Are you too good at your job, and posing a threat? Getting undermined?
You might be getting bullied
Bullying at work can be quite subtle. At first you don’t pay any heed, and then slowly, over time, you notice that you are getting stressed, feel undermined, doubt your abilities, or dread going in.
Various, ‘classic’ forms of bullying are detailed on the web, but for this post, I want to focus on what happens to you when you are slowly getting undermined.
I hear it so often, and have experienced it myself, maybe you can relate to some of this.
You’ve landed a new job, (or it could be a new boss, or colleague) you are well qualified and experienced for the position and have loads to offer in your new position.
You are probably tactful in introducing all your ‘new fangled ideas’ but at some point, you have to do your job, and actually use the knowledge and experience you have acquired over the years.
In an ideal world, your knowledge and experience would be appreciated. If you have a newer, easier, more effective way of working, it should be welcomed. That’s not always the case in the real world.
In the real world, we have egos, set way of doing things, and don’t like change too much.
I worked for several years in a very large progressive organisation. It was run very tight, policies and procedures for everything that had to be done. I joined a small organisation, with more qualifications than my boss. I was aware of the differences in both our training and qualifications, and just wanted to work, in a respectful manner.
I acquired a new way of working, adopting my new boss’ style, as I wanted to fit in, and just work. I knew of different ways that may be more effective, but was happy not to mention them.
We can do this in a new situation, until a crisis, and then our habitual ways of working kick in, and this is where we can get into trouble.
I had one such case myself, and I defaulted to my old guidelines, (as there were no policies and procedures in my new position) Flying without a rulebook, I covered myself and my new employers by adopting what I knew was a safe way of working.
In the real world, this is where otherwise decent intelligent human beings, get primal!
If this has happened to you, you will recognise the telling offs, the talking down to. You are an intelligent competent person, and it doesn’t sit comfortably, this new feeling of being told off.
Your ideas and knowledge that you were hired for, are now, neither welcome or appreciated. You could be suited and booted, and made to feel like a child.
Anger is not very far away at this stage.
There are a number of things that can happen to you at this stage, that undermine your confidence, affect how you feel about yourself and your abilities, it can even affect your sleep and lead to physical symptoms and stress.
How does that happen?
Understandably, you will not be experiencing something difficult at work, and then forget all about it when you go home. It eats away at you, and can dominate your thought processes.
You can arrive home, seething, hurt, or just plain worn down. You might tell your partner about it over dinner. Unfortunately your thoughts are not neutral. You can be in the privacy of your own home, and feeling all the same feelings you had in work.
Your down time at home, now feels like work. There is no magic switch just because you have gone to bed. It gets worse, you now have time to think about it, and off you go again. The feelings that belong with the bullying are there with you now in bed and your chances of sleeping are now plummeting.
From bad to worse.
Your brain is paying attention.
It is paying close attention to your thoughts and feelings to ensure you can have them again in similar situations. You wake up next morning to get ready for work, and get flooded with the thoughts and feelings.
Over time, these thoughts start to feel very real. The anger may start to dissipate, but the person you once were is hardly recognizable.
Many people take time of sick, or leave their jobs. You don’t have to do this. I am sure you are aware of human resources policies, which is great, but more my area, you can learn to restore confidence in yourself, and get rid of the negative feelings.
Your brain is more malleable than maybe you realise. It can be very hard to see the person you once where, before you felt devalued and undermined, but that person is still there, underneath the limiting self beliefs that you now hold about yourself.