Work Bullies Spitting Venom at Young Employees Needs To End
Old school managers who rule with fear, your time has surely come.
As a writer, I have sat in many newsrooms over the years, and I overhear a lot of things. I've seen a lot of bullying -- and witnessed a lot of people being pushed out of jobs by bosses who should know better. And at one workplace I overheard the boss yelling at a young journalist. And it was horrendous. And it's stuck with me.
This man was really yelling -- he was shouting things like, “This is shit” and “Why don't you know what you’re doing!”
And he was shouting it at a young woman. A young woman who was doing her job. But this bully was cutting her down in front of her entire work place. He was calling her names, telling her she’s rubbish, belittling her and making her shake.
At the time I felt I couldn’t step in, I didn’t really work there. But no one else stepped in either, and I think it's time we call it.
This is 2018. Surely we don't have room for bully boys any more.
Over 10 years ago now, when I was working on a glossy magazine, our boss had quite a reputation. He was known to be a bully -- it had been written about many times -- and he didn’t (or did) disappoint when it came to me. When I didn’t deliver what he wanted from me he yelled at me in front of the whole company’s management team, stabbing his finger into my chest as he berated me for doing what I thought was best for the magazine. His spit landed on my cheek, he was so close, and no one in the meeting room stood up for me then either, not one person. I shook so violently for about an hour afterwards I had to sit down and do breathing exercises, and the only people who called to see if I was ok were two female secretaries who had witnessed the whole thing from the other side of the office.
I was fired two weeks later.
I wish to this day I had walked out and kept walking, after telling him where to shove his magazine. Hindsight…
My best friend tells me her boss regularly would shout so loud down the phone from Singapore she would have to hold it away from her ear, as he threatened that “next time she would be out”.
It's time we say no more . And not because of the awareness of workplace wrongdoing and feeling empowered to call it out since #metoo (though let’s be clear, there was no sexual harassment here) or the Times Up movement -- though there is a sense of “we’re not going to take it” about most women I know these days.
It's just - really? To all those pissed off people in power, do you really have to use your anger and your experience to belittle young employees who are working for say, $65K, doing 10 hour days, to make you more money so you can get that bonus?
Do you have to rule with so much fear that everyone in the office is too scared to talk to you, nervously waiting for the moment you lay into them for something that in the scheme of things is quite insignificant (I mean, we’re talking publishing not nuclear fission) with such volume and aggression you’d think they’d killed your mother.
Is there a place these days for that kind of management? I don't think so. We have moved on. You need to go.
Why not call that young employee into your office and talk them through how they could have made the story stronger, explaining why it fell short of your expectations and that she should learn from this for the next time?
Why not offer your young employees more training, some support -- and if they don’t improve, give them a warning. Why not just talk to your staff?
Recalling that as I listened to that man spit venom at the girl on the receiving end of his rubbish, I wish one thing -- that he was shouting at me.
Because I wouldn’t take it now.
I really wouldn’t, and I would gladly tell him why.