Bullied at work? Yeah, me too.

Bullied at work? Yeah, me too.
Zondra Hughes on Twitter: @ZondraHughes

Last week I announced my resignation from the daily grind in order to work full time on the Six Brown Chicks.

After our appearance on Iyanla, Fix My Life, (a transformative show that focused on repairing the differences between women), I had to focus on the new mission that Iyanla Vanzant laid at our feet: to serve women with a voice of authenticity.

Truth be told, our relationships with each other is not the story of The Six Brown Chicks; our back stories are the reason we blog in the name of service.

Each of us has experienced a pain so daunting that if it were not for the grace of God we would have been broken--or worse.

Members of the Six Brown Chicks have faced homelessness, domestic abuse, relationship pitfalls, you name it, and the one thing that we all have in common is that we're authors that chronicle our plight and share our stories with others.


My story: I was Bullied at Work

Believe it or not, I was bullied in the workplace for several years and that's the story of pain and triumph that I share.  My bully did everything to me outside of taking me in an alley and whooping my arse.

One day I spoke out and my bully fired me three days later. I was devastated, but determined to rebuild. Six months later, I had a brand new life.

Getting away from that toxic bully was the best thing that has ever happened to me and I couldn't have done it without my family and circle of support.

I speak about it publicly because I know that despite the many advantages women have made in business, many more of us are still bullied at work--and do not have a circle of support. We're lied to, lied on, manipulated, sidetracked, maligned, verbally abused, told that we're inferior, worked like slaves, paid like slaves, and on top of this, most of the time, our abuser is another woman.

In my personal scenario, I endured the bullying for so many years because I  became my job title, and I sacrificed myself to keep it.

I missed birthday celebrations, family gatherings, lost a marriage, you name it, all for a job that was spiritually, mentally and physically killing me.  Towards the end, a whopping 60 percent of my day was spent covering my ass from a barrage of personal and professional attacks. How do you reconcile an annual stellar job performance review that included a raise but never a promotion? How do you maneuver a system that requires you report abuse to your abuser?

How do you survive in an office environment where HR doesn't identify Human Resources, but instead, Humiliation and Retaliation?

It seems that those who scheme, lie, backbite, and do other unsavory things to make it to the "top" are often the very people who have nothing else to look forward to. Snakes in the workplace have nothing else going on in their lives, thus, they will manipulate to the death in order to maintain the prestige and power that the job title brings.

If you have a family, a puppy, a boyfriend, or a passion outside of work, in other words, people and things that shape who you really are, you are no match for the snake that has nothing at all to lose.

At that time, I had confronted more b.s. and trickery before 10 a.m. than a skilled conman would dish out in a week.

Finally, one day, I lived up to the name of Zondra. Zondra is defined as being the 'protector of mankind.' I prayed up, and then realized why it is so vital that you fear nothing but God.

I've also realized the golden rule of staying sane in a crazy work environment: You are not what you do for a living.

You may love your job, you may eat, drink and sleep with your job on your brain, but at the end of the day, your job does not define you.

Or, at least it shouldn't. If you don't separate work from your personal life, when/if you are separated from that job, you will not know yourself anymore. You will not feel worthy. You will become depressed because everything you had (friends, social life, etc.), was attached to a workplace that no longer includes you.

If you're lucky, you will wake up and smell that cup of White Chocolate Mocha cappuccino and realize the difference between your work title and who you really are before a job separation or a job-related disappointment brings your world  to a screeching halt.

If you want to remain sane, have something else to fall back on; do not sacrifice your personal relationships; and create boundaries that you will not cross, no matter what.

And know this: The time will come when who you are and who you think you are will face-off.

May the best you win.--Zondra





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  • Zondra, the same goes for relationships - be it as a girlfriend, wife or mother. Remember who you are and what you liked and did before those relationships came into play.

  • In reply to kaypee:

    Yes, sometimes we can fall so far hard for someone else that we may totally forget who we are. You are so right about that. Thank you for your comment.

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    Thank you for this article, Zondra. So many women have experienced (me) or are experiencing this. I, like you, am proof that there is life on the other side. Thanks for sharing your story and encouraging others.

  • LaTrina,
    Thank you for taking the time to read this--and for being among the few that made me smile when things were tough all over.

  • I was once in a work relationship where I felt that I was on the verge of being bullied. But, before it got to that level, I took by potential bully being closed doors and we had it out. We stated our positions and in the end we agreed to disagree. We decided to be cordial towards each other in order to save our jobs.

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