My thoughts continue to be drawn to Amanda Todd, the bullied 15 year old girl who committed suicide a few days ago. Amanda’s death is a tragedy, but the fact that it takes a wake-up call like this to get people’s attention makes it even more so.
My heart aches for children and teens who live in fear of cruelty from those who think they have a right to say and do whatever they want. I’ve had my share of attacks over the years. Not enough to cause me to consider suicide, but enough to make me dread going to school every day. So I know. And it’s not good.
The thing with bullying is that it doesn’t stop with kids. I’ve been bullied as an adult – by people who like to intimidate, manipulate, and humiliate. And I am not easily intimidated. But just as the schoolyard bullying tends to get swept under the carpet, so it is with adult bullying. Maybe even more so.
The last manager I had before I left my banking career was one such person. As a matter of fact, it was because of him that I didn’t even hesitate when the opportunity came to leave the company with my full severance package. It still puzzles me as to how someone as cold, insensitive, and downright mean ever made it as far up the corporate ranks as he did. Where I was concerned, this man went out of his way to sabotage my years of stellar performance with the bank. And he did it well. He wanted me out, so out I went.
Bully. That’s what he was.
Before I left the company, I scheduled a meeting with the vice president of human resources at our head office in Toronto. She was a woman I’d known quite well for several years, and she was very aware of my past accomplishments and experience. I felt that she was someone I could trust with my story. After relating to her everything that had happened in the ten months I’d worked on the Bully’s management team, she was silent. I mean, really silent. Then she told me frankly that she would do some discreet investigation, but she wasn’t hopeful anything would be done about it. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe me. I know she did. But her hands were tied.
That man is still in charge. He is still intimidating and manipulating and humiliating people. Who stops him? I went through the appropriate channels as outlined by the company’s harassment policy, but because he is who he is, the man is still in a position to continue bullying.
Nearly everyone I talk to has a similar story. Bullied by a co-worker or a boss or another parent on the PTA. It’s so wrong.
How does it stop? Speak out. Report your situation to the proper authorities. As many times as it takes. Stand up for yourself. Push back. In love, with respect and courtesy.
And remember these words from Philippians 4:8: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.