A little holiday story caught our eye. Work is the last thing people are grateful for.
Research suggests that employees who feel appreciated are more productive and loyal. But that message hasn't reached many of those in charge. Some bosses are afraid employees will take advantage of them if they heap on the gratitude. Other managers believe in thank-yous but are nervous about appearing awkward or insincere—or embarrassing the employee they wish to praise.
A common attitude from the corner office is "We thank people around here: It's called a paycheck,"
Generally work life in America has gone downhill and downhill fast. We're not talking about the millions who can't find a job, or the stagnant wages, but for the ones still working, it's anything goes at work, including bullying and abuse.
Bullying in the workplace is common. In 2007, before the recession half of all workers had at least witnessed some form of workforce bullying. Of those bullied, 57% were women. A 2010 Careerbuilder survey showed 37% of all employees directly experienced workplace bullying.
The Workplace Bullying Institute is trying to raise awareness of abuse in the workplace as well as lobbying States to pass worker protections legislation. So far thirteen states have laws on the books to prevent abuse in the workplace. Yet lawsuits are thrown out by the courts and the message clearly is offenders in the workplace can get completely away with it.
In a case cited by David Yamada, a professor and founding director of the New Workplace Institute at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, a physician in Arkansas abused an employee for two years, called her a “slut,” and told her repeatedly that women who work outside the home are “whores and prostitutes.” Making matters worse, he threatened to kill her if she quit. In its decision, an Arkansas court ruled that even if the allegations were true, they still didn’t add up to intentional affliction of emotional stress. “Many targets say, ‘I’m just being crushed at work,’ ” Yamada says. “And the lawyers are telling them this type of mistreatment is completely legal.”
A recent survey found:
- 35% of workers have experienced bullying firsthand (37% in 2007, given the MOE, essentially equivalent)
- 62% of bullies are men; 58% of targets are women
- Women bullies target women in 80% of cases
- Bullying is 4X more prevalent than illegal harassment (2007)
- The majority (68%) of bullying is same-gender harassment
Workplace abuse costs money too and it's the #1 reason people look for new jobs.
A new study by Canadian researchers, published in the most recent issue of the journal Human Relations, suggests that co-workers who witness bullying are also traumatized by the phenomenon—and are as likely as victims themselves to look for a new job.
We've all heard the horror stories of people going postal and committing mass murder in the workplace. After the initial shock, the press reports how deranged and disturbed the person who committed the crimes was. The work environment, bullying, scapegoating and targeting someone is rarely mentioned, even though way too often mass murder at work continues to happen. The focus is always on the individual as the lone psycho powder keg instead of combustible work environments which fuel the flames. The documentary Murder by Proxy is a film mainly documenting a failed attempt to get a workplace anti-bullying law passed in the State of Washington. Contained within a descriptions of workplace mass murder and the conditions of the work environment before the tragedies happened. It's some serious food for thought on how work in this country has turned into a nightmare for so many and a few go right over the edge into evil.
What has happened to America? Turning work into one big survivor game has at minimum made most miserable, is sacrificing many their state of well being and potentially is costing some their lives.