Workplace bullying - want to leave, but feel I cannot

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Postby holz » Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:54 pm

I work for Connexions!
Pop into your local centre, although it is a service for 13-19 year olds they can put you in touch with nextstep (the adult service).

Seriously, go sooner than later. They can help you get yourself sorted and you can get out of that hell hole ASAP.

Keep us updated on how you get on. :) xx
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Postby Popkin » Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:43 pm

BB - I especially like your first line - absolutely right and true..thanks. My absence has now crept up to 19.5 days: ridiculous and embarrassing.

I made a mistake earlier: I've used Next Step before (and not Connexions), as I'm (well) over 20...

Thank you all.
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Postby Popkin » Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:25 pm

Hello Everyone,

Thought I should let you know that I AM trying to get out of there, by applying for voluntary work - so at least I can get a decent reference. Unfortunately, that is all I can cope with right now, and I'm hoping my GP will sign me off for a short while, so I can sort myself out.

As I live on my own, I feel so isolated, and yet the thought of having to do voluntary work for no pay at all - with no disrespect whatsoever - also feels like I'm having to 'do time'. Most people do not have to go through all of this just to feel and be treated as 'normal', so why do I??

Last week I talked to my manager, asking whether he could give me more responsible work. Obviously not. He also said that "anyone else here would have laughed it off" (re. the bullying I received). He really thinks that I am 'the problem'.

I am feeling so 'fragile' and psychologically paralysed right now: My intellect knows this is a vicious circle, and that I need to leave asap, but emotionally, I am struggling - since I've had so much time off already, and I just want to leave, but do not want to be unemployed. I feel so angry over the way I've been treated, and yet it appears I will not get closure on any of this.

***
Another thing that's upsetting me is that my so-called close friend Kevin (we went out with eachother a while ago, and I have stronger feelings for him than he toward me) told me today that he's seeing someone else. He has consistently managed to 'kick me in the teeth' almost everytime I have phoned him for a friendly chat. (Before this, he told me he was moving away for another job). He managed to consistently tell me that I couldn't write essays, and to give up my university course - which caused me to question myself - and now that I am no longer on it (nor can go back), he tells me all of the above.

Is it me, or do I get involved with selfish and spiteful men, who appear far from encouraging? He registsed on an internet dating site, and while he told me that he didn't want children, his entry now says that he does. I feel so insulted and humiliated. :oops:
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Postby Wonder » Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:42 pm

Hi,

Well. I spent the best part of the last three years of my life being severely bullied at work. I was on a team made up of women who frequently went to lunch without inviting me and commented on my weight, clothes and shoes. I became so self conscious of their comments that I wore about 5% of my wardrobe to work. They undermined me in meetings, including exchanging glances, being sarcastic and constantly finding fault. And, because my manager bullied me and the two other members of our 4 people section of the team, there were 12 of us in total, I lost confidence in my ability, my self and felt like nothing. In 2004 when she became my manager, having previously been a (questionable) friend she blasted all my suggestions to and ideas and left me believing I was incompetent and brainless. In 2006, unable to address things directly - due to wanting to remain popular with the girls - my section head employed a very confident and outgoing mature woman to take the stress off our team. This woman immediately came up with a list of ideas and suggestions for improvement that mirrored the ones I'd proposed in 2004. Anyway, I ambled along being a non person for a further two years, and then last year I decided to make some changes. Redoing my CV by modelling it off contractors who were considered high achievers, posting it on Monster, CW jobs and couple of other high profile websites. Registering with 3 agencies and spending every lunch break and early evening surfing Guardian jobs. I applied for numerous jobs using a standard email that I tailored for each job but was 85% generic and my phone went ballistic with agencies calling me - yep they're like Estate Agents but one or two are quite nice - I got two job offers and have now changed jobs. I am a bit bored in my new role - having realised I've slightly outgrown it and my colleagues are really young, they also think I'm about their age but I average 10 to 12 years older but can't break it to them. However, having been headhunted and been exposed to the range of choices I've given myself a personal monthly review period and will leave in 6 months if I realise it is the wrong job for me or I'm just not developing. A by product of repeated bullying is that you withdraw and exude a vibe of fed up, unhappiness. Also, group behaviour means that other people never want to be in the firing line so they will align themselves with the bullying individual or group and overlook many things that happen infront of them insisting that the problem is something to do with you. This does not mean that you are without blame - remember you have now been taught how to lack confidence, make mistakes and be a bit moody, down, insular - but does really tell you a lot about people, who they are and what they are about in the workplace. I got real energy from remembering that the first employer I should ever have is me. This is not meant arrogantly this is about owning yourself and remembering that work does not own or define you - that's how a bully can make you feel. Hopefully, after reading this, you will begin a day to day strategy to leave your work place. Nothing in this environment is going to change the only thing that can change is you and what you do next. It is a truly damaging, harrowing and traumatising experience but it does not mean you cannot escape it was a positive view of yourself and a use the knowledge that your bosses, supevisors and colleagues really don't care about you as a catalyst to REALLY care about yourself and escape that space. Oh yeah. The main thing is think about leaving in terms of what you want to do for yourself, and why, and remember that whatever you do immediately after leaving may just be a healthy space to positively remind you of your worth, and that you are good, before you go for a job that will really make a different for you. Wishing you all the luck.
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Postby snail » Thu May 01, 2008 12:20 am

That's a really inspiring post, Wonder. :D
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Postby Popkin » Sun May 18, 2008 11:55 pm

Hi Wonder,

Thank you so much for your post. Like Snail says, it's inspiring.

I'm going to keep reading your post, until I get myself another job. It's really helpful and encouraging to know that there IS a future (even though it right now things feel very uncomfortable..).

Thanks for being so supportive, and sharing this with me. :D
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Postby Pwif » Mon May 19, 2008 8:10 am

I don't know how I missed this post, but Wonder has addressed the issue so well, I won't repeat what she has said.

I've managed teams of varying sizes and levels for a number of years. I would never, ever tolerate bullying, backstabbing, or exclusion of staff members at all. From my experience, the people doing this are usually cowards who have very low self-confidence (even though they may appear to be supremely confident). From what you've written, your supervisors/colleagues know that you have better skills than they have, and it's making them feel uncomfortable, so they've been ganging up on you.

The country is crying out for good quality, dedicated members of staff (and will pay a reasonable salary), so please don't undersell yourself.

If you'd like me to look at your CV and give you advice on it, please PM me. These people have knocked your self-confidence unnecessarily ( :evil: ), and you need building up again to your true potential.

Your decent personality shines through in your post. You will get yourself a responsible job with good, friendly people, and you will blossom in this environment. You can then forget about these sad, pathetic people you're currently working with.

xx
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Postby Popkin » Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:42 pm

Hi All,

This is an update to my previous messages: I am STILL signed off work (13 weeks now), and have given up two evening classes as I'm so distressed that I cannot seem to focus on much. HR have never been and are not interested in my bullying case. After over a month I still haven't heard back from them regarding a grievance meeting date: it's taking its toll on me.

ACAS say HR has given me the 'run around', and whilst a solicitor over the phone told me I probably DO have a case, but because I resigned last year (over the bullying), I do not have continuity of employment (in the laws eyes), and so have no 'leg to stand on'.

I simply cannot bring myself to resign - even though I feel this would be for the best: employment in Southampton is near existant, and the feedback from two employment agencies says that my cv looks bad as I've had so many jobs! I'm in a catch 22 situation. And yet, I cannot go back due to the bullying (this is in addition to the demoralising low level job that it is).

I feel sickened by the failure of the evening classes: both would have looked good on my CV, and I'm scared to be unemployed again with no money and no prospects - as I say there's nothing here.

I've been trying to get careers advice from people in my profession (librarianship) BUT guess what? The general take is that there are no jobs available nationally, and it's very competitive now.

Importantly, I seem to have lost motivation for myself as I live alone, and feel so lonely. It's chronic - the despair over the job and the loneliness over being alone - sends me periodically into a real and genuine panic. I just cannot see a way forward or any future.

I thought I'd just keep you alll posted, as it's been a while now. If you want to read my other posts - I think I've made about three, probably all in this section. Of course, any advice, suggestions or words of comfort would always be welcome. x
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Postby Bel Bel » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:07 am

Popkin
Did you take Holz advise and go into connections or nextstep?

You can recover from this but as I advised before I think you need to get away from this job completely (you said it yourself on April 6th post)

I know there may not be premanent jobs in abundance but as I previously suggested why not do temp work for a while to build up some good references.

You don't have to do things in your own field you can try anything they offer you and yopu may find things you wouldn't have thought of previosuly. Also you will get the opportunity to meet lots of new people too.

If you go temping your confidence will start to come back and you can get back on those courses again.

It looks like there is no end to this situation and even if there is I can't see anything positive coming out of it. Even if your succesful with proving they are bullies other employers will be scared to take you on as they may consider you a risk (sorry this is not what you want to hear but once someone has taken one emloyer to a tribunal or through the grievence process it does put other potential emloyers off)

Temping is a way of wiping the slate clean and rebuilding your emploment history
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Postby m_m » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:06 am

Hey Popkin,

First of all I would like to say you have had it rough :( :grouphug: and for a time I think you had every right to feel sorry for yourself. However I think that the time has come for you to pick yourself up and dust yourself off. I realise it will not be anywhere near as simple as that but you owe it to yourself to try.

First of all you need to stop thinking of all the negative and keep reminding yourself of all the positives in your life (there will always be something) because people drag themselves out of much worse situations. I am sorry if I sound harsh, it is not because I don't feel for you rather because I feel what you are doing now won't get you anywhere.

If you feel you have explored every possible option when it comes to your current job and your Solicitor has told you you "do not have a leg to stand on" then I would walk away. This job has caused you so much distress already and it is draining you. It would be a lot better for your mental and physical health if you put it behind you (like a bad relationship) and moved on.

Look for any sort of employement you can find. I don't think it will matter what you are doing just as long as you are earning and not leaving this large gap in your CV. Even volunteering or temping (as other PPers have suggested). You will definitely make new friends being the obviously articulate, warm, lovely person you are! =D> It will be nerve wracking and difficult at first but remember you are never lonely, you have all of us worrying about your welfare :D

Get yourself out there and live! All the best x x x x
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Postby snail » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:36 pm

It's good to hear from you, Popkin, I was wondering how you were doing just the other day.

Sorry that things don't seem to be getting any better :(

I do agree with Bel Bel and Manufacture, though - I think you probably should resign. Something in this situation has to change: it doesn't sound like you are going to get anywhere with your grievance and you can't go back to the job, so I think resignation is the only option. I understand how it frightens you, but I still think this might be preferable to how you're feeling now, while you're still sort of in limbo. If you resigned you would have to face the terror (for you) of being unemployed, but at least your other worries would be over.

Maybe the two evening classes were just too much. Could you try just one for a while? And what about the voluntary work? Don't pick something that looks good on your CV, ignore that and pick something you really are interested in - I think this will help make it easier to do, and improve your state of mind. And really, at the moment that's the only thing that needs improving. You already have everything you need to make a success of your life, but at the moment you're so low and depressed you can't see clearly.

And stop beating yourself up and worrying about everything so much: EVERYBODY has bad patches like these in their lives, and it's not as bad as you think it is right now. Just trust that it will work out OK, and that you will come out the other side. We all know you will. :grouphug:
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Postby Popkin » Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:27 pm

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your replies. I phoned HR a few days ago, to find out when the grievance meeting is - after about 2 weeks after they said it would take place... - the reponse I got was: "Haven't you received the letter yet?" Nobody told me the contents of this letter in the phone call, and so I just waited another two days....and nothing. I then phoned HR this morning to ask them what the letter said.

The Assistant said she would look in my file. After I heared some mutterings in the background, the HR assistant said "Sorry, I cannot tell you as the HR Officer has your file". [It took me over 2 months and a formal grievance letter against HR to get a photocopy of my signed contract from them....]. At this point, I told the silly assistant that I had something for her to make a note of for my files: I RESIGN. The so-and-sos have been stringing me along for several months, and giving me the "run around" [Acas's words in quotation marks] and I've simply had enough. :evil: I put the phone down on this silly assistant, and backed it up with a letter sent this morning. No doubt this will go on my personal file as well...I am VERY ANGRY.

The Company? KITCHENS DIRECT Otherwise known as MKD Holdings, or Moben Kitchens Direct.

Do not EVER have dealings with this company. :evil: If you ever receive any phone calls from them, either cut them off or simply say you are a tenant. That should get rid of them. Also register with Telephone Preference Service (TPS). :evil:

I feel so upset: I've 3 months of sickness absence (no employer will take me on now..), no money, and they've got away with their sustained bullying - throughout the company - and after all my efforts to make a good work record for myself. I actually feel sick. :cry:
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Postby m_m » Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:48 pm

:( :grouphug: I'm very sorry about the disgraceful treatment you have received Popkin. I can understand why your very angry and upset perfectly but I think you need to take a deep breath and look at the positive side of this: You never ever have to go back there! :D Honestly, do not worry, you will be fine. You have survived! Keep your chin up and move on with your life. You've got sensible suggestions (as always) in abundance here from all the PP-ers who care and you can decide whatever path you walk down next.

Remember everyone is here for you, cares about you and you have your whole life ahead of you.

Good luck and celebrate never having to go back there! :D x x x x
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Postby Pwif » Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:05 pm

Popkin,

I haven't had enough time to respond to your PM properly, so sorry. However, it is my opinion that the company you have been working for is not one that any self-respecting person would ever want to work for or buy from. You should hold your head up high and thank your lucky stars that you've escaped. You're far too good for this company. Your self-esteem has been knocked by employees who, (again in my opinion), would not get a job in a proper company. The way they have bullied you is outrageous and appalling, but they will also be treated badly when they don't deliver the profits this company demands.

I have read your CV, and you have excellent experience and qualities which are streets ahead of what this company needs. You're different from its typical employees, which is why they've given you a hard time.

As MM and others previously in this thread have quite rightly said, you are now free of this company and its appalling employees. Don't waste time being angry. Put all your energy into rebuilding your life. You deserve a good one. :P

Popular company - yeah right :evil:
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Postby HappyGoLucky » Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:32 pm

Oh dear. So sorry to hear. Well, on the bright side, treat this as a new start. You don't have to put up with the bullying anymore. Not really sure how to advice on this but we're all here for you whenever you're in need. Hope things do go better somehow...hoped this did help somehow.

:grouphug:
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