Anti-Bully

In a few months, I intend to publish my first children’s book.  It is called “I knew a girl named Buttercup Bloom.”  It is a fact-based story about my struggles with bullying.  “Buttercup Bloom” is a composite character of several people from my childhood and into my adult life.  The first person that the character is based on is my first girlfriend, Marta, that I met at the age of seven.  The most recent person she is based on is someone named Amy, a person who taught me a lot about friendship, probably without her even knowing it.

I hope with the release of this book, I can call attention to the stigma of bullying throughout the lifespan.  It is something that goes on from the playground to the board room and from face-to-face interactions to cyberspace.  I am a staunch anti-bullying advocate, as I hope “I knew a girl named Buttercup Bloom” will prove.

And now, the excerpt.  Be kind, it is still a rough draft!

I knew a girl named Buttercup Bloom.  I met her Once Upon a Time when we were young and I last saw her after we had grown up.  When I met her, summer’s green leaves were changing to the reds, yellows and oranges of fall. She had bright eyes and a smile filled with pretty white teeth. She wore cute yellow dresses that were the color of buttercups, just like her name. 

I let Buttercup Bloom into my life during a very sad time. I met her after my mother had died from a very bad illness. At first, it seemed that Buttercup Bloom didn’t like me. I may have annoyed her at times. But in no time, Buttercup Bloom filled the empty space that my mother’s death left in my life. She could never take Mama’s place, but she didn’t need to either. Talking to Buttercup was very easy and she became almost as good of a friend as my mother had been.

My name is Wes Wormer. I was not well-liked at school. Kids would pick on me because I looked funny to them, especially mean girls and one particular big boy. I didn’t have good eyesight, so I wore thick glasses. I had big ears that stuck out from my head like handles on coffee cups. They thought my last name was funny, and instead of calling me by my right name, they called me “Wes Wormy.” I was smaller than other kids, so the big boys liked to hit me and throw me to the ground.  I had horrible ear infections when I was young, which left me partially deaf in my left ear. This affected my speech, so I talked kind of funny as a kid. The other kids picked on me because of it.  Later, in high school, I was often shoved against or into one of the lockers near the cafeteria.  Yeah, lunchtime was usually quite eventful.

Mama stood by my side and tried to make me feel better.  She couldn’t be with me at school, but she was there for me at home.  Many times she saw me cry and she tried to say the right things to make me feel better.  In some ways, she over protected me.  I couldn’t try out for Little League and I couldn’t join Boy Scouts.  I think Mama was afraid I’d get hurt.

Buttercup Bloom was different than other kids. She didn’t make fun of me. After she got used to me, she spoke to me like I was any other kid. I never had to think about how I looked or about my funny name or my poor health – none of that seemed to matter to Buttercup Bloom.  Buttercup even liked my glasses.  She would take them off of my face and put them on herself, saying they made her look “sophisticated!”

A recent report by psychologist Robert Hogan suggests that 75% of workers attribute their workplace stress to their immediate supervisor. This stress may be caused by working with an incompetent boss, or worse, a bullying boss. Incompetence may be solved by providing better supervisory training. Tackling a bullying problem may be a tougher task.

Employers must make a conscious choice to eliminate bullying from their businesses, but they may need to seek outside help to learn how tackle the issue. One answer would be to read The Bully-Free Workplace (Stop Jerks, Weasels, and Snakes From Killing Your Organization). The book was written by Gary and Ruth Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), internationally known for their research of this subject.

According to the WBI websiteworkplace bullying is defined as repeated abusive behavior that is harmful to a person’s health. It is committed by one or more people against one or more targets. Bullying is detrimental to business because it creates an atmosphere of mistrust and hampers productivity. Some bullying behaviors are verbal abuse, intimidation (including nonverbal behaviors), work sabotage, unfounded accusations, gossip and social ostracism.

Continued at Namie book provides employers with tools against workplace bullying – Rockford Workplace Issues | Examiner.com.

My latest piece for Examiner.com.

 Workplace violence occurs when harmful acts or threats of harmful acts are committed against persons while in their work setting. According to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fact sheet, workplace violence can be anything from verbal threats or abuse, intimidation, or physical acts that result in injuries or homicide. It can occur in any workplace without exception, so all workers must be aware of the possibility of events that can lead to workplace violence. Nearly two million reports are received each year from people stating they were victims of workplace violence. There are assumed to be many cases that go unreported. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), there were 506 workplace homicides in 2010.

Causes of workplace violence

Several issues may cause people to make choices that are harmful to themselves or others in the workplace. These include mental illnesses, alcohol or drug abuse, and financial crises that are related to job loss. Workplace violence is often the result of a person’s inability to cope with these stressors, leaving them with the feeling that there is no alternative to solving their problems or dealing with the anger or fear they are experiencing.

Risk factors related to workplace violence

OSHA lists various risk factors for workplace violence. These factors include:

    • Jobs that involve the exchange of money with the public;
    • Unstable people in the workplace;
    • Work sites where alcohol is served;
    • Late night work shifts;
    • Work sites located in high crime areas;
    • Working alone or in small groups;
    • Jobs such as delivery drivers, healthcare professionals, public service workers, customer service agents and law enforcement personnel.

Continue reading at Preparing for the unpredictable: Taking steps to prevent workplace violence – Rockford Workplace Issues | Examiner.com.

The following article offers novices more incite into the workplace bullying phenomenon. This subject is one of my main topics of interest for varying reasons. Please explore the WBI website for more information. You can also check out my “sister” blog “Stop Workplace Bullies – Now!

Read More: Workplace Bullying: North America’s Silent Epidemic