In early March 2022, John Bercow, former Speak of the Commons, was rightfully labelled a workplace bully in a withering report from an independent parliamentary appeals panel. It shone a spotlight on the wider problem of bullying at work. Sadly, this is a reality for many people in office support jobs in London.
The report into John Bercow revealed his bullying nature in full glory, with stories including blocking people’s exit from the room when they tried to get away and shouting so loud that people in other parts of the building could hear him. On top of this, many of us have recently enjoyed the black comedy This Is Going to Hurt, the adaptation of Adam Kay’s book which highlights dreadful bullying in the NHS.
Yet here we are in 2022 with workplace bullying still far too widespread. 15% of employees in the UK have experienced bullying at work and a quarter think employers ignore it when it happens. Both overt and subtle bullying really takes its toll on people’s self-confidence, wellbeing, and mental health. Neither has a place in the workplace.
Bullying is a reflection of the employer, not the employee
If you are bullied, it’s difficult in the moment to see that it’s not your fault. The bully is transferring their shame onto you, so you can end up feeling you’re to blame, but you’re not—you never are. Even if you’ve made mistakes that wouldn’t be expected of those in office support jobs at the highest levels in London, they should be handled professionally and without resorting to bullying. In reality, most victims haven’t made discipline-worthy mistakes anyway; it is all about the bully needing control.
Bullying only happens in workplaces where there is a culture and leadership that allows it to happen.
This is bad news for the employer, as they can damage their reputation and lose the benefit of a hard-working, diligent, and productive employee. You can also bet that those around the bully and victim aren’t working optimally, either, because of the culture of fear. Of course, it really harms the individual employee as well, and no one should underestimate the devastating effect that workplace bullying can have on people.
What are your options if you’re being bullied at work?
If you are being bullied, it can be difficult to think clearly. Knowing that bullying only happens in poor workplaces and isn’t a reflection of you is important. This can mean that while it would be good if you could raise the issue and have it solved professionally, in many cases this is unlikely.
For many, the best solution is to walk away. There are so many employers where workplace bullying is simply not a part of the culture, and where it is stamped out quickly if it starts. You don’t have to feel scared at work.
Leaving a role because of bullying is not a failure and can be the right move for you to rebuild your self-esteem and allow your career to flourish as it should. At the moment, candidates are in high demand for office support jobs in London, so you can be sure of finding a role where you will be respected and treated professionally.
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