Retaliation is getting me seriously down. What can I do?

Question: I have filed and won a grievance at work, and so I have been given the opportunity of a 9-month job where I can learn great new skills. I’ve lasted 7 months now, but due to emotional abuse and hostility – really bad retaliation by certain co-workers – it is almost unbearable. I’m afraid for my mental health. I’ve reported the retaliation to my boss, but it continues. My choice seems to be to go back to my old job, or to suck it up for another two months. What do you think I should do? Please write back soon!!

Ontario, Canada

Answer: My heart goes out to you. I wish I could either stand up for you, or at the least help you stand up for yourself. Those who are retaliating against you are probably violating company policy, and probably the law, as well, and should be embarrassed, shamed, confronted . . . perhaps even arrested. Maybe these few words will prove helpful to you:

1. Report the Retaliation in Writing: It’s absolutely necessary that you report it, (a) immediately, (b) in writing, preferably by email, (c) in detail, along with names, events, witnesses, (d) to your boss’s boss, or even maybe your boss’s boss’s boss, (e) or even the CEO, and (f) every day, once again, if need be, until it stops.

2. Characterize the Retaliation You Suffer as “Workplace Violence”: If it is affecting your health, your emotions, your ability to live a healthy life, it is just that. This is not childish stuff; this is serious.

3. Consider Insisting that Company Security or the Local Police Intervene: We live in a civilized society, and we must not fear the uncivilized among us; instead, they must be shamed, and made to fear those of us who are willing to “stare them down.” That’s the job of company security and our local police. Make them take a written report, and send a copy to the company’s Board of Directors.

4. Build What I Call a “Spiritual Wall”: Don’t let the bums get you down. This is something of an “inner battle” that only you can win. When I am attacked by the kind of people who now attack you, I pray several times a day for what I call “The Three S’s”: Strength, Stamina, and Serenity. Honestly, these prayers for the “The Three S’s” have never once gone unanswered. Consider speaking with your priest, pastor, rabbi, mullah or other spiritual leader, and with a close friend or two. If you think about it, no one can really make you feel powerless; either you accept that, or you don’t. It’s your choice.

I hope you do not get sick. But I hope very, very much that you will find the “Strength, Stamina and Serenity” to complete your two more months and, so, improve your life. If you do, I think you will discover a deep well of strength within you that you never knew was there, and it will give you a confidence and power that you never thought you had. And, who knows . . . if you do complete the 9 months, those retaliatory bums might just end up working for you.

Best, Al Sklover

© 2009 Alan L. Sklover. Commercial uses prohibited. All rights reserved and strictly enforced.