Tiina Tuppurainen, 38, could only have resigned, but she decided to defend herself against a workplace bully.
Conversation with X, X’s study.
– I get a really bad mood when you talk to me as if I’m somehow bad.
– This is your own experience.
– Black feels like you’re angry or you don’t like black.
– Well, Tiina, it’s pretty common for you not to be happy with the way you talk here. Unfortunately, no one else finds their job so awkward.
This sounded like a typical conversation that Tiina Tuppurainen, 38, attended one of his jobs in the media industry.
He wrote down the situations at the suggestion of the EDPS: if he says he is experiencing bullying, it is good to be able to tell in more detail.
– Mere ‘that is nasty to me’ is not enough. Of course, the notes are just a word against the word, but they are still something concrete, Tiina recalls.
Tiina’s experience is not the only one of its kind. According to a report by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, more than one hundred thousand Finns feel harassed in the workplace. Often, bullying only ends when the bully changes jobs. Tiin was already ready to resign, but decided to start defending himself. Now he has also published a fictional novel on the subject Under his power, where there is more tedious dialogue in the supervisor’s room.
– The protagonist of my book is not like me, and the events are fictional. But of course I also used my own experiences as a basis, Tiina says.
There are mistakes here
Tiina’s novel is set in the world of magazines. The newspaper business is in a hurry, the crowd is being reduced, and forecasts show declining revenue. No wonder, then, if the nerves are tense and at times you become sneezed.
– Maybe the industry values tough guys who dare to say it outright. A certain kind of malice is glorified.
It was such an admirable outspoken that happened to Tiina’s co-worker, a position of responsibility. Tiina was a good employee at first and was praised. The praise warmed up, but the guy could bark at someone else in the same breath.
– Of course it was inappropriate, but I only came to think about it afterwards.
Gradually, too much work accumulated for Tiina. He knew he was accomplishing, so the load wasn’t due to his own slowness. When Tiina took up the matter, they seemingly tried to do something about it. That was not enough.
At the same time, newspaper reform was being pursued. The first revised issue had spelling errors that were found guilty: Tiina.
– I was crucified for mistakes, even though I wasn’t the only one who had checked the stuff before going to the press. I remember crying in the room of the person who set me up. I ran into a very cold reception.
At the same time, Tiina alone organized the funerals and potato writings of her close relative. There was no sympathy for that either.
Tiina’s first experience of bullying was short, and the distance with the bully remained. Still, it remained to be considered how an inexperienced person could act in a responsible position. Later, Tiina heard that the person had also bullied others.
“If you don’t like this …”
Why does someone start bullying in the workplace? Is it envy? Dwarf off without a person thinking they are bullying? Or a symptom of personality disorder?
In Tiina’s book, the bully’s name is Birgit. He has his own problems, which he solves for his subordinates. It goes badly with your spouse, aging scares and your own professional skills threaten to become obsolete.
– It’s just speculation. I really don’t know why workplace bullying is caused. I don’t think it’s easy for the protagonists either. They are under a lot of pressure.
A workplace bully is not always a forerunner, but often is. In the next job, Tiina was also bullied by a brilliant hard man who is respected in the industry. And Tiina was again that credit worker at first.
– I was taken from it. Afterwards, I can wonder why none of the bells rang, because this person also used to bark at other employees for me.
The person was known as a grumpy guy who could speak ugly and name people in a nasty tone. There was an atmosphere of fear in the delivery, and the mood of the day was dependent on the mood of the character. But it didn’t bother Tiina at first: in a good mood, she was a funny person, and Tiina sometimes went with her after work. The change in course began with a discussion about gender stereotypes.
Tiina was of the opinion that in relationship stories, there would be no need to prop up traditional gender roles or talk specifically about men and women, so that non-heterosexual readers could also identify with them. A coworker disagreed.
– He stated emphatically that “we are made a heteronormative magazine”. I guess he didn’t realize it wasn’t a very positive word. He knew I belonged to a sexual minority, and turned it against me.
The distance between Tiina and her co-worker became complicated. Sometimes everything was as before, but sometimes the direction of a coworker became stings. If Tiina suggested a new course of action, she was reinstated, saying that such questioning was not wise. Once, he prevented Tiina from interviewing a person who belonged to a sexual minority. “When you have that kind of agenda,” was the reasoning.
– I don’t know if that agenda was feminist or gay. But it offended that he questioned my professionalism. I was a journalist.
Tiina was not the only one who was treated rudely by the same guy. He held the decision-making power firmly in his hands, and members of the editorial board learned to suggest only those story ideas that were in line with his values. No nonsense or downshifting – they were a slap in the face. The bully pursued a policy of dictation, in which the number of jobs could be increased by a unilateral decision. The protest led to humiliation.
– He once said that ‘If you don’t like this, you have to draw your own conclusions’ – the conclusion was, of course, that you are working in the wrong or wrong field.
Whispering and belittling
For Tiina, the situation became more and more distressing, and it began to be reflected in the rest of life. Tiina’s self-esteem dropped and thoughts revolved around work.
– Maybe it was a bit like a problematic relationship. It is watched and waited for if this still came back to normal. In fact, I still miss a little while we were friends.
Tiina also went to therapy to talk about her work situation. He also chatted with his co-workers who confirmed he didn’t imagine. He contacted the health and safety officer and said he was ripe to leave. The health and safety officer turned Tiina’s head: don’t leave yet, let’s try to talk to the bully’s supervisor.
– I thought it wasn’t worth doing. I was afraid of revenge and that I would never get a job in this field.
However, Tiina did as the labor inspector advised: she recorded what had been said and when. In addition, I had to go once again to talk to the bully between the two of them and ask him to stop.
– Of course it didn’t go cool, but with crying. I told him I was feeling sick and that I felt like you considered me bad and would like me to leave.
The coworker hardly accepted the criticism. He was neither shocked nor empathetic.
– He stated that ‘it’s a shame if you feel that way’. Not, for example, that ‘Lord God, of course not’.
Next, a meeting was held between Tiina, the health and safety officer and the bully’s supervisor. Tiina read her notes aloud.
– When the bully’s supervisor said, “That’s really not relevant,” I was relieved. This is true and not just my sensitivity.
The end went better than Tiina would have thought.
There was no revenge, and Tiina did not have to resign. Things were arranged so that he no longer had to work with the bully.
Just like in middle school
When Tiina thinks about it afterwards, there were many mechanisms in the workplace that allowed bullying. Whisper, “Don’t take it for yourself, he’s like that for others.” Tacit acceptance: eyes rolled behind his back, but no one dared to say anything out loud out loud. Questioning: “No one else has complained about that.” And an understatement: “Personal chemistry isn’t just an encounter now.”
– Personal chemistry is talked about as if there is an equally strong relationship between the bully and the bully. No, but one is teasing the other.
Based on Tiina’s experience, workplace bullies have easy access. One of them later apologized, but neither was formally held accountable for their behavior.
– People can clearly be tortured at work with years of mental violence, and nothing follows.
Not only does it follow: nausea, sick leave, an atmosphere of fear, resignations. It will be expensive to recruit new employees as the former flee.
Tiina thinks it would be worthwhile to do something about workplace bullying for business reasons alone.
– In a way, I understand that people do not dare to intervene. Many may be afraid of being an eye-opener themselves. Behind a bullied back, one might also think he’s an awkward guy.
Tiina is proud that she dared to start defending herself. He’s also happy to be an awkward type if it means tackling bullying.
– I think as an adult you should already get mentally out of the middle school yard, where you are humbled and smiled in front of the hard ones. And you don’t even have to sacrifice your own skin in it. One can only say to the bullied between the two that ‘Hey, I notice that you are being bullied; I can help get help. ‘
If you experience bullying, Tiina thinks it is worth contacting the labor inspector or the occupational health and safety administration.
It is worthwhile to belong to a trade union: it provides legal assistance if necessary. The health and safety officer is also responsible for helping, even if the union does not belong.
Based on her own experience, Tiina is of the opinion that there is no need to fear revenge.
– It’s usually going well. If the bullying you report is not believed, then you are working for a company that is worth leaving.
38-year-old content production professional, author and Tiina The Feminist blogger.
Lives in Helsinki.
The second novel Under His Power (Karisto) has just been published, next year a third novel and a non-fiction book on athletic rainbow youth are due.
Source site www.is.fi