Workplace bullying targets winning unemployment benefits appeals in New York State

Thanks to a developing line of administrative appeal decisions, workers in New York State who resign their jobs due to bullying and employer abuse could still retain eligibility for unemployment benefits.

Under New York State labor law, workers who voluntarily resign without good cause are presumptively ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. Most other states follow a similar rule. Of course, this frequently leaves targets of workplace bullying in a bind when it comes to qualifying for unemployment benefits. All too often, quitting is the only way to escape the abuse.

That’s why I was so pleased to hear from James Williams, an attorney with Legal Services of Central New York, who sent news of a recent decision in a case he argued before the New York Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board.

Case Details

The claimant appealed a denial of unemployment benefits holding that he voluntarily resigned his job with a local government entity, without good cause. The Administrative Law Judge overruled the denial of benefits, rendering these findings and a decision:

The undisputed credible evidence establishes that the claimant left employment voluntarily . . . after being notified . . . that he was on probation, because he felt bullied, harassed and set up by his supervisor. I credit the claimant’s credible sworn testimony that his supervisor’s repeated criticism and scolding of him in a raised voice made him feel bullied and harassed, especially in the presence of other employees. I further credit the claimant’s credible sworn testimony that the supervisor’s actions including pointing and reprimanding him, consisted of the word “stupid”, and other language which embarrassed the claimant and that the claimant believed he was being ridiculed by the supervisor. An employee is not obligated to subject himself to such behavior. Given that the claimant had complained to the employer about the supervisor’s behavior just two months earlier, and that the supervisor’s mistreatment not only continued, but escalated, I conclude that the claimant had good cause within the meaning of the unemployment insurance Law to quit when he did. Additionally, while disagreeing with a reprimand or criticism about work performance may not always constitute good cause to quit, receiving reprimands in the presence of one’s co-workers may be. . . . Under the circumstances herein, the supervisor’s treatment of the claimant exceeded the bounds of propriety, with the result that the claimant had good cause to quit. His unemployment ended under nondisqualifying conditions.

Other Decisions

Attorney Williams relied upon previous decisions by the full Appeal Board holding that disrespectful and bullying-type behaviors that exceed the bounds of propriety (that appears to be the key phrase) may constitute good cause to voluntarily leave a job and thus not disqualify someone from receiving unemployment benefits. They may be accessed at the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board website:

Jim added in an e-mail that potential New York claimants who may fit this scenario “are advised to take steps to try and save their jobs prior to quitting.  They will want to be able to show to the Department of Labor and to an ALJ that they took steps to try to change the situation – complaining to management, human resources, etc. – before quitting.”

Using These Decisions

The reasoning in these decisions is limited to unemployment benefits cases. Furthermore, the holdings of these cases are not binding upon unemployment benefits claims in other states. However, they can be brought to the attention of unemployment insurance agencies elsewhere as persuasive precedent.

In addition, this serves as an important lesson to those who may have been initially denied unemployment benefits after leaving a job due to bullying behaviors. It is not uncommon for initial denials to be reversed on appeal, and these cases provide genuine reason for optimism in situations involving abusive work environments.

***

Many thanks to Jim Williams, a former colleague at the Labor Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office many years ago, for litigating these unemployment insurance cases and for bringing them to my attention. It is inspiring to see a former colleague continuing to do work that makes a positive difference in the lives of others.

Working Notes: Workplace bullying by taser, interns & sexual harassment, and more

Hello, dear readers! Here are several items of possible interest:

Alternet on alleged workplace bullying by taser in Texas

A claim of workplace bullying by taser is a first in my recollection, but here goes. Rod Bastanmehr reports for Alternet on a Texas man who has filed a lawsuit claiming he was repeatedly abused at work:

Bradley Jones, a 45-year-old Texas man is suing Republican state lawmaker Patricia Harless and her husband over what he cites as months of attacks and abuse while working for them. The couple owns Fred Finger Motors, which Jones has worked at since 2009, and are now facing assault and battery charges, as well as failure to provide a safe workplace.

. . . Jones’s suit argues that Sam Harless provided other employees with a taser, and that Harless would often film them sneaking up and using it on him. The series of incidents lasted over a period of nine months, with many of the videos posted online (though they have since been taken down).

MainStreet on workplace bullying

Susan Kreimer serves up a terrific overview of workplace bullying for MainStreet. Gary Namie (Workplace Bullying Institute), Pam Lutgen-Sandvik (North Dakota St U), and I were interviewed for it. Here’s a piece of my advice for bullying targets:

Because bullying situations and work environments vary, so do the strategies for self-defense. Employees who feel targeted “should read up on workplace bullying, try to understand what’s happening to them, avoid making rash decisions or engaging in reckless responses that may backfire, and instead attempt to assess their options carefully after doing their homework,” Yamada says.

NPR on how power can short circuit empathy

Here’s a piece that’s relevant to bullying bosses and nasty CEOs. Chris Benderev reports for National Public Radio on a new study by Canadian researchers showing how power changes brain responses:

Even the smallest dose of power can change a person. You’ve probably seen it. Someone gets a promotion or a bit of fame and then, suddenly, they’re a little less friendly to the people beneath them.

So here’s a question that may seem too simple: Why?

…[I]f you ask Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, he might give you another explanation: Power fundamentally changes how the brain operates.

Obhi and his colleagues, Jeremy Hogeveen and Michael Inzlicht, have a new study showing evidence to support that claim.

ProPublica on unpaid interns & sexual harassment protections

Blair Hickman and Christie Thompson write for ProPublica (here, via Salon magazine) on how unpaid interns are unprotected by federal discrimination and sexual harassment laws. They interviewed me for the piece:

In 1994, Bridget O’Connor began an internship at Rockland Psychiatric Center, where one of the doctors allegedly began to refer to her as Miss Sexual Harassment, told her that she should participate in an orgy, and suggested that she remove her clothing before meeting with him. Other women in the office made similar claims.

Yet when O’Connor filed a lawsuit, her sexual harassment claims were dismissed because she was an unpaid intern. A federal appeals court affirmed the decision to throw out the claim.

Unpaid interns miss out on wages and employment benefits, but they can also find themselves in “legal limbo” when it comes to civil rights, according to law professor and intern labor rights advocate David Yamada. The O’Connor decision (the leading ruling on the matter, according to Yamada) held that because they don’t get a paycheck, unpaid interns are not “employees” under the Civil Rights Act – and thus, they’re not protected.

So here’s the twist that I explain in greater detail in my 2002 law review article on the rights of interns: Employers who violate minimum wage laws by failing to compensate their interns can then turn around and claim insulation from  sexual harassment claims by saying that because the interns aren’t paid, they have no standing to sue under the federal employment discrimination laws!

TMZ Sports on an all-star lawsuit

TMZ Sports reports on a lawsuit brought against Major League Baseball for failure to pay some 2,000 people who :

Major League Baseball put roughly 2,000 people to work during  All-Star weekend in NYC last month and illegally paid them with giveaway items  like shirts and hats INSTEAD of cash, so says a new lawsuit.

. . . In the suit, John Chen says he worked  17 hours in 4 days at the All-Star Weekend festival — doing everything from  stamping wrists to stuffing flyers into bags and even filing paperwork … all  assignments that would otherwise have to be done by paid employees.

. . . Basically, Chen believes the concept of a  “volunteer” workforce violates federal and state labor laws — and the  “volunteers” should be paid at least minimum wage … which, in NY, is $7.25 per  hour.

This is a spin on the unpaid intern issue, but it carries slightly different implications. Surely Major League Baseball can afford to pay these people the minimum wage for their work on this lucrative, marquee event. In addition, it also says something troubling about the willingness of people to provide free labor to a wealthy, profit-making organization. Is it the appeal of basking in the reflected glow of athletic and celebrity glory?

***

New essay

I recently posted a draft of a new essay, “If It Matters, Write About It: Using Legal Scholarship to Effect Social Change,” which will be published in a new student periodical at Suffolk University Law School to which I’m serving as faculty advisor. Here’s the abstract, and go here to download the essay:

Abstract: 
This essay centers on the concept of “intellectual activism,” discussing how legal scholarship can be used as the foundation for social change work. It recounts and reflects upon the author’s ongoing work in advancing issues such as workplace bullying and the rights of student interns. It concludes with advice on how to be effective in an intellectual activist mode. The essay will be published in the inaugural issue of Bearing Witness: A Journal of Law and Social Responsibility, a new student-run periodical at Suffolk University Law School.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 9

Slow blogging and slow media

Blogging first became popular roughly a decade ago as a way to share instantaneous news and commentary on breaking stories. It continues to serve that useful journalistic purpose, but it also has evolved into a medium for synthesizing information and for reflective commentary, analysis, and opinion. I believe that this latter mode describes how some readers use blogs in connection with their work, hobbies, and avocations. Blogging in this manner encourages more contemplative writing that will be relevant well beyond its initial posting date.

To characterize this use of the blogging format, I’d like to invoke two terms, slow blogging and slow media, that capture how we can use social media to temper the pace of our tech-fueled, hurry-up society.

Slow blogging

The philosophy and practice of slow blogging has been beautifully articulated in the Slow Blogging Manifesto by Todd Sieling. Here are a few snippets:

Slow Blogging is a rejection of immediacy. It is an affirmation that not all things worth reading are written quickly, and that many thoughts are best served after being fully baked and worded in an even temperament.

***

Slow Blogging is a reversal of the disintegration into the one-liners and cutting turns of phrase that are often the early lives of our best ideas.

***

Slow Blogging is a willingness to remain silent amid the daily outrages and ecstasies that fill nothing more than single moments in time, switching between banality, crushing heartbreak and end-of-the-world psychotic glee in the mere space between headlines.

Slow media

Slow blogging relates strongly to the concept of slow media that is circulating around the wired world. In the “Slow Media Manifesto,” co-authors Benedikt Köhler, Sabria David, and Jörg Blumtritt describe their philosophy this way:

The first decade of the 21st century, the so-called ‘naughties’, has brought profound changes to the technological foundations of the media landscape. The key buzzwords are networks, the Internet and social media. In the second decade, people will not search for new technologies allowing for even easier, faster and low-priced content production. Rather, appropriate reactions to this media revolution are to be developed and integrated politically, culturally and socially. The concept “Slow”, as in “Slow Food” and not as in “Slow Down”, is a key for this. Like “Slow Food”, Slow Media are not about fast consumption but about choosing the ingredients mindfully and preparing them in a concentrated manner. Slow Media are welcoming and hospitable. They like to share.

In other words, slow media emphasizes sustainability, quality, dialogue, and respect for its users. There’s a personal connection as well:

Slow Media ask for confidence and take their time to be credible. Behind Slow Media are real people. And you can feel that.

The heart quality of slow blogging

Informed by these thoughtful words, for me the concept of slow blogging means writing thoughtfully, reflectively, and connectively. It doesn’t dodge tough topics or avoid stating a strong opinion, but it attempts to steer clear of knee-jerk reactions and snarky provocation. It means writing posts that are relevant and interesting beyond the present. And it means interacting with your readers when time and opportunity permit. (This can be a challenge when work is piling up!) Although I sometimes fall short of following these precepts and practices, I regard them as worthy aspirations.

Blogging can be a modest, yet meaningful way of sharing information, ideas, and opinions for the longer term. If you’re a blogger, or if you’re thinking of starting a blog, then I hope this has inspired you to consider the deeper purposes of your writing in this form.

***

Hat tip to writer and editor Jane Friedman, whose post introduced me to the slow media concept.

Want better productivity? Fewer, more focused meetings may help

As part of a terrific piece on managing workplace interruptions for Good Company, the online newsletter of the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence, Stacy Baer and Larissa Barber (Northern Illinois U.) suggest that fewer, more focused meetings can buoy individual and organizational productivity.

Less is more

Citing published research, they write about how workers regard meetings and the uses of meetings for organizations:

Meetings. Meetings are increasingly encouraged by organizations (Bettencourt, 1992). Research has shown that individuals who are more motivated to accomplish work goals are more likely to view meetings as interruptions (Rogelberg, Leach, Warr, and Burnfield, 2006). Those who are less goal-oriented tend to find meetings to be less of a nuisance. This trend suggests that meetings have the potential to be a source of wasted time. However, meetings are important for communication and collaboration between employees. Meetings are most effective when they are scheduled in advance, well-structured with an agenda, start and end on time and when employees in attendance are not under time pressure or otherwise distracted from the purpose of the meeting (Rogelberg et al., 2006).

Here are more of their recommendations for handling meetings:

Reduce Meeting Fatigue. Hold less frequent meetings. Much information can be more efficiently communicated through email than through time-wasting meetings (Rogelberg, Leach, Warr, & Burnfield, 2006). If meetings must take place, allot time before coming together for employees to consider the problems at hand and their suggested solutions to make the best use of meeting time (Girotra, 2010).

The full article covers other types of work interruptions, such as intrusions, distractions, and breaks, as well as the role of technology and physical design of workplaces. It’s a neat little primer for anyone interested in the topic.

Academe, are you listening?

As I read the commentary about meetings, I wished that every academic administrator in higher education would read it! As I wrote last year:

It is a well-documented trend that American colleges and universities increasingly are dominated by an “administrative class” that has been growing by leaps and bounds, even at schools that have cut, or sharply slowed the growth of, their full-time faculties.

. . . In a mundane yet significant sense, the addition of administrators usually means more meetings. After all, calling meetings and creating committees help to justify one’s position and provide ways to keep busy. Such efforts frequently generate endless exchanges of e-mails & memos and painful exercises in group “wordsmithing.”

Meetings are a necessary piece of organizational life. But good meetings are the exception to the norm. All too often, meetings are giant time and energy suckers. Fewer and smarter meetings would benefit everyone except those who like to sit in a room and yammer.

Witnessing the “split-screen American nightmare”

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In a New York Times op-ed essay, “Crumbling American Dreams,” political scientist Robert Putnam (Harvard) returns to his hometown to assess the current state of America:

My hometown — Port Clinton, Ohio, population 6,050 — was in the 1950s a passable embodiment of the American dream, a place that offered decent opportunity for the children of bankers and factory workers alike.

But a half-century later, wealthy kids park BMW convertibles in the Port Clinton High School lot next to decrepit “junkers” in which homeless classmates live. The American dream has morphed into a split-screen American nightmare. And the story of this small town, and the divergent destinies of its children, turns out to be sadly representative of America.

The rest of his essay describes a familiar set piece for middle America, featuring the disintegration of manufacturing industries around his hometown that once provided sources of steady, decent-paying jobs for high school graduates. The disappearing industrial base has translated into human want and suffering on a significant scale.

My hometown, too

I’ve seen a Port Clinton-type scenario before.

My boyhood hometown of Hammond, Indiana in northwest Indiana was a busy working class and middle class city during the 1950s and 1960s. During the heart of those years, the area’s steel mills served as a reliable source of steady jobs for (mostly male) high school graduates. And thanks to high demand for steel and to collective bargaining, it was possible to raise a family on a mill worker’s wages.

But all that started to change in the mid-to-late 70s, when the number of shifts declined and layoffs increased. Also, by the early 1980s, the national economy overall was heading into a major downturn that would further smack the manufacturing sector.

I remember that time very well. In 1981 I graduated from Valparaiso University (also in NW Indiana) into a terrible recession. I had planned to take a year between college and starting law school, and I would spend that time living with my parents and doing odd jobs while filing my law school applications.

To bring in some money, I picked up shifts working as a stock clerk for the local drug store chain where I had spent my college summers. What sticks in my memory is how many of the women working there had become the main income earners for their families because their husbands had been laid off at the steel mills.

By the time I left Indiana for the New York City in 1982, the region’s steel industry was gasping for its life. As we fast forward to today, Hammond and many surrounding towns and cities continue to exist in the aftermath of the deterioration of the region’s industrial economic base.

Purple problem?

Putnam first came to public attention with the publication of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (2000), in which he chronicled the decline of the country’s civic, religious, and political organizations and urged the renewal of these community bonds. This has become a defining theme of his work since then.

True to his other writings, in his Times piece Putnam is hesitant to assign primary blame for the economic gulf in our communities on the basis of politics, instead suggesting that more systemic, bipartisan forces have been at play:

The crumbling of the American dream is a purple problem, obscured by solely red or solely blue lenses. Its economic and cultural roots are entangled, a mixture of government, private sector, community and personal failings. But the deepest root is our radically shriveled sense of “we.”

Behind the “split-screen American nightmare”

While I agree that responsibility for our current condition must be shared among many stakeholders, I wish that Putnam would acknowledge that powerful political and economic forces have widened the gulf between haves and have-nots, cut away the middle class, and — to use Putnam’s words — hastened the “radically shriveled sense of ‘we’.”

As I’ve written before, evidence of societal inequality keeps piling up, and the economic “recovery” has largely benefited the most fortunate. Many thoughtful commentators have argued that the U.S. has become a plutocracy, a society in which the game is rigged for, and controlled by, the wealthy and powerful — at the expense of democracy, genuine opportunity, and a compassionate safety net.

Some might suggest that “plutocracy” is over the top. After all, even the poorest Americans live under conditions that millions of people in other parts of the world would gladly accept. Furthermore, upward mobility remains within the grasp of some, despite growing obstacles.

But the gaping wealth gaps cannot be ignored. Until we aggressively address the political, economic, and social dynamics creating these societal headwinds, we’ll be seeing many more modern-day versions of Port Clinton, Ohio, and Hammond, Indiana, during the years to come.

***

This post was revised in July 2019.

Let’s pay interns to fetch coffee and make copies (on occasion)

The blog for American University’s internship programs states:

At American University (AU), interns don’t just fetch coffee or make copies. They work in one of the most exciting cities in the world and learn about their fields and themselves through stimulating experiences.

As many readers here know, I’m very supportive of the movement to end unpaid internships. Too often they are exploitative, exclusionary, and discriminatory. When unpaid interns deliver genuine work contributions, including doing ordinary errands and office work, their employers receive unjust enrichment. Also, unpaid internships exclude those who cannot afford to work for free or, at the very least, require them to do burdensome double shifts, one unpaid (the internship), the other paid (a gig to pay the bills).

The value of grunt work

That said, I have nothing against paying interns for work that may include taking a lunch order or two. In fact, I endorse it, and here’s why:

Quality internships help people to develop skills, gain experience, and build credentials relevant to occupations they wish to enter. They also allow employers to create a pipeline of talent into a field and to evaluate candidates for possible future employment.

Part of that arrangement involves the nurturing of a work ethic that includes a willingness to do grunt tasks that need to be done. A year ago, I wrote a piece listing out the qualities of my best bosses over the course of my working life. Here’s one of them:

There was no task beneath them. No princes or princesses. They’d jump in and do the same work you were doing if it needed to get done.

Any good employer evaluating the performance of an intern would want to see those qualities as well. Taking a coffee order or running the photocopier allows more experienced people to stay on focus. It contributes to the work of the organization. Assuming that such tasks are assigned fairly, the intern who balks at one is revealing something. In professional and creative settings, we sometimes have too many show horses and not enough work horses.

So yes, interns should be paid. And if an occasional assignment falls short of providing an intellectual or creative challenge, then that, too, may be a good test of someone’s worthiness for future employment.

Therapeutic obsessions: Replaying the National Pastime on a table top

Vintage edition of the APBA baseball game (From apbagames.com)

Vintage edition of the APBA baseball game (From apbagames.com)

Kenneth Heard is an Arkansas newspaper reporter with a fierce devotion to a baseball board game, APBA (pronounced “app-bah”), that uses dice, charts, and individual player cards to recreate the National Pastime on a tabletop. Furthermore, he writes about the experience via a unique blog, “Love, Life and APBA Baseball.”

Tabletop sports games are the forerunners of today’s fantasy and computer sports simulation games. Among a diehard subset of mostly Boomer-age sports fans, they remain quite popular. APBA (company website) and its perennial competitor, Strat-O-Matic (company website), are two of the longest surviving holdovers. During the heyday of these games, high school kids, college students, and grown men would play them obsessively, staging dream match-ups between all-time great teams and even replaying entire seasons in hopes that their favorite team might fare better than it did in real life.

His anchor at sea

Heard is a diehard APBA baseball player. He replays entire past baseball seasons and chronicles his progress on his blog. He’s currently replaying the 1942 season. Recently he completed a replay of the 1981 season, which in real life was interrupted by a players’ strike. You can read his concluding post on it here:

It was a long season; 16 months of rolling games, recording scores and some stats and watching what happened.

It was a good season. When I embarked upon this, I wanted to see what would have happened if the baseball strike didn’t occur. . . .

. . . When the regular season ended, Detroit and Baltimore were tied for the American League East, each posting 97-65 records. The Tigers beat Baltimore in a one-game playoff, but were defeated by Kansas City, 3 game to 1, in the American League Championship Series.

In the National League, Los Angeles, which won the West Division by 9 games over Houston, swept Montreal in the three-game National League Championship Series.

The Royals took the first game of the World Series, 1-0, over the Dodgers on Amos Otis’ RBI double in the seventh inning. L.A. took the next two games, 9-0 and 6-2. Willie Aikens drove in the go-ahead run in Game 4 for the Royals in the ninth, and Kansas City tied the Series at two games apiece.

And that was it for the Royals. Dusty Baker hit two home runs for the Dodgers in Game 5 for the win and Rick Monday added two homers of his own in Game 6. McRae popped out and the season was over.

The APBA baseball game is Heard’s anchor at sea, “the one constant in my life,” as he explains in a July 14 blog post that also gives you an important bit of his life’s story:

I spent today watching the clock, marking all that happened on July 14 seven years ago when my life changed drastically.

At 4:30 a.m., in 2006, I told my wife I’d take her to the doctor later that day because she wasn’t feeling well. I told her I loved her and said things would be okay. At 6:30 a.m., I found her unresponsive on the floor in our bedroom. At 9:30 a.m., a doctor ushered me into a private room at the emergency room of the hospital an ambulance rushed her to. He looked at me somberly and said they tried all they could do, but she was gone. It was something he probably said often in rote fashion to families, but to me it was the most impacting thing I’ve ever heard.

. . . Here’s where the APBA comes in, and gives this blog part of its title. Some have told me they were impressed with the number of baseball games I replay each day. I average four to six a day at times. I’m a third of the way through the 1942 baseball season now, after three months of playing.

I love the game, but the frequency of games picked up after I lost my wife. I work, come home, fix something to eat, watch some television and then roll a few games. I don’t sleep much, so I can play late into the night.

As I’ve said a few times here before, the game is the one constant in my life. Things change, but the game remains the same. Different seasons, but the world that I create by tossing the dice and logging the wins of each game remains the same and gives me a safe, serene world that I can control and understand. I’ve been playing some form of the APBA game since 1977.

Shared obsession

Heard may be at the extreme end of his devotion, but he’s not alone. At the online Table Top Sports forum, sports game hobbyists engage in informed, sometimes impassioned exchanges about playing and analyzing these games, while sharing humorous stories about how spouses, other family members, and friends regard their hobby. Both the APBA and Strat-O-Matic game companies are found of touting the names of famous athletes and public figures who have played their games as youth and adults.

Several years ago, the New York Public Library published a book detailing how Jack Kerouac invented his own tabletop baseball game, created fictitious teams and players, and kept detailed notebooks of each season. You can learn more about it, including photographs of his homebrewed game, here.

And speaking of the literary end, novelist Robert Coover’s The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. (1968), is the tale of a man who invents his own cards & dice baseball game and becomes lost in the life of his fictitious baseball league. It’s considered a minor classic and one of the best books about the dramatic pull of baseball.

Universal Baseball Association

(One of my prized book purchases from The Strand bookstore in Manhattan is an autographed copy of Coover’s book, a discovery in the half-priced paperback bin many years ago.)

Work diversions (and beyond)

There’s not much about work in this post, is there? I guess that’s my point. Hobbies are good for us; they make for healthy diversions that are engaging, immersive, and fun.

Some of you might think that Kenneth Heard’s devotion to playing APBA baseball is over the top, but it works for him and makes for a fulfilling hobby. To the extent the game serves as his salve for some of life’s ups and downs, it’s better than falling for more self-destructive behaviors that we could easily list out.

Moreover, these games harken back to the idea of hobbies that don’t require thousands of dollars to sustain. For example, with APBA baseball and similar games, you can obtain the basic game parts and several past seasons for under $100, especially if you tap into eBay and other sites. To play APBA, all you need is an interest in baseball, an ability to learn the game engine, and — most importantly — an imagination to see it all unfold in your mind’s eye.

On this blog, I’ve written a lot of doom-and-gloom things about the economic times to come. I’ll stick to those forecasts; I think we’re facing a rough go of it. One of our salvations, however, may be the rediscovery of hobbies and activities that bring us great enjoyment without draining already tight bank accounts.

Me, too

As you’ve probably guessed, I’ve played these tabletop sports games too, especially during my “tween” years through college. I still collect the games, occasionally play them, and hope for more time to do so someday.

In the meantime, on my iPad is the tablet version of Out of the Park Baseball, a computer sports simulation game, and it’s great for airport waits and plane flights. I’m replaying the Chicago Cubs 1969 season, a year that brings painful memories for longtime Cubbies fans everywhere. Unfortunately, the digital Cubs are faring much worse under my stewardship than the real team did back in the day.

As they say, wait ’til next year.

Specific workplace bullying strategies & tactics

During the past two years, I’ve been writing more about specific workplace bullying strategies and tactics, and many of these posts have attracted a lot of “hits” from search engines. I thought it might be useful to collect some of them here, in somewhat random order:

Gaslighting

Gaslighting as a workplace bullying tactic (2012)

Is gaslighting a gendered form of workplace bullying? (2013)

Blame the target

When workplace bullies claim victim status: Avoiding the judo flip (2013)

Puppet master bullying vs. mobbing

“Puppet master” bullying vs. genuine mobbing at work (2012)

Splitting

“Splitting” as a workplace bullying tactic (2013)

Covert bullying

Will workplace bullying become increasingly covert and indirect? (2012)

Cyberbullying

If workplace cyberbullying is worse, then what can targets do about it? (2012)

Track and trash: Beware of the “word stalkers” (2012)

Making targets disappear

Erase and forget: “Unpersons” and institutional memory (2011)

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