Walked Out

Dear Walked Out:

Thank you for taking a few moments to describe the disturbing malicious behavior of your apparently jealous coworker and failure of managers to stop it or to enable you to transfer. One of the purposes of Ask the Workplace Doctors is to surface such bully behavior and thereby to consider options to resolve and/or prevent it. Even without providing us the details that might have enabled your managers or Human Resources to stop his behavior, your question in itself and hopefully our advice can provide others like you to make informed decisions about how to cope, and if not to move on. Because you are unemployed, that will be the first topic of our response to your question.

You are right that an unhappy mean spirited coworker can cause someone like you to leave a good job. I read your question as one who understandably would like to get some revenge, and that might be possible sometime. But now is not the time for that. Admittedly it would have been best for you to have another job in hand before you walked out. Applying for a new job is easier when you are employed. That choice is past. Now the primary focus for you is to help your family and yourself not to be trapped in anger and depression. Unless you are independently wealthy, you  need to find new employment–something that might be especially challenging in the times of pandemic. Therefore, let’s first consider what works best when you have no job and have quit an unhappy situation.

Par I. So get your duck in a row: resume, past evaluations, former coworkers recommendations, numbers of projects completed and results if that is possible with your kind of work, Most of all you need to compile what now across your years of employment made you feel good–that generated an eagerness. Creating such a story is important because it motivates your job search. Once you reaffirm what most satisfies you, contact placement agencies. And also it is time to talk with former coworkers and friends–people who are employed somewhere other than form where you walked out. They may probably say, “There’s not a job opening here..” You should expect that, and be prepared to say, where do you advise that I look–do you know someone I might call?” Out placement firms, such as Challenger, Gray and Christmas will prescribe and guide you in such a process. (Challenger, Gray & Christmas

www.challengergray.com

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. is a Chicago-based global outplacement & career transitioning firm that leverages its expertise to create better opportunities for job seekers and companies alike.)

Part II What other way might you “make someone pay for the hardship this has caused me and my family”? Unfortunately, the short and sad answer to your question is that there’s probably nothing. I expect that you said to yourself time after time when you felt you were being treated a piece of s$&? You hoped that individual would suffer as you were and that he would be the one to quit. When management did nothing to stop him, you probably debated with yourself and may have thought, I’ll sue the bastard after I quit. 

You are not alone with such thoughts. Others who have contacted us have endured bullying and demeaning treatment, such as you have, for months and even years. Such an individual, let’s call him Jess, may have persuaded others in the workgroup to join with him in abuse. This abuse by coworker Jess might have taken many forms and now it matters little what they were–calling you stupid, maliciously blaming you for mistakes that they themselves have made or publishing photos of your pay stub.

Such victims of abuse have tried  in different ways to stop from being the scapegoat in their work group by returning niceness for mistreatment, accepting blame for what they did not do, yelling back after being yelled at, reporting it to management, and/or avoiding the bullying coworker by silence. As a last resort, like you, they walk out.

Legal recourse after quitting, has little to no possiblity,  except for a legitgmate kinds of discrimination: race or national origin, sexual harassment or hostile enviornment, religion, age, and disability. Almost any attorney who would take a discrimination case would need to explicit evience of what, where, and when discrinatory acts occurred. Your description of mistreatment is not specific. It lacks the kind of details to win a case even when one is still employed. 

The only other form of recourse that I know of is if you know of acts that Jess has harmed the workplace. That then entails an investigation and anyone who reports on Jess’ wrongdoing usually suffers stigma common to whistleblowers of not being able to be hired elsewhere.  

Finally I suggest that you review the circumstances that escalated to the point that caused you to vote with your feet. Think through what might have motivated Jess to hate and seek out ways to provoke others to resent you. Reverse roles and create how you would have dealt if you were management and were told more than one of Jesss’s bullying. Although an exit interview didn’t take place when you quit, you can formally request that a belated one might prevent reports of abuse to management multiple times and a request for a transfer being ignored. I have shared the question you submitted with Dr. Mark Mindell, who has headed human Resources in several major corporations. Occasionally, Mark makes time to add to what we have to advise. If he responds, before I conclude, I will include what he sends, or possibly later. After Dr. Mindell read this response I am mailing to you, he confirms the importance that you job hunt now: 

I completely agree with your assessment – he should not have simply quit as I suspect he also ‘burned that bridge’ when he did.  Obviously, there is at least one reason why his coworker ‘hated him’ other than jealousy or he would not have gone out of his way to make life miserable for anonymous.  And under normal circumstances, there would have been ‘hell to pay’ for sending out a copy of the paystub.  

However, he has quit and he needs to find another job.  He should also do some self-evaluation to try to more objectively determine what went wrong and how he can prevent the same thing from happening at his next job.


I personally have quit work where top management suspended my promotion and so I empathize with you in a job search. I did postdoctoral work because I didn’t find a job for a year. Working together with hands, head and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.  

You can find numerous Q&As in our Archives under the category of troublesome coworkers. Also FYI below are sites pertaining to coping with troublesome coworker: 

  1. 5 mental strategies for dealing with a toxic coworker
    www.cnbc.com/2017/10/24/5-mental-strategies-for…
    Oct 24, 2017 · A toxic coworker can leave you feeling down for hours or even days after they do something mean. To prevent that, imagine a wall between you and the person, the psychologist suggests. 
  2. 15 Signs of a Jealous Co-Worker – Hintnaija
    hintng.com/15-signs-of-a-jealous-co-worker
    Jul 26, 2018 · Jealousy in the workplace can ruin your career path because of the lengths jealous co-workers could go. It will cause discomfort and damage in the long run, if not properly managed. Managing jealousy and envy in the workplace is not easy. In order to manage jealousy in the workplace, you must first know the signs of a jealous co-worker
  3. How to Deal With a Manipulative Coworker – Two Cents twocents.lifehacker.com/how-to-deal-with-a…
    At one of my first “real” jobs, I was on a project with a group of workers who were notoriously manipulative. I buddied up with someone who seemed easygoing, though. During a meeting, our boss asked her why one of her tasks didn’t get done. My easy going friend flat-out blamed it on me. It was my first experience with a manipulative coworker and it was not fun.
  4. How to Deal With a Disruptive and Petty Coworker | Career Trend by Ashley Miller
https://careertrend.com/deal-disruptive-petty-coworker-8906.html

Disquieting | Definition of Disquieting at Dictionary.com

www.dictionary.com/browse/disquieting

distressing, perplexing, unsettling, bothersome, disturbing, annoying, worrying, disconcerting, vexing, troubling, perturbing, irritating, unnerving, troublesome Example sentences from the Web for disquieting They had a party later on in Richmond with their friends, which I found at once happy but disquieting.

Definition of malicious

: having or showing a desire to cause harm to someone : given to, marked by, or arising from malice

malicious gossip

  1. 5 mental strategies for dealing with a toxic coworker
    www.cnbc.com/2017/10/24/5-mental-strategies-for…
    Oct 24, 2017 · A toxic coworker can leave you feeling down for hours or even days after they do something mean. To prevent that, imagine a wall between you and the person, the psychologist suggests.
  2. 15 Signs of a Jealous Co-Worker – Hintnaija
    hintng.com/15-signs-of-a-jealous-co-worker
    Jul 26, 2018 · Jealousy is the workplace can ruin your career path because of the lengths jealous co-workers could go. It will cause discomfort and damages n the long run, if not properly managed. Managing jealousy and envy in the workplace is not easy. In order to manage jealousy in the workplace, you must first know the signs of a jealous co-worker

How to Deal With a Manipulative Coworker – Two Cents
twocents.lifehacker.com/how-to-deal-with-a…
At one of my first “real” jobs, I was on a project with a group of workers who were notoriously manipulative. I buddied up with someone who seemed easygoing, though. During a meeting, our boss asked her why one of her tasks didn’t get done. My easygoing friend flat-out blamed it on me. It was my first experience with a manipulative coworker and it was not fun.