Professional Bullying

I am a professional. I went to school, got a couple of degrees and went to work. Degrees don’t prepare you for the real world and the real world is never the same twice. At least mine isn’t.

As a professional, I do my best to team up and support my employer. What happens when that isn’t enough? When simply doing your job to the best of your ability, doesn’t meet the muster?

Can’t get blood from a stone. Really? What about unpaid expectations, off-hours meetings, we expect to see you there “social gatherings”? Who buys the extra supplies you need after you’ve been told you can’t get reimbursed? We have all been exposed to, just give a little more, the mentality that drives industry. Exploitation exists everywhere, in every profession and with every employee from management on down the line.

So where does the bullying come in?

People are afraid to stand up for themselves. They fear the loss of their job or are afraid to make waves because it has always been done that way. They go along with excessive demands because they will get a poor review. Or they don’t write a blog because they might not be contracted again for the company. They get told to back off, be quiet, or reminded that we’re all on the same team; right?

The message? Being a team player means self-sacrifice, compromise of ethics, and acceptance of unspoken oppression.

Instead of speaking up or standing up, employees everywhere allow themselves to be exploited and wonder why they have upset stomachs, poor sleep habits, low self-esteem, stress-related illnesses and are generally miserable and hate going to work. Take a quick tally next workday. Ask ten people how they are or how their weekend was, wait for a response, I know that’s weird all by itself, but wait. Most will say, I’m tired, they’d rather be somewhere else, or lament about it being Monday.  Very few, if any, will say I’m great, glad to be here, stoked it’s Monday. Most of us go to work kicking and screaming on the inside.

The repercussion of this mentality creeps into everyday actions of mind, body, and spirit. We become less aware of our own humanity and become suspect of common decency. No, I am not turning down my high beams, no one turns them down for me. No, you can’t cut in front of me even though you have one item and I have fifty, I had to wait, so do you. Why are you being nice, surely there is something in it for you? Why did you give the homeless man your pizza, got tired of holding the box? I am sure you can think of one hundred more examples.

Self-cultivation. What is it? In very loosely referring to the Buddhist concept of self-cultivation, the goal of all practices is to come to enlightenment for oneself and for humanity. I am of no use to others if I am of no use to myself first. In other words, I cannot give what I do not have.

So If I do not stand up for myself, I cannot stand up for others.


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