Advice from Action for Happiness

If you are being bullied at work, check out Action for Happiness, a web-based initiative launched by three progressive thinkers in the United Kingdom who  question why residents of America and the United Kingdom are no happier today than they were fifty years ago, despite decades of material progress.

The organization has researched the science of happiness and determined that the main external factor affecting a person’s happiness is the quality of their relationships, at home, at work and in the community. And the main internal factor is their underlying mental health.

The group hopes to create a fundamentally different culture, where people care more for the happiness of others. The initiative calls for people to pledge to create more happiness in the world and take positive action to promote happiness in whatever way they can – at home, at work or in the community. One way to enhance your own happiness at work if you are being bullied is to change the way you think about it.

You do not have to be resigned to be treated like a nail on a board, hammered by a bullying supervisor or mobbing co-workers.  All workers deserve to be treated with basic human dignity. You can take action.

  • If you think it will do any good, complain (firmly!) to the bully and if his/her actions continue, follow the steps necessary to formally complain to your employer. Or just complain to your employer.  Bullying is NOT normal work conflict; it is a pattern of abuse that causes targets to suffer potentially serious injury.
  • If your employer does nothing,  consult legal counsel to ascertain whether there are any grounds to take legal action.
  •  Why not lobby your state to adopt a workplace anti-bully bill that will give all workers the right to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace?
  • Seek the help of a mental health professional. Targets of workplace bullying suffer damaging mental and physical health effects, spilling over into their  relationships with family and friends.
  • The bully is seeking to drive the target out of the workplace and often succeeds. Yes, times are hard, but start looking for another job.  If you are fired, it will be much more difficult to find employment. And how much is your health worth to you? It can’t hurt to look.

Meanwhile, here is a link to the poster above, distributed by Action for Happiness . I suggest you copy it and place it at some discrete location at your desk. It will remind you that:  “If You Can’t Change It; Change the Way You Think About It.”

This isn’t your fault.   This is about a pathetic  individual(s), a bully, who is often lacking in self esteem, threatened by your competence or who suffers from some kind of mental defect  (i.e., sociopath).  This may be about an unscrupulous employer who uses bullying to achieve specific goals, or a negligent employer that is ignorant of the cost of bullying to its own bottom line.  Every employee deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

According to Action for Happiness, the brain child of Richard Layard, Geoff Mulgan and Anthony Seldon, people are no happier today than they were 50 years ago, despite unprecedented material wealth, because society  has become increasingly competitive and selfish, with a culture that encourages us to pursue wealth, appearance, status and possessions above all else. In the 1960s, 60% of adults in Britain said they believed “most people can be trusted”. Today the figure is around 30%. The growing focus on self-centered materialism has also contributed to wider social problems, including huge increases in anxiety and depression in young people, greater inequality, more family breakdown, longer working hours, growing environmental problems and crippling levels of debt.