Reverse Ageism And Bullying Often Occur Together
If you take on a new job opportunity where the majority of your group is older than you, you might think “great, I can learn a lot from these coworkers.” This situation could be a great learning opportunity, but unfortunately, it could also become an opportunity for reverse ageism bullying to occur.
There’s a chance that your older peers may feel intimidated by you because of many reasons – including that you’re threatening their comfort and security with your new ideas or plans, especially if the group has been established for a while. Perhaps it took your coworkers longer to make it into the group, or to grow to the level you have been brought in at, and so they may feel that you don’t deserve to be in your position because you’re too young in age.
How can you identify if reverse ageism bullying is happening to you? Here are some ways?
Stay Alert, and Listen
Listen to what is being said to and about you. Is anyone on your team making sarcastic remarks about you or your age? Do you feel singled out in the group? Are you hearing jokes about your inexperience? Is someone harassing, frightening or intimidating you? If so, you’re being bullied because the bully has a problem with your age!
Reverse Ageism and Ageism Can Both Include Bullying
Ageism bullying can also occur with older employees. In the case of the older worker, it is very likely that the ageism bullying will come from upper-management. Older employees are usually at the top of the pay scale within their company, and they’re expensive. If they can be bullied out of the company, the employer can replace them with 2 or sometimes 3 younger workers.
Are you being bullied because of your age? You can identify this the same way as a younger employee experiencing reverse ageism bullying – what are they saying about you, are they making jokes about your age, are you often singled out in the group?
Realizing You’re Not Alone
Chances are, you’re not the only person being impacted by ageism bullying at your company. Other employees in the office might have seen or been hurt by bullying and are afraid to speak up. Others might be afraid to become bullied themselves. Some might be so intimidated by what’s happening that their work performance suffers.
Find Out If Others Are Being Impacted Too
If you’re looking to find out if there are other employees at the company being bullied you should be on the lookout for some of these actions: Is there a higher than normal turnover rate within a group? Does it seem difficult for your coworkers to have open dialogue, and instead they always sound like they are carefully choosing their words? Does someone seem extremely nervous, on-edge or upset in the office?
Document and Takes Noes
Make sure you document all of the occurrences of the ageism bullying that has happened to you and continues to happen to you. If there is any bullying that was in email or chat form, copy and save those in a file or take a photo of them. Go to your company’s Human Resources department and file a complaint. Ask other employees who may have overheard the bullying if they would be okay with talking with HR to support your story. You may even want to talk with a lawyer about the situation.
The one thing you really don’t want to do is nothing! Please make sure to get help, even if it’s just talking with a friend about the ageism bullying you are experiencing to get support. Staying quiet and letting it continue isn’t healthy for you or for the company you work for.