I’ve not always been fortunate in my day jobs, though I certainly am now. But I can think of at least two jobs- one at a college, and one at a theatre- where I was routinely bullied. The only way I could overcome either of these situations was to leave. In the college setting, a Vice President (my direct supervisor was out that day), shrieking, dragged me by the arm and locked me in an office without food or water until I completed the task she’d given me. It was like something out of a movie- she really did look psychotic, and I didn’t doubt she was capable of physically hurting me. With my one year of law school behind me, I kept telling myself this was false imprisonment, and wouldn’t my torts professor be surprised to see it in the 1990s. In the theatre setting, I had a desk that faced a wall covered with a large bulletin board. Every few days, my boss would throw darts over my head. It took him about a year, but eventually a dart hit my head, drawing blood. He told me it was my fault I was bleeding, because I moved and it threw off his aim.
This is why Tara Parker-Pope’s article in the “Times” a few months ago really spoke to me. One third of the readers who responded to her article had been bullied at work.