People can be bullies in all kinds of different ways.
Some are like the classic playground bully – the big kid who picks on younger kids and beats them up for no apparent reason. Let’s call these the “burly bullies.”
Some use words instead of physical force – the ones who verbally insult or humiliate others, who call people names, who use words to manipulate. The “verbal bullies.”
Then there are the ones who use money. They have control over the money in some way, and know that you need it. So they use that power they have over you to manipulate you in some way. These are “economic bullies.”
Some bullies are all three types – or more – at the same time.
I’m not a psychologist or expert of that kind but I think that in order for bullies to exist requires two things: a certain personality, and circumstances of differential power. Not everybody who is a boss or is physically large is a bully… and conversely, sociopaths who don’t actually have any power over anybody or anything can’t really be effective bullies. But put both together – power + personality… and it’s a surefire recipe for bullyhood.
Chances are you probably can’t change your boss’s personality. But you can do something about the power part: you can do the equivalent of the little kid punching the playground bully in the nose.
In the US, we are incredibly fortunate to have laws protecting our rights. Some states are more employee-friendly than others, but one way to stand up to bully-bosses is to hold them accountable in regard to paying you the wages you are entitled to, by law. It is important to learn what your specific rights are (and aren’t) in your state (they vary), and a good lawyer can help you determine that.
If you feel like a puppet that your boss jerks around by pulling the strings (your compensation) you can put a stop to that dynamic. Your boss does NOT have the power there, as much as s/he may act like s/he does. You are entitled to your pay, for the work you do. Legally. That’s the deal. That’s how it works. If your boss does not pay you correctly, the weight of the law and the judicial system can show up to back you up like a posse of older kids magically appearing at your side there near the swing set. At AndersonDodson, P.C., that is what we do for our clients.
If you’re in that position and you want our help, just say the word. That’s what we do (in New York, Colorado, and Georgia). Give us a call or email and let’s take a stand against your bully-boss together.