Work Abuse: How to Recognize It and Survive It Hardcover – 1 Jul 1997
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I was encouraged to develop my talents and use my time with study and hobbies. This is the antithesis of lament. I am very blessed that I followed through with Mr. Hare's advice in the book.
I might have redone this review more than once, because the timeline below doesn't really make sense, knowing I read this book for the first time in the 90's. After reading this book for the first time I just happened to come across some of his friends online as I sought help out of pure frustration and grief. To be clear, we never met face-to-face, but the topic of our conversations was the content of this book.
I was an unknown, random person who needed help. I am still anonymous to him in a lot of ways I am sure, which is the nature of online communication. He knew enough though to help people like me. It was a process for me to get the results I have now. Nothing, like happiness out of pain; it isn't easy to acquire in my opinion. But what is worth having is also worth working for. Easy to give up and be discouraged. Easy to blame others.
I am now 62, and for many years before I first read this book (which was when I was in my 40's), I had asked people for over 20 years for answers or clues to solving issues I had with my struggles; people would give me nuggets of truth occasionally, but no one knew what to tell me to actually DO about my situation except for what Mr. Hare in his book said, and with advice from another man; both of which I owe much to for my securing a 38-year-long "career" into retirement. Both of them worthy of this praise. The other man, who I met in my 20's is said to have been featured on on the cover of "Psychology Today" last I heard; though, I unfortunately do not know what has become of Mr. Chauncey Hare.
I have empathy for what it must be like to deal with difficult people, and sometimes having to deal with the consequences of coming in contact with people's pain, and/or with their belief systems, which might become altered or ruffled in the process. I was one of them too. I sputtered out of control, feeling discouraged many times because of the pain I've experienced in my career, and without support from a single friend or family member.
I am looking on this experience a bit differently now regarding the risks one takes in perhaps opening up an unlabeled can of beans, if you will, not realizing what it contains until it is revealed. People are not comprised only of what appears on their outsides, and I know this author understood that. Human suffering is universal, and somehow the fact that people online can help with this is reinforcement for me of that fact.
Also, since answers to questions like mine aren't easy to solve, it is clear, at least to me why this is like a textbook. At first I had trouble with the idea that I would need to stop seeking some tangible justice in the short term in order to get a benefit from any resource; and this was difficult for me for years on and off. It felt at first as though it would be disempowering. When I discussed this later with people in my life they often would scoff. But I believe it is true for me that I didn't need to see people pay for any damage that might have been done to me.
Letting go of that notion is very difficult, and for some it feels unjust. That is why it is important to examine thoroughly this authors ideas and his body of work. The alternatives in this book are much more enduring and fulfilling than winning a case, risking a reputation further, being dragged through the muck, and the end result, buying a BMW with the money? And that is if you can prove your case. My sister did that and she is haunted with depression and several autoimmune issues.
She was a happy, healthy, high-functioning, and successful business executive before she was aced out of her job. Because of her experience she sought no other employment. Sure, there are other factors at play here in my sister's case. Still, there are risks to be considered when taking action against others in a court of law. A lawyer told me that to my face when I sought his help over 40 years ago.
Chauncey Hare certainly doesn't seem to be saying to relinquish your personal power to some bully, rendering you what many people would feel is a pathetic and useless state of being; but instead what I believe is that there are other methods of attaining personal power; power over one's own thought processes, and to learn to study our selves and others, managing our perceptions, encouraging change in others' perceptions of us, retraining coping strategies, defenses, and such. And a book alone cannot do that in of it's self. It isn't fair to put the onus of our burdens on one book or one author. Below is my original review.
Let's go back to before I met him:
I read this book about 5-6 years ago for the first time. I also read, "Mobbing", The Bully at Work", and others, which are all good. This, by far, I found, was the most comprehensive, and, it had the most non-violent ways to deal with the "work abuse". I have been in an abusive work environment most of the 35+ years with my company. I cannot leave at this point. I am too close to retirement, and, I was a single parent most of those years.
I have learned from the book that one can take a non-violent, and pro-active approach to their work lives. (ie: I do not fight the system, and I work on my personal talents, developing a skillset, in lieu of suing, which would be fruitless and taxing).
At first, I didn't get that message exactly. It helped to talk all this through with others. But, I do know that this book rang true when I first read it, and I think, with the next successive reads, I learned more and more.
This is a comprehensive text; no fluff here. I keep it in my arsenal, and I refer back to it often.
I am on my third copy of this, and I bought the third one here used and in great condition.
Trust this author. When he writes about "systems", pay attention; it is a very important way to view one cause of the problem in workplaces.
No need to rush through this book. It is to be grasped. Bring it in to a discussion group, or share it with a therapist. Reflect on the ocncepts of this book often.
Personally, it has made my work life, and as a result -- my home life -- bearable.
Judith and Chauncey offer an excellent understanding of the "workplace reality" and why you have been chosen to "not fit" based on that "reality". This book is an excellent tool to walk you through the "craziness" of workplace abuse and into healing.
Work abuse disempowers, dehumanizes and destroys self-esteem through systematic denial that the abuse is happening. More often than not, work abuse affects an entire organization. Society as a whole tends to reinforce work abuse and place the blame on the traumatized victims. Human resource offices (another euphemism for personnel offices) seem likely places for victims to find support. Human resource departments strictly protect the organization.
Millions of people enter the workplace every Monday saying, "is it Friday yet;" on Friday, millions more say, "thank God it's Friday." Others frequently sigh and struggle just to get inside the buildings and refer to their situations as "burn-out" and "work stress," when realistically for most of those people, the true problem is an abusive work environment.
This book explains how and why work abuse happens. It offers an understandable plan for healing, and includes in-depth case studies, exercises, and worksheets to guide the reader. This book is a must read for everyone who is now employed, has been employed, or ever plans to be employed.
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