Episode 2. Bullying at Work
I was a fresh graduate skilled in web designing and looking to start my career. My goal was to work for an IT company, hone my skills and gain ample experience to start my own web designing company in the near future. So there I was, looking for jobs and sending out my resume to companies.
In just two weeks, I got a call for an interview and I was ecstatic. On the day of the interview, I remember my parents looking at me with such pride. Their boy was ready to face the world and follow his dreams.
My interview was taken by an HR executive for the position of a trainee designer. I would be on a 3 months probation period and based on my performance, they’d offer me a permanent position. Now all this was fine, but during the interview, I kept noticing that the HR executive would go out in between, talk to her colleagues, and everyone would break into a laughter. It seemed weird to me but then I thought it must be some office joke, and once I am a team member, I can share a laugh too. But little did I know that the joke was on me.
A week after joining the office, I realized people made fun of me. The reason for their giggles was my inability to speak good English. They would purposely come and talk to me in English and then take back my responses to their desks and have a good laugh. So I began to distance myself and just focus on my work. But it didn’t stop there.
During lunch, colleagues would walk up to me and talk in a funny accent. I used to already sit and eat alone and now with such acts of humiliation, I didn’t know where to escape. My work on the other hand, required me to interact with other teams (I had to take matter/content from them for the design). I knew my pronunciations were bad and my grammar incorrect, but I always thought in such reputed offices people would help you better that. But I was wrong. I was their punching bag. They started calling me weird names, treated me as if I was somebody who didn’t matter. I even thought of complaining to the HR but noticed the entire office was in this. Even if someone was nice to me, they would change in a day or two.
In the end…
My work suffered and I hardly learnt anything new. It was painful. I hated this life, and being bullied every single day for everything I said, did or even tried. I thought adults don’t bully or get bullied. I thought this was a case only in schools and colleges. But I was wrong. You can be bullied at any age and that is how it is. People don’t get it. They don’t get how demoralizing their actions can be and how it can crush you, your dreams.
I decided to step back and quit my job within two months. I stayed home without any work for 6-7 months and then finally started working as a freelancer. A year and a half after this horrible experience, some of my friends spoke to me and asked me to apply for a new opening in their company. I got the job and today I am a senior designer and I also run my small business from home. My English is still mediocre but my work speaks for itself and I have been fortunate to associate myself with people who understand that.
Looking back, I wish I had raised my voice in the office, or at least told them how they made me feel. I wish I had filed a complaint or said something to the bosses. But then I feared being called a cry baby and being bullied all the more. It’s tough out there and sadly it is the people who are around you that make it tough. But you must share your experiences and not let them change your life for you. My friends and family saved me, else I would have remained confined to my house and never been able to explore the world like I always wanted to.
-As told to WebPep.blog
In this Blog Series, It Happened To Me #BeingBullied, I am going to share first-hand experiences of people who have been bullied, in an as-told-to-me version. These are true accounts shared by some of my closest friends, relatives and colleagues. Since this is a blog series to highlight the impact of bullying, and help you understand the same through real life accounts, I shall not name anyone. It’s not the person but the experiences that count here. So hope you stay connected with us for the next few days and share your stories and those you may have come across too.