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Karen Laura-lee-Lee Wilson

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Member Since: Jun, 2011

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· Recipes for Survival: Stories of Hope and Healing.

· Gaining a sense of self is now available as an e-book Kindle. 445 p.

Short Stories
· All Aglow in Te Anau

· Doggy Doings and Other Matters

· Butt Out

· Chinese Takeaway

· Sandy Freckles' Diary

· Innocents Abroad in Tasmania

· A Ratty Tale

· Perfect Day

· Reminiscences of Thedbo Village, New South Wales

· Life in the Fast Lane

· On their Own: Britain's Child Migrants

· The Last Goodbye

· The Common Thread

· Finding Ted

· Violet Tasma Cleary: a Tragic and Short Life

· Easter Bunny

· Ode to Bella

· Lost Love

· Hi

· For Sandy

· Ode to Rain

· Memento

· Destiny Beckons

         More poetry...
· From Barmaid to Arts Graduate: my journey

· Foot Steps Towards Freedom Project

· Appointment to Find and Connect Reference Group

· Review of On Their Own: Britain's Child Migrants Exhibition

· Poetry Course: Making Fountains with Dictionaries

· Care Leavers in Higher Education

· 100,000 Abused, Wanting to Tell

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Karen Laura-lee-Lee Wilson

Gaining a sense of self is now available as an e-book Kindle. 445 p.

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Recipes for Survival: Stories of Hope and Healing.

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Blogs by Karen Laura-lee-Lee Wilson

The Connection between Schoolyard and Workplace Bullying
8/19/2011 7:20:51 PM
Workplace bullying is flourishing in Australia despite attempts to extinguish it. It is my view that schoolyard bullying, if unaddressed, leaves the victims vulnerable to being bullied as adults. Bullying is a serious problem in today's workplaces. People are too afraid to speak out because they can lose their jobs.
Bullying Notes

(Note: I compiled the notes listed below for an inaugural meeting on 17 August this year of a group that called itself "Challenge Bullies". Although the meeting was widely publicised only four people turned up. Why were there so few people attending?)

Below is what I read out to the group:

"Throughout my life I have experienced bouts of bullying. When I was six years old and living in Qld an older girl bullied me from my first day at school. This went on for months. She was the one I suspected stealing my raincoat. As a result of its loss my mother bashed me and sent me to bed without dinner.

I could not tell my parents because their marriage was disintegrating and they were too preoccupied with their own troubles to ask what was happening at school. Nor could I tell my teacher. She was just out of Teachers’ Training College and had to cope with a class of 55 students. I couldn’t tell her what was happening to me because she showed no empathy to her students. She instructed the students sitting either side of me to belt me should I write with my left hand.I was conditioned to write with my right hand even though I feel innately awkward doing so.

Next bout of bullying occurred at a prestigious high school from one of my teachers because I wasn’t doing well in some subjects. As well as belittling me in class she had me and other students remain behind after school so she could bash us in the back for our stupidity.

When I entered the workforce in 1961 I was not bullied until 1966, when I was temporarily working as a barmaid I was denied toilet breaks. At one pub I was sacked after I poured a glass of beer over the head of a customer who was propositioning me!

By 1974 I was living and working in Tasmania. At the university I was bullied by a female supervisor who piled huge amounts of documents on my desk to be photocopied by the end of the day. I worked right through morning tea and lunch break to complete the task. When my son was ill and unable to attend the crčche I phoned my workplace to tell them I could not come to work. As I had days in lieu owing to me I thought this would be OK. Next day I was called into the supervisor’s office and had strips torn off me for being absent from work. I was told “If you work and have small children you should hire a nanny. After your example we will reconsider employing married women”. When I returned to my desk that was in a public area I continuously cried so much that I was told to go home. I felt so humiliated by the callous treatment I received. It was then I decided to look for another job.

My next job in 1980 was far worse: I was placed in a library where I was in charge of 16 staff. The other applicant for the job was appointed my deputy. She undermined my authority from Day One. Bar one staff, the rest sided with her. Our supervisor was favourable to her. He was absent when I was interviewed for the job and on his return from overseas opposed me in every way. By mid-year my doctor put me on two weeks leave. The end of that of that year a manager gave me an ultimatum: either resign or be transferred to a lesser-paid job. I took the latter because of financial circumstances.

I fared better in the new job. My boss was supportive. Nonetheless a female staff member of higher rank bullied me. On one occasion I happened to injure a hamstring at work. I was in so much pain a took a shortcut through the bullies’ office to get to the toilet. Tears streamed down my face from the pain as she confronted me and told me off. She would not listen to my explanation. A male staff member fetched frozen peas and placed them on the back of my knee to alleviate the pain. This happened in 1985. (In the last week I came across this woman in a shop and she walked directly in my path, and forcefully hit me on the shoulder.)

In 1985 I was transferred to an all female section. Staff refused to talk to me. A newcomer to the section was told by my colleagues : “We don’t speak to Karen”. She was appalled by this treatment and refused to go along with them. I applied for a transfer and I was posted at a high school. I was there seven years. One female staff member flouted library rules and insisted that her class use the library when I was doing the annual stocktake. This meant I was unable to complete the stocktake by the end of the school term and had to finish off the work in the school holidays. My library aide who had no library qualifications reported to staff library policy decisions she did not agree with. She humiliated me in front of Parent Help by writing on the office whiteboard every time I forgot to take my library keys to work and back-mouthed me about my “mistakes”.. She also told the students where I lived. Towards the end of my employment there, the majority of the senior staff was unsupportive when I experiencing violence, abuse, threats and sexual harassment in the workplace from students. Without support, I suffered a breakdown and was becoming suicidal. My doctor placed me on stress leave. A staff member told me that the library aide admitted I experienced abuse in the library but “She couldn’t handle it” and laughed.

In all I had six weeks stress leave. I was granted workers’ compensation and was placed in a supernumerary position, working part-time. I was regularly seeing a psychologist. Some staff were unsympathetic about my position. In the meantime, I still hadn’t recovered from my breakdown. I suffered insomnia, nightmares, panic attacks and lacked concentration One colleague, who nominated herself as my mentor, used me to run errands for her. I was given menial tasks. Any job I did well received no acknowledgement.
I was advised to apply for jobs. One job for which I had experience and qualifications was frozen when I applied. It was later given to a librarian who had no university qualifications. (She had been acting in the position for 18 months.) Every time I submitted an application, the job was withdrawn. After nearly two years of trying to get up to full-time work and battling prejudice I was getting nowhere. My doctor said that trying to work in a hostile workplace exacerbated my symptoms and removed me from the workplace in 1997.

Since then, I have worked voluntarily for different organisations and groups. On rare occasions I see a psychiatrist and attend a weekly mediation group for support."

Just today, my son phoned to say he is applying for another job because the manager is a bully and well entrenched in her dictatorial ways.

Comments (1)

More Blogs by Karen Laura-lee-Lee Wilson
• Holiday in Queensland - Tuesday, October 22, 2013
• Discarded Clothes - Saturday, August 31, 2013
• Party Time - Monday, August 19, 2013
• Alone in the Dark - Sunday, August 11, 2013
• Anniversaries: Past and Present - Friday, July 26, 2013
• Adjusting to Bella - Sunday, July 21, 2013
• The Coming of Bella - Tuesday, July 16, 2013
• The Ethics of Abortion - Thursday, June 20, 2013
•  Ted's Itinerary - Monday, March 18, 2013
• Entertaining Ted - Thursday, March 14, 2013
• Entertaiing Ted - Thursday, March 14, 2013
• A Hectic Week Ahead - Monday, March 11, 2013
• Whew! - Monday, February 18, 2013
• The Christmas Season - Sunday, December 30, 2012
• Post Colonoscopy Operation - Thursday, November 29, 2012
• Fasting for the Procedure - Tuesday, November 27, 2012
• One Day at a Time - Wednesday, November 21, 2012
• Hurricane Sandy's Massiive Impact - Wednesday, October 31, 2012
• Update of Illness in the Family - Tuesday, October 30, 2012
• Illness in the Family - Thursday, October 25, 2012
• The Price of Getting Older - Friday, October 19, 2012
• Thursdays - Wednesday, October 10, 2012
• Abduction - Friday, September 28, 2012
• More Than a Coincidence - Monday, August 27, 2012
• Notes on My Recent Cruise in Europe - Wednesday, August 15, 2012
• Mindfulness Exercise - Sunday, August 12, 2012
• Cruising along the Danube and Rhine Rivers - Wednesday, August 01, 2012
• Honouring the Life of James Gavin Paterson - Wednesday, July 04, 2012
• 10 Days to Go - Saturday, May 26, 2012
• Autumn Lingers - Wednesday, May 09, 2012
• Holiday of a Life Time - Sunday, March 11, 2012
• Compassion for Native Animals - Saturday, February 18, 2012
• A Bit of Chichat - Monday, January 09, 2012
• Christmas Time - Friday, December 09, 2011
• Health Issues and Other Matters - Friday, October 07, 2011
• What's Happening in Hobart - Sunday, September 11, 2011
• Wake-Up Call - Saturday, August 27, 2011
•   The Connection between Schoolyard and Workplace Bullying - Friday, August 19, 2011  
• Winter in Tasmania - Friday, August 05, 2011
• A Synopsis of My Talk at the Republic Bar on 3rd July - Monday, July 04, 2011
• The Rigours of Life - Friday, July 01, 2011
•  Update on My writing and Other matters - Wednesday, June 22, 2011
• Such Is Life - Wednesday, June 15, 2011

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