Adult Bullies are Just as Bad: Dealing With the Office Jerk
An office is supposed to be a bastion of professionalism — a tranquil place where you can thrive in your career — however this is not always the case. We’ve all heard sordid tales of the office “break down,” but consistent and degrading bullying is becoming more prevalent among society’s supposed role models: adults. Seattle’s Chanel Five news correspondent Mimi Jung reports that adults, especially women are turning juvenile and aggressive towards each other in office settings. “Cyber bullying isn’t just for teens anymore,” she exclaims.
Adult Targets: Adults & Children
The psychology of a bully is the same through any age bracket: someone who puts others down to make themselves feel better or garner attention. Whatever the cause, the result is always ugly. Unfortunately, the cloak of online anonymity brings out the worst in would-be adult bullies. As pointed out by an ID theft protection company, adults targeting children is also becoming an increasingly serious problem. Like any problem, the first step towards a resolution is an understanding of the methodology.
Methods of Attack
Call it harassment, call it cyber-stalking, or call it just plain bullying, it is even less forgivable when adults participate in this behavior. According to Stopcyberbullying.org and Dosomething.com, it occurs whenever:
- an adult assumes the identity of someone else to target others (adults or children).
- disparaging remarks or comments are left on another’s page or account.
- sexually or personally offensive innuendos or remarks are made.
- embarrassing, unflattering or sexually-themed images of themselves are sent to the victim anywhere online or via cell phone.
Although the points above outline the major tenets of cyberbullying, any disrespectful or hurtful behavior via any digital medium can fall under the umbrella of cyberbullying.
What Can You Do?
Every scenario is different and it’s up to the victim or witnesses to decide what the best course of action is, but if something isn’t done, the bully or perpetrator will never learn that their behavior is unacceptable. It’s a stickier situation when adults are involved, as the primary course of action for children is to tell an adult.
If the perpetrator is your superior, it can be very difficult to make a decision or take action. Many people end up just leaving their job or taking legal action. No matter what road you take, it’s important to save and document the incidences to back up your point. Kidpower.org, although it’s not expressly targeted towards adults, has an excellent online resource entitled “Assertive Advocacy Communication Skills” that helps arm would-be victims with the proper responses, and also helps strengthen internal coping mechanisms. The series highlights:
- Setting boundaries
- Getting others to listen to them
- Asking for help
- Being included
More information can be found here.
Is a Resolution on the Horizon?
Researcher, author and global authority on cyberbullying Shaheen Shariff has likened cyberbullying to William Golding’s 1954 novel “The Lord of The Flies.” She describes the internet as a “virtual island” without supervision or enforceable rules.
As the digital world expands, cyberbullies will gain even more ways and means to single out and attack their victims. It’s up to us respectful citizens to stop them in their tracks with assertive compassion and no-nonsense boundaries. Whatever legal options become available, one thing is for sure: we need to work together to solve this nasty pandemic at home and in the workplace.