Headlines from the Wall St. Journal: “Republican Software Engineer at Google bullied.” Was he physically pushed around, smacked in the face, hit over the head? At Google? I doubt it. Then how was he “bullied?” How does one bully an adult? I didn’t read the article, but I can guess. Fellow employees said nasty things, or got up from the table and left the free lunch when he approached, or texted or emailed aggressive emojis, or projected nasty looks. Okay, so google, the “don’t be evil” company, is notoriously narrow minded about anyone who has an original thought i.e. is conservative politically. Google is a famously robotic monoculture of Perfectionist Progressives and their impractical, utopian, unrealizable ideas. What else is new?
Dude, if you want to work there, you can keep your opinions to yourself or grow a pair and fight back. They’re the ones with the stupid ideas, the rote parroting of liberal drivel, the distaste for defending their opinions. You have the ammunition. How can you be bullied? Stop using that term. Both Booker T. Washington and Eleanor Roosevelt agree, no one can bully you without your permission. How do you give bullies your permission? Or better yet, how do you deny permission to be bullied? A handy guide follows:
1. Take nothing personally. They don’t know you, what’s inside, what you are capable of, or what you really think. Then what are they attacking? Their own projections. They might read something you wrote, or hear something you said, or simply don’t like your face. It doesn’t matter. What they are attacking is, “if I said/wrote that, here’s what I would be thinking.” They are attacking their own ugliness. You just happen to be convenient.
2. They are the one with a problem. You can sympathize, pity or reflect back to them, but don’t grovel, stoop to their level by counterattacks, or feel sorry for yourself. Most of all, never let them see you sweat. Stay cool, calm, measured….yeah, easier said than done, but with practice you will improve.
3. Put them on the defensive by insisting they define their terms and explain, how specifically does that apply to me? Did someone call you racist? “Define racist. How exactly do I fit your definition? What is your evidence?” I guarantee you, one of three things will happen again: they will struggle to define the term, realizing how they haven’t thought much about it; they will attack you personally, while not admitting they can’t define the term; they will calm down and try to reasonably discuss your questions. Hint: #3 is the least likely. No matter what, the attacks will all but cease, out of fear of being put on the spot.
Do you have the ability to remain cool under fire? If not, practice. Role play with a friend, or even yourself, how you will handle various scenarios of bullying. Are you an inviting target for bullies? If so, what makes you so? Are you overly sensitive to criticism? Are you desperate for approval? Do you lack confidence in your own opinions, or your ability to debate? Practice, practice, practice. No? Then go crying to your teacher, your boss, the EEOC, or if you’re unfortunate enough to be Canadian, the Human Rights Tribunals of your province. Just don’t expect the bullying to end if you carry the seeds inside you.
I provoke a lot of people with my blog, and sometimes in person. In the past, I was bullied, and then I took my own advice. I am almost disappointed that I haven’t had the opportunity to sharpen my debating skills for the last 50 years.