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The Trickle-Down Effect

Something I’ve noticed from working at many different office desk jobs is that all offices tend to have the same dynamics: there is a fairly powerful person, and this person tends to bully all of the rest of the office members. This person doesn’t even have to be the boss, per se; I’ve seen instances of the boss himself getting intimidated and bullied right along with everyone else. However, I’m very curious: why does this happen? Why do people do this to each other? There seems to be no logical sense or reason to it.

One thing I’ve noticed for a long time is that people with a lot of hate or rage tend to bully others that are below them in the overall ranking of the office. Rarely do you see someone bully another person that has MORE authority than they do; it happens, but it’s not as common.

But let’s talk about the person doing the bullying for a little bit. Often, these people don’t seem like the type of people that would be massive outright bullies. Some can for sure, but most don’t seem to fit a specific bullying “type.” The image that you have of bullies from movies like “Mean Girls” doesn’t really translate well to real life.

More often than not, bullies use sarcasm and humor to put others down. They don’t physically intimidate; they just have a way of witty putdowns that cause other people to shy away from them, lest the bully target THEIR insecurities.

People who are targeted by office bullies often do not fit a specific profile either; many times they can seem to be “cool” people! One man I knew that was bullied in our office was the stereotypical “cool guy;” he played awesome drums in a band, girls loved him… But he was constantly a target of mockery and abuse by the office bully.

Often people that are bullied in the office are in turn taken for granted or mocked by the people above them. The bully I knew well at my office was constantly overworked, had credit stolen from him by his boss for projects, and was never appreciated by his higher-ups. His solution was to bully those beneath him.

That is a valuable lesson for all of us: NEVER use a bad day or a bad job as an excuse to hurt other people verbally. You never know how much your words can affect someone.

I know that sounds like something that you’d hear in kindergarten, but most people have not learned that lesson as a child and therefore hurt people because of it. Your actions trickle down; when you bully someone below you, they often will bully someone below THEM. It’s an awful cycle, and one that’s hard to break.

Just know that anyone can be bullied and feel awful! No matter if you’re a nerd or you play drums from Barking Drum, you can be targeted… Just don’t ever spread that hate to someone else below you!