Monday, November 30, 2009

Don't Give The Ammo to Shoot You With!

If you're being targeted in your workplace (and even if you aren't), you should take extra care not to give your enemies ammunition to use against you. If someone is targeting you for race-related reasons, they will often attempt to find a pretext to use--a non-race related reason that appears to be a legitimate concern--that will justify why they are subjecting you to scrutiny, criticism and/or employment actions.

You have to remember not to give anyone ammunition to use against you that can serve as the pretext to coverup their real motivation--racial discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation.

Everything you do will be reviewed with a fine tooth comb. Your every move will be analyzed to see how it can be twisted to fit a negative narrative that can be created for you by your supervisor or employer, as a whole.

Targeting an employee amounts to engaging in psychological warfare. It's about wearing a person down until they stop complaining or until the employee can be set up for employment actions, such as demotion, suspension and, ultimately, termination.

So, an supervisor/employer may try to turn coworkers against a targeted employee in order to isolate them, may pick apart their assignments looking for errors, may only provide partial instructions for assignments in order to cause errors, may give large volumes of work to be turned around in a short time in order to cause an employee to miss deadlines, may physically or verbally threaten a targeted employee, may encroach on the employee's personal space, may bully the employee, may spread lies about the employee around the workplace, may deny the employee a transfer in order to continue a hostile work environment among those willing to target the employee, etc.

All of this creates stress and/or health issues (headaches, nausea, high blood pressure, insomnia, etc.) for a targeted employee. And, under that stress is an increased likelihood that the employee will begin to make mistakes that can be used against him/her. The stress causes distractions and feelings of being demoralized. It's hard for a person to concentrate on work, when they have so many tumultuous things going on at their job. The end result is that many employees will give up their complaint and just shut up to save their job and health, they'll resign or there will be enough "issues" documented for an employer to terminate the employee.

That's why there is today's reminder on not giving anyone ammunition, while you are literally fighting for your employment survivial. You have to hard as that may be. You have to do everything possible to rob your supervisor, employer, etc. of opportunities to have new examples of negative performance on your part.

Here are some places employers will look for ammunition to use against a targeted employee:

--The use of sick and personal leave (claims of excessive use or unauthorized use);

--Typos in documents or emails sent to heavy-weights at your company or to a client (claims of careless errors and/or incompetence);

--Errors in documents, in a database, in emails, etc. (claims of careless errors or incompetence);

--Claims of negative relationships with coworkers (opportunities to call a targeted employee "negative" or "not a team player" or "angry");

--Failure to follow instructions (claims of incompetence);

-- Etc. You get the picture.

Here's what you can do:

--Go to the doctor to create a medical record of your health as you battle workplace racism and get doctors notes to submit to your employer, when you are out;

--Try not to take vacation, when there is a major assignment going on or that will be happening at that time. This can help prevent you from being labeled as having abandoned major work and causing staffing problems;

--Proof all of your documents, emails, etc. Look for typos and grammatical errors. Don't send email in all uppercase or lowercase. If you're upset by an email you received and want to send a response, don't write back with emotion. It's okay to draft an email with your heart, but you have to edit with your head. Strip out emotional content and just write a professional email that sticks to the facts;

--Carefully review instructions. If you think some steps are missing, ask the person about adding in some steps based on your experience performing the work. Talk over the instructions with the person to get them to commit the instructions to words and not just paper. If there's a problem later, you can recount the conversation along with the written instructions. That puts more responsibility on those that may want to set you up for failure.

--Keep people in the loop on your projects. If a problem comes up due to bad instructions or some other issues, send an immediate email--even if you can't stand the person you are working with/reporting to. Don't sit on it and give ammunition out. Identify the problem and a potential solution. But, do it in writing, so they can't lie and say you never spoke up.




Blogger Lisa said...

Hello Mary Wills, I would love to speak with you one on one in reference to a on hte job claim I am going through now. If I can reach out to you for some conversation and advice, it would be appreciated. please contact me at your earliest at:
Thanks and I love your blog and articles:)

1:15 PM  
Blogger Fighter said...

Thanks for the constant reminder of DOCUMENTING EVERYTHING. I have recently started a log & document everything in detail, just in case. I wish I documented my encounters with my accusers in the past when I had problems in my other jobs.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Emails? Memos? In the 'Hood, if a person is accused of coming in late all the time and not doing their work, the odds are they probably WERE coming in late and not doing their work!

It only takes two lazy black employees to prove the stereotype true to ignorant whites -- so these problem employees need to be handled with an iron hand, not hippy sensitivity about understanding.

Black people in the 'Hood are far more racist than whites, so some whites are waiting for their black co-workers to fu*k up.

It's a vicious cycle.

10:46 PM  

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