Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Bully Pulpit

Have you ever worked for a bully? I have, and it made my life truly miserable.

For some perverse - and sad - reason, women in journalism back in the '80s tended to be much more difficult to work for then male editors. Maybe the women were trying to prove that they were tough and mean enough to ride herd over newspaper staffs. Whatever the reason, female editors tended to bully more than males did (in my experience at least).

My bullying editor demanded that I produce long, weekly feature stories, despite the fact that I also was expected to produce several stories every day on a busy, complex beat. I had a long, unpredictable commute downtown every morning, but if I checked in even three or four minutes late, she would direct a diatribe at me.

The stress of working for her contributed in large part to my decision to leave full-time employment and become self-employed 21 years ago.

I guess I should thank my bully, since I have carved out a successful career for myself as a freelancer and have been extremely happy working from home all these years. But at the time, thanking her was the last thing I contemplated doing!

Business owners who tolerate or ignore bullying managers put themselves at risk of lawsuits, employment actions and high turnover rates. Read this week's Smart Answers column for more.


  1. I've been lucky, I guess. I've worked for people who had their faults, but I've never worked (directly) for a bully.

  2. You have been lucky, Petrea. One bully is enough to scar you for life, I think.