There’s been an awful lot in the news lately about bullies. There were bullies back when I was in school, *cough*-odd years ago, and evidently not much has changed since then. Teachers look the other way, kids get beat up on the playground, blah, blah, blah.
And sadly, bullies are not limited to the school years. One of my co-workers is a bully, and he’s in his mid-thirties.
And you know what the thing about bullies is? You’ve gotta nip that sh*t right in the bud.
While my co-worker is notorious for bullying other people, he’s never bullied me. At least, not successfully. Because I don’t play that crap.
As soon as he starts in, I shut him down. He's notorious for bossing co-workers around. So when he says, “Rocky, you have to do xyz -"
- I interrupt him.
“That’s for the boss to decide. I’ll have to check with him first.”
All said politely, in a nice tone of voice, because HIS voice immediately escalates. You can practically SEE his blood pressure rising. Bully powers activated!
“NO, YOU HAVE TO DO THIS. I SAID –“
- I interrupt him again.
“As soon as the boss is available, I’ll ask him if he wants me to do that.” And then I walk away.
It’s unpleasant, and I wish I could just kick the little jerk’s ass and be done with it, but it works. And of course, by the time the boss is available, I’ve “forgotten” to ask him about whatever Mr. Bully wanted me to do, and problem solved. Oooh, another hint: You NEVER want to get the boss involved. Bosses would rather slit their wrists than deal with this kind of petty bullcrap*, so just handle it yourself, or YOU’RE the one who comes out looking bad. And the bully himself will never go to the boss, because the bully KNOWS he's out of line. He's just trying to pull a fast one. On you.
And here’s another thing about bullies: You can’t let anything slide. Ever. You can’t let one single bullying comment go by without an “Oh no you didn’t!” and a rueful shake of the head, or else things start sliding down the bully slope and pretty soon you’re screwed.
Tiring, yes. But ultimately satisfying. Because once upon a time, back in elementary school, the bullies might have pushed me around, but now we're all grown-ups, and bully game over. Other employees have actually quit rather than deal with this dude, which is a complete and total over-reaction, because all you have to do is stand up and shut him down.
And remember you’re on the side of the angels. Ha.
*and so would teachers. Which is what is driving me CRAZY about this whole bully-as-media-story-of-the-day thing. All of the articles seem to focus on how students need to stand up for other students. You know who needs to stand up for the students? TEACHERS. Teachers IGNORE bullying behavior, which just makes it worse. And granted, a lot of bullying is going on online these days, so you know who needs to ride herd over that? PARENTS. I am sick unto DEATH of people saying that kids need to stand up for other kids. NO. ADULTS need to stand up for kids. CHRIST. That’s why we’re ADULTS, people.