'Workplace Incivility' on the Rise: Have You Been Treated Badly at Work?

Living 2011/08/12 13:44:59
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We probably don't have to tell you this, but people aren't as polite at work as they used to be.

In fact, "workplace incivility" is on the rise, researchers said Sunday at the American Psychological Association annual meeting, according to USA Today.

This is just a fancy way to say that people are rude and even nasty at work, and may even have "intent to harm."

Certainly, the economy must be partly to blame, as the workplace is more competitive with fewer jobs to go around, people are picking up the slack with smaller staffs and everyone is working extra hard to avoid getting laid off.

But we have to wonder if our nasty culture is partly to blame, too. Television's most popular shows -- "American Idol," "Jersey Shore" -- certainly don't prize good manners (as for "Idol," we're referring to the Simon Cowell era).

Is being polite simply out of style?

Research suggests that "75% to 80% of people have experienced incivility. It's a growing and prevalent problem," said study co-writer Jeannie Trudel of Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion, according to USA Today. "There are very, very negative effects of accumulated minor stresses."

It's damned if you do, damned if you don't. In this economy, it's so hard to find a job ... but once you do, you get treated like dirt. Great.
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  • MunchKin-x 2011/08/12 16:12:19
    A couple months ago when I worked at McDonalds. They would yell at me for everything, But never actually trained me how to do anything. Also they made fun of my weight, Saying I was fat and such. Even though, For my age and height I'm at the perfect weight. o-o; I've been discriminated against cause of my age, the way I look (Rainbow colored hair, Piercings).

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  • MOMMA THOMAS 2011/08/15 22:00:26 (edited)
  • Anna E 2011/08/15 21:59:05 (edited)
    Anna E
    But that was a long time ago. I told the idiot in front of customers that HE was the problem and then I quit. I had a better job lined up anyway. :)
    Oh, and discourtesy has been rising for decades.
  • chas 2011/08/15 21:24:35
    so common over the past 15 years, my experience. Crude language, threats made out of sight of witnesses, are easily done.
  • Paul 2011/08/15 20:12:32
    In the past, yes.
  • JakeisHere 2011/08/15 19:28:29
    I usually am the one mistreating people.
  • doc 2011/08/15 19:16:35
    on a daily basis but then I'm a teacher
  • jajanet 2011/08/15 18:42:46
    shine ...be the best you can be, do not gossip or become a back stabber, maintaine your ethical standards and call it a day. HATEFUL UNHAPPY PEOPLE ARE EVERYWHERE.
  • zionosphere 2011/08/15 18:11:35
    I found the junior high school prison bully hierarchy system a great teacher for how to respond to these sorts of people in later life. The more you let things slide without responding, the worse they can get. I've had to deal with a lot of rude customers over the years - some were just cretins by nature, but some of them seem to use it as a defense mechanism because they are used to being taken advantage of. Once I could politely acknowledge their concerns and show them they were being treated with respect, they became different people, often polite, if not always friendly.

    As for people that confuse your good manners for weakness, there can be other approaches. A friend of mine worked in a bank once where one of his superiors often yelled at him, treated him like crap. When my friend had had enough, he approached him and said quietly, "Don't you *ever* raise your voice to me again. If you have a problem, you may calmly let me know what I can do to help." That was all it took. You can be just as menacing while smiling and being polite.
  • SCOOP--RIP, MY DEAR MAX 2011/08/15 18:08:43
    During my many years at AT&T;, I had many managers, but the last one I had was a real tyrant. The office was a hostile working environment because of her.
  • BrianD3 2011/08/15 17:50:50
    yes, BUT I can dish it out as well as take it and I try to maintain a sense of humor about the absurdity of it all.
  • alex 2011/08/15 17:17:30
  • Everett Thompson 2011/08/15 16:51:55
    Everett Thompson
    Never mind the workplace, I find a lack of manners all over, even in family situations! I see an ad on TV where three firemen are there; one is eating a subway sandwich, and one says, "Looks good," and the second one says, rather insistently, "CAN I have some?" I was taught that "can" means you already have permission, and if you don't, then it's, "MAY." He also leaves out the 'PLEASE." I would have said no, on both counts! I guess the second guy was so sure he was going to get some, that he didn't need to say, "May I," or "Please." I'm always correcting students on this, and they think I'm some sort of ogre, insisting on manners! The 'Politeness Patrol!' I keep on telling them that this is important, if they want to get through a job interview, never mind the job! Is there a way we can get back to a world of politeness, and manners? Huh?
  • zionosp... Everett... 2011/08/15 17:47:00
    If you find a way to that world, please let me know. I trained a few of my co-workers to use manners with me by failing to respond to them unless they did.
    co-worker: "I need a hand with this!"
    me, continuing with my own work: "Yes, it looks like you do."
    co-worker: "..."
    co-worker "Would you *please help me?"
    me: as if just noticing the situation: "Oh, certainly! Let me give you a hand."
    I used a more indirect approach to my boss, but the result was much the same. Your can/may comment is spot-on.
  • j zano ☮ R ☮ P ☮ 2012 ☮ 2011/08/15 16:49:26
    j zano ☮ R ☮ P ☮ 2012 ☮
    of course, My supervisor a old white female told me that her father was part of the KKK. She's a bully and my director told me she was jealous of me because I was young,tall, slim and pretty. She got fired from her last job for some questionable accounting issues. The workforce is a joke.
  • Frank 2011/08/15 15:37:31
    Numerous times, it's part of the job..................
  • La 2011/08/15 14:26:47
    Not really. My coworkers don't get to be rude to me. I get to tell them what to do :) But I am only rude to them if they deserve it. Some people make me want to scratch their face off with their stupidity.
  • GoodEncounter 2011/08/15 12:56:31
    I had 2 horrendous, abusive bosses. I learned a bunch of lessons from those experiences and now I'm blessed with a great boss.
  • Tom 2011/08/15 09:49:31 (edited)
    I had one job where it was expected and actually kind of fun.

    job expected fun drill sergeant

    But I had another job where it was expected and no fun at all.

    job expected fun job expected fun surgery
  • Jamacc 2011/08/15 08:13:16
    When I was doing a rotation in school at a certain Hospital I was treated like crap all the time, this Hospital had the staff sent straight from hell. From the Nurses to the Doctors, clerks and even the patients. They were always rude and disrespectful, bad attitudes. they offered me a job after i graduated, i told them i would rather cut off my own leg than step foot in that hospital again. Three Months later i had to go for an x-ray, i had Broken my leg. The supervisor that I had made the above comment came out from around the station, looked at me in the wheelchair and said, "I guess you try to cut off your leg then?" It was funny but she had the worst attitude of all!
  • Tom Jamacc 2011/08/15 09:55:15
    very "House of God"
  • Nabael 2011/08/15 05:50:49 (edited)
  • bea~~woo's nana~~ 2011/08/15 04:03:00
    bea~~woo's nana~~
    I worked in an office and the office manager was the biggest SOB I have ever known he made fun of the employees he lied on the employees called people white trash. He managed to fire every person that was there when he came and replaced them with people he wanted. And the doctors in this office wouldn't listen to the employees and when all was said and done the ass wipe embezzled from them. Hope they throw him under the jail
  • killernick~PWCM~JLA 2011/08/15 01:27:18 (edited)
  • Adam 2011/08/15 01:13:34
    Of course I have, everyone has since the dawn of the job. That's no realization.

    Look, people always think that things suck compared to, "Back in the day" because Nostalgia is powerful. Of course when people start looking back, they are going to be prone to say that jobs suck regardless of the reality. Not to mention standards! You really think that Women were treated better in the past? Or minorities? Ask a woman what counts as a good day in this day and age, and it is probably very similar to what the men say. Go back a couple decades and a good day is one where no one tried to grab your ass or treat you as if you were mentally deficient because you have breasts.

    Quality of life, including at the work place, is increasing geometrically. Expectations are increasing exponentially.
  • marcie 2011/08/14 22:44:27
    Haven't we all at some point . Not everyone has a sunny personality to start with and we all have days were nothing goes right and we take it out on someone else.
  • Mechelle 2011/08/14 22:03:12
    I worked for Oxford Inn as a desk clerk and my boss was mean as a snake. Instead of saying excuse me to get by me she would shove me out of her way. She would talk down to me in front of everyone guest and coworkers. It got so bad I would throw up every day before I went to work. When I went to corperate about it they came and we all sat in an office and she yelled at me for a half hour while slamming her fist on the table. I thought she was going to hit me. All because I had a hearing problemb in one ear and had to have surgery and would be off work for 2 weeks.
  • Megagenie Mechelle 2011/08/15 05:28:38
    ur boss sure sucks! I know I would tell her off and I wouldn't care if she fired me or all. I would stand up and tell her that she sucks and that I wouldn't tolerate her pms moods and of course, pack away and go find another suitable job where boss can treat you right and be polite.
  • Mechelle Megagenie 2011/08/15 19:25:27
    I did. I left for a better job. When a person is throwing up before work every day, there is a problem and something should be done. She is still there treating people like that from what I hear. By the way, I had a tumor on my ear drum that had to be removed and she was mad that I had to have surgery and time off from work..
  • Megagenie Mechelle 2011/08/16 00:42:19
    Those poor mistreated people might as well all quit and find suitable jobs while that woman stay behind and do everything by herself.
  • Larry 2011/08/14 21:37:32
    Yes, but nothing serious.
  • Darkitec 2011/08/14 19:28:14
    I once told a boss that if things didn't change that I had a resume and knew how to use it.
  • taitaFalcon23 2011/08/14 15:40:59
    most people have, they just don't realize it most of the time.. Just because you are an employee does not mean you have to take whatever is dished out or be fired... the paradigm that we work under is going to get meaner. Those with an attention span of a gerbil think the only forms of existence are; workers have no rights, or the country is doomed by the socialistic union. As soon as we have courage to seek a third option, we are going to experience the undoing of the last 20th century.
  • Paradox25 2011/08/14 15:04:39
    Employers are definitely taking advantage of employees by requiring higher skill levels to perform a task for less money and less manpower. As a result the few employees are out to cut each others throats to try to get ahead. The workforce has always been like this but yes there is little doubt that in this job market, where employees are competing with each other instead of employers competing for employees, that hostile working enviroments are on the rise.
  • bigeasy628 2011/08/14 14:42:33
    If you consider verbally abused mistreated
  • Ira 2011/08/14 14:30:23
    I am a Registered Nurse and work for a very large not for profit home health agency. I have never been treated badly, behaved rude towards or otherwise been the brunt of some power hungry idiot superior. I have been requested to do what appeared to me as idiotic, but that is just bosses responding with too much caution where it is not warranted. No biggie.
  • Gordon 2011/08/14 14:29:02
    Some people thrive on being mean or vulgar to their co-workers. Satan the Devil is strong in them, as he is in many American companies. Thank goodness employers can be sued for allowing such activity by their hostile employees. My wife is in the human resources department of a major corporation, and they ditch mean employees to avoid lawsuits. human resources department major corporation ditch employees avoid lawsuits mean boss
  • Dogzebra~PWCM~JLA 2011/08/14 14:17:21
    Mostly in the form of reverse discrimination.
  • Larry Dogzebr... 2011/08/14 21:37:10
    Do you mean anti-white discrimination?
  • Dogzebr... Larry 2011/08/14 23:15:51
    Anti-white/male/age discrimination.
  • Everett... Larry 2011/08/15 17:05:45
    Everett Thompson
    Not EVERYTHING is anti-white or anti-black discrimination, Larry. I believe the movement to enhance racial equality is long past. Certainly, whites did treat blacks, and other colored races despicably, in years past, but I think now we need to just realize that great steps have been taken to equalize races, and now to focus more on equality of job skills, and the like. The skin colors may be different, but there is no difference in blood types! We are all equal, under the skin.
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