Mistreatment in the Workplace

Regardless of the field you work in, or your position, chances are that somewhere along the line during your career you’ve felt mistreated (and if you haven’t, odds are that you will at some point).  This mistreatment may have come from a boss, a co-worker, a customer, a partner, etc.  While it’s normal and common to have people disagree with you, there is a difference between disagreement and mistreatment or bullying.

If you’ve ever been mistreated or bullied in the workplace, it can be an uncomfortable thing because you don’t know quite how to respond.  Should you confront the person mistreating you?  Should you just “take it” and hope that the mistreatment is few and far between?  Should you report it?  Should you not?  In many cases you may feel like sticking up for yourself, but also don’t want to ruffle any feathers, or do anything that could jeopardize your job.  You may also be fearful that confronting the situation may result in some form of retaliation or retribution.  So what should you do?

So far this kind of thing has been very rare throughout my own career.  But I have encountered it, and I have a few thoughts on the subject.  First, you should always try and conduct yourself with professionalism and treat others respectfully.  Just because someone else may have forgotten to do so, doesn’t give you a free pass.  Second, you should never permit someone to mistreat/bully you, drag your name through the mud unjustly, or unfairly tarnish your reputation without addressing the situation or the person.  Stand up for yourself!  Don’t allow others to misbehave at your expense.  Have some self-respect and try to tactfully set the record straight.  This doesn’t have to result in you losing your cool.  This can be done in a professional and respectful way.

My challenge to you is that if you’re currently in a similar situation, make the decision to stick up for yourself.  If you won’t, who will?  And always remember to do so in a professional and respectful way, both with the words that you use, and the tone with which you use them.


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