The toughest part of being bullied is the feeling that you have no control over the situation. The bully has you under his thumb and there is no escape.
You Have Options
Feeling stuck is normal. It’s also not true. In previous posts we’ve examined the options you have in dealing with the bully. Here’s a reminder.
Deciding to use these will take courage, skill, and perseverance. With a little luck and assuming you are in a healthy workplace, one or more of these options may well solve the problem. But what if they don’t? In that case, you are still left with one more card you can play. You can leave.
To most people, this isn’t an option at all. They see the problems associated with leaving as worse than staying and accepting the bully’s abuse. Loss of income, benefits, seniority often top the list. In a bad employment market people are also understandably worried about not being able to find another job.
The main objection, however, is that leaving isn’t fair. After all, you did nothing wrong. The bully should be the one to leave. In a fair world that’s how it would work. Unfortunately, as we’ve all learned, things aren’t always fair.
Be Smart About Leaving
Obviously, leaving is a last choice. That’s okay. It’s just good to have choices, even when the consequences of exercising an option is troubling. A person considering leaving needs to be smart about it. Here are some tips to be more successful if you are thinking about playing your exit card.
- Lay the ground work early. Explore other options long before ever making the final decision to leave. The last thing you want to do is up and quit as an emotional reaction. This won’t win you much support from others in the organization from whom you might later need a reference. Also waking up tomorrow with no job when you weren’t prepared can be disasterous.
- Always be developing a strong professional network. Having people who are willing to help is a huge asset during job transitions. Don’t wait until you need them. The best time to build relationships is when you don’t need a favor.
- Sometimes an internal transfer will do the trick. For those working in large enterprises this is usually a good first consideration. If you do choose to stay inside the organization, make sure your new position is outside the bully’s sphere of influence.
- Make a case for leaving that you can use to convince yourself and interested friends and family. They will focus on what you are giving up and may try to convince you to stick it out. You’ll need to be prepared to counter their objections so that you’ll feel confident in your decision.
- Don’t seek revenge or burn bridges on the way out.
While you didn’t ask to be put into this situation, it is where you find yourself now. Try everything discussed in previous posts. Have your exit card in your back pocket, ready to pull out and use if necessary.
Simply knowing you can leave might be enough to give you the confidence you need to manage this person more effectively if you choose to stay. And if you do decide to leave, many who have taken this leap before you have discovered a much better work situation and a far happier life. Move forward with hope.
Here are more articles in this series.
- Defining the problem
- Understanding the problem
- Response options
- Change your thinking
- Confront the bully
- Report the problem
- Leave the situation
- Defend your coworkers
I’d also welcome your call to discuss your situation. Grab a slot on my calendar with the link below.