Think about bullies and you probably think about school: movies like “Heathers,” “Mean Girls” and “Revenge of the Nerds,” or the kid on the playground who told you hair bows were for babies or that baseball was better than band camp.
Unfortunately, though, bullying isn’t just a schoolyard problem and — no matter what our parents told us — bullies don’t always grow out of their mean-spirited ways. In fact, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll face “Mean Girls” at some point in your professional life, too.
According to a new CareerBuilder survey on workplace bullying, 27 percent of workers have felt bullied on the job, a problem that is more commonly reported among women (34 percent) than men (22 percent).
Unlike the obvious teasing and taunts of childhood bullies, though, adult antagonizers are often more subtle and passive aggressive in their tactics. Of workers who have been bullied, the following were cited as the most common forms of harassment:
- My comments were dismissed or not acknowledged – 43 percent
- I was falsely accused of mistakes I didn’t make – 40 percent
- I was harshly criticized – 38 percent
- I was forced into doing work that really wasn’t my job – 38 percent
- Different standards and policies were used for me than other workers – 37 percent
- I was given mean looks – 31 percent
- Others gossiped about me – 27 percent
- My boss yelled at me in front of other co-workers – 24 percent
- Belittling comments were made about my work during meetings – 23 percent
- Someone else stole credit for my work – 21 percent
Another difference in adult bullying? Most people are prepared to stick up for themselves. Nearly half of workers who said they’d been bullied also said they’d confronted the person head on, and 28 percent said they took their concerns to human resources.
If you’re facing a bully at work and have yet to confront the issue, take note: “Bullying is a serious offense that can disrupt the work environment, impact morale and lower productivity,” says Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “If you are feeling bullied, keep track of what was said or done and who was present. The more specifics you can provide, the stronger the case you can make for yourself when confronting the bully head on or reporting the bully to a company authority.”
For more on bullies in the workplace, see: