Last year I was a guest on an NPR call-in talk show to discuss workplace etiquette. Most calls were about shaking hands, conducting meetings, asking for a raise, recovering from calling your boss by your wife's name. (Maybe that's just me.) It was light and funny, until one caller asked for advice about being shunned by her coworkers. They would gather near her desk, talking about work she was involved in without asking her to weigh in. They never invited her to lunch or after-work drinks. When she brought up her feelings, her colleagues dismissed and mocked her. She felt unimportant and ostracized. And she sounded deeply distressed.
I felt ill-equipped to answer the question. I stammered out a reply. I made a joke. (She didn't laugh.) The show's host suggested that she record these instances and, if they continued, alert a supervisor. The host labeled the behavior as "bullying." Which at first struck me as infantilizing.
I hadn't felt bullied since middle school.