Archive for work

Taking Back the Playground: Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by butterflyliz32

I have recently completed a new article with Dr. Susanne Gaddis (The Communications Doctor) about Workplace Bullying.  The article has been sent out for publishing, but I thought I would also share it here!  Enjoy!


Alright, here’s what nobody wants to admit- there’s a little bully in all of us.  And while you might not be called Darth Vader behind your back (yet), we all, to some degree, whether we realize it or not, have participated in bully-esque behaviors.

Being able to recognize these behaviors at an early stage can help you fortify all of your relationships and, as an added bonus, it may keep you employed.  It’s also likely to prevent you from earning that only-used-behind-your-back nickname you’ll never live down. 

To help identify the bully in you, here is a list of common bullying behaviors.  We invite you to take an honest look at yourself.  If you find that you have any of these red-flag behaviors, you should realize that these behaviors will never earn you the “Ms/ Mr. Congeniality” sash.

 1. Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Passive-Aggressive individuals have perfected the act of sabotage.  This bully behaves stealthy in a way that says I’m okay, you’re not okay, but I’m not going to tell you that to your face. Instead, they do things behind your back that let you know you’re not okay.   They say one thing and do another, producing a chaotic environment.  They don’t hold themselves to the same set of standards they require of you. 

Passive-Aggressive behavior can range from always being late to meetings, making and then breaking promises, saying, “I was just joking,” after sending out a barbed missile-like message intended to stop others dead in their tracks. This is the type of bully who avoids taking any leadership position, letting others take the lead instead, only to sit back and criticize them on all of their decisions.  Passive–Aggressive types can also act ridiculously literal.  For example, if you ask these bullies to go and pick up a paper, they go pick it up and then stand there looking at you for their next command. Yet another favorite tactic is to ignore you when you ask a question, causing you to feel discomfort when you ask it again.  In the hallway, they say hello to everyone else but you.  After all, why should they waste their breath?

Another form of Passive-Aggressive behavior is making threats.  These can be direct threats such as, “I can’t wait to see what HR thinks about this,” or “You won’t be around here to worry about it,” or indirect threats such as, “We’ll just have to see what happens.” Either way the point of a threat is to cause you discomfort, make you question yourself and establish themselves in the one-up position.


2. Blame Game

This bully makes mistakes and, you guessed it – it’s never their fault! Individuals who have perfected this behavior shirk responsibility for any wrongdoing and find a way to direct the blame onto others.  Forget about them sharing what they can do, what they are willing to do and what they have done.   Rather, they are quick to share what isn’t their job, what they can’t do, and what they haven’t done, which is, of course, no fault of their own.   The blame bully makes you believe it is actually your fault for something that did not go their way, like you are personally responsible for their shortcomings.

3. Aggressive Behavior

This in-your-face bully operates from a place of intimidation.  Their motto is “I’m okay, you’re not okay and it’s your fault!” They enjoy heated arguments filled with put-downs, talking at a volume that can be heard in the next county over and making open-ended threats such as “you’ll see what happens when HR gets wind of this.”   Instead of being constructive, their comments are destructive and combative.   They in no way make it safe for you to have a conversation with them.  They cut you off mid-sentence to put their ten cents in, and if they do let you finish, they find ways to use what you have said against you.  


4.  The One-Upper

Never wanting you to think you are better, stronger or smarter, this dominatrix never lets you get the advantage. True to competitor form, everything is a life-or-death competition. If you’ve done it, then they have done it bigger and better.  No matter how awful your story is, theirs is worse.  If you’re stressed out, they’re about to blow a gasket.  They know more, they knew it earlier than you and they remind you about this often.   This bully seeks to maintain or boost their self-esteem and self-confidence by deflating yours.  

 5. Mr. Know-It-All

Next of kin to the One-Upper is Mr. Know- It-All.  This guy knows EVERYTHING about anything.  When asked even the simplest of questions Mr. Know-It-All delivers a Shakespearian soliloquy that makes you want to cover your ears say repeatedly, “I can’t hear, I can’t hear you!”  This wastes hours (or what seems like hours) of your precious time.  Like a jack hammer they pound away with irrelevant details you don’t want to hear and that you certainly won’t remember.  Mr. Know-it-All also relishes in letting you know when you are wrong.  They take great pride in letting you (and everyone else in a 10-mile radius) know that you are, in fact, w-r-o-n-g and therefore beneath Mr. Know-It-All.

 6.  Gossiper

By gossiping just 10 minutes a day, this bully loses forty-two hours of productivity a year.   But why stop there, as most gossipers deliver much more gossip than this.  This bully creates verbal viruses that spread like the flu. They infect everyone around them by sharing needless tidbits designed to make them look like they are “in the know.”   This type of bully is notorious for baiting people by using questions such as, “So what have you heard about the new hire,” and “So what do you think of what the boss said in the meeting this afternoon.”  Like a fisherman they stand with their line in the water waiting for you to bite, only to use your own words to filet you later.  

 7.  “Negator” – The Stupor-hero of Negativity

Faster than a speeding bullet!  More spirit-sucking than a red-eyed ravenous vampire. Able to spoil positive conversations in a single bound.  This stupor-hero of negativity’s slogan is, “I’ve come to ruin the day!!”  Negator’s list of negative phrases includes:

  • “It’s not going to work.”
  • “Where’d you dig that one up?”
  • “You’re wrong.”
  • “That’s stupid.”
  • “Duh”
  • “Whatever!”

Forget maintaining the recommended 3-to-1 ratio of positive-to-negative communication now recommended by experts.  Forget boosting anyone’s self-confidence or self-esteem.  Forget any good feelings that you had before they entered the room.  Negator’s sole mission is to create downward emotional spiral for everyone involved.   The drain on energy after even a short visit is palatable.  Seeing this bully’s car in the parking lot is quite enough to break even the strongest resolve.

 8.  …Ist – Behavior 

Racist… Sexist… Elitist… Whatever you call it, this person chooses to demean others in an attempt to elevate him/herself.  Quite often, this bully’s attitude has little to do with his/her true thoughts or beliefs.  This person just knows that the best way to hurt someone, thereby gaining power and control, is to hit them where it hurts.  Focusing on personal characteristics, such as race, sex, age, religion, national origin, or disability, is not only abusive, but is actually illegal.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 allows for protection under the law in the workplace for these protected categories.  Abusing people in this way is not only bad for your reputation and career but it also costs you time, money and jeopardizes your freedom.

 9.  Micromanager

Whether it is a bullying technique or simply bad management, the Micromanager tends to question the skills and abilities of those reporting to them.  This person tends to make those around them uncomfortable with their constant hovering and lack of trust.  This person takes credit for the work of others, since they will often swoop in and take over a project in the 11th hour – claiming the glory for a job well done… blaming their staff for a poor job.  Most people working for a Micromanager will eventually decide that they need to go somewhere else where their talents are recognized, or they will revert to slacker-employees, only doing the bare minimum to get by.

10.  Electronic Bullying

Too cowardly to confront you face-to-face, this bully hides behind a screen name, sending out flames… or Molotov cocktails, if they see fit.  This bully doesn’t just burn a bridge… after all why stop there?  Instead, they communicate in a way that torches the whole town.  Rarely do they send out an e-mail without copying or blind-copying it to several others.  Their other favorite tactic?  Hitting ‘Reply to All’.  Oh yeah… they go there. As if damaging the reputation of a co-worker isn’t enough, this bully leaves their victims in isolation causing mental anxiety. They are confused as how to respond and waste their time unnecessarily trying to figure out the “right” way to respond to the one hiding behind the screen.

If you saw even a little of yourself in these characters, you aren’t alone.  Don’t be discouraged because the good news is: behavior is different from personality.  Unlike personality, behaviors can be changed at any time, simply by adopting a new behavior! 

Over pay and over benefits, the number one reason why most people leave their jobs is because of their immediate supervisor. How many good people are you driving out of the workforce? 

Once you can accept that you are participating in bullying behaviors, the end result is up to you.   You can continue on this path, or you can make a change.  What will you choose?


Bullying Cost-Benefit Analysis:

Let’s be honest: There is an upside to being a bully.  If there wasn’t, no one would do it!! 

~Being a bully means that you often get your way. 

~It’s a power trip.  Watch as the peasants flee before you! 

~People tend to agree with you more (even if your idea SUCKS!) 

~You probably have more time (because no one want to talk with you!) 

~Everybody knows your name (and your evil nickname, too). 

~If intimidation is your goal- Um…good job!


On the flip side, the costs of being a bully are plentiful:

~Nobody wants to talk with you.  This lack of feedback causes you to have massive blind spots.

~You have a shortened career life-span.  When there is downsizing, guess whose head will be first on the chopping block?

~You’ll be overlooked for certain jobs due to your lack of people skills.

~People will undermine you and go out of their way to go around you to get things done.  Informed?  Not quite. 

~In meetings you can expect a great deal of eye-rolling behavior whenever you present your ideas/demands (let’s face it they are demands!) 

~Bullying makes it nearly impossible to get a good recommendation.

~You tend to bring out the worst in people (beware of the angry mob with the pitchforks.)



Do you find people shooting eye-daggers at you or refuse to make eye contact all together? 

Do others withhold their opinions or are they reluctant to share facts with you?  

Did the productivity in your department drop dramatically when you came onboard?


We found all these characters, and more, working with The Company.  Do you recognize these characters from your own company??


Send Me Some Love!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by butterflyliz32

Hey there Loyal Readers and Newbies alike!!

I promise that I have not forgotten this blog.  Far from it, in fact.  I am working on a few things and am really looking forward to the future!  Don’t worry… I am still the same snarky former Company employee… there are plenty of good times to come.

I appreciate everyone still hitting my site, even though my posting has been lagging.  I get hits mostly from people still wanting a definition to “Inculcate” or Running with the Bulls [shrugs]. I will do a full review of awesome (and bizarre) search engine terms shortly.

In the meantime, I would love for all you lurkers (and very vocal commenters) to come out from hiding and let me know which Hell Blog story has been your favorite!  Enquiring minds want to know! 

puppy 1
Even adorable puppies are begging for your comments!

 PS – This is not my puppy.  But I wish he was.  He does/did belong to my friend Erica though.

Workplace Bullies

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2009 by butterflyliz32

Ok, so we have all seen them, right?  Every office has that a-hole that causes a mass exodus from the break room… people ducking into random cubicles… pretending to be on the phone… you get the drift.  It’s the office bully.  I used to work for a woman lovingly referred to as Darth Vader… behind her back, of course!  You know… the one so mean and horrible around that one look from them has you gasping for breath and praying for death.  Maybe I am being melodramatic, but my guess is that SOMEONE out there knows what I am talking about…

If you don’t – It’s probably you.  Starting noticing the dust trails people are laying when they walk away from you.

I am currently working on another article for publication about these people and need some stories, other than my own horrible experiences with a myriad of office bullies.  So please, please, please with a cherry on top – Leave me some horrifying stories via comments.  The best story just might win a prize!!  [Eyebrow waggle]

Chime in people – this is your opportunity to tell the world about your own personal Darth Vader experience!  You don’t have to give names… unless you want to 😉


Oooook…. Inculcate? Really?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2009 by butterflyliz32

What is the number one search engine term bringing people to the HellBlog?  It USED to be The Peeing Mantis.


“Use inculcate in a sentence” [enter]

Really?  Seriously??  I have had over 40 searchers hit my blog since I posted this post back in October.  I am appalled saddened curious about this.  I mean are there really that many people who are searching for this term?  I had never even heard of it before some wise guy at The Company pulled a thesaurus out of his ass and decided to show everyone one the worst possible word to put into a motivational strategic plan since “downsizing”.

I just had to comment on this since it comes up several times a week.

One other that made me laugh:  “Use apparently in a sentence”.  Ok.  Apparently, you are a moronHow’s that?


Post Script– Recently, one of my named characters has attempted to add me as a friend on Facebook.  I have not accepted yet, as I do not wish to hurt her feelings, were she to stumble upon this blog, which I am pimping pretty heavily via Facebook right now… not to mention I would like to avoid anyone at The Company learning about this until the book is in the jacket, so to speak.  So… thoughts – Do I change her name in the blog… OR do I pretend I never saw the friend request?  Comments appreciated, as always!!

You are the opposite of right, and I don’t mean left!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2008 by butterflyliz32

It always amazes me that people are so sure about their opinions that they will argue them to the death.  Even when they are so wrong it hurts to think about them and all their wrongness.  I just look at these people thinking… “Wow… you are really wrong.  And dumb.  Yeah, dumb and wrong.”  But, mostly I just stand there with my mouth open in a state of shock and disbelief.

Because when you are fighting for something you REALLY believe in (and are wrong about), you aren’t remotely listening to the other person’s (right) opinion.  You just want to win.  But you won’t.  Because you are wrong.

So, when I was working at The Company, I was having a conversation with B one day.  I don’t remotely remember the context or why we were talking about this, but the subject of colors came up.  It went something like this:

Me:  I think we should use Primary Colors on [insert whatever we were talking about here]

B:  Yes, I think that is a great idea.  Use green.

Me:  Green is not a primary color.  It is a secondary color.

B:  No.  Green is a primary color.

Me:  [crickets chirping] Huh?  My mother is an artist.  I went to Kindergarten.  Red, Yellow, and Blue are primary colors.  Green is a secondary color – because it is made up of two primary colors.  That’s its nature.

B:  No [getting angry] it is PRIMARY.

Me: [thinking] You are and idiot.  [saying] Whatever.

I think the exchange went on longer than this, but even now I throw up in my mouth a little just reliving this exchange… Minutes of my life I will never get back.  I lost a littlea lot of respect for her in that one conversation.  Nevermind the grammatical errors or obnoxious ring tone (a really bad polyphonic version of Heart & Soul – always playing on the loudest setting – Plus a walkie talkie built in which would chirp at any given moment)… I now hated her.

For the Guys: A Tip

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 3, 2008 by butterflyliz32

Women love getting flowers.  Even the ones who say they don’t like flowers… secretly wish someone would send them flowers.  I am going to give all of you guys a little tip.  Your wives/girfriends/mothers/sisters/boyfriends (We don’t judge here on the 4th floor…) love getting flowers AT WORK.  Don’t send them to her at home where only she can enjoy them.  Send them to her office so that EVERYONE knows how lucky she is to have someone awesome enough to send her flowers.  She wants to rub them in other people’s faces, even if only in her mind.

These arrived for me today:


And I love them!  I love that they came to me at work.  I love that they are sitting on my desk right where everyone who walks by can see them.  I love that other people are jealous that I got them and they did not.  I can admit that.  hehe  Enjoy my pretty flowers. 

PS – Thanks to Steve, my husband, for sending these to me today.  AT WORK.  Where they belong!