Tuesday, 25 October 2011


After my last dreary post today I intended to be upbeat and positive, but, like the England Cricket Team in India, I have reverted to form and failed miserably.  My topic today is bullying.

We all know the real human damage caused by bullying whether in the playground or the workplace.   Nobody reading this has ever bullied anyone, right?  Or stood by and watched a colleagues life being made a misery as that is the easier option?

I am not naive enough to think that bullying doesn’t exist in most workplaces to some degree but over the last few weeks I have been genuinely sickened by three specific cases in my sectors.   There are pages of literature on corporate bullying so I am not going to bore you with amateur psychological/sociological nonsense, but, I think in areas such as those in which I recruit the bullying often takes the form of intellectual harassment. 

The specific examples I am thinking of are where people have been made to feel a failure due to not having the knowledge or not being quick enough to pick up concepts/information that comes easier to others.  We see clear evidence of this behaviour on professional forums all the time but online it feels a little more removed – how would you feel if you were facing this every day?   One example I have in mind is a new graduate who moved to London for her first real forensics job.  Within a month this poor girl had her confidence totally destroyed by experienced practitioners who should know much better. 

This behaviour is so upsetting – how would you feel if this was your daughter who was trying to adjust to the pressures of the world of work for the first time in a new City and was effectively being laughed at and made to feel stupid on a daily basis?

In areas such as Computer Forensics/Electronic Disclosure some people will very quickly realise that they don’t have the technical/intellectual/investigative ability to be successful and will naturally leave the discipline very quickly.  However, if you see someone struggling in your organisation, please think carefully about how you behave towards them as a friendly arm around the shoulder can mean everything to someone feeling isolated.   Just on a human level surely we all have a duty of care to help to solve the problem rather than make it worse?

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