Neglected blog posts seeking more love

At times I will toil away at a blog post that I really think has something to say, only to find that it’s a dud with my readers. The WordPress platform that I use for this blog enables me to check how many “hits” a given article has attracted, and I can see which ones aren’t exactly lighting up the Internet. (In truth, a niche blog like this one rarely “lights up” the online world, but I’m cool with that.)

Anyway, as I close in on 1,000 posts for this blog, here are 10 articles that I believe fall within the “good-but-neglected” category:

Our avocations and hobbies: The third pillar of work-life balance? (2012) — On the importance of finding non-work activities that engage us.

I wish our political leaders would send us to the moon (2012) — A call for public leaders to inspire us, linking two nifty videos of JFK.

Professional schools as incubators for workplace bullying (2012) — Consider the seeds planted by law schools and med schools.

Loyalty, “betrayal,” and workplace bullying: Does insider status matter? (2011) — As a denizen of Boston, loyalty and betrayal are key concepts to me!

Dignity amidst horrific indignity: A job shoveling s**t in the Łódź Ghetto (2011) — A WWII story that helps to illustrate how almost any job has inherent dignity.

What’s the plot line of your life story? (2011) — Is it about overcoming the monster, comedy, rebirth, or something else???

What if we paid less attention to advertising? (2010) — Instead of “them” telling us what to buy…

The moral obscenity of a “jobless recovery” (2010) — Read this and compare to where we are three years later.

On hiring consultants (2010) — I would underscore what I wrote here.

Work and the middle-aged brain (2010) — Some things we do not as well, some things actually better.

12 responses

  1. Hi David, loved the third pillar article about hobbies! Jobs that require weekend and after hours work (all time had to be comped out by the following week of course causing problems with the next weeks schedule) led to no time for hobbies, any time spent volunteering for anything also had to be approved by the supervisor. “if you don’t tell me (about after hours activities) you’re working” led to mental fatigue and a very unenjoyable job.So if you dont have time on your time off to schedule time for your hobbies, ditch the job!

  2. Hello David. Lack of response does not equate with lack of interest. Sometimes it’s lack of time to read a post. Sometimes, it’s simply not having anything to say in response. You are not speaking into a void. I, for one, am listening.

  3. Some targets may consume and be affected or comforted by info that strikes a chord, but are either still silenced (for a variety of reasons), struggling to find their “voice” again, or may be dealing with the fear of opening a floodgate.

    I, for example, find posts, articles, and research studies all the time that I would love to respond to.

    I often begin writing, and find I have written nearly a book by the time I am through. Too long and tangential to post, but too painful to proofread, edit and reorganize, I end up throwing the unposted draft info my notes, and exasperated by the “reliving” of the trauma during the writing, I force myself to shift gears and just give up on whatever I was trying to say.

    I find it nearly impossible to write a brief comment, instead, tangentially spilling the endless intertwined tornado of horrors.

    In my case, it is a trauma that I cannot escape, as despite my best efforts, defense mechanisms, and sacrifices, the trauma keeps escalating, despite my job ended almost 3 years ago. However, the stalking, threats, harassment, and so much more, continue in a terrifying smear-campaign, via cyberspace, involving impersonation of my identity, and technical tactics tweaking search engines to keep the lies and fabrications of me as “crazy” and “a threat” discoverable… permanently.

    I find so much I want to reply to, and resources to reach out to, but don’t know even where to begin.

    The learned helplessness stage is so crippling. I am not sure how or if many voices can be still heard once the abuse goes on for so long, and becomes so all-encompassing.

    With an unimaginable plethora of losses to acclimate to, and to mourn, plus fears of present and future we are saddled with, the oft seemingly-hopeless efforts, to grasp for a even a thread of hope, that anyone still cares, or that a future is even still possible, and the mounting stress of becoming more aware of the degree of danger we are in, the healing cannot even begin, until escape and safety is acheived.

    I think that those with the most to say, are the targets most silenced.

    Ones that escaped the workplace mobbing, by becoming too ill to work, only to find they are dragged into a whole new cycle, of becoming a target of a bully-turned-cybercriminal, becomes totally devastating to every aspect of a target, and the death of all hope of being able to pick up the pieces, and move on to heal someday.

    I think it is probably why so many targets of mobbing die within a few years of “escaping” the abusive workplace. Only we never (or rarely) hear from these targets to even know what became of them.

    Most are isolated, even by those who supported them, as the strain continues and becomes too much for supporters.

    As for anyone else who could have helped, these targets are written off as “crazy” and not many help-resources see through to the “normal” person who is suffering a “normal” reaction to an abnormal, ongoing trauma.

    By this stage in this multifaceted, multiple-cycle process of destroying the target, at work, then in every facet of life via online tactics, severe mental injuries like cPTSD, and various systemic physical illnesses result, and also cause targets to isolate and be silenced. The ailments caused or exacerbated by years of fight/flight stress, will probably kill the target soon, if target is not first driven to end it sooner, to escape the daily fear and continued torture of what I guess most closely equates to being buried alive, and then forgotten about, by anyone who once cared.

    The suffering that overtakes the target, every waking moment, becomes so intense, as escape inevitably becomes impossible, so one begins to hope, instead, for the air to run out quickly so the pain will end.

    I am sure that sounds “crazy” and will likely be circulated as “proof” of this rumor, but I am just going to hit “post” without proofreading, or this will become yet another draft to add to my collection of things I hoped to say someday.

    My point is simply:

    We are too far-gone, exasperated, terrified of retaliation, or even fear physical assault plus the many other risks we now bear from what was maliciously and permanently put online to smear us. We are sick, in pain, and are probably very isolated.

    We have often become hopeless, after years of coping and clinging to an inner strength, that is now gone.

    Some of us are dead. Others may soon be.

    Thus it is hard for targets of these most severe and ongoing forms of workplace bullying, cybercrime and mobbing, to actually respond to valuable, insightful posts.

    But I think we are reading, and learning from the experts. Some of us consume information continually, and have so much we want to say in response.

    Yet some of what we learn, frightens us even more, since depending on the situation, for some, there is no way to stop it. We spend stretches of time in avoidance, finding ways periodically to dissociate from the horror, but that reality lf the nightmare eventually engulfs us again. We can never hide from it for long, particularly when a bully resorts to cyber-tactics, to ensure no escape, healing, or future employment is possible.

    We learn that as bad as it all has been, indeed it can, and likely will, get worse.

    We remember in earlier stages, when we read of the cycle, and the stages ahead, and thought: “what happens to ‘most targets’ can’t possibly happen to me.”

    And then it did.

    Despite the knowledge, and every effort to prevent it, we were dragged helplessly through the cycle, and beyond.

    We need support, and help from others, because our own (typically strong) abilities to cope, are now depleted.

    We need advocacy, major legal changes, and awareness by others, so we are not inadvertently “revictimized” by societal ignorance.

    Our usual resourcefulness and ability to land on our feet, is no longer, as the damages progress. It always seems the road to solution is so close, yet for us alone, remains perpetually just out of reach.

    • Thank you so much for what I know was a very difficult comment to write, especially one that is so articulate, heartfelt, and insightful about the experience of being mistreated at work and its effects on lives. I’m sure you spoke for many in how you described your experience.

      I hope you will be able to separate from some of the ongoing elements of what you originally confronted on the job. It is absolutely true that the most meaningful healing, recovery, and eventually renewal will occur when the behaviors cease.

    • I’m going to highlight this comment in a full blog post. I want a lot of people to read it and learn from it. It also will be very validating to many current and former targets. Thank you again for sharing this with us.

  4. Lily speaks for all of us. It’s hard to defend one’s self after a psychological beating. We can ruminate and relive the events and outcome endlessly in a quest for closure that simply never happens, though we keep on hoping. I want to shed my status as a victim, at risk of being seen as a gadfly or nutcase, in the same hope. I thank her for sharing. I’ve had the good fortune to experience therapy that helped me view the situation objectively, as in a movie. Panic attacks are like hurdles on the way, each time I speak out. It may well be a false hope to pursue more creative ideas, but continue to do so. I know PTSD will likely be with me the rest of my life and somehow feel inspired to express the traumatic experiences in different ways, always hoping that one more person will understand, or that it may help someone else. I thank you and appreciate every word you said.

  5. Lily, your post is most eloquent in conveying why those who are targeted often can’t help themselves. I teach about workplace bullying to union representatives and this is a concept I try to convey. They often say to targets that “if you won’t file a grievance, I can’t help you”. I know how damaging this is to a target like yourself hanging on by your fingernails. We have come up with another approach to a toxic workplace that unions can use while keeping the targets anonymous and safe. It’s something I learned by the school of hard knocks. Thank you for your powerful words. I will be sharing them with my classes in the future if you don’t mind.

  6. Lilydalelah, there is nothing “crazy” about what you say and you are not exaggerating about targets dying. A woman in her early 50s who worked where I did was bullied into quitting. A few months later she had a heart attack and died. Another woman, of the same age, at the same institution, was bullied and either quit or got fired. A couple months later, she suffered a stroke and lost her ability to speak. I don’t know what happened to her.

    There were many times I felt as though my heart was going to squirm out of my chest. The chest pain would last for weeks, not hours, not minutes, not days. It was perpetual. If I had started out with any kind of risk factor, I’m sure I’d be dead too.

  7. I just wanted to say thank you for the validation and kind words, and for making it clear that Targets of workplace bullying need help despite their strengths and fortitude.

    Thanks for reposting my comment as its own article, and reaching a broader audience of those who can relate, or need to hear what the bullied target experience is like; how we often feel silenced, and suffocating in the seemingly endless hopelessness.

    I had no idea my comment would have receive this feedback when I wrote it. I am glad it did, but I wrote it just because I wanted you to know, David, that I believe your blog posts do reach the audience you intend; that your work is so appreciated, and makes a difference.

    Your dedication to workplace bullying legislation, and the research and advocacy, are imperative to the changes we need to make happen to help end the senseless destruction of America’s workforce.

    So many people need your blog and your overall knowledge and expertise.

    We hear you, even when we may not reply.

    The responses gleaned from your reposting of my comment helped remind me that despite an overwhelming sense of isolation, Targets are not alone in this suffering.

    While there is little comfort knowing so many people are suffering needlessly, usually for doing a stellar job at work (unknowingly attracting a bully, just for being capable, skilled good workers; ones that a bully envied then resented; then went on a mission to destroy), the hope is in acknowledgement.

    Acknowledging the severity, and common experiences, of this problem, hopefully can bring awareness to those who do still have influence and strong shoulders, who can spread help make changes happen, to prevent workplace bullying from continuing to be the preventable destructive epidemic.

    I believe it continues in the USA to go largely unaddressed, mainly due to lack of information, and misunderstandings about the problem, as well as misplaced priorities and cultural biases we need to overcome.

    With so many targets experiencing a deliberate, destructive and sometimes illegal injustice, which goes unchecked to the point of destroying lives, families, and destroying businesses, clearly change needs to happen, and prevention must become a huge priority in the years moving forward.

    Perhaps together, with enough of our oft-stifled voices finally being heard, speaking up — despite it is hard due to Targets bejng “conditioned” into silence, with fear of retaliation and escalation of abuse as a result of our efforts — but maybe if we refuse to be silenced, we will eventually be heard, and change will result.

    What bullied targets have to say; the unfettered truth, will likely initially upset or anger people who haven’t experienced it, and who currently don’t realize the gravity of this problem. Regardless, the full awful truth needs to be heard and digested for change for the better to ever occur. It has already gone too long. As you already know, we (the U.S.) remain about 20 years behind the progress made in other countries, and in most of the EU. There are plenty of good examples to look to, if we look beyond our own “bubble” as Americans.

    Workplace bullying and mobbing affects us way beyond what people think, and permeates the workplace, and depending on each case, even stretches online as well as into the community. The deliberate health harming destructive behavior, when left unchecked, harms way more than “just” the Target.

    The path will be paved to positive change, and promote a Healthy Workplace. The epidemic has to be addressed before we lose more workers to suicide, irreparable mental injury, disability, or disability or death due to stress-related health problems. Something must be done before too many more bullied targets, who were once strong, dedicated, capable and well liked contributors to society, are lost to this madness that is still largely allowed to continue seemingly with impunity in most American workplaces.

    Thank you David, for all your dedication to the Healthy Workplace, helping get a law passed, and spreading awareness and info, and furthering research.

    Your work helps targets of workplace bullying, as well as all those in the path of the domino-effect of this crippling form abuse.

    Employers themselves need to realize this is not about employee versus employer. Employers too are harmed by bullying and helped by efforts to spread awareness, and foster prevention of workplace bullying now and for future generations.

    • LilyD, thank you so much for your kind comments….I appreciate them very much, and once again send my appreciation for your resilience and courage.

      (I went ahead and corrected the multiple posting and edited out your preliminary note, so I think everything is as you intended here. Take care!)

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