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Bullying in the Workplace Proves Bullying is NOT Just for Kids

Cynthia Lowen, the writer and producer of the documentary, "Bully", was interviewed and brought up the fact that bullying does NOT stop at the playground.

While the documentary touched many people's lives and hearts with the stories of children being bullied, what was not included in the film was what happens when the bullies grow up. According to Lowen, most kids who bully someone else stop if they feel badly about bullying someone, but those kids who bully and get what they want or like the feeling that comes from bullying someone grow up to be adult bullies.

A recent study from CareerBuilder.com shows that 35 percent of people reported being bullied at work, and guess who usually is doing the bullying? The boss.

We all know that getting bullied as a child is no fun; as an adult, getting bullied where you work can sometimes be even worse that being bullied as a kid. The psychological toll that bullying takes on you is one thing, but getting bullied as an adult can lead to economic and career ramifications as well. Imagine being the target of a bullying boss and being denied a promotion, or cut out of the loop on important developments within the company that could impact your future. Those kinds of situations can lead a hostile working environment, emotional issues and more.

Another study, this one done by the Swedish government, showed that not only does bullying in the workplace harm the target of bullying, but 33 percent of women and 16 percent of the men who witnessed bullying showed an increase in clinical depression. The targets of workplace bullying usually get so miserable that they quit out of desperation, usually with physical ailments to go along with it, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute. Lowen's article goes on and gives the usual advice on how to handle bullying in the workplace: teach conflict resolution, have a zero tolerance policy, support the development of lower-level employees and so on. But – and this is a giant, glaring, ruby-red "but" – what is not mentioned about dealing with workplace bullying is "The Platinum Rule".

If the "Golden Rule" is to "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you", then the "Platinum Rule" is, "Do unto YOU." Take care of YOURSELF. Stand up for yourself. Call the bully on the carpet, even if it is the boss. Document everything. Get human resources involved if necessary. Get your boss's boss in the loop. Have your resume current and always in circulation. Get your finances squared away so you are in a position of strength and not a position of need.

In short, take you power back from the bully. People who get bullied and develop clinical depression feel that way because they feel helpless, trapped and powerless to change anything. They think they NEED the job, they CAN'T stand up to the bully; they are AFRAID they will get fired. If you take all of those thoughts away – or believe that no matter what, you will always find a way to succeed, then standing up for yourself is easy. If you don't, the numbers in this article tell you what can happen.

Bullying is not just for kids. It has the same devastating psychological effects on adults as it does children and teens, but with adults, it can harm your pocketbook, too. Don't let it happen to you. You don't need someone's permission to stand up for yourself.

Stay strong,


P.S. – I go into much more detail about how to deal with bullying for adults in the book, "Bullies Suck" and the Ultimate Bullying Solution Society newsletter. There are many tips, tricks and tools adults or parents of kids can learn so that they can take their power back from the bullies in their lives. I know from personal experience that there is nothing worst than the feeling of helplessness that goes along with being bullied and NOT knowing what to do about it, or feeling as if you can't do anything about it. It sucks. Don't let it happen to you…

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