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Be nice. It’s the law.

ants

Okay, here’s the scenario: You’ve been on the job six months. Day after day, people roll their eyes when you make suggestions. They don’t invite you to social functions, or even team meetings. They’re rude to you, refuse you help when you ask for it. They don’t return your calls or answer your emails. In fact, you’ve seen them scuttle out of their offices to avoid you. They certainly never praise you or defend your ideas.

Naturally, you conclude:

A. Oh my god! Everybody here hates me and thinks I’m stupid. I’m an incompetent jerk! Mayhap I also smell!

B. Oh my god! This is an office full of incompetent jerks who just don’t get me and my peculiar talents. I’d better find a new job.

C. Oh my god! I can’t possibly leave this job and yet I’m being horribly persecuted. I got PTSD! I’ll stick it out for a few more years and then lawyer up, big time. Mine is a lonely struggle against evil oppressors, just like that civil rights thingie I hear so much about.

Yep. It’s C — at least, if you’re the New York Times.

I’m not making that up about the civil rights movement. If you watch the video at the first link, the lawyer who specializes in ‘bullying’ makes the comparison. It’s part of his standard boilerplate there outta be a law and I’m just the guy to make it speech.

The comment section is rich, too. I cut a little slack to the people who had long and successful careers and then land with a special asshole of a boss. It’s a shock at first, though they really need to butch up. If you haven’t had a genuinely obnoxious boss or co-worker, you haven’t worked much. My favorites, though, are comments like this:

I have been bullied to varying degrees at every job I’ve had. While I support and admire efforts to remedy workplace bullying and would benefit from these efforts if implemented successfully and thoroughly, I don’t hold out much hope. Bullying, especially in the workplace, where people are by definition vying for money, status, and power, is simply inherent in human nature. I wish I could say it’s just the dark side of human nature, but my view has become that a phrase such as “the dark side of human nature” is redundant. Human nature is dark, period. Sorry for being so negative, but my comment reflects my lifetime of bad experiences.

— Posted by Anonymous

Bullied at every single job he or she has had, so there’s something terribly wrong with — human nature! The entire species!

So, go back and read the list of behaviors that constitute bullying — behaviors these guys want to make illegal. Actionable in a court of law. Sue your ass off behaviors. If you had a real jerk of a boss or a co-worker, how many of those bullet points would constitute your only defensive weapons against the obnoxious attentions of an asshole?

sock it to me

March 26, 2008 — 12:27 pm
Comments: 60