How to confront a work bully

work bullies laughing at an upset co-worker

Put that bully in their place

work bullies laughing at an upset co-worker

I was 25 when I confronted Jarrod. 

Jarrod was a bully and had been making my life horrible for the greater part of two years. 

I loved everything about my job. My first job out of college. I was on a good pay packet, I had a workplace crush whose presence in the office made my day that much more enjoyable. My boss was lovely. At least more lovely than I’d heard other bosses could be. Lunch break was an hour. The job was fun and autonomous. 

…and then there was Jarrod. 

A horrible time 

From the day I first arrived I was nothing but nice to Jarrod. I helped him with a task very early on and we seemed to be getting on fine. Then came the praise from the boss. Something Jarrod had been struggling to receive. 

I remember the date. May 23rd, 2003. That was the day Jarrod started making my life a living hell. He’d tease me. Mock me. Spread rumors about me. It was like I was 12 again on the playground. 

I tried everything to get Jarrod on my side but nothing worked. It was as if he had made it his lifetime goal to make me toss and turn on a Sunday night, dreading going to work. 

I talked to friends, they told me to ignore it or to punch him in the nose. I knew neither was an option. I couldn’t avoid thinking about the abuse and I definitely couldn’t commit an assault and lose my job. 

The resolution

I finally decided in mid-June 2005 to confront him. I walked into the lunch room and as he launched into a snide remark I talked him down. I’d done some research and knew that to engage in a slanging match wasn’t the answer. My solution was to show him how little I cared. I told him how immature I thought he was. I said I felt sorry for him and I told him I was grateful I never wasted my time getting to know him better outside of work. 

That was the last day Jarrod addressed me in any manner outside of work-related issues. He left 3 months later and I had never been happier in my short, professional career. 

Don’t slink into the shadows, confront your bully, life is too short to have people like that occupying space in your brain.