6 October 2015 14 Comments
Dr Anuja Cabraal (@AnujaCabraal) has been working in academia for over ten years.
Over this time, she has worked on a lot of different topics, including learning and teaching, microfinance, social and financial inclusion, banking and migration. However, her real passion lies in qualitative research methods and methodology.
Her previous article for the Research Whisperer was about how to make casual employment work for you.
A close colleague of mine has been subjected to workplace bullying. It happened soon after she completed her PhD, when we both started working as early career researchers. She was bullied by two male professors. She later confessed that she didn’t realise it was bullying until much later.
This is what happened. I have masked some of the information because she didn’t want to be identified.
Let’s call my friend Jade. Jade worked in an open plan area, just outside the offices of two professors. At times, they would meet in their offices. At least twice a day, they would stand outside their office to talk and brainstorm ideas.
One day, Jade politely asked them if they would mind talking softly, move into their office, or go to one of the many meeting rooms, as she was trying to concentrate. In total, she asked them twice to do this. They then complained to the head of department about her behaviour. The head of department took their side, without even talking to Jade. He told Jade’s boss that he would not tolerate a researcher being rude to professors. (Let’s just leave aside the point that she had brought in a lot more research funding than either of them.)
Neither of the professors or the head of department ever mentioned the complaint to Jade, or even told her about the incident. Jade’s boss was the one to tell her about it.