Stand Up Against Bullying: A blog to help stop workplace bullying

Tips on How to Determine if You are Being Bullied at Work

Character with question mark over head
Original Publication December 2, 2015; Edited and Republished Sept. 23, 2019

The biggest obstacle for targets in the workplace is identifying they are a target of workplace bullying. Most professionals do not associate bullying or workplace aggression as something that happens to adults but rather to children. Workplace bullying is not something that comes to our minds when we are trying to figure out what is happening at work. As such, we do not often link the mistreatment by coworkers or ourselves to bullying at work. We just call it unprofessional behavior. However, it might be more than that.

Determining the frequency and intensity of the aggression is the first step in identifying if you think you are a target at work. Workers should keep track of how often the bad behavior is occurring and rate how damaging the mistreatment is. Recording what kind of aggression is happening is also imperative. This helps in the process of establishing if the workplace is impacted by aggression.

It is important to remember that workplace bullying can occur on a daily, weekly, and/or monthly basis. Workplace bullying is unrelenting mistreatment and exploitation. Maintaining a log for a length of time is vital to help develop a better picture of what is happening.

Workplace bullying influences the target in a negative fashion and typically affects the workers ability to do their job. For example, are you struggling with sleeping or eating because of the treatment of at work? Are you so worried about the response of the aggressor that your ability to complete your paperwork in a timely fashion suffers? I know for myself, I required something to help me sleep and spent so much time responding to the aggressors that I did not have adequate time to prepare for teaching, as I should. Determining how the bad behavior is impacting you at your job and outside of work helps identify if you are a target.
A significant change in one’s attitude about work can help establish if persistent workplace aggression is occurring. Are you constantly thinking about finding another job or quitting? Are you persistently checking the clock to see if it is time to go? Do you have to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally before you go into work?

For example, do you have to talk yourself into going to work every day? Does your stress level increase as you get closer to your office or workplace? Do you frequently call in sick or do you make excuses to leave work early? These might be signs that something is going on.

Determining the pattern and intensity of the mistreatment coupled with the affect it is having helps to identifying if you are a target. Putting a name to the problem and identifying that persistent workplace aggression is happening is important. It really is the first step in the process of coping and developing a better understanding of the work environment.