“You can leave a place through several reasons, but you will happily return if the culture was enjoyable. If you disliked the culture, no incentive should make you return.”
If I could choose only one aspect to talk about in life that I despise, I would most likely choose the topic of bullying. Bullying, and the by-product character traits that belong to bullies in general, have no place or time at all in my life. The worrying part is, I have observed a pronounced increase in bullying over the last decade, not only in the workplace, but in social environments too.
My first memory of bullying
My dislike of bullying, most likely subconsciously back then, came about as early as junior school (around aged nine). I recall a boy within a social circle being bullied by the schoolground bully, as he was unnecessarily punched in the arm numerous times. He walked off crying.
Part of me feels guilty for being in the circle of on watchers. Perhaps this does not make me much better, that day at least, than the bully himself. The victim boy was also alienated by this crowd, as we were “instructed” to no longer be his friend. For the record, the bullied boy that day went onto be six foot tall by the age of thirteen, extremely popular at secondary school (a different secondary school to me) with girls and other boys, and one of the best footballers of his age in the city.
Q-tip 1: If you are a late developer, and/or you find yourself being bullied and humiliated at an early age, try to analyse this low time in your life as only a phase. You will be the winner over time, as the bully goes on to dead end jobs and a low life.
Around the time when he was being isolated, I believe the innate trait I was given - that held natural sympathy for strugglers in life - took over. I am certainly not looking for any plaudits, let it be said. However, one evening I cycled past his house, and there was this uncontrollable and somewhat obligated inclination to turn round, knock on his door, and see if he wanted to play. I will never forget the look on his face, as someone had finally shown him the hand of friendship. From memory, news got back to the bully and others that I had done so. I just passed it off as feeling sorry for him.
Early memory of workplace bullies
As near adult life came about, the whole workplace bullying observation was all too obvious to ignore. My first job, at sixteen to twenty-two, was working as a supermarket replenisher/trolley boy/checkout kid - to financially support my education years. There were so many pitiful assistant managers, managers, senior managers, and branch managers who appeared to choose the path of being complete and utter pathetic bullies. I hated the whole culture and predicament.
It was bad enough these men being verbally aggressive towards young students like me. I recall one particular day when I went up to the assistant branch manager, and I addressed a question by saying “Mr”. He looked down at me and said, “Kev will do!” What a tosser! There were a hundred ways he could have phrased and toned it in asking me to call him by his first name next time, yet he chose the worst way possible.
In retrospect, this idiot did me a favour. It was conceivably the light bulb moment I required to reinforce that, when I reach a senior position within my career path, I never even come close to repeating the way that twat acted with me. I understand as much as anyone that extreme nice guys cannot lead an army (numerous posts in this blog have documented how I think too many men are too nice these days), however you can lead an army with respect for others, and respect for yourself.
Q-tip 2: The greatest men, in my opinion, ignite unrequired and unsearched respect and admiration from onlooking women and other men. The weakest men, in my view, are those who go searching for this praise and approval, in vain attempts to bring attention onto his strengths, most likely to try and hide his shortcomings.
During this supermarket phase, I knew of this warehouse man named Gordon. He was a lovely family-oriented person (wife and two children), even if with respect he lacked ambition, drive, and intellect. He was an industrious worker though.
There was this particular time when, due to family commitments, he asked the hierarchy if he could change his shift pattern. They refused, to which he asked them to reconsider. When I asked him what they said the second time, it will stay with me forever when he explained their response was – “Can you really afford to be asking this?”
Q-tip 3: If you can, build a life for yourself where a bully boy needs you as much, or more, than you need him. Form this mindset that you are not afraid of the consequences, in which standing up to him is your prerogative in setting an example to less forthright and courageous men. They may not back you in the moment (such is their fear of losing their job, being afraid of what will happen etc), however be assured that they will respect your actions.
Later viewing of workplace bullies
As I have worked through the differing industries from twenty-three until the present day, my observation of male bullies in the work environment has rarely taken a time off phase. Some have tried to talk down to me, although bullies tend to prey on men much weaker and frightened of the circumstances men than me.
Coming to think of it, workplace bullies hold common dominators. I list these:
· Many suffer from small man syndrome (<5ft 6”).
· Nearly all are not physically attractive.
· Most are overweight.
· Some of them do not smell too good (high stress = high sweat levels).
· A high percentage have truly little natural charisma and personality.
· Most do not attain a high level of self-confidence.
· A lot of them think they are ladies men (including those who are married and have kids).
· Many have over-leveraged themselves with big mortgages and beyond their means lifestyle.
· Pretty much all of them, outside of their profession/status, have extraordinarily little else to offer the world.
If this sounds harsh of me, then my answer to this would be to not be a bully in the first place. If you are not, then I would not need to criticize you. Simple as…
How do you overcome bullies?
You will find that bullies, whether in the workplace or in social environments, are only comfortable intimidating other men when they have a crowd to show off in front of. With this in mind, you have a few options:
· Answer bullies back as soon as they provoke you. You will usually find that bullies do not like it when someone stands up to them, and because of this they are shell-shocked and in silence. The chances are they will not attempt to humiliate, ridicule, provoke or bully you again. They will move onto someone else.
· In same fashion as above, if a bully acts in similar delivery in the face of someone in your proximity, respond back to the bully on behalf of the (most likely) weaker recipient of his words.
· With plausibility in mind, be more physically daunting than the bully. Bullies are fundamental weak men, and you will find they are not comfortable around better looking, and more aesthetically gifted, men.
· More important than physical attractiveness, acquire a stronger psychological mindset than the bully. If he has made you angry, the next time you walk past him, give him firm eye contact which illustrates you have his number, so to speak. Add a little nod if you do meet eyes. Your expression needs to be only slightly aggressive.
· Get bullies on their own. As stated above, a bully needs a crowd to take comfort in. Safety in numbers mentality, comes to mind. You will find that bullies crawl into their shell when there is no audience around, and it is a simple scenario of man on man.
Bullies despise high value men…
In addition to all the above, it is undeniable that men who are bullies abhor the sight of the most sought after men. After all, bullies are renowned for trying to be ladies men, and the most sought after men are the men who are the most popular with women. This is a predicament that a bully cannot stand.
Most bullies are average to below average in male physical attractiveness terms, but I could be accused of this being a lazy analysis, such is the fact that >90% of men fall somewhere between average or lower in this respect. Nevertheless, I am struggling to ever recall one bully I have encountered in my life where I could objectively say he was good-looking/high physical attractiveness.
This observation of mine is more than just a simple coincidence, or a case of law of average numbers examination. If you ask me, a top end physically attractive man would never feel the urge to become a bully, because he has little to prove. A male bully, average looking in association and by definition, feels he has everything to prove.
Ultimately, this is the fundamental reason a bully hates a high value (and hence usually, very good-looking) man. The man with high physical attractiveness is effortlessly attracting women, whilst the bully is working his ass off to try and attract women. I guess, from the bully’s standpoint, he thinks life is just not fair. This is why he abominates the man who sexually attracts an array of women in the same environment.
A final thought – non-verbal or not obvious bullies
There is another type of, less obvious, male bully out there. These bullies are harder to identify if you are not that switched on, simply because they are more discrete in their antics. You could even argue that they are not bullies as such, and in fact just resentful, weak men.
Funnily enough, you will also find, as I have (and still do) in my life experience, that a highly blessed visually attractive man is the recipient of this weaker man’s meagre acts. As this weaker type of bully is not as verbal or provocative as a traditional bully, this man looks for ways to try and devalue a higher value male competitor. In a way, it is just as derisory as a bully of any kind.
In essence, what he does is try and seek a way to lower a high value man’s importance. As the high value man is already capturing attention and compliments, the weak bully will endeavour to isolate any conversation away from his sought after male contender, he will strive to talk about any topic he knows this man is not knowledgeable of or interested in, he will ask questions to other people (men and women) to avoid the stand out man’s verbal entrance, and he will, probably more than anything else, refrain from asking this man any questions about himself, or subjects he knows he excels in.
Do you know anybody like this. I know of two, and unfortunately, they are too close to me to say who they are.
Q-tip 4: Bullies are fundamental cowards, and they attempt to compensate this deficiency by being louder, brasher, more aggressive, and with provocative words. You will rarely see a bully in a fight with a man of equal or greater threat, because by default he will always look for someone weaker than himself.