I like many people had the great misfortune of working for abusive managers and bullying bosses very early on in my career. The manager at my second job was a serial tormentor and a bully. She disliked/hated all her team members. I don’t want to go into elaborate details about what that particular manager did to us, but suffice it enough to say that due to the hostile work environment created by her pugnacious attitude, discriminatory behavior and vituperative feedback, it was very difficult and unpleasant to work for her. The entire team suffered because of her abusive behavior.Over the years, I worked for many horrible and abusive managers, and bullying bosses. Many of them were misogynist/misandrist. Some of them took special pleasure in humiliating the employee(s) they hated in public; a few “stalked and hunted” their “targets” just like a predator hunted its prey.
In my opinion, the one thing all of them had in common was the absolute lack of empathy towards their fellow employees. Initially, I found it difficult to explain their behavior—”how can one human being treat another human being so disparagingly?” It is only in retrospect I have realized that those abusive managers/bullying bosses were wounded or insecure on the inside and, to get even with their “enemy,” they vented their anger on fellow employees who had done them no harm. But then, when we were being managed and bullied by them, it was a harrowing experience for all of us.
In our case, one of the things the manager at my second job did was to never address the team members by their name. They were always, “Hey you!” Everything we did was wrong. Most of the employees couldn’t do anything right in her eyes. Initially, the entire team was uncomfortable with her behavior; however, with time, we tried to adjust accordingly. We eventually realized that the more we adjusted and compromised, the more she tightened her grip over us. The working environment became so caustic that it affected our productivity. Every minor issue was flagged as a major emergency. She managed the team with an iron hand, and we were shown our rightful place in public.
It was only when the team brought this matter to the attention of the higher management, did the higher-ups intervene and rein in the manager, that the work environment improve. To her credit, she was receptive to our feedback, understood our angst and changed her behavior towards all of us. However, not many people are fortunate enough to experience this change in their manager. Unfortunately, they suffer a lot under tyrannical/abusive managers, which, in turn, affects their health, well-being and personal life.
Although many organizations will deny the prevalence of bullying/abuse in their workplace, because of the fear of lawsuits, workplace abuse and bullying is prevalent and is a persistent problem in many corporations worldwide. Most of the bullying/abuse are carried out by the superiors. Sometimes, however, bullying is practiced by peers and even subordinates.
So, what is the true story about workplace abuse? According to a 2014 survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), workplace bullying affects (direct + witnessed) 65 million workers in the US. Of the 65 million affected workers, 37 million have experienced workplace abuse personally. In percentage terms, over one-quarter, 27%, of Americans have experienced workplace abuse, 21% have witnessed workplace abuse and a whopping 72% are aware of the prevalence of abuse in the workplace. WBI defines workplace bullying as, “abusive conduct that is threatening, intimidating, humiliating, work sabotage or verbal abuse.”
The survey report further highlights that most perpetrators of bullying are men, 69%; most targets of bullying are women, 60%, and women bully women 68% of the time. Drilling further down, we find that 56% of the perpetrators of bullying were bosses, 33% of them were peers and 11% were subordinates. Furthermore, according to the survey report, “72% of American employer reactions either condone or explicitly sustain bullying; less than 20% take actions to stop it.” Can you believe that, 72% either condone or explicitly sustain bullying?
What about the coworkers?
Now, one might ask, “Do coworkers help the abused, harm the abused or do most of them remain indifferent?”. Well, the survey report answers that question very clearly. 38% of the coworkers did absolutely nothing. Some of the coworkers even sided with the perpetrators. Close to 50% of the coworkers took negative action—did nothing, isolated/ostracized the target/victim from the group or sided with the perpetrator; ended relationships with the target/victim. And you thought your coworkers will come to your aid when you are in distress? Think again; most of them will only think for themselves and their career, and how can they stay on the good books of their bosses. Many of them will become mugwumps. Deep down, most humans are very selfish and will only act on their self interests.
What stops it…
In addition, one might wonder, “So, what stops the bullying? Is there something that the victim can do to stop the abuse?” Yes, they can, and the answer may or may not surprise you. Believe it or not, the bullying only stopped by the target/victim losing their job—61% lost their job with their employer (29% left voluntarily, 19% were forced to quit and 13% of the targets were terminated by the employer) and 74% lost their particular job. Okay, but what about the perpetrators? What happens to them. According to the survey results, 11% were punished & kept the job, 10% of them were terminated and 5% of the perpetrators quit voluntarily. So, a majority of them went scot-free. Not surprising at all, because it has been my experience all along that abusive managers are rarely disciplined by the organization; they are mostly protected to shield the system from any breaches. In other words, prevent lawsuits.
I was a mentor of an employee who was being bullied by her manager. Although I couldn’t intervene directly to stop the abuse, I tried my best to help and guide the employee through this ordeal. I even raised the matter with c-suite executives thinking they can indirectly exert some influence, but they were mostly nonchalant in their response. Finally, it got so worse that the employee quit the company. The perpetrator, however, got a huge promotion at the end of the year. Go figure!
Who got abused?
Now, the responses to two last survey questions were very revealing. When asked, “Which factor most worsened the workplace climate for the bullied target, coworkers, and organization?”, 33% responded, “the victims inability to defend (her)himself;” 20% responded, “the target’s decision to file a complaint;” “Coworkers reaction to incidents” were cited 18% of the time; 12% of the participants responded, “Human resources’ response to the complaint” and 17% responded, “High-level management’s response.” So, no matter what the victim of an abuse did, they were screwed nevertheless. However, one this is clear from the responses, the workplace environment got worse, if the victim did absolutely nothing. Getting HR and higher-level management involved made things bad, but not as worse as doing absolutely nothing.
Character attributes of the victim
The last question asked, “Which personal style best describes the targeted person?” It was found that a majority of the victims, 78%, had positive character attributes—37% of the victims were “compassionate & kind;” 19% were “cooperative” and 22% were “agreeable.” Only 21% of the victims had negative character attributes—15% of the victims were “aggressive” and 6% of them were themselves “abusive.” This data does show that, in the corporate world, a person with a conscience and soul, and who displays empathy will probably be run roughshod over by the manipulators/psychopaths/super-predators in power. On the other hand, those without a soul will most often be left alone, and, even when targeted, only a small minority of them will be abused by the psychopaths above. In all probability, the psychopaths above attack the nutters below them because they probably feel threatened, are attacked or feel vulnerable. Thus, as I have always maintained, to be successful in a cut-throat corporate world, you must be a super-predator yourself, else you will fall prey to a master manipulator or a person without a conscience, who will use, abuse and then discard you.
In summary, here is what we can learn from the WBI’s 2014 workplace survey report.
- Workplace abuse and bullying is prevalent in the workplace of many corporations. Most of corporations may deny it, but it does not change the truth.
- 27% of Americans have experienced abuse at workplace, 21% have seen it happen and 72% are aware of bullying and abuse at workplace.
- Overwhelmingly, men bully at work, most bullied are women and women bully women 68% of the time.
- 72% of the employers deny, discount, rationalize, defend and encourage bullying and abuse at work.
- Mostly, a victim faces the abuse alone and cannot turn to anyone for help. Coworkers do not help the abused/bullied. Close to 50% of the coworkers of the abused took negative action.
- Bullying stops only when the victim quits the job. 61% of the victims lost their job with their employers. Conversely, only 15% of the bullies lost their job. A majority of them faced no disciplinary action. Not surprised at all, as the corporate world, similar to the world of politics, are filled with notorious reprobates.
- No matter what the victim did, they were always at a disadvantage. If they did nothing, then, the work environment for them worsened further. If, however, they escalated the matter with HR or higher-level management, things did not get better. So, most often, an abused is caught between a rock and a hard place. They will get hosed no matter what.
- Most of the abused/victims, 78%, exhibited positive character traits, they were compassionate and kind, cooperative and agreeable. 21% had negative character traits—aggressive and abusive. Therefore, we can safely conclude that most of the victims were people who can be categorized as “nice”, which may buttress the argument that nice people are often the most exploited.
Furthermore, in 2012, WBI contacted 1,598 individuals to find out what actions they undertook to stop being bullied at work, and how successful was their strategy. The responses indicated that:
- Around 38% of the victims did nothing to stop the abuse and waited for things to get better. Efficacy of this strategy: 3.25%
- About 70% of the victims stood up to the bully and confronted him/her. Efficacy of this strategy: 3.57%
- Around 71% of the victims contacted the bully’s manager for help. Efficacy of this strategy: 3.26%
- Roughly 74% of the victims contacted higher-level management for support. Efficacy of this strategy: 3.69%
- About 60% of the union employees sought help from their union. Efficacy of this strategy: 8.84%
- Around 43% sought help from the company HR reminding them of violation of policy. Efficacy of this strategy: 4.7%
- About 19% complained to state and federal agency. Efficacy of this strategy: 11.9%
- Around 34% of the victims tried to hire an attorney to file a lawsuit. Efficacy of this strategy: 11.2%
- About 9% of the victims filed a lawsuit. Efficacy of this strategy: 16.4%
Therefore, after knowing the facts available to us, how should an employee or employees deal with abusive managers, bullying bosses or managers who is a misandrist or a misogynist. Before I even begin to talk about what may or may not be possible, do know that all options available to you have their drawbacks. There is no silver bullet to solve workplace abuse/bullying. Before you take a stand and start any “fight/battle” in your workplace, do take note of these observation, which I made during my days as an “obedient worker bee.” These are the inconvenient truths that very few people want to talk about.
- Many managers and “leaders” in the corporate world are super-predators, psychopaths and master manipulators, and they will do almost anything to get the next promotion, big raise or massive bonus. Anything that happens to an employee while the predatory managers pursue their personal goals is just collateral damage.
- In most corporations, HR is not there to help employees; it is there to protect the organization from the employees, translation, lawsuits. Don’t expect any help from them.
- You are just a number in the payroll system. That’s it. You can be jettisoned if the organization becomes too heavy.
- You enjoy no privileges, no rights when employed with an organization. Everything can be taken away from you in a moment’s notice.
- You are dispensable. You can be fired and replaced by a cheaper worker any time.
- If you go against your boss, you actually start a fight with the system itself, and you run the risk of being destroyed by the system. All bosses/the entire organization/the HR will gang up against you. The system will do everything to protect itself, and while doing so it will crush you.
- If your boss finds his/her back against the wall, (s)he will make stuff up or just plain lie to get out of the pickle. HR, even after knowing the facts will do absolutely nothing.
- Every employee has an HR record, which has the employee’s entire history with the organization. Any conflict with the boss will be noted in an employee’s HR record. Most hiring managers refrain from hiring an employee whose HR record shows any conflict with their current manager/previous managers. Hence, any lateral moves or transfer within the organization may not be possible or work out.
- If you leave the firm, your old boss may, one day, through cosmic coincidence, join the firm you are in and become your new boss. Then they cycle of abuse begins again, and may get worse. This has happened with a few people I know.
- If you fall out of favor with your boss or the organization, you are screwed no matter what happens eventually.
Now, the web is replete with articles on how to handle/deal with abusive managers and bosses. Each of those articles will mention some strategy or plan to handle abusive managers/bullying bosses. I have read a few of those articles, and have come to the conclusion that most of those articles contradict each other. One will state that research suggests standing up to your abusive boss will make you a better employee; while the other will say research suggests that retaliating or standing up to your abusive boss will only aggravate the situations. Sadly, it seems that the experts are still undecided on what actions work or do not work.
So, what’s is my take on this matter. In my playbook, and based on my research and experience, every employee has three options to choose from to deal with abusive managers, and none of them are easy to pursue or guarantee success.
- Do nothing and hope that the person grows a conscience, has an epiphany one day and changes his/her behavior, and things change for the better, eventually. In the mean time, you suffer, bear the abuse and watch your life and career get systematically destroyed and dismantled. Finally, when you can’t take it anymore, you choose option 3.
- Do the due diligence, evaluate the situation at hand, gather evidence and address the issue with the person directly, raise the matter with HR or seek legal/external help. Intervene or seek intervention. In addition, determine if it is worth the fight or is there a better option available to you; if the emotional capital you will invest will result in a return or will it be a waste of energy.
- Quit or ask for a transfer.
Option 1: Do nothing; persevere
Many people believe in and recommend this course of action of doing nothing. They believe that if you ignore it long enough it will go away one day, or if you ignore it long enough, you’ll learn to live with it as something that’s just a fact of life. Based on available data, anecdotal evidence and the information listed above, it seems doing nothing is absolutely the worst possible option to pursue. By doing nothing, you are just giving the abuser/bully more ammunition to continue with his/her destructive behavior. At the very least, the employee should try to have a very professional and constructive conversation with the boss; the employee should be authoritative, not offensive; display strength, fortitude and confidence, not weakness.
An employee, for example, may tell his/her boss, “My mentor/coach always advises me that feedback is to be given in private and accolades shared in public. However, I have noticed that you give me feedback in a public setting, which makes me uncomfortable in front of my peers and subordinates. It affects me personally, affects my work and is not helpful to anybody. I would like to learn from you, look up to you and am very open to any feedback from you. However, my request to you is to give those feedback in a private setting, maybe in your office or a conference room.”
Most managers would listen to and respect such requests. An errant few may disregard your request. If that happens, then, you do know where you actually stand with that manager. (S)he has made it crystal clear what kind of a person (s)he is; (s)he does not respect you or your request and will do as (s)he pleases. You cannot reason with such people, you cannot please them with acts of kindness or make them empathize with your situation. Now, it is time for you to change your strategy and start pursuing either option 2 or 3.
Option 2: Stand up to the bully; take action
Some reason that by choosing option #2 you will incur the wrath of your manager and you will be viciously targeted by that person. I don’t agree with this observation, because you are already being targeted by that person; hence, how much more can (s)he target you? Even if (s)he cranks up the lever of discriminatory behavior, it will only accelerate the process of you opting for option 3. Furthermore, if (s)he becomes an absolute tyrant or totally obnoxious, you will have move evidence against the person in a court of law or when you present your case to HR.
Now, before you stand up to abusive managers and take action, you will need to have your bases covered. You just cannot, one day, without proper evidence accost him and accuse him/her of being an abusive manager or a bully. The first step you should take is talk to your boss using the example outlined in option 1.
If that does not work, then, the next step you should take is to ask yourself the question, “Is this job worth the fight, or should I just walk away?” Now, if the answer is latter, then, do you already have a job at hand or will it take some time to find a new gig? If latter, then, you need to hunker down, update your résumé and start job searching pronto. Until such time you are out of the door, do your job diligently, don’t burn any bridges, but take the high road. You will be leaving the firm soon, and you will have to dedicate more time and effort in finding a new job. Therefore, you cannot afford to be distracted by the moron in charge. Build a wall around you, “ignore” him/her, disregard the abuse. Keep your focus on the task at hand.
However, if you really dig your job and think it is absolutely worth fighting for, then, pause for a moment, do a head stand, count to a million and visit the question again. Okay, maybe doing a head stand and counting to a million is a bad idea. The moot point is take your time, be very rational about it and take emotion out of your decision making process. Ask yourself, “Is this battle about satisfying my ego, or is this really my dream job that’s worth going to battle?” It is my opinion that most jobs aren’t worth fighting?
A Pyrrhic victory
Therefore, you need to think and review because, when you decide to fight, you will be burning a lot of bridges; heck, you may even burn the entire town down. Do understand that you may win the battle with your boss but lose the “war” of advancing your career with the organization. You do know, if you continue working for him, he will try to find every possible excuse to undermine your career with the company? Most importantly, even if you win, would you like to continue working for a boss, who treated you so badly and unfairly.
Moreover, do you think your boss will every forget that (s)he has been bested by his/her subordinate? Thus, after your win, you are more than likely to move out of the team or move out of the company, altogether. It is almost a guarantee that any victory you achieve will be a Pyrrhic victory, at best. Therefore, do you really want to do this?
Now, after doing the necessary soul searching, if you do decide to stand up to the abusive manager, then, you need to approach the matter one step at a time. You need to have a plan, be methodical, need to be patient, need to follow a process. Here is how I would approach it.
Prepare yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. It will be a long, difficult and an arduous fight. Do note that success is not guaranteed. Matter of fact, chances are quite high that you may lose this battle; hence, you shouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket. Plan for the best, but be ready for the worst. Therefore, you should certainly have a backup plan. A backup plan would involve updating your résumé and start looking for a job. Now, some might say, “Wait, what? But I thought you are going to fight for this job. And, while you standing up to the bully and fighting for your current job, you are also looking for a new job. It does not compute. Isn’t there a contradiction here?“
No, actually, there isn’t. This is risk management. Your decision is to fight and you are working on a “project plan” to fight the tyrant. All project plans must include a risk management plan. The risk management plan should identify risks and how they will be addressed—avoid, mitigate, transfer or accept. Since, studies suggest that success of winning this battle is small, you are just planning on risk mitigation, which is to have a backup job.
The next step would be to collect evidence of workplace abuse and bullying. Don’t depend on your coworkers to come to your rescue and be an eyewitness. Most won’t and a few who will offer their help will renege on their promise at the last moment. I have seen that happen many times. Humans believe in self-preservation at any cost. Consequently, your coworkers and friends will not put their job and career at stake, just to help you. You are on your own on this battle. Prepare accordingly.
Take copious notes of every meeting/interaction with your boss. Start logging meeting minutes and sharing them with your boss and all the participants of the meeting. Communicate everything in writing, so that there is an email trail. If discussions happen over a messaging app, then, save those messages. Any/all evidences you can collect to prove abusive behavior/bullying will stand you in good stead. If the manager throws a temper tantrum at you in public, then, note date/time, place, what triggered the outburst, names of people present at the scene, etc.
Talk to your mentor/coach
If you have a coach or a mentor, then apprise that person of your situation and solicit their advice. Don’t be surprised, if they ask you to pursue option 1. Furthermore, if your mentor/coach is a high-level executive in the same organization, then, ask them for their opinion on your plan of action. Don’t present the issue as a plea for help, because, likely, they will not get personally involved in a skirmish between you and your boss. They may, however, offer you some invaluable advice and even offer to “pull some strings” behind the scene to alleviate the situation.
Alternatively, they may ask you to excuse them from the battle you are about to start. This battle is yours to fight, do remember that; not many people will support you in this endeavor. There is one drawback, though, in informing a mentor/coach, who is a higher-level employee at the same firm. If (s)he is very loyal to the company, then, (s)he might inform the HR or your department head about the “storm” headed their way. Ultimately, you have to make the final call on who all to involve/inform.
Talk to your boss… again
Schedule a meeting with your boss and have a very professional and adult conversation with him/her. Lay out the facts and at the same time try to understand the reasons, if any, behind his/her behavior towards you. You may want to direct the conversation towards setting expectation and gathering feedback. Avoid being confrontational and having the discourse ending up being a complaint against your boss. However, the backdrop of the conversation has to be about you feeling bullied/abused/victimized/embarrassed etc. Ensure you speak to your boss in a confident and an assertive manner and not with a timorous voice.
You can say something along the lines, “I have scheduled this meeting to better understand your expectations of me, and how I can meet them. For the last few months I have been very much at unease at work because of your behavior towards me—I have been yelled at/berated publicly, which has embarrassed me in front of everybody in the team. This has happened even after I had brought this matter to your attention earlier. Am I doing something wrong; am I not meeting your expectation; is there something you expect of me that I am failing to meet? I am open to any feedback you may have for me, and I’ll try my best to improve on those areas. Your behavior towards me is affecting me both physically and emotionally, and I would really like to fix this problem as I really like my job.“
Three things may happen as a result of that discussion: your boss may tell you what’s bugging him/her, give you some action items to work on and stop his/her abusive behavior towards you; your boss may become defensive and deny bullying or being abusive or (s)he may become angry and end the discussion then and there.
Whatever the outcome, you will have a clear idea of your next step. The goal here is to change his/her behavior towards you and not to get into a hand-to-hand combat with your boss. It is not about winning a grudge match and exclaiming in contempt, “Hell, yeah! In your face…” Therefore, if having a candid discussion gets you to keep the job you love and helps change your boss’ behavior towards you, then, it is the best outcome you could have asked for, right?
Talk to your boss’ boss
If talking to your boss does not yield any result, then, before approaching HR, you may want to consider talking to your boss’ boss. Once again, the conversation should be about self-improvement, feedback, etc., and not a complaint against your boss. You may want to say, “This is not a complaint against my manager. I am talking to you because I need to know if I am doing something wrong; if I am at fault here. I have tried everything but nothing seems to work. I would like to pick your brain to see if I am approaching the situation in a totally boneheaded manner… ” See what his/her response is; if (s)he sounds unsupportive or dismissive, move on, don’t waste your time. Do record that you had approached him/her for help.
Talk to HR
This is when things move from OMG to holy s**t. Getting HR involved is like opening a big can of worms. It is akin to going nuclear and there will be fallout. First, in a battle between an employee and a manager, HR almost always sides with the manager. My personal experience and the data listed in the section above prove that. Next, when you approach HR, the “conflict” between you and your manager will come out in the open and the battle lines will be drawn. You will draw a lot of flak from various quarters; thus, develop a thick skin.
Furthermore, from that day forward, everything you do at work will be minutely scrutinized, evaluated and recorded. One wrong move on your part and that’s strike one. Two more strikes and you are out the door. In addition, your HR record will be updated to show that a “skirmish” has broken out between you and your boss. In addition, your year-end appraisal will be affected because of this escalation. Finally, be ready to be avoided at work by your colleagues and even your friend. Basically, once HR is involved, your world turns topsy-turvy.
Anyway, when you escalate the matter to HR, it is “taking the gloves off” time. When you talk to the HR representative, you have furnish them with all the evidences you have collected and give them names of any eyewitnesses who are willing to “testify” on your behalf. Present your case to them, give the evidence and wait for them to complete their investigation and communicate their findings to you.
HR’s investigation may result one of four findings:
1. Your boss is at fault, you claims are found to be true and your boss is disciplined or fired (chances very low);
2. No evidence of wrongdoing is found and your are back to square one (chances high);
3. You lose the fight and are asked to leave the company, in other words fired (chances very high);
4. You lose the fight and are asked to leave the team, in other words forcibly transferred (chances very high). Now, does it make sense why you need to assess and manage the risks of this “battle” properly.
Talk to an attorney/advocate
If talking to the HR yielded a negative result or no result, then, the next step is to talk to a capable attorney/advocate to evaluate all options available to you. The attorney may advice you to register a complaint to a government agency, such as US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the US. In India, the process to be followed and the government agencies to approach will be different. The attorney/advocate you have hired can advice you on the course of action to undertake.
Alternatively, the attorney may advice you to file a lawsuit for an abusive and hostile workplace. Again, a competent attorney should be able to guide you in this regard. Do know that even after doing all this and spending oodles of time, money and energy, the entire venture may not bear any fruit. Hence, back to my original comment, before you jump into the ring for a fight, do ask yourself the question, “Will this be worth it, and do I really want to do this?“
Option 3: Walk away; the job isn’t worth the fight and the hassle.
When faced with abusive managers/bullying bosses, many will advice you to go directly to/pursue option 3—quit or ask for a transfer. If you find a new job and quit, then, don’t burn any bridges before leaving the firm. Even though your abusive boss may have made your life miserable, don’t try to get even before leaving. Take the high road and leave in good terms. You do so not because you are weak, but because you are stronger and better than you boss.
Furthermore, the world is small, you never know when your paths will cross again and (s)he may end up being your boss again in your new firm. I know a few instances where this exact thing happened. So, just leave and, if you believe in Karma, let it take its due course. However, if you are retiring or going solo and will be your own boss or you are financially independent, then, if you want, you can indeed skewer the abusive managers before walking away. This is exactly what this gentleman did minutes before his retirement.
However, if you opt for a transfer, do know that the corporate world is chock full of managers who don’t have the skill-set or the mindset to manage people. Therefore, you may still end up working for a manager who is the same as the one you have left—meet the new boss, same as the old boss kind of thing. In the case of a transfer request, your abusive boss can deny the request or hold you back saying that your project is critical and you can only be released after three, four, five or six months. And no hiring manager will wait that long to onboard a new employee, no matter how good that employee. So, again, prepare and plan accordingly.
If you look at this issue objectively, you will realize that as worker bees, we really don’t have too many options when we find ourselves in a quagmire of working for an abusive manager/a bullying boss/an incompetent boss. The only good option available to us is to quit and find a new job, but that too does not guarantee us a better workplace. There are some really bad managers and horrible leaders out there, who prey on people in more ways than one. If you should ever find yourself working for an abusive boss, make sure that you take action, because you owe that to yourself. Workplace abuse/bullying has a pernicious effect on your well being, both mental and physical. As you can infer from the data provided that doing nothing is absolute the worst choice you can make.
Therefore, my recommendation to you is to never bow down or cower to bullies and abusers, be it in your personal life or your professional life. Nobody should control your life, career, future, only you should be in control of it. Yes, many will say that it is easier said than done. Agreed, not denying that; however, if we believe in free will, then, we do have the power to make a choice—a choice to end something horrible and begin something new and better. Ultimately, it is our choices in life that define the life we create and build for ourselves. Doesn’t it?