The Silent Workplace Epidemic that Endangers Millennials

Millennial employees get a bad rap—often chastised as being lazy and self-involved, they are actually the largest current generation and swiftly eclipsing baby boomers in the workforce. While they bring plenty to the table—innovation, creativity, technological know-how, inclusiveness—they are also vulnerable to toxic workplaces. The medical journal Pediatrics reports that not only are they more likely to become clinically depressed than any other generation, more young women are struggling with the disease. Clearly they need psychologically healthy, safe and fair workplaces to make the most of their potential and maintain their physical and mental health.

Not meeting this standard has dire consequences for individuals as well as the nation. This is why I’m working with Mental Health America (MHA) to improve psychological health in America’s workplaces. MHA has studied this problem and found that mental health issues cost $51 billion per year in absenteeism and lost productivity and $26 billion in direct treatment costs.

My fear is that the current atmosphere of divisiveness, bigotry and bullying promoted by the current administration will compound the problem of mental health in the workplace. Adult bullying in the workplace can cause even more havoc on a person’s well-being than school bullying—many adults need their jobs so they and their families can survive. In a tough economy they may have no other option, so they are forced to endure negative treatment, which gone unchecked can lead to physical and mental illness and even suicide. With one in five Americans afflicted with a mental health issue at any given time, this is a serious consequence. For more information on how to create psychologically healthy, safe and fair workplaces and maximize the potential of millennials—and all employees—see my book, From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire.

If you have coworkers—especially millennials—who are suffering, I urge you to reach out to them. As I indicated in recent articles about suicide resulting from workplace bullying and living with a person with mental illness, no one has to go this alone. There are resources for help. Choose to be an ally and advocate instead of a bystander. You can make a difference in someone’s life.


Predicting What Trump Will Do Next

We keep reading in the media about the utter unpredictability of Donald Trump, but I say this is nonsense. From my study of bullies and how bullying works, I know exactly what he’s going to do next. But first, let me give you some background.

Over the years I’ve become something of an expert on adult bullies—I was one early in my career until a wise supervisor set me straight, later on I sadly confess I was at times a bystander to bullying. I’ve been the victim of bullying so severe I was diagnosed with a form of PTSD, and today I’m an advocate for victims of bullying. I’ve dedicated my career to preventing and ending bullying in the workplace, which has inspired two books as well as my foundation’s current partnership with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and our joint Emotion Revolution in the Workplace initiative.

So I can reasonably declare that I’ve learned how bullies work. They are masters of manipulation, deflection, deception, deceit and denial and no one is better at bullying than Donald Trump. Bullies are particularly dangerous when their back is against the wall and the growing agitation about Trump’s connection with Russia is going to have his back against the bricks very soon. The onus is on Congress and the Republicans to force disclosure before the inauguration because it will be easier to prevent Trump from being inaugurated than to try to impeach him afterward. My prediction is if that happens he will do everything he can to maintain his power and control.  He will abuse the power of the presidency up to and including drastic things like martial law.

We only have one week to prevent this disastrous occurrence and I’m deeply concerned. I shared that concern in December when I wrote about my 97-year-old mother who was in the Dutch Resistance in World War II and whose greatest regret was that she didn’t do more to save the victims of the Nazis. That’s why I’m urging you to do what you can and inundate your representatives to demand full disclosure. Don’t let Trump and his people shut you down. Make your voice be heard before it’s too late. America’s future depends upon it.    


Response to Levinas NYT Op-Ed

 “… Levinas has taught us that our responsibility for others is the foundation of all human communities, and that the very possibility of living in a meaningful human world is based on our ability to give what we can to others.” This article is moving, and while the lessons that the philosopher Levinas can definitely be applied to refugees, as the piece suggests, I also see parallels for the modern workplace. Bystanders who witness the abuse of others need to become defenders, resisters and activists against harsh treatment. Read the full story at The New York Times.

Photo Credit: Sergey Ponomarev for NYT