You encounter your boss, Al, one afternoon at the candy machine, and then he has a brainstorm. You can almost see the sparks flying out of his head as he glares at you—and the crooked smile blooms on his lips.
"I've got a great idea," he says, "I need you to go up to the 119th floor to get a signature for me on that inventory thing."
"But boss," you say, "Mr. Kraus won't talk to me. You know he won't meet with anyone below senior management level. I'll get disciplined for even approaching his office."
Undeterred, your boss continues, "What are you, a mouse? A chicken? Well then, cock-a-doodle-DO it!!! I don't care how, but you'd better get on task right away—or you'll get disciplined for not approaching his office. Don't come back without that signature!"
You quiver. You suspect that Super TOT will chew you up and spit you out from the 119th floor window, but, on the other hand, your very own TOT is always looking for an opportunity for a good fight. Now he's set you up for humiliation, and if you don't move forward as he suggests, he could fire you. You feel like a kid who's been dared to jump off a ledge.
Office bullying comes in many flavors and intensities, ranging from mild manipulation to outright terror. It's one thing to be occasionally told that you need to improve your writing skills, but quite another to be told the same thing three ...