The Lobotomised Corporate Hyena
The corporate hyena in this
case is a person who had been emotionally very volatile and unstable and then
he underwent a lobotomy. It is not clear whether this had been an attempt to
get rid of the temper tantrums.
Now, years later, the staff came to me - he is as devious and conniving as ever
before, but what they can't stomach is the fact that, due to the lobotomy he
does not show any emotion - whether angry or happy and that is even more confusing
- they don't know what he's up to.
He happens to remain in that position with the full backing of management,
because he is still very brilliant and can work up to 20 hours non-stop and
without getting tired: as a result of the lobotomy.
Interestingly enough, the lobotomised Hyena's behaviour has no hair-raising
stories about screaming, shouting etc. but the fear he puts into his staff have
the same reaction - they have depression, nervous breakdowns and anxiety attacks.
of workplace bullying and how it affects the targets/victims
story of Donna who fought back resiliently and brilliantly
I have regularly approached going to work feeling vibrant and confident, always
looking forward to the rewarding and challenging aspects of my job(s).
I was employed on September
25th, 1996 as a receptionist for a Power Tool and Fastener Company, and after
7 months I was quickly promoted to the General Motors department as a clerk.
I began working in the Accounting Department on May 11, 1998 for the controller
of this company. I had at first held the highest respect and admiration for
this person, who not only was my supervisor, but also the gentleman who hired
me and has complimented me for my efficiency and productivity.
My respect and admiration
changed for him when I witnessed him being a bully on numerous occasions, one
that really stands out was in, March 1999, when I witnessed this man, holding
a putter, (the one you use for golfing which had been modified. The putter part
was taken off, and a claw hammer was welded in its place), over the head of
the receptionist, shaking it back and forth. At any time he could have lost
control of it and hit her, but he didn't care. It looked to me like he enjoyed
this kind of behaviour and the more you showed that you were scared, the more
this behaviour continued. He knew she was scared of it and as far as I can see
that was his way of making her listen to him and motivate her.
On October 22, 1999, the
controller had physically assaulted me. He was having one of his famous heated,
abusive language discussions on the phone with our branch manager. When he got
off the phone, he took his shoe off and threw it at the open door in his office.
I had asked him not to do that again as it had scared me, at which time I got
out of my desk and went to the filing cabinet to put away my posting journal,
he came out of his office and without any warning kicked me in the buttocks.
He used enough force that it lifted me off my heels. When I had turned around
he acted like I had kicked him in the groin and then he started laughing and
walked away. This was all in clear view of the receptionist who sat there with
her mouth handing open and stating, "I can't believe he just kicked you".
I was in extreme shock and disbelief that he had abused me in such a manor.
Although I was visibly shaken and upset, I finished my shift. There was only
15 minutes left to go and I was scared to leave at this point feeling he would
do something else.
After leaving the building
my drive home seemed endless, as the tears, hurtfulness and humiliating feelings
were now overwhelming me. At first, I thought it would be more advisable if
I did nothing at all, as I feared for my job. I felt deep in my heart that he
would not to be reprimanded by the owners of the company and I felt he should
be held accountable for his actions therefore; I proceeded with assault charges
I sought medical consultation
with my family doctor the following day after experiencing severe back pain
and stiffness. My doctor informed me that I had sustained a soft tissue back
injury and swelling on either side of my spine. He explained the pain I was
experiencing would get worse before it improved, within 1 week that pain had
more then doubled and at times I was barely able to move. Within that time period
I started experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression and my Doctor prescribed
a mild tranquilliser, and a referral for psychotherapy treatments for Post Traumatic
My range of symptoms were:
sleep interruption, recurrent distressing dreams, decreased appetite resulting
in weight loss, crying spells, indecision, inability to focus or concentrate,
fatigue, irritability, agitation, nervousness, lost sense of humour, menstrual
difficulties, stress headaches, shame, embarrassment, and left feeling, very
guilty. I had also lost the joy and interest in my everyday activities, which
included time, spent with close family members especially my daughter. I focused
what little energy I had left, on trying to avoid thoughts or feelings associated
with my trauma. My symptoms of withdrawal and detachment, as well as my decreased
interest, sadness, agitation, and my fear of leaving our residence have impacted
my family greatly and my husband has had to ensure that the everyday needs and
responsibilities of our 10-year-old daughter were maintained.
As a Workplace Safety and
Insurance Board (Workers Compensation Board as it is called in Canada) Certified
Health & Safety Representative for this company, I am extremely disappointed
and disillusioned that my basic rights of safety in the workplace were violated.
I am further upset by the fact that I did not receive support or validation
of my abuse and because I feel unable to return to a safe working environment.
I am experiencing anticipatory anxiety at the thought of returning to work if
this man continues to be in their employ. I fear a real possibility of a recurrence
or a, retaliation from him due to the charges I have pursued against him.
I feel a strong need to
return to my normal way of life which includes returning to my former position
at this company which I thoroughly enjoyed and found rewarding. Part of my healing
process would be the affirmation that I am not the one being punished, as I
have done nothing wrong.
My feelings towards this
man, now, are not of respect or admiration, but of a person who demonstrates,
unconscionable and unacceptable conduct, a costly, counterproductive phenomenon
that destroys the lives and careers of individuals like myself and has drained
this company of a skilled and dedicated employee.
With continued Psychotherapy
I am hoping to gain back my trust of men, especially those in authoritative
and managerial positions. With the help and support of my family and therapist
I view myself as a human being that will be able to take the needed steps forward
in the healing process and regain control of my life.
I would like to thank all
of you who have listened to my situation and welcome any advice you can give.
My case is still pending mediation with WSIB and I am afraid the final outcome
for me won't be a positive one. The accused will be in court on March 6th for
I am still having difficulties
with this, but I know I can move on. With the support from others who have encountered
a bully in their life will be the ones to help me get through this and also
be my best advisors.
- Donna fought back resiliently
and got her day at the tribunal. She had been compensated for the injury to
I am suffering awfully from the physical and emotional trauma of long-term bullying
at my workplace. I was recruited to a new position 9 months ago, based on my
high level of competence and achievement. In the interview, I made it very clear
that I was active and progressive on the job, and my (to-be) supervisor said
that it was wonderful and that the organization really needed that.
It became immediately apparent
that my supervisor was tormenting by office mate. Within days, he began telling
me terrible stories of long-term over-control, hostility, powerlessness, and
harassment and jibed me about being stupid enough to leave my former job to
end up in this awful place. He explained why there was a high-turnover rate.
It also became clear that there were health hazards -- I am a severe asthmatic
and was being constantly exposed to irritating fumes, which caused me to become
ill. I feared I would have to quit, and be without a job in a very tight labour
My supervisor played my
co-worker and I off of each other -- praising me, treating me nicely, while
snarling at and insulting my co-worker. It was clear he was highly stressed.
His work performance was suffering under the strain. I am ashamed to say that
at the time I "bought" that he was incompetent, and that I was doing
all the right things and would do well on the job.
The strain and constant
battling, and the constant griping of my co-worker, and then adding the health
problems, created a tremendous strain. I was highly stressed and feeling hopeless
about my situation.
My co-worker got another
job. In spite of his continual torment of him, my supervisor was openly shocked
that he had left! As we were still on good terms at the time, my supervisor
confided in me that me telephoned his new supervisor week AFTER he started the
job and blasted him! He also told me that he had made my co-worker cry during
his annual evaluation.
Although abuse was intermittent
before, it became chronic after a new hire for the office, a "nice"
competent worker. With some unknown shift, I became the new scapegoat in the
office. I was subjected to harsh criticism on trivialities, condescension, openly
accused of incompetence ("nothing works since you've come here"),
and worst of all, forced to work the equipment that adversely effected my health,
because it was part of my job description. I was still in compliance mode, trying
to get along, still stunned, and cooperated everywhere I could, with consequences
to my health. I have missed some 15 days due to the effects of the fumes. I
was too intimidated by his hostility to know what to do. He denied that there
was any health risk, and constantly thwarted my efforts to avoid the fumes.
My attitude quickly changed
with a series of events: my supervisor exploded his temper over a trivial matter.
He was reprimanding me, and used the F-word. I was totally shocked. He slammed
a manual in front of me and demanded that I learn how to work the fume-emitting
equipment. I calmly said I would not, as I have an associated health problem.
The following morning he
arrived at the office in already foul mood, and ordered myself, my co-worker
and a part-time employee to witness a demonstration in which he applied a powerful
solvent to the heating element of a piece of equipment to clean off adhering
plastics. I politely excused myself. He was furious at me. I was subjected to
the strong fumes in the office all day, resulting in the worst respiratory attack
of my life outside of an anaphylactic attack. It was this outrage -- the deliberate
exposure to a known irritant in a hostile manner -- that motivated me to finally
act. I visited my doctor, who was outraged by the story, and advised me to quit,
gave me medical affirmation of my problem, and advised me to act.
I reported the incident
to our HR department, and they passed it on to Worker's Comp. Even with all
of this pending, my supervisor *continued* to insist that I work the equipment.
I now openly refused, and then had to turn to another government agency, which
protects workers with disabilities. The man who took the report was outraged.
He said that not only was the health violation outrageous, but that the harassment
I was subjected to was equally serious. He asked me if it was sexual in nature
-- it is not. My supervisor is quite democratic in his choice of targets of
torment. It is long-term -- years in duration, and there is a high turnover
rate of employees.
Anyway, the government agency
has great power in this situation, and our department had to immediately comply.
I had been advised to file an official complaint with the head of the department,
but instead agreed to speak with her assistant (my supervisor's boss). He listened
sympathetically, took lots of notes, said he would work on it. He sought confirmation
from my co-worker, and got it. When he called me back for another meeting, I
got the sense he had merely "reported" my complaint to my supervisor,
but had not issued any disciplinary action.
My supervisor did not speak
to me at first the next day, but within hours resumed his characteristic hostile,
and demeaning behaviour. In a bizarre twist, he shouted at me that I was no
longer to work the fume emitting equipment! I was stunned, but am not a confrontational
person and did not point out the obvious absurdity in this, or call him on his
offensive behaviour. For the rest of the day, he closely monitored me, literally
watching over my shoulder. When I complained that he was making me nervous,
he refused to budge and said I would survive. Not wanting to be unpleasant,
and still obviously easily bullied!!, I did not protest further.
Judging from his behaviour,
he has no insight into his behaviour, and was not reprimanded or disciplined
by his superior for his actions (illegal in our Employee Code of Behaviour which
prohibits Hostile and Abusive Language). He is also extremely angry with me
and is attempting retaliation. I aided this somewhat by my passive reactions
to his latest abuses.
I have been involved on
an exhaustive job hunt. I will have to relocate, but it seems a small inconvenience
compared to my daily
torture. I pray daily that I will find a new job and will not be deprived of
an income because I have been unable to withstand the
torture of a sadistic, vindictive bully.
I have been discussing with
co-workers possible strategies for making our lives more bearable. But there
is no real law about workplace bullying that is not sexual or racial, etc. I
think as well that his superior will do nothing to stop the abuse (he is something
of an abuser himself....)
I have been sapped of my
strength, peace of mind, self-esteem. The work that I used to love passionately
has now become an over controlled ordeal to be endured. Despite my successful
performance on the job and enthusiasm of clients, my supervisor treats me as
though I were dirt.
I have begun seeing a counsellor.
I take sedatives regularly. I have begun a course of antidepressants. I can't
sleep, can't relax, can't enjoy, and can't eat. I have a never-ending pain in
my chest. I am nervous, anxious and jumpy. I am studying all the resources I
can on workplace bullying, but reliving the experiences is a torment in itself.
I consider just quitting.
To save myself, as this is destroying me. I wonder if I have the strength to
go on. I have no idea where to turn now.
IF I don't just quit, the
strategy I was considering employing was simple non-compliance with my supervisor's
torment. If he shouts, demeans, insults, and denies my highly stressed state
which is the consequence of his actions, I was going to just walk out of the
room, and stay out for 15 minutes. As often as necessary. And in front of our
clients too. Let them fire me! If they care more about trivialities, and do
not confront and punish obviously abusive and prohibited behaviours -- well?
I am sorry to go on so.
But I am suffering deeply. I am a hard worker, and unfortunately someone whose
self-image largely depends on their level of achievement. There is no stopping
the torment, as everything I do is wrong. There are no rules. I am constantly
walking a minefield, never knowing what is going to set off a torrent of vicious
I don't know how much more
I can take. I am a broken person. I do not know how I can heal from this long-term
emotional torment. I feel as though I must have a long rest to recover my health