I was bullied at work: a thread

I was bullied by my boss when I was 22. He regularly shouted at me in front of the whole open-plan department, called me a “fucking idiot” or “fucking useless”, and told me I had no career prospects if I took another role elsewhere in the company.
When I started the role, I was told I was the 4th person to do it in 2 years, and I was actually called back and offered the job a couple of months after I’d been rejected. Turns out the successful applicant had started and quit in less than 2 months.
In my first 2 months there, I was finding my feet and unpicking some of the work of the previous Assistant. This meant that some mistakes had been made, so my boss decided to blame me for all of it. And this is when the public humiliation started.
I remember one time that something hadn’t been correct in his diary. He stood up, his big red face even redder than usual, and yelled at me that I’m a “fucking idiot” and that I’m absolutely useless.
The barrage went on for a good two minutes or so (seemed much longer). “Fix this NOW!” - as he aggressively pointed at me, his screen and then shoved his way past my seat.
In the moment, I froze. I had no idea what to do, what to say, or how to react. No one had ever spoken to me like that. I felt crushed by the 80 or so faces looking my way (none of which had come to my rescue) and the eerie silence that followed for the next few minutes.
I was utterly humiliated.
My only option was to walk slowly to the toilets and absolutely bawl my eyes out in a cubicle. I felt my dreams and expectations of this prestigious company crushed. I felt useless and I felt worthless.
I got the train home that night with my sister, and I vividly remember sitting there struggling to hold back tears and saying “I think I’ve made a huge mistake”. She remembers this vividly too.
It still pangs her to remember that moment that her little brother felt completely crushed, and she couldn’t stop it.
This behaviour became a regular thing for the first 6 months. He’d yell, I’d cry, no one would step in. Not even his bosses who also witnessed his behaviour on more than one occasion.
After 6 months in the role, I applied for and was offered a role in our sister company. It was a 5-month contract with no guarantee of extension or permanency. It took all my remaining energy to accept the role and to take the risk.
I sat the bully down to give my notice. He launched into a tirade of what a stupid idea this was and how I had “no career prospects”. He then offered me my current role as permanent.
In that fleeting moment it dawned on me - I wasn’t crap at the job like he’d always made me feel. The guy didn’t want to lose me.
I mustered the remaining sliver of confidence I had (tucked away at the far far back of my brain) and said “no thank you. I cannot work for you anymore”. His last words to me in that meeting were, “You’ll never amount to anything”.
13 years later (after a pretty damn AWESOME 9.5 years at that other sister company BTW) I have just become an Associate Creative Director at LEGO. I worked hard over the years to do a good job, to collaborate and to create strong team spirits and bonds.
I never wanted to be that guy.
His words, his actions and the inactions of my colleagues around me have always followed me. They heavily dented my confidence for many years, and still do (thankfully much less so) these days.
The bullying impacted my mental health, triggered anxieties and hasn’t truly gone away.
This is what the actions of bullies do. They have a long term effect on their victims and can drive severe mental health challenges. A one-off apology and a brush under the carpet is frankly insulting.
People who bully at work should be dismissed. Their actions against fellow humans should not be protected or rewarded, they should be shunned and have consequences.
I have always vowed that if I ever witnessed behaviour anywhere near this, I would not be like my previous colleagues and turn a blind eye.
I will not be able to stop myself from interjected and bringing calm to the situation. I hope I never had to do this, but I would. I never want to see anyone humiliated or suffer in the way I did.
If you are experiencing bullying at work, I feel for you. It’s hard to break the cycle - but YOU CAN. Stand up for yourself. Don’t take any of this crap from anyone. Build allies who will support you and be by your side.
Take care of yourself, and look out for those people around you.


• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Matt Guenigault

Matt Guenigault Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!