Bullyology – ‘I'm not just a pretty face’
In the workplace, Jessica was a Safety champion, she gained multiple awards and recognition for her work, including the Minister for Territory Families Excellence in Youth Leadership and Exceptional Woman in resources.
Behind the scenes Jessica was suffering from extensive workplace bullying for two reasons:
1. Her female gender (in a male-dominated environment)
2. She championed Equality (Advocate of freedom of speech)
For 3 years she worked at the front line of damage control, in a workplace with a toxic culture which was created by poor leadership. Despite her personal suffering, Jessica worked rigorously to create a positive, empowering workplace culture, masking the toxic leadership behaviour which was tearing the company apart internally. All this time, she was torn between staying in her role and helping others or leaving and abandoning the workforce during the rise of industry suicides.
Jessica want’s to share a little bit of her story with us.
“Putting on my mascara and lipstick that day, my hand shaking at the thought of yet another long day of verbal torture and feeling claustrophobic in the confined space of a tiny cabin office. His breathing, energy, actions and voice affected my every cell. He made my skin crawl and the thought of spending the next 10 hours next to him made me want to cry.
Determined not to lose myself, my makeup was my shield. Hiding the bags under my eyes from lack of sleep and yet another anxious night questioning whether I will have a job in the morning.
Second guessing and retracing my every move from the day before to try and analyse if there was one thing I could have done to warrant a nasty attack that day.
Paranoia was dominating my life. Looking back, I didn't understand why my boss was sabotaging any good I was doing. He made me believe I was only getting recognition and rewards from clients and work force because I was a woman and they obviously 'only interested in the way I look'.
Knowing I was good at my job for my professionalism, my approach, ‘’can do attitude’ and broad knowledge wasn't enough. Slowly, I started to question his theory, which would lead to a period of eventually stopping wearing makeup to try and look less attractive as I wanted respect for my brain not just my exterior.
To my astonishment whether wearing makeup or not I still thrived at my role with clients and my programs receiving excellent feedback. A confident bubbly young woman was reduced to a low self-esteem shell forced to put on a show and hide the effects of the toxic workplace culture.
From my research and talking to many victims of work place bullying, these comments are not limited to my situation.
So, I wrote this post to send a message to all the woman and men out there who’ve been told their accomplishments were only due to how they looked, their gender or race.
Do not lose yourself!
I want you to know you’re not just a pretty face”.
Women in Safety advocates speaking up and helping those in need and applauds Jessica for her inspiring story of turning the dark into light! Jessica turned her fear into fuel and now uses the valuable experience to be a Champion for Change. She educates leaders on the damage that a toxic workforce culture can have on personal and business success.
Jessica offers a range of distinctive and inspiring speaking programs and provides training workshops to address prevention of bullying in schools and workplaces.