It doesn’t happen very often, but last week I avoided the blog. I avoided pretty much EVERYTHING. I needed a mental week off. Because I’m really upset.
See, one of my peers is a bully. This peer…let’s call him Jordan. Jordan is best friends with our boss, and he’s been pushing extra work on me for a while, which I didn’ t know. Because I’ve been doing my share if you compare projects…but since they aren’t the projects he’d like, they don’t count. Which really isn’t up to him, btw. I’ve been taking more ownership at the job, and that means making decisions about what should be done, where the future lies. That kinda thing. But Jordan has been whispering to people how I’m not pulling my weight…how I’m just trying to get a free paycheck…and then every email and text has had little jabs, insults, and mostly commands…
I’m a strong person. But I’m also aware of politics. I can’t go running to my boss, Jordan’s best friend, with complaints. People higher up on the food chain are part of my review board, and complaining will, in fact, be seen negatively. I was warned by my previous boss. And we don’t have an HR department to go to… I’m stuck. I’m stuck sharing a research space with someone who is hostile. I defend myself, and calmly stand up to the allegations with proof of my work easily at hand, but I’m relatively new here–he’s got buddies all over the place. The few things I’ve mentioned in confidence to the few people I trust have gotten into the gossip pool. I realize I can’t talk to anyone there, and the friends I thought I had are not so solid.
I feel isolated. I wonder, like anyone, if I’m crazy. Six months ago I read online info on bullying in the workplace, which has it’s own flavor. I see over half the signs listed are things I can call up from memory. So I read the tips. I am clear and unemotional in my responses. No luck. I suggest we talk it over. A vehement denial, followed by guilt trips and more jabs. Needing to talk to someone, I show my husband and my non-work friends the emails. They agree, I’m not crazy. Laying out the situation they also agree I don’t have any good options. It’s insane being angry and upset and uber sensitive at the same time.
So why am I typing this up? Because I can’t be alone. I’m frustrated as hell, but I at least have some support of people at home who know me well and know how hard I work. Not everyone has that luxury. And not everyone can solve this problem. I can’t, and I’ve done research. Anything I do could very well tank my career, since these are the same people that will be called if I get another job, like I’ve been applying for. And in an economy where jobs are slim indeed, I’m stuck. I can handle it…for now. I’m meditating, really taking weekends (well, Sundays) off instead of working as usual, trying to create some space from the issue. But I know others have it worse. Others don’t have support, or as much of a reserved personality as I do. Not everyone has an assassin cat to make them feel better. So I’m writing this so you know. Know someone else is out there that feels your pain, that won’t give you some dumbass suggestion that won’t work. Someone who will just say “Dude, that sucks.” Because right now, that’s all that makes me feel better.