In defense of the mean ones…

Look, I’m not a bully. And I don’t like being bullied. (Full disclosure: I was bullied all throughout my public school education–this always happens to the obnoxious kid.) In fact, I think bullies are mean, sad people with nothing better to do than bully others. I don’t even understand how anyone has time to bully. I’m too busy to blog. And blogging only takes a few minutes. Now, imagine using all that energy to bully! How many times have I just written bully? (It’s a word I hardly ever use otherwise. Anyway: I digress…)

So, the NYT has this article on “workplace bullies” and the “harassment” they dole out.  I buy the idea that there are such people, I’ve worked with some unsavory types before. And I’ve thought them unreasonable. But should there be a law (“healthy workplace legislation”) banning the act of bullying? I’m just not sure if it should become a crime to “glare” or “ignore phone calls.” Sometimes, you just don’t like people. The idea of living in a country of obsequious sycophants worries me. It makes me think that we’re a nation of namby-pambs, who have to be nice to each other. All the time.

“Imagine yourself sitting at a conference table and you offer something as a suggestion and someone looks at you and shakes their head every time,” said Joel H. Neuman, director of the center for applied management at the SUNY-New Paltz School of Business.

“It can be damaging to be constantly dismissed in front of your peers,” Dr. Neuman said. “The thing that is upsetting about it is that people come to expect it and say, ‘Well, this is what it’s like around here.’ It shouldn’t be part of the culture, but often it is.”

 Am I being unreasonable here? Should it be illegal to be an asshat at work? One is, after all, causing “damage.” Being the victim of constant dismissal can be hard. If you had no recourse but to quit your job because the harassment was so severe, I understand wanting to sue. But you can sue for damages already in that type of situation, can’t you? Do we need a law that says “stop bullying”?

Can’t we all just suck it up, complain, or quit?

Not to be all “slippery slope” here, but, dude, “slippery slope.” If I roll my eyes at my coworker when she says something retarded, am I going to get sued? I’m not a bully, but I’m certainly snarky,  a snarky snark at that. And I think I’m smarter than everyone (just kidding). Really. What’s to stop someone from saying that I, who am most definitely not a bully, am a bully? (I’m not, you know.)

(A bully, that is.)