Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How do they do it?

I've been working for more years than I care to admit and consider myself a hardworking, dedicated employee. I tend to stretch the limits of my job, learn as much as I can about other jobs, and help out when I can. I don't like to be bored and generally manage my time quite well. I try to stay out of office politics, and while I'm certainly friendly with co-workers, I avoid gossip and try to take the high road in certain situations. This is who I am.

Despite all this, I always seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to promotions and company awards. It seems as though it's always someone else who gets the recognition or promotions, despite my efforts.

Nowhere was this more apparent that at a previous employer. A woman with whom I worked was constantly rewarded with promotions and awards despite being a bully in the workplace and having what I would consider a poor work ethic. I was called upon to assist her from time to time, but my contributions were never recognized nor was I even considered for the types of monetary awards she received regularly. She is still doing the same thing, getting awards, and working what seems to be a part-time schedule. I just don't understand.

What did I do wrong? Was there a point in my career where I should have stepped differently? Would it have made a difference.

I continue to ponder this question even though it does me absolutely no good at all to dwell on it. I am currently managing an important project at my current place of employment, hoping once again to finally get that long-awaited promotion. That's just who I am and what I do!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Connecticut shooter alleged racist bullying prior to incident

Was Omar Thornton the victim of workplace bullying? Is this what led him to go on a shooting rampage at Hartford Distributors? In a call to 911 just prior to turning the gun on himself, Thornton said, "This place is a racist place. They treat me bad over here and all the other black employees bad over here too." And, although the company's CEO, Ross Hollander, denies these allegations, Thornton's girlfriend, Kristi Hannah confirms Thornton's co-workers had been harassing him regularly.

"He said every day when he'd come in, there'd be new stuff on the [bathroom] wall," Hannah said in an interview on Good Morning America. "One was a hangman with a noose around his neck and underneath it said, 'Kill the n-word.'"

Hannah said Thornton had shown her cell phone photos he had taken of the racial slurs written in the bathroom.

Certainly, there's never an excuse for someone committing such a heinous act. But everyone has his own breaking point. If this man had been systematically harassed for months and his employer was aware of this, something should have been done. The company said he turned violent after having been presented with evidence that he had been stealing beer from the company and reselling it, and was about to be fired. That would certainly give them reason to let him go and it appears these charges are true, which would somewhat undermine his reasoning for the shooting rampage.

Still, workplace bullying affects everyone differently. One person may simply turn their anger inward, while another may react violently. There are even cases where bullied employees killed themselves rather than face another day of abuse. Laws need to be in place to set a process in motion that would encourage employers to investigate charges of bullying in the workplace. As it stands, employers tend to take the side of the bullies, who are most frequently in a management position. A law that would allow abused workers to sue a company would ensure employers take these charges seriously, and hopefully, deal with the situation before it explodes.