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Old 03-01-2012, 12:02 PM   #91
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Well I think we're splitting hairs - whether you call it harassment or bullying I think really makes very little difference in how it should be addressed (and often isn't).

Ontario legislation calls it harassment. Other jurisdictions may call it bullying. If you look at the literature you'll see the use of both terms.

Not sure what really rests on which word you use.
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:19 PM   #92
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Well I think we're splitting hairs - whether you call it harassment or bullying I think really makes very little difference in how it should be addressed (and often isn't).

Ontario legislation calls it harassment. Other jurisdictions may call it bullying. If you look at the literature you'll see the use of both terms.

Not sure what really rests on which word you use.
Splitting hairs? Maybe. I'm just saying it's hard to take anyone serious when they use the word bullying (and I assume there are others here who would agree). Just like you don't call break time recess or say you have a sore tummy. I feel like when someone uses it, it puts across an image of weakness, and of being small and in need of protection.
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:22 PM   #93
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To be honest with you the two times that it was used to describe somebody to me was done both times by corner office senior partners describing behaviour by somebody else, and these individuals are making 7 figures a year and are the very definition of alpha male executives in their late 50s or early 60s - the sort that juniors cower around. Maybe that's why I didn't have the reaction you suggest at all.
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:23 PM   #94
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Or in Mama Cass' example, what's wrong with just saying he was an asshole (sorry )
oh no worries, i am the FIRST person to call him that
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:25 PM   #95
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I feel like when someone uses it, it puts across an image of weakness, and of being small and in need of protection.
I think this is part of the problem.
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:41 PM   #96
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Lots of examples - some I have witnessed:
- name-calling
- humiliation in front of others, things like being hung up on a conference call intentionally, person rolling their eyes at another person in a meeting, making derogatory remarks about you in front of a client (ie undercutting your authority)
- intimidating behavior - for example implying that you taking a sick day in the middle of a busy week will have repercussions
- sabotaging your performance by not giving you all the information you need or promising a work product to a client and not informing you on purpose

Not an abuse of power because none of these examples necessarily originate from a supervisor - could easily be someone on your level or even below.
i still don't fully get it... if i take a sick day during a busy, important week, i better be pretty damned sick, or there will be repercussions. i don't consider somebody telling me that bullying. i consider it reality.

can you roll your eyes if what the person says is stupid? i just... i dunno. we all know people at work who are just dicks. but i've never felt that they were bullies. i just thought they were dicks.

a person purposely sabotaging your work inside the same company is just plain stupid. i wouldn't consider a boss who allowed this to go on a bully. i'd consider him an idiot.

i don't work for a large corporation, so perhaps i'm just not getting it... i do get that there is a very big darwinism thing going on in the corporate world, where the strong survive and move up... but again, i think that's just reality.'

obviously there's a difference between competing to move up the corporate ladder and straight out harassment of a coworker. using any sort of racial or sexual language or physical intimidation is obviously grounds not only for termination but arrest. i don't really see that in your examples though...
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:19 PM   #97
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i still don't fully get it... if i take a sick day during a busy, important week, i better be pretty damned sick, or there will be repercussions. i don't consider somebody telling me that bullying. i consider it reality.
This person had a necessary surgical procedure scheduled. Now keep in mind that there were about a dozen lawyers working on this deal and the individual in question was a junior who could have been easily replaced for a couple of days by any number of other juniors (you could have had a choice of 3 dozen) or the work could have simply been spread out. It was appalling behaviour - we are corporate lawyers, nobody will die if somebody needs to be away.

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can you roll your eyes if what the person says is stupid?
If you want to be unprofessional, sure. The point of rolling the eyes for this particular person isn't to display that he thinks the others are stupid, it's that he thinks they are wasting his time for even speaking (self-aggrandizement).

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a person purposely sabotaging your work inside the same company is just plain stupid. i wouldn't consider a boss who allowed this to go on a bully. i'd consider him an idiot.
It's not the boss who is the bully - and the problem is often that the person at the top of the food chain is not aware of the issue until it escalates a lot further because in the corporate world it is seen as a weakness to go and complain. I actually agree with BVS that JT's response is problematic in this respect. I have seen many great people leave a place that became intolerable. Could things have played out differently? Maybe. But when you're a cog in the machine, you don't want to be perceived as going to cry to the boss.

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i don't work for a large corporation, so perhaps i'm just not getting it...
I really think that this is the issue. It is such a different world. I have worked in academia, in the public sector, in the non-corporate private sector and then in the toughest dog-eat-dog corporate setting and there is nothing that you can compare to it. If you'd like, I can walk you through the various examples of suicides and suicide attempts (at the office, mind you), stunning rates of alcoholism and drug use as coping mechanisms, people being burnt out, etc. The big part of that is the environment in general. BUT when you work in that sort of environment, sometimes all it takes is one bully (or harasser if you'd prefer) to push people over the top. As a senior partner said to me "this place is hard enough to work at without having to put up with that on top of it."
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Old 03-01-2012, 01:35 PM   #98
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If you'd like, I can walk you through the various examples of suicides and suicide attempts (at the office, mind you), stunning rates of alcoholism and drug use as coping mechanisms, people being burnt out, etc. The big part of that is the environment in general. BUT when you work in that sort of environment, sometimes all it takes is one bully (or harasser if you'd prefer) to push people over the top. As a senior partner said to me "this place is hard enough to work at without having to put up with that on top of it."
wow... makes me glad to be a freelancer!

yeah actually i turned down a really great job offer once because the person i would have been working for was known to be awful... someone i respected greatly on a professional level (who quit their job because it had become intolerable since this person joined the company) actually said to me "if you value your mental health, don't do it, but otherwise it's an amazing opportunity!" - i know it would have been a great career move in one way, but this person would've made my life hell lol!! our paths still cross indirectly professionally, and, every time, it reminds me i made the right decision!

life's too short!
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:17 PM   #99
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I think this is part of the problem.
How do you mean?
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:22 PM   #100
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To be honest with you the two times that it was used to describe somebody to me was done both times by corner office senior partners describing behaviour by somebody else, and these individuals are making 7 figures a year and are the very definition of alpha male executives in their late 50s or early 60s - the sort that juniors cower around. Maybe that's why I didn't have the reaction you suggest at all.
I admit it's a silly thing to argue about, I just think it's important to consider how one comes across, especially in serious matters. Certainly in this case, I would think that 'harassment' would be taken far more seriously than 'bullying'. But anyway, you're absolutely right in that it doesn't change a thing about the actual behaviour being described
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:23 PM   #101
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How do you mean?
I find that a choice of word "bullying" vs "harassment" would change your frame of perspective that much very odd. I think part of the problem is that some seem very quick to dismiss the seriousness of issues such as this based on very trivial reasoning.
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Old 03-01-2012, 03:35 PM   #102
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I find that a choice of word "bullying" vs "harassment" would change your frame of perspective that much very odd. I think part of the problem is that some seem very quick to dismiss the seriousness of issues such as this based on very trivial reasoning.
That's not unreasonable, but wording is important. It wouldn't be the only instance where your choice of words would influence how others thought about a given situation. If something is serious, use the appropriate language
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:57 PM   #103
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Sometimes the words "bullying" or "bully" is appropriate. The problems I experienced in the newsroom were similar to that of high school bullying. I mean, the smear campaigns, getting others to ignore me - you can't get any more high school than that.

But since its a professional environment that is not supposed to tolerate such things because you'd think adults would know better, maybe "harassment" is the appropriate word.
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:11 PM   #104
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If something is serious, use the appropriate language
Once again you're implying it's not serious if someone came to you and said they were being "bullied".

Let me ask you just so we're on the same page: How do you define 'bullying', and 'harassment'?
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Old 03-01-2012, 05:16 PM   #105
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How do you define 'tummy ache' and 'sore stomach'? I've never said they're different, but one phrase is more age appropriate than the other. But anyway, as I said, it's not really worth putting any more discussion into.
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