Question: Hi! I am a 27-year-old man and have been working in an IT firm for five years. I have been a victim of workplace bullying for years. Had it been one person up against me, I could have easily answered him or her. But sadly it’s a gang and they have this herd mentality, which is very difficult to address. A recent incident has made me very depressed. We are assigned projects based on our performance and peer review. I had done quite well in my last assignments and I even have clients’ recommendations for my work. But when it comes to peer review, this group of four colleagues always gives very low rating to my work. And what they do is, they plan and rate each other quite high. So their overall score is much higher than mine. Since our boss would rather listen to the views of four people as opposed to one person, my requests to look into peer review fall in deaf ears. As a result of which I do not get to work on the best projects but am handed over projects, which others would not touch because the best projects go to those who have better scores. Not only that these people would always laugh at my opinion, exclude me from office meetings and engage in other such petty stuff. Standing up to them or complaining to the HR is not an option. I have been feeling very depressed lately. How do I handle these bullies in the office? Please help me.
Response by Dr Kedar Tilwe: Dear reader, each office in each company/institution has its own individual work-culture, office dynamics and hierarchy. This can sometimes result in failure to prevent workplace bullying as the perpetrators may work within the rules and etiquettes of the organisation. Repeated exclusion, intentional marginalizing, down-rating, ostracism and preferential allotment of work projects can indeed be some of the selective behaviours demonstrated by the bullies. So, it is understandable why you are feeling isolated and depressed. Here are some of the strategies that may help deal with the situation.
– Identify allies at your workplace and make friends across the office. Remember that there are many more people in the office other than your team, so connect with them and enlist their help when possible
– Locus of control is an important concept that helps identify the parameters that you can control, and work towards improving them. Unnecessary worrying about things outside your sphere of influence will only work to worsen your morale.
– Maintain a good work-life balance and develop fulfilling and enriching relationships outside your workplace. Develop a hobby to help you gain a sense of fulfillment and mastery as it can help with your self-esteem.
– Identify sources which may help, and platforms which you can turn to for advice or guidance. Most companies now have an Employee Assistance Program or helpline that you can reach out to.
– Most importantly, take the feedback and improve your skills. It is difficult to disregard good work in the long run. As the saying goes .. ‘tough times never last, but tough people do’.
Consider reaching out to a mental health professional nearby as counselling may help.
Dr Kedar Tilwe, Psychiatrist & Sexologist, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital
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Published at Tue, 16 Jun 2020 08:10:00 +0000