Now this is literally going to be such a hard post to write, (and not because of the broken arm, although that is making things slightly difficult) but because this is going to be one of the most personal, real stories that I’ve probably ever had to write on here. So if you are looking for a nice little fluff piece- you might just wanna leave now. I’m sure I have a piece on why food is better than sex somewhere on here, or why cats are better than people- if that’s more your thing
I’ve been contemplating whether or not to write or even share this post for a few days now. I didn’t think it’s something that people would want to read about- and frankly I felt ashamed. Even reading the post back now, I feel stupid for ever feeling that way- and I want to make sure that no one ever feels as alone as I did, or has to suffer in silence. 1/3rd of adults have suffered bullying in the workplace and the numbers are on the increase every year- and to me, that is NOT OKAY.
After putting a tweet out about the subject a few days ago, I was inundated with people telling me their stories and their good and bad outcomes from it, and I realised that it’s something that we shy away from far too easily and on the regular. We always speak about bullying from a child’s point of view, and teach our children (or try too) about bullies and how to deal with them, but we never speak about it from an Adults point of view, from professional, grown up people. Its deemed a weakness- you’re told to just get on with it, and it’s what happens in the real, adult working world.
Well let me tell you something.
Bullying, in whatever shape, form or person it happens, is never okay- and it is never your fault.
So here’s my story.
I’m 23 and I work in an office in London- at first I loved the job, it even made the awful morning commute (which equated to about 4 hours of travelling a day) worth it. I had the creative freedom to do what I wanted to do, I was learning, I was earning, I was growing and I was happy. My colleagues all seemed great, we were a small team for a start up company and we were working together towards the same end goal.
The team started to get bigger, we were making more orders and needed to expand in order to keep up. It was super exciting to be a part of it. We took on a 4 new members of staff in the few short months I was there- and everything changed.
From the first day she started, she hated me. Now I don’t mean for that to sound so melodramatic but for some unknown reason she took a complete and major dislike to me- even when I had barely spoke two words to her. It made the days spent in the office completely awful. It started off small. Small comments in-front of other colleagues, sharp and blunt email responses, purposely ignoring me when I said ‘Hello’ or asked her a question- at first it didn’t bother me that much, but it grew as the days and weeks went on- until the pressure and weight of it was completely taking over and clouding my life.. I felt sick as I travelled to work knowing I had to see her. I didn’t understand how someone who was only my colleague and nothing else, could make me feel so low… and it got worse.
Days when I was supposed to work from home, something that was agreed upon in my contract were now null and void, I had to be in the office, because the poisonous words from this one girl to my boss had taken their full affect. He now didn’t trust me to work from home- and if I did, I was constantly being called and emailed for hourly updates. I felt like I was back in Primary School, not in a Full-Time job. The filtered through the grapevine comments would drift back to me, if I was out the office- and so I exhausted myself in making sure I was always in the office just so she had no fuel to start her already burning fire.
It got to the point where I was too scared to even ask her for work from her specific department- which affected my own work- and in turn got me in more trouble with my boss. But I couldn’t tell anyone. Who would believe that the girl that was so sweet to everyone else was making me silently sob in the bathroom on my lunch break or on the train home every night?!
It was starting to affect me both mentally and physically.
I was so low.
I stopped doing the things I loved. I slept the entire weekend because I had zero energy left to fight. I stopped talking to my friends and family and just pushed myself into doing my work AND hers, so that my boss wouldn’t see what was going on. I got sick. I had constant headaches. I lost weight. I stopped blogging because I had nothing positive to say and was stuck in this “why does it matter!” phrase, I stopped going out with friends because I was so scared of them finding out. I was ashamed. I was disgusted at myself for letting it get this bad. Every night was restless and every day felt worse than the last. Every hour ticked by slower than the first. I lost who I was.
…and it got worse.
Her best friend (who got her the job) started doing the same as she was towards me. Blunt emails, snide comments, pushing the blame on me for their own mistakes and pilling on the responsibility from their work onto me- and I just accepted it. Once again, whose going to believe that its actually happening!?
I couldn’t take it anymore. I lost complete sight of who I was. I was running myself into the ground and I was so close to just crumbling in on myself, I think I actually did for a few weeks.
But I’m lucky- I found a way out. I managed to get a job- that started effective immediately and I was on a freelance contract, so I could leave with only a weeks notice. But I know 100% that this isn’t the case for everyone and that makes my heart sink. We all have bills to pay, responsibilities that take priority and we just cant pack things up when they get hard. But we shouldn’t ever let bullying be deemed okay. We need to stop it being a taboo subject.
I count my lucky stars every day for being able to now do something in a team that is so friendly and so far from abusive- and I would beg and plead with anyone going through the same thing as me, to speak up, and get out or at least sort things out and make them right again. No job is worth your tears, your pain and your heart break.
The only thing I regret is by not speaking up earlier- but it got to the point where I just needed to get out, I didn’t want to sit down and tell my managers what had been going on. I didn’t want her to think she had won. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my work why I was leaving. I told them that my health was too bad to continue working there.
I’m now 24 and I work in an office in London- and I love it.