When I worked at a large university years ago, I found myself in the crosshairs of the abuser playbook. A higher-up slowly removed a website project from me (the entire reason I took the job) with no communication of poor performance. She tried moving my work onto a grad student, creating a committee to guide my work, and badmouthing me at meetings — all after months of praising my work. When I reported the problem to the head dean, he swept the problem under the rug, insisting that “it would work itself out.” (Huh?)
So the abuser retaliated. She gave me a written warning for not following a procedure — one that didn’t exist.
Not knowing where to turn to make the abuse stop, I went to HR to share my story. But the HR rep only asked how SHE (the bully) must’ve felt that I reported her for mistreatment.
It was then that I realized the whole work culture was toxic.
For weeks, I felt anxious going into work wondering what the next abuse tactic...
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