"Bullying ...” thought Tom, his nose pressed uncomfortably into someone’s rucksack, “isn’t that what happens to 10 year olds in the school playground? For heaven’s sake, I’m 26, a graduate and a qualified solicitor. And a pretty normal sort of person I think.”
But whatever the label was, what was happening was making Tom feel terrible. And that “terrible” started at about 3pm on a Sunday afternoon. Right now it made him wish that there could be a gentle derailment (if that was possible) and everyone would have to get off the train and go home.
“OK lets be rational and think this through like a lawyer”, Tom’s monologue continued as he tried to ignore the briefcase now jabbing into his thigh. The key facts seemed to be 1) Trudie had told him “to get a grip”, “stop pussyfooting around”, “act like a lawyer, not a flustered secretary” and a few other similar comments in relation to client work he found difficult. 2) Her tone of voice had probably been intended to be jokey, but Tom found it menacing. 3) Trudie had intentionally done this in front of other people (or at least not tried to find a private place or moment). 4) When he had tentatively raised this with Trudie she had rolled her eyes, shaken her head and just said “Oh come on ….” 5) He had overheard Trudie talking to Hamish - and was almost certain it was about him - and the phrase “Needs to grow some…” stuck in his mind. 6) Trudie seemed to huff and tut whatever time he left the office, while other people (particularly Sophie) got a cheery “Goodnight” or “Have a good evening!” 7) He was being given crap work to do.
A recent podcast Tom had listened to and some comments from friends on Facebook, made him feel that he was not alone in having these sort of problems at work. But what to do next ….?
Workplace bullying is more and more in the media now, sometimes ending up in employment tribunals, what’s your experience, what stories have you heard?
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