Corporate culture, HR hound dogs who hunt the squeaky wheel, bullying, abuse and politics abound for working America today. For those who still have a job, America has turned into a survivor game. No longer are workers respected and treated as human beings. Even those most educated and skilled are treated like pond scum
There is even a name for it, bosshole and 20% of all workers claim their manager actually sabotaged their job. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and the corporate structure of feudal lords all loyal to the CEO king have resulted in a toxic work environment for most. Bullying in the workplace is common and 37% of all workers have experienced it. Over 50% of employers admitted to incidents of workplace bullying with 25% of all HR employees admitting to being bullied themselves.
How did America go from the great middle class where people were empowered and respected in their jobs to this? The Workplace Bullying Institute documents just how widespread employee abuse is in America.
One of the more interesting pieces on the WBI site describes who gets targeted for workplace abuse. It's not what you think. The people most targeted are the ones most capable. Believing your exceptional, perfect work will get the abuse to stop is therefore a myth.
WBI research findings from our year 2000 study and conversations with thousands of targets have confirmed that targets appear to be the veteran and most skilled person in the workgroup.
Targets are independent. They refuse to be subservient. Bullies seek to enslave targets. When targets take steps to preserve their dignity, their right to be treated with respect, bullies escalate their campaigns of hatred and intimidation to wrest control of the target's work from the target.
Targets are more technically skilled than their bullies. They are the "go-to" veteran workers to whom new employees turn for guidance. Insecure bosses and co-workers can't stand to share credit for the recognition of talent. Bully bosses steal credit from skilled targets.
We see the firings statistics in the BLS JOLTS report. Every month a good 1.7 million people are involuntarily separated from their job, about 1.3% of the workforce, and these rates are pre-recession levels. There are roughly 140 million people working in the United States in some capacity as employees, These days being fired is so common, we call it disposable worker syndrome. America suffers severely from the disease, resulting in destroyed lives and a less productive economy.
Bossholes are so common, ABC 20/20 produced an entire hour devoted to the topic. Captured is an interview with someone clearly abusive trying to link their abuse to success, which is at minimum spurious. In other words, these days bosses try to justify their extreme abuse by claiming that's the ticket to the top. Of course it is not, but that is how toxic corporate culture and business mentality towards workers has become.
There is even a petition to get rid of bad bosses in America. Yet television networks push reality shows like Survivor and Donald Trump, all creating some non-reality that workplace abuse is normal and therefore acceptable. It isn't. When America's economy was strongest was also when the United States had the strongest worker protections and culture. That has all be eroded and replaced by serfs and aristocracy right here in America and the results are giving the same inefficient non-explosive economies as it was during those times. Meritocracy will stay dead along with the U.S. worker and middle class as long as business management is allowed to be so abusive and exploitive to their employees.
The reality is bossholes cost the U.S. economy $360 billion a year in lost productivity. The toll on workers is assuredly worse, with lost income, and a host of health problems that accompany toxic work environments.
Yet the United States cannot pass a single law protecting workers from being exposed to all sorts of abuse in the workplace. There is a movement to pass anti-bullying in the workplace legislation, but business lobbyists have blocked it at every turn. Right now the healthy workplace bill is being considered in nine states. The typical corporate lobbyists, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have managed to stop the healthy workplace bill to date. Considering the costs associated with employee abuse, one would think business would want to change. Ah, but not so, businesses love their bullies and will protect them at any cost.