Being bullied in your workplace? You don’t have to be a victim. Here are some steps you can take to put a stop to the abuse.
Bullying in the workplace is a growing problem in many industries today, accounting and finance included. If you feel like you’re being harassed at your finance job, you’re not alone: 45% of American workers admit to having experienced some form of workplace abuse. Nor do you have to accept or tolerate it. There’s plenty you can do to address and rectify the situation.
Document it – all of it
Maybe it’s a difficult co-worker who’s making your work day a living nightmare. Or maybe you have a bully boss who repeatedly puts you down at your finance job. Either way, you should be keeping an accurate, highly organized log of the behaviour. Every time the bully insults or humiliates you, whether in public or private; every time they make a nasty comment about you behind your back that you find out about later; every time they order you around in an abusive manner – on every single one of these occasions, you should make a note of it in your log.
Include details such as when it happened, where it took place, who else was around, and so on. This record will prove invaluable should you decide to raise the issue with a higher authority or the Human Resources department at your finance job. Among other things, it will make you look far more credible than if you simply complain that so-and-so said such-and-such to you on an occasion you can’t precisely recall.
Know your options
Before you act one way or another, take some time to research your company’s policies on inappropriate behaviour or abuse. Most organizations will include their rules and regulations around these sorts of things in employees’ manuals.
You should also brush up on the legal repercussions around workplace abuse and how they apply to the situation at your finance job.
…on every single one of these occasions, you should make a note of it in your log.
Don’t let your emotions get the best of you
Yes, this is a lot easier said than done. Nonetheless, you should try your utmost to avoid letting emotions dictate your response to your tormentor. Don’t insult them or give them attitude, as they will almost surely use this against you – no matter how unfair that seems.
Stay as cool and rational as possible. Be the bigger person. And keep reminding yourself that your bully is the one with the problem, not you.
Make sure you have a solid support network
It’s important that you have someone who you can vent to or use as a sounding board for ideas when you’re dealing with an office bully. The heavy psychological toll of bullying on its victims shouldn’t be downplayed. It’s important for you to be able to blow off steam, as opposed to keeping it all bottled up.
Your support network can include other people you work with (albeit only if you trust your confidantes not to repeat anything you share with them), or it could just include friends or family. If the bullying is really getting you down, which would be entirely understandable, consider speaking to a therapist or counselor.
…keep reminding yourself that your bully is the one with the problem, not you.
Reporting bullying to the appropriate authorities is not a sign of weakness, nor does it make you a tattletale. If anything, it takes a lot of courage to stand up to such behaviour.
Once you’ve determined that you’re being targeted for bullying – and deliberately so – don’t hesitate to tell someone, whether it’s a representative from the HR department, or a trusted boss or supervisor. If your boss is the problem, you may be more hesitant to report on them; you may even be fearful of the consequences. Bear in mind, however, that bullying is out of line and falls directly within the purview of HR (to say nothing of the fact that it’s bad for business).
Getting bullied at your financial job is a very serious matter. It requires no less serious action. Whatever course of action you take, act with your best interests in mind. That means seeking support from your inner circle, informing the appropriate authorities about what’s been happening, and most importantly, making sure the experience doesn’t completely alienate you from others. As a last resort, or if the situation isn’t resolved satisfactorily, consider leaving for another position elsewhere. Your mental and emotional health are too valuable to be sacrificed, no matter how prestigious or well-paying the job.
Any other strategies for dealing with an office bully? What tactics have you used to defuse or put an end to workplace bullying and harassment? Share your tips in the comments!
Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on Facebook for more great tips and advice!