Q&A – Office Bully


Q&A – Office Bully

Beth tackles a reader-submitted question about workplace happiness.

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To submit your question, Please email beth@bethhaley.com

I was very happy getting a new job in very nice company a few weeks ago. However I became disappointed from the first hour of the first day noticing that my direct supervisor is very rude and unpleasant to me all of the time. Her behavior is heavier type of office bullying targeting me with huge amount of work in extreme short time ( I still keep working from home after work hours to finish all what is needed and I am not payed for it) and at the same time constantly criticizing me when I get job perfectly done. She is trying to lower my self esteem coming several times per day and telling me negative things.

My coworkers told me that she get rid of several new people lately within two months. I spent in this company about 9 weeks, noticing that she is getting even worse towards me.

I am first time in such strange and emotionally difficult situation in combination of confusion, inside anger, fear and desperation, trying to do everything perfectly, giving from my side even more than requested and getting only punishment. Could you please advice.

Thank you, B.


When something like this happens to us, we want to point the finger at the other person and say that they are doing wrongly by us. The important thing to remember however, is not to go into victim mode but to figure out what you can do to reclaim your own power.

A bully will usually look for someone who is unlikely to respond with assertiveness and instead reacts with fear. The best thing you can do is to figure out what fear the bully is creating within you and deal with your emotional response to being bullied. When you have dealt with your own fears, anger and desperation you will be able to see the situation from a different perspective. Shifting from feelings of fear and anger to feelings of caring for the other person, can help you to realize the truth in the situation. Your boss might actually be very nervous about their own position and they might also be reacting out of fear. You may find that responding in a caring manner to your bosses criticism may make your boss realize that you do care about doing the job well or you may wish to point out that you are taking extra work home and not being paid for it to help your boss see you in a different way. There are any number of things which could be useful and you will be able to see them when you are operating from a place of calmness and compassion for yourself and then for your boss.

Finally, remember that you found this job and there will likely be another one available if you are unable to shift the circumstances around the bullying.