“Harassed and Going Crazy – What Can I Do?”

Question: I am being harassed at my job. I went to a higher up about this, who expressed disbelief that my boss would act the way I described. My boss and his manager asked to meet with me to see if we could fix what is wrong. Unfortunately, the meeting ended up being nothing but a “he said – she said.” My boss dared me to quit, and told me that others would die to have my job. I am now on tranquilizers, just to numb myself from this pain. What can I do?

Dixie from Spanaway, WA

Answer: There are several things you can do, but none seems more important than trying to get a hold of your health, your emotions, and your perspective. Consider either requesting a leave of absence under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (often called “FMLA”), or calling in sick a day or two. I am certain your job and your income are critical to your financial survival, but I am also certain that, if you lose your job, others may help, while if you lose your health, others may not be able to help. Think about it.

You haven’t told me anything about the kind of “harassment” you are facing. If it is in any way related to sexual matters, your gender, your race, your age, your ethnicity, etc., then you should immediately file a WRITTEN complaint with the Director of your employer’s Human Resources Dept., and perhaps even your employer’s CEO. Then you should immediately follow it up with a WRITTEN complaint to your state’s Human Rights or Labor Department Discrimination Board, and your state’s U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). Every such complaint must be in WRITING, must describe the kind of “harassment” you are facing, and the way(s) you have complained about it.

If you would like to obtain a Model memo to help you report Discrimination, Harassment or Hostility [click here].

If your boss is being overly demanding, or raising his voice all the time, humiliating or abusive in these ways, may I suggest you read our Newsletter Library Article entitled, “12 Ideas for Dealing with the Boss from Hell.” It offers steps you might consider taking in your situation.

Lastly, consider trying to find a new job with a new employer. Sure, it is very hard these days, but some situations are unquestionably without hope. Some situations are unquestionably not going to change. Some situations are simply not worth it, if “worth it” means having to take tranquilizers to, as you say, “numb myself from this pain.” You might, too, consider seeing a therapist, to see if you might come up with better techniques for stress/anxiety control than “numbing” yourself with tranquilizers.

Let me share something a bit personal, but hopefully helpful to you. When things in my own life are going poorly, and I am discouraged, and I see “no way out” of the problems I am facing, I simply pray each night for three things, that I call “The Three Simple S’s”: (1) Strength, to deal with the problems without falling down, (2) Stamina, so I can continue to deal with the problems, without giving in to them, and (3) Serenity, to keep my mind calm and clear, and my heart strong, so I can deal with the problems in a clear fashion, without making them worse. Funny thing . . . always happens . . . sooner or later, the problems seem to go away . . . I kind of outlast them. Why, I don’t know, but this simple prayer – for “The Three Simple S’s” – is always answered. You might try it.

I hope this is somewhat helpful, I really do. You will be in my prayers tonight.

Best, Al Sklover