, this time venturing out own her own, free from the encumbrance of a partner.

In the end, all three of them came to see the value in their experience as an opportunity for personal growth. 

Until next time, Grow Bold, Get Fearless and Be Free!