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I Learnt to Stand Up for Myself at Work: A Case Study

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 29 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
I Learnt To Stand Up For Myself At Work: A Case Study

When Sharon, 57, went back to work after raising her children, she felt very self-conscious and suffered from a lack of confidence.

“Having been out of work for so long it took me a while to get back into it. With computers and the Internet now being a huge part of working life, it was all very different to when I’d left. Because I felt that I was a bit of an outsider and didn’t know what I was doing, I let people walk all over me.

“There was one particular colleague who must have sensed how I felt and soon took advantage of it. She was always piling the work onto me and talking me down to other people in the office. At first I used to think, what have I done wrong? Why doesn’t she like me? It made me feel very down about myself and I was sure that everybody was laughing at me.”

Taking a Stand

“As I got to know other people at work though, I realised that this woman was just a bully and that most people disliked her. This made me feel better and more confident in my abilities.

“I began to say no when she asked me to do unreasonable things and walk away when she was talking to me disrespectfully. This obviously didn’t go down too well as she just found new ways of trying to attack me.”

One day, in a meeting, Sharon’s colleague took her bullying too far and Sharon finally stood up for herself for good.

“Our boss was giving the group a talking down about a project that had not gone to plan. I knew it was my colleague’s fault as she had not done the work that she was supposed to but I kept quiet. That was until she stood up and began to blame it all on me, saying that I lost things and told her the wrong information. "

A New Beginning

“That was the last straw. I told her, in front of the room, that I was no longer putting up with her constant criticism and bad manners. I told our boss that the reason the project wasn’t finished was because she didn’t do the work and like with most things, tried to give it to me.

“It felt like I was out of my body watching someone else but when I came back down to earth I felt great. The boss kept my colleague behind to talk to. I don’t know what he said to her but she has kept her distance from me since and the atmosphere in the office is a million times better.

"I wish I hadn’t put up with it for so long but I am so proud that I finally stood up for myself. Those kind of people are just bullies and have insecurities of their own that they try to take it out on you. I realise now that the longer you put up with it, the worse it will get and once you stand up for yourself you feel liberated."

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