By Linda Crockett, founder of the Workplace Bullying Resource Centre (ABRC.ca) and Janice Gilligan White, founder of The Empowered Employee. Hundreds of thousands ‘Volunteers, Students, Employees’ targeted by bullies in their organization ask the question, “why me”? Whenever someone experiences a shock or trauma, people try to make sense of these confusing and threatening experiences. Like a car accident, most targets do not see the harm coming. Unlike a car accident, however, there are many unpredictable shocking and confusing offenses that continue to occur. These offences may occur several times a week for months, or years, to come.
In blog 1 of my 3 part recovery series, I wrote about the 10 things that sucked most about recovering from workplace abuse. For part 2, I wanted to write about the space that exists between that very hardship and what ultimately transpires from all of it.
Because there’s something really special hidden there.
I’m often asked about my recovery and what it took to find that illusive treasure chest filled with peace. And while many of my blogs have touched on different aspects of my recovery, the lack of a clear path can send even the most determined target on a goose chase for closure. You won’t find me rocking any rose-colored glasses of hindsight in this blog. I go straight for the jugular of recovery.
Today I read an article written by a woman who made the TIME magazine cover for becoming a change maker after speaking up against workplace harassment. As I read the article, I was in awe of her bravery and also horrified by the consequences that followed.
300 Days. The maximum number of days in New Jersey I was given to file a lawsuit against my employer... And also the day I was left to find justice outside the courtroom. This day comes and goes without resolve for many. For me, I simply wasn’t feeling well enough yet to survive the long battle ahead. For others, maybe they weren’t able to find a lawyer. Or couldn’t afford one once they did. In any case, the day our statute of limitations runs out can be a difficult one filled with many different emotions. At least, it was for me.
“Dear John”, I certainly hope you had a nice trip. I can’t even imagine all of the things you need to catch up on. I know it’s Saturday and I have no expectation of a reply; I’ve just felt a pressing need to share, sooner than later, what I’ve been going through. I’m having a hard time deciding how to begin and how much information to share as I know your time is very valuable and this is a complex situation. I’ll try my best to leave emotions out of it, although it’s certainly been emotional the past few months.
Are you ready to “dare greatly”...again? At first, it feels almost unfair to ask. Especially of those that have dared so greatly before, only to suffer its consequences. For most have loved and then lost. Trusted and been betrayed. Belonged and been cast out. Believed and been deceived. Stood up and been shut down...But the workplace bullying target has the unimaginable shock and pain of these all crashing down simultaneously, resulting in a primal need to protect themself.
I’m always searching for books that will expand my knowledge and offer insights on ways employees can better protect and empower themselves in the workplace. So, when I came across a recommendation to read Corporate Confidential by Cynthia Shapiro, a tell-all book by a former HR executive promising to expose the secret agendas and unwritten rules of Corporate America, I jumped at the chance to be in the know.
“How long does it take to fully recover from workplace bullying?” I asked. “A lifetime,” He replied. My heart sank as I took in the workplace bullying expert’s words. His response cut sharply through my hopes of someday being able to put this whole experience behind me. And it left me wondering,
What are you willing to die for? This may seem like too serious of a question for those simply defending themselves against unfair treatment at work, but it’s one that must be considered. Employees who find themselves suffering in the workplace often fail to heed the advice of experts to leave their toxic environments. And understandably so. There are countless reasons we become attached to our jobs. And even more reasons we fight to stay…including the sheer injustice of what we’re facing.