Another update from the Jungle….
Jane drags herself into work the first day after the holidays, not sure whether she wants to be here. She’s the HR manager for her company and she knows that her co-workers will return with a host of problems. She has a few of her own.
Her house is still trashed from hosting her family’s holiday dinner. Her widowed mom chose the holiday dinner to announce that she planned to take an around the world trip with Frederik, a gigolo she met on her most recent Caribbean cruise. Jane’s daughter wants to ditch her senior year in high school to join a religious commune. On Christmas Day, the Christmas lights shorted out causing a fire that scorched half the front porch.
Upon reflection, Jane decides she is happy to be at work as she pours her first cup of coffee. She slides into her ergonomically designed chair and sighs as she begins reviewing her email inbox which filled up while she was on vacation. Sure enough, there’s an email from Doris.
Doris is complaining that another manager interfered with Doris’ subordinates. The other manager, Lara, is a relatively new hire and Doris is “concerned” that Lara doesn’t understand that Doris makes all the decisions in her department. Doris demands that Jane tell Lara to stay away from Doris’ department or face immediate dismissal.
Jane sighs heavily. People who don’t know Doris well think she’s charming. She has perfect clothes, hair, makeup and a smile. But Jane knows that image is no more than Hollywood special effects. Underneath, Doris is as vicious as a junk yard dog when it comes to defending her turf. She bullies anyone she sees as a threat to her career.
Jane knows that Doris’ bullying arises from insecurity, which seems nonsensical with her talent and ability. Jane stares at Doris’ email and wonders how to respond.
What are Jane’s options?
- She can file Doris’ email with all the previous complaints in a cyberspace trash bin.
- She can relieve her frustrations at Doris’ bullying by implying that senior management believes Doris is the past and Lara is the future.
- She can have a quiet word with Doris, stressing that the company recognizes her value but that constant complaints won’t help her career aspirations.
In the actual situation, the insecure employee continued to bully her co-workers whenever she felt threatened. But she became increasingly isolated and even senior management began to notice that no one wanted to work with her as her bullying reputation spread through the workforce.
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