Power Thinking, with Dr Morris O’Connor

Power harassment

STICKS and stones may break their bones but names, long-term harassment and fits of yelling are just some of the techniques you can use to break employees down mentally so they’ll do what you say or stop picking on you.

Bullying in the workplace has become significantly worse over the last decade with surveys revealing over 40% of workers have been victims of bullying. In this cutthroat environment you’re going to have to learn how to harass the people that are harassing you or face the alternative of weepy journeys home in your Citroen Saxo as you down a Xanex with a shot of whisky.

It’s important to remember that this is British office bullying, you’re not getting shoved into a sewing machine and being escorted to the loo in some third world sweat shop, you’re just being picked on unnecessarily in brainstorms. While the comparisons show we might not have anything to complain about, our fragile psyches, born out of our fix-all consumer society, are such that we can lose the plot much easier than workers in other countries. Most of you haven’t got a hardened psyche like an Indian street urchin who grew up sleeping on the streets, because you grew up sleeping on a memory foam mattress.

The following story illustrates my own experience with bullying. I was working for a marketing company and trying to explain ways we could lower the overheads in an executive meeting.

“Guys I think we can save 40% on our phone bills,” I said, but before I could finish Amy, a cocky exec from accounts payable, interrupted. “Morris has anyone ever told you, you look like Roy Walker off of Catchphrase?” “No I’ve never heard that before.” “Yeah he does, hey Morris where’s Mr Chips your golden robot?” said my once faithful assistant manager, as the observation gained momentum. I tried to laugh it off.  “Yeah, that’s funny. So by switching to an internet and phone deal…” but I was interrupted again. “Hey Morris what’s that by your hand?” Said Amy. “It’s my laptop.” “Say what you see!” she said to massive guffaws. “So by switching to an internet…” I desperately tried to continue. “Dooooinnnnnnnng!” Other colleagues had started making the buzzer sound, it was out of control and I was being openly mocked with everyone in the meeting riffing on the ‘I look a bit like Roy Walker’ idea.

I had to do something or face being bullied like this forever. I pulled my testicles out of my suit trousers and repeatedly placed them on a financial report. “What’s Mr Chips doing now eh? What’s the catchphrase motherfuckers?” I screamed. “Ball park figure?” some spotty exec, unbelievably, guessed correctly. Despite him getting it, the power in the meeting room had definitely switched over to me. By grabbing my manhood I had effectively taken their joke and thrown it back at them in a manner aggressive enough to shut them up. I did, as it transpired, get fired for abusing my genitals in a meeting, but I had learned a valuable lesson which I now pass on to you.

Dr Morris O’Connor is the best selling author of Fucking With Their Heads: Simple Techniques For Gaining Respect In Meetings