Recently I was browsing social media and came across an article titled “The Real Cost Of Mean People In Business.” The article was about how mean people can undermine an office and cause real harm. I began to think about dealing with my own bully at my night job. The incident took place only a couple of months ago and it has been a little over a month since I was freed from that waking nightmare. It started when my managers decided to shuffle personal around to meet productivity goals. The bulk of my job consists of pulling packages out of mail bins, placing them into a mesh bag and putting that bag on a conveyor belt. I was placed with a sorter (they sort the work into the bins) who was new to my area. Additionally, the layout of the area I was placed in was bad. Instead of being able to turn around and put my work on the conveyor belt, I had to walk it about 10 to 15 feet to the belt. I also had to lift my work about four feet up onto the belt, where in other places the belt only sits a few inches above the floor. Repeat this dragging and lifting process hundreds of times per night and it becomes tiring. Added to the mess was a sorter who was impatient, arrogant, and threw hissy fits when he did not get his way.

I did my best to keep the area clean and I was even told by management that I was doing a good job. To my sorter, I was the laziest person in the building. He came looking for me whenever I took a bathroom break. He yelled at me whenever I stopped working in order to re-fill my bag racks, or clear the floor of work hazards. It finally came to a head when I decided I had enough of his attitude and called him out for his disrespect. I was met with a flurry of curses and being told he HAD to treat me terribly because I was NOT doing my job. I held my fury back and at the end of the night I pulled my manager aside and told him what had happened. I was moved to a new spot immediately. The workflow is just as demanding (but the belt only sits a foot away from me and I can turn around and easily place my work) and I’m glad to work with someone who isn’t abusive.

Had I not spoken up, I would most likely be in the same area, with the same abusive sorter. Don’t be afraid to rock the boat and speak up, especially when a co-worker is treating you poorly. People are paid to get a job done or solve a problem in a workplace, not to be emotionally mistreated. Have you ever had to deal with a mean or abusive co-worker?