By Zondra Hughes
So, what are you going to do about that B@#$! at work?
The last time I checked, it was still illegal to haul off and smack somebody in the mouth when they disrespected you. (Unless you’re an old-school grandma on 24-hour babysitting duty in the Deep South.)
But you’re not in the Deep South watching after the crumb snatchers, you’re at your job, trying to make ends meet, and there’s a B@#$! that’s out to get you.
Five days a week, she only has one problem–and her problem is you. She will scream from the mountaintops about how you make mistakes, how you don’t earn your salary, how you’re just a waste of space. How your clothes aren’t up to par. How you’re gaining weight so you must be pregnant, or you’re losing weight so you must be smoking crack.
What did you do to provoke this? All you want to do your work, to the best of your ability, perhaps with little or no direction, support or resources. And while you’re trying to do your work, that B@#$! is trying to work you over.
What is her problem, anyway?
Perhaps she has a man on the job and you’ve turned his head.
Perhaps she had someone else in mind for your position.
Perhaps Father Time has done a number on her face, despite the fact that you’re the same age.
Perhaps her bills are piling up at home and she has nothing to show for it.
Perhaps her children are ugly and her husband won’t go to church.
More likely than not, that B@#$! at work is probably incompetent and feels threatened.
She may have fudged her resume or gotten her dress rumpled a few times just to be in the position she’s in now, and she will do whatever it takes to stay there.
Staying in her current position means that she will make all those around you believe that YOU’RE incompetent. You’re the peon. You’re the one with the loose screw who can’t–or won’t follow directives. You’re the problem that needs to be eradicated.
Well, Sistergirl, keeping in mind that you can’t haul off and smack her, here’s a better three-point plan, let’s call it Operation Eff that B@#$!
1. Rise Above Your Emotions.
The poker face will slay the beast. Do not show frustration when she lies on you behind your back or to your face. Rise above your emotions when she sends the irate email in ALL CAPS, and do not respond in-kind. Document everything for your job performance review, and remain level-headed. The one who screams the loudest has nothing to say, instead, show your work, and your value, through your actions.
2. Recognize Your Worth
If that B@#$! is your incompetent manager, she won’t tell you how valuable you are because your hard work ethic is especially threatening. Be prepared for her games: Even when you follow directives, you’re in the wrong. Even when you’re early, you’re actually late. Or, no matter how hard you work on a project, your contribution didn’t make a difference.
You may be told at all times just how replaceable you are, how there are others lining up at the door waiting to walk in your rundown shoes.
If you know the game, you can overlook it, and not take the slights personally.
Do what you are paid to do, and be seen by upper management doing what you’re paid to do. Put your name on your work–if no one knows your name in upper management, they can’t call it.
3. Upgrade Yourself.
Look around–have you hit the glass ceiling at work already? Is there any hope for ascension? Or does your raise/promotion rely on the word of the very person who is antagonizing you?
If the workplace bullying is unbearable, and you’ve hit your glass ceiling, then quietly prepare for a better job. Update your resume, enroll into an educational program and develop a new skill set. Have a separate set of business cards (that list your name, number, Twitter, etc.), and network with upwardly mobile professionals after work.
Keep your mouth shut and do not announce any job plans until your new deal is finalized.
Be certain to smile sweetly when you tell that B@#$! at work that you’ve found another gig, and that she has no power over your destiny.
Just as it has been all along.