The Office Bully

I’ve been working for forty-six years. Wow. And years ago I thought age 35 was old… I have come to the realization that most executives rely on an office bully to snitch and keep them apprised of what’s what. That person, in my experience, has been a woman who is usually of large stature; she doesn’t wear fancy clothes and lots of makeup; she boasts of her proclivity to be so awesome herself; and she just might have no conscience. She excels at being a narcissist. She is a real company person, totally devoted to being the one that administration looks to for their say on personnel matters, and she doesn’t even know they are using her to tattle on the office staff because in her mind, she is irreplaceable. I worked with one such office bully who reported directly to the partners after she went through our garbage cans each night after we left. And I sat in a new young personnel manager’s office one day after being summoned there as a sounding board because the office bully had written such scathing comments about her in the company email. Another office bully accidentally copied me in on an email to the boss wherein she stated she hoped that soft-spoken employee “x” was out looking for another job instead of just out sick.

These types of people wear their meanness toward others as a badge of honor. They are proud as a peacock when they can get dirt on someone and spread that gossip around the office. And I am again faced with confronting another bully in another office — guess what? I’m over sixty years old now, and I don’t give two solid cares what that bully might think. I work for one of the top employers in the U.S., and they don’t really do drama at work. We don’t need her to snitch and frankly, we are just too busy doing good things and making the world a better place to live in to be concerned with her simple-minded approach in her perceived climb up the ladder. The trash will eventually take itself out.

You can always kill ’em with kindness. And that is exactly what I am doing with the office bully – the golden rule applies. But I have made it clear to her that I will not be subject to her gossip and the buck stops here. When she starts in with negative evil gossip about others, I just let her know that I’m going to tell them. The look of abject horror on her face gives me a shred of satisfaction that I nipped that in the bud. I will be the subject of her next rambling on to some other poor audience, and better me than someone else.

I had a very wise boss who told me that people are more important than jobs. Thankfully, that is one of the mainstays where I work. We employ people of all social classes, of all incomes, of all pay grades, diversities and nationalities. We believe that every single person has worth and something good to contribute to our organization.

We know about the office bully – she still goes running into the boss to snitch. She still lurks around the coffee pot seeking those whom she may devour. And her mouth probably salivates when an unsuspecting new victim arrives whom she can sink her teeth into. But she has no home life. She has few friends aside from immediate family. She has a myriad of illnesses and is very unhealthy. Her social life centers around having her job; and now I am her friend. I treat her with kindness and respect because she deserves that. I stood up to her and did not turn her away. Other staff members have mentioned how much she irritates them, and I impress upon them that it’s always good to treat others the same way you would like to be treated. That is the basis of Christian faith.
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13

It’s so easy to be nice to people at church on Sunday morning. There they are, looking all pretty in their nice clothes, smiling and shaking hands with everyone. But that should not end when you walk out of the church on Sunday. Being nice to people who are not nice to you just takes help from God. You must sift through the outward criminality of some souls to realize that the same God who made you doesn’t love you more than someone else. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29.

Last night, as the office bully was leaving to go home before me, she walked up to tell me that she hopes I have a really nice night. I wished the same for her. I wish that for her for her coming days, weeks and years. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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