Feel like you’re being bullied at work, but aren’t sure? Here are the telltale signs.
The workplace can be a political minefield, rife with high school-like drama, petty gossip, cliques, and harboured resentments. Even in the most prestigious finance positions, not ending up mired in office politics can be a real challenge.
Unfortunately, avoiding negativity in your finance job can sometimes be out of your control. According to a 2008 Forbes article, an estimated 37% of employees (53 million people) in the U.S. have experienced bullying at the office, or otherwise admitted to have been repeatedly mistreated in a health-harming way.
In other words, odds are that you may end up the target of an office bully’s aggression at some point or another in your accounting career. While there’s plenty you can do to rectify the situation, it starts with recognizing that there’s a problem in the first place and realizing that you’re being bullied. Here, then, are four indications that you are indeed being bullied at your finance job.
Mistakes are neither forgiven nor forgotten
It’s one thing for a boss or supervisor to offer constructive feedback after you’ve erred (and it’s important for you to be able to accept and receive it). But if your higher-up at your finance job appears to be keeping scrupulous records – whether mental or written – of your professional hiccups, and further, seems eager to remind you of past mistakes every chance they get, that can definitely veer on bullying.
Criticism should always be dispensed at appropriate moments and in a restrained, respectful manner. A manager who seems to relish cataloguing your mistakes is doing nothing to benefit your performance or morale (which is exactly why bullying bosses are bad for the bottom line).
Criticism should always be dispensed at appropriate moments and in a restrained, respectful manner.
Criticism is a regular part of your day
If being lambasted and scolded at your finance job feels as typical as your morning cup of coffee, then something just isn’t right. Remember, criticism should be delivered when it’s due. Its purpose should be to instruct, not to offend.
Constantly harping on your performance (or, more alarmingly, your personal qualities and habits) is less mentoring or coaching and more mean-spirited bullying.
You find out about events after the fact
Deliberate exclusion can be as hurtful as undue criticism. If you’ve noticed that colleagues are consistently leaving your name off the list when organizing after-work social happenings, lunches, or most problematically, meetings, it may be a sign of something else.
Certainly, not everyone in the workplace has to be best friends with one another or is obligated to socialize after hours. But if you’re always the one being voted off the island (especially if it’s a supervisor who’s organizing the schmoozing with staff), or you’re being excluded from things that could be integral to your performance of your job, then it may not be as innocent as people just preferring some company over others.
Work should be a place where you feel safe and secure; your overriding sentiment should not be fear or dread.
You dread going to work
One surefire way to tell that you’re being bullied at your finance job is to take an honest check of your emotional temperature. If your general feeling when you’re about to go in to work, or are thinking about going to work, involves intense anxiety or dread (and this isn’t obviously related to any other factors), something is off. Work should be a place where you feel safe and secure; your overriding sentiment should not be fear or dread.
By being aware of these and other warning signs, you should be able to determine whether you are the victim of bullying at your financial job. We know it’s unpleasant to acknowledge, but rather than deny that this sort of thing is happening to you, or to your colleagues, it’s important to note that it’s happening and take a stand so that you can to quash it.
What other ways can you tell that you’re being bullied at work? Are there other things you should look for to make sure you’re not being pushed around in the workplace? Share your thoughts 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!