How to Know You’re Being Bullied at Work

I mean it’s pretty obvious you’re being bullied at work, as most of your underwear is stretched out due to multiple wedgies. You have recently even adopted wearing under-garments with snaps in the crotch that snap away in case of a hostile wedgie attempt. Sometimes though bullying at work can be much more subtle and unseen but none the less painful. Here’s how to figure out if you’re being bullied at work.

See Also: How to Work Hard & Play Hard


1. Social Exclusion

business people gossiping

Social exclusion is if your co-workers avoid interacting with you outside their professional obligations because of your appearance, socio-economic status or other personality or physical traits which is a much more subtle but still mentally damaging form of bullying. The effects of social exclusion can be numerous and debilitating including loss of confidence, a decreasing of pro-social behaviour (behaviour which is motivated by helping others) and in extreme cases depression. Also, let’s not ignore the fact of adults acting like pre-adolescent children cliquing up due to popularity and status is something only stupid-poopy-heads would do.

2. Ceaseless

woman grabbing her boyfriend and shouting

If your day consists of working while a soundtrack of criticism and belittlement plays in the background, then you might be subject to bullying. If no matter how well you do, you can expect to be treated like a puppy that soiled an expensive Persian rug, you are being bullied. Yelling, unfounded criticism and personal verbal attacks especially if done in public is blatant bullying. Don’t think for a moment that only a supervisor or someone above you can do it either, a co-worker can be just an effective character assassin. Perhaps most intriguingly, in extreme cases, just the promise of getting berated can create debilitating anxiety for the person that is subject to it. It’s called classical conditioning or Pavlovian conditioning which has an effed up experiment to illustrate it.

Ivan Pavlov was a physician that examined how dogs (and, of course, humans through extrapolation) react to stimuli. First he rang a bell before every meal his test subject dog had. Eventually, the dog would salivate just at the ringing of the bell. Pavlov then separated the cage with a low divider, rang the bell and electrified the side of the cage the dog was in, which would make the dog jump the divider to the other unelectrified side of the cage.

Next because it’s universally known that scientists are a**hats Pavlov raised the divider so the dog couldn’t escape to the other side, rang the bell and then…well…electrified the floor. Initially, the dog would frantically look for a way out of the electrified cage. But, eventually, the dog would just sit in the corner of the cage cringing and shaking whenever he heard the bell, inevitably expecting to get the bejeezus shocked out of him. You are that dog every time you hear your bully’s voice. Let’s not even talk about the long-term effects of stress and anxiety on the immune, cardiovascular and nervous system.

3. Sick Days

sick brunette lying on the couch

If you feel ill, as in physically ill before you go to work, then you might be reacting to toxic situations at work. Much like Pavlov’s poor dog I mentioned above, after being relentlessly bullied even if you consciously don’t realize it, your body is preparing itself to be in a hostile environment. Try talking to your bully, or even to Human Resources about the situation because long term stress will have devastating effects on your health.

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Do you have any other clues that might indicate that you are being bullied at work? Let us know in the comment section below.




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