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S1E09: When you have no control, how do you manage workplace bullying? We interviewed Tammy

In this powerful interview, Nicola and Gina sit down with Tammy, a former nurse in the military who experienced bullying in her workplace. Tammy shares her harrowing experience and how it ultimately led her to leave the military and start her own leadership consultancy. Throughout the interview, Tammy delves into the challenges she faced in the military, including the toxic culture of fear and intimidation that made it difficult for her to speak out about the bullying she was experiencing.

Despite these challenges, Tammy persevered and used her experience to fuel her passion for leadership development and building supportive workplace cultures. Nicola and Gina provide a safe and supportive space for Tammy to share her story and offer valuable insights into the importance of creating a positive and inclusive workplace environment. This interview is a must-watch for anyone who has experienced workplace bullying or is passionate about building strong and supportive teams. Join us as we explore Tammy’s inspiring journey towards healing and empowerment.

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Oh yeah.Speaker 2: 53:32

All these different shirts. No, that was the other Brian. That was T-shirt Brian Oh.Speaker 1: 53:37

T-shirt Brian. Oh my God, yeah, brian with the insurgents was very funny.Speaker 2: 53:41

Yeah, um, we had the lady with four million jobs. Do you remember that one Mm? hmm, i know Where she had like what was it Like? 47.Speaker 1: 53:54

Like her first. Like her first line out of the box was like I’ve had 46 jobs in the past 30 years and we’re like what.Speaker 2: 54:05

We’ve got Amy, who talks to us about toxic positivity, which is pretty cool, and then we had Stu, who was our most recent recording, yeah, talking about leadership, which I’m pretty bloody excited about.Speaker 1: 54:20

And now so we’ll be doing some more interviews, but also sprinkling in some of the research episodes.Speaker 2: 54:25

Yeah, and then we’ll be doing some research episodes is going to like is our next kind of step right? That’s our evolution.Speaker 1: 54:33

And we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what you guys like more And if you have any comments, thoughts, reactions, just reach out to us.Speaker 2: 54:39

Yeah, We really appreciate everybody’s comments. Yeah, We’ve had. I just, I just get so excited when someone comments, So if you could comment like like subscribe, share follow all those good things. Come join us on LinkedIn. Come join us on.Speaker 3: 54:55

Instagram, yeah, yeah Find us a good place.Speaker 4: 54:57

We’d be happy to have you.Speaker 2: 54:59

And we’ll see you in season two. Couple weeks, yeah, yeah, a couple weeks. Thank you for joining us today. If you would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you.Speaker 1: 55:10

Also, leaving a review helps us create more content because it shows us there’s an interest in this topic.Speaker 2: 55:16

For those of our listeners who do better with reading, we have closed caption available on YouTube.Speaker 1: 55:20

See you next week, same time and same place.

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Speaker 2 [00:00:57] In today’s episode.

Speaker 1 [00:01:00] We have some really good ones coming up, but so you know how I was talking about when we’re vetting you and you want to tell everyone what that’s all about and we’re letting people now because we had.

Speaker 2 [00:01:14] A couple.

Speaker 4 [00:01:15] To.

Speaker 1 [00:01:16] Two situations where.

Speaker 4 [00:01:18] We.

Speaker 1 [00:01:19] Were so excited that people were interested in being on our podcast that we were like, Sure, doors wide open and we.

Nicola [00:01:26] Had to maybe close the door. A smudge.

Gina [00:01:29] We have to only crack it open a little and see who we’re going to actually let in, because we had one participant that I had to stop the podcast about 15 to 20 minutes in and just say, This is not going to work, this is not a fit.

Nicola [00:01:49] And so eloquent thought you were so good at that. Like, I was really impressed with how eloquent that delivery was.

Gina [00:01:55] I have no idea how that happened because inside my head I was like screaming like, Shut the fuck up. Like, none of this is actually anything that I agree with. None of this is anything that our listeners want to hear about. You have your own weird agenda and I am not about it.

Speaker 4 [00:02:14] Yeah, it was.

Nicola [00:02:15] Definitely not on the app. You know what? Obviously, we’re not going to say what it was, but just trust that if we were on the Big Fat No, I feel like everybody would be on the big fat. Naw. Yeah. Anyway, so this has led us now to having to vet people and granted sudden rise to meteoric fame.

Speaker 4 [00:02:38] Yes, we have.

Gina [00:02:39] We have. Okay, let’s just talk about our our sudden rise to fame.

Nicola [00:02:43] You know, it’s a number. It’s a number that we’ve got. And it’s a high number which is far higher than we ever anticipated. High enough. Do not say the number, but it’s high enough for us to be in the top 25% of podcasts.

Gina [00:02:56] Statistically, there’s that. So basically what you’re telling me is that we’re famous.

Nicola [00:03:03] Where is the money if we’re famous? Where is the fucking money?

Gina [00:03:07] Well, let’s not forget about Bob, Bob or Sid Out.

Nicola [00:03:10] $3 Bob.

Speaker 4 [00:03:11] Bob is what I love you for your half of $3.

Gina [00:03:15] Didn’t we put it towards web like we’re podcasting.

Speaker 4 [00:03:19] Yeah. Yeah, we do.

Gina [00:03:21] Hosting things. Yeah. I mean, so. Yeah, but we need like a couple more Bob Bob versions out there anyway, so.

Speaker 4 [00:03:28] You know.

Nicola [00:03:28] What? We do have a subscription service. If you would like to subscribe, please, please do, because it’s only $3 a month and you get all the fun, juicy stuff behind the scene.

Gina [00:03:38] Yes. And those may or may not include tits. May or may not. And that’s like my own.

Nicola [00:03:44] Okay. No, Megan’s one. Megan’s one. We in our behind the scenes there.

Speaker 4 [00:03:50] And it’s high profile, pro.

Nicola [00:03:52] Inappropriate stuff, but it’s essentially just about other people’s kinks.

Speaker 4 [00:03:57] That. Oh, yeah, it’s a good one. No, it’s a good one. But we couldn’t good with that one.

Nicola [00:04:02] We had to put that one behind a closed door together.

Gina [00:04:04] And there was also an additional side story about.

Speaker 4 [00:04:09] Someone risking.

Gina [00:04:10] Scamming the system in multiple ways. Like it was, it was pretty divine. So there’s our plus.

Speaker 4 [00:04:20] It was a hot button.

Gina [00:04:22] It was. It was it was a hot one also. Can we get some more likes and comments on Apple Podcasts because it does something cool to the algorithm. Maybe we’ll start popping up in the Browse feature.

Nicola [00:04:35] Like, Oh please, that would be delightful.

Gina [00:04:37] How’s your sister out?

Nicola [00:04:38] Sisters. Sisters.

Gina [00:04:40] Sisters. Sister collective. Help the sisters out people.

Speaker 4 [00:04:44] I mean.

Gina [00:04:46] You could just write like awesome or you could be like their voices annoy me, but still give us five stars. Or you know what else?

Nicola [00:04:55] I’m also open. I would love for us to get some voice messages. As in on our Speak pipe channel where you can leave like a 62nd voice message and you can tell us a how awesome we are, which would be ideal.

Speaker 4 [00:05:09] Or yuck or lay those.

Gina [00:05:14] Out like sometimes one of them. If you actually watch on YouTube, YouTube, YouTube.

Speaker 4 [00:05:19] You know, it’s a YouTube.

Gina [00:05:20] Yeah. If you watch on the YouTube or as my mom would say, the tic tac, we actually don’t have TikTok.

Speaker 4 [00:05:26] But based on the book Facebook.

Gina [00:05:29] The book faces, if you do watch on YouTube, you can also leave us a voice message about how sometimes one of my eyes looks like it’s got like eyeliner on it and the other one doesn’t.

Nicola [00:05:41] I feel like this is the first time I’m hearing of this, and it’s the first time I’m noticing this, too.

Speaker 4 [00:05:46] What? No.

Gina [00:05:48] See, it’s this I.

Nicola [00:05:49] Okay, so which I is that exact. It’s my.

Gina [00:05:52] Left eye. It’s my left eye.

Nicola [00:05:54] What is exactly wrong with your left eye?

Gina [00:05:56] There’s nothing really wrong with it. It’s just that there’s a very subtle scar underneath it.

Speaker 4 [00:06:02] Well, you.

Nicola [00:06:03] Were. You were a chameleon before you had the scar.

Gina [00:06:06] No. Can look like I’m wearing, like, eyeliner when I’m not. So, like, this eye looks a little darker than that. I when I was younger, sometimes it would look like my eye was black and blue. And I don’t know where we went with that one, but yeah. So if you want to see my oddly scarred eye, which you wouldn’t notice unless.

Nicola [00:06:24] Until you pointed out like you just did.

Gina [00:06:27] Yeah, exactly. The vetting today, we had some really good ones.

Speaker 4 [00:06:32] Oh, you know what?

Nicola [00:06:32] I think they were three for three.

Gina [00:06:35] We were three for three. I’m excited about all of them for different reasons. There’s one that I’m really excited about, and I know you know the one I’m talking about. No spoilers, no spoilers. And then there’s another one that I’m excited about, just because I have a familial tie to the industry that this person worked in. My my father also worked in the same industry. Do you.

Nicola [00:07:02] Know what? I just feel like all three of these people were just so gorgeous.

Gina [00:07:06] Were they gorgeous?

Speaker 4 [00:07:08] They were gorgeous, yeah.

Gina [00:07:10] But you know what? In your defense, Nicola, you have ever since I made fun of you about the gorgeous word that you use, you stopped using it. I give you mad props. Mad props.

Nicola [00:07:21] See, we give each other compliments like my complimentary peanut comment.

Gina [00:07:25] Yes, exactly. You are like a complimentary peanut.

Nicola [00:07:29] I am a complimentary peanut. Just put me on the bar and dip your fingers in me.

Speaker 4 [00:07:33] Do.

Gina [00:07:35] Oh. Landed better in the in the context. We came up with it earlier.

Speaker 4 [00:07:40] I feel like.

Nicola [00:07:41] We’re like a hot Miss Express at this point.

Speaker 4 [00:07:43] Well, because, like.

Gina [00:07:45] More or less, we have been podcasting for the past 3 hours.

Speaker 4 [00:07:50] Pretty much without.

Gina [00:07:51] Actually having a podcast.

Speaker 4 [00:07:53] I know this is the first part.

Nicola [00:07:57] Like we’re actually doing an episode now, which is nice.

Gina [00:08:00] Right. Like, our our guest is going to be coming on any moment, so.

Nicola [00:08:05] Oh, Tammy’s here. Tammy’s here.

Gina [00:08:07] Tammy.

Speaker 4 [00:08:08] Oh, my God. That was so quiet. You put this stuff. Hold me back. I was listening.

Tammy [00:08:15] To you guys, I might add your podcast going like, I have so many windows open, I can’t find the dang podcast to turn it.

Speaker 4 [00:08:20] Off. It’s like.

Gina [00:08:23] Which episode were you listening to?

Tammy [00:08:26] The last one, I think about toxic workplaces. Who was your guest? I didn’t even catch it. I was like.

Speaker 4 [00:08:33] What was this check? Oh, my.

Nicola [00:08:35] God. Was it. Was it Joanna?

Tammy [00:08:38] Yes, Joanna. Yes, it was. I’m like.

Nicola [00:08:41] The most.

Nicola [00:08:42] Adorable.

Tammy [00:08:43] I’m reading through. I’m like, Oh, we have similar beliefs. This is.

Nicola [00:08:46] Awesome.

Gina [00:08:47] Joanna is like my my new.

Nicola [00:08:51] Girl.

Nicola [00:08:51] Cry baby Lady Crush Academy.

Gina [00:08:54] Where are you podcasting with us from Ireland.

Tammy [00:08:58] Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada.

Gina [00:09:00] So tell us tell us a little bit about yourselves, Tammy.

Tammy [00:09:05] So I’m Tammy. What you see is what you get. I am a survivor. I don’t actually call myself a survivor anymore, but people resonate with the term survivor more so than they do ex target of workplace bullying. I’m I’m creating a new lane for people to be an ex target of workplace bullying. And for me, in my journey to this place, I found that when I was a survivor, it was a great, great place to sit. But Survivor still had an attachment to the experience and there was a tether that I was just bound to like stay attached to it and I didn’t want to be attached to it anymore. I didn’t want to be reminded of like emotionally, psychologically out of those places. So for me, I needed to just to.

Nicola [00:09:51] Up level.

Tammy [00:09:52] And ex target is my status of workplace bullying. There’s an empowerment with that for me and I like. Yeah. I will never be a target again. Been there, done that.

Gina [00:10:03] Okay, well, first of all, I should be a teacher. This is over. Because, Tammy, you’re so fucking smart, and I’m already like, That’s it. That’s all you say?

Nicola [00:10:13] Yeah, that’s it.

Gina [00:10:14] Podcast over. Thank you for your time. No, that was just so, like, it was so, like, cohesive. Do you want to walk us through what happened to you? That you became a target and then how you became a survivor and now you use.

Nicola [00:10:35] The next target? Yeah.

Nicola [00:10:38] Like it’s quite the it’s quite the going back.

Gina [00:10:42] Nicola It’s quite the circle.

Tammy [00:10:45] It’s a revolution. It’s an evolution and a revolution all at the same time.

Gina [00:10:50] I love it.

Tammy [00:10:51] Yeah, well, I’ll tell you what I have. It’s not something that was ever on my radar. I was quite a confident person in my life when it happened. So I was almost 40. I was working as a nurse. I was in the military, it was a captain, and I found myself working under a new boss.

Nicola [00:11:10] Badass bachelor.

Tammy [00:11:13] Okay. Thank you. I know my shoulders are, like, back. I’m like, I’m wearing it.

Gina [00:11:18] Yeah, I love it. I can’t. Right.

Tammy [00:11:20] Okay. Yeah. And I found myself under this new boss. We struggled, and it was a pretty significant moment in our very first introduction. As in a formal position. I’d met her previous informally. Now she’s my boss. Boom. In as she was laying out her plan for me for the year, which I was completely impressed. She spent that much time on my career because it’s the first time a boss had done that really laid it out for me.

Gina [00:11:46] They that is micromanaging.

Nicola [00:11:49] No, no.

Tammy [00:11:51] Part of it is just like, here’s what the year for training and education and all this extra stuff looks like for you. There were some pieces which I agreed with, but not with the methodology or the time. So I shared, Hey, you know, that’s a great I’d like to take pediatric life support, but we don’t work with kids, so maybe we could like put that in another year when it’s more relevant to a tour or a task, you know, like when it’s.

Nicola [00:12:11] Time to be.

Tammy [00:12:13] And so in the sharing my thoughts about her plan, I immediately learned that it wasn’t a discussion. This was actually no, this is how it’s going to go. You can’t tell me No, and that’s not how I work. I was shocked by that, actually.

Nicola [00:12:28] So you just got shot down in your performance development planning?

Tammy [00:12:32] Yeah. And it wasn’t like I was saying no to it. I’m just like, can we do it a different way?

Gina [00:12:36] A different? We’re just having, like, a discussion and like, this is a sharing of ideas. Let’s see what works best for everyone. So it became.

Tammy [00:12:44] Yeah.

Gina [00:12:44] Sounds like it became clear pretty quickly that it was going to be more like a dictatorship.

Tammy [00:12:51] Yes. And honestly, I just thought, okay, she doesn’t know what she’s doing. She’s young, newly promoted. She needs some time like the night to think about this. And we didn’t end that meeting very well. But I felt confident in how I advocated and communicated, and it wasn’t like I was in her face. It was just like, No, it’s my career. I thought we could take this as a conversation. The next morning was my first red flag that I really didn’t pay attention to because that’s when she came to my office stood above me. And said, I’ve been thinking about yesterday and I’d like to charge you with insubordination.

Nicola [00:13:27] What? What, what? What? Well, it’s.

Tammy [00:13:33] Yeah, those are my thoughts internally, too. Like. And I’m not one to back down from a battle, so I just said, bring it. I’d love to see those charges stick because you’re talking out your ass, basically.

Nicola [00:13:44] Question How does this escalate?

Gina [00:13:48] Yeah, this is like a plot twist that I did not see coming this.

Nicola [00:13:51] I didn’t see that.

Nicola [00:13:52] Coming.

Nicola [00:13:52] Either. Like, how do we go from one day yesterday having a discussion like.

Nicola [00:13:58] You did to me? I’m in support of subordinates.

Nicola [00:14:03] Yeah. So when you explain.

Gina [00:14:05] For people who might not know.

Nicola [00:14:09] How military works.

Gina [00:14:11] Right. Like how? Like what? Insubordination. I mean, we all know I would say most of our listeners probably know. But for anyone who doesn’t or who’s coming from a different country who might English might not be their first language. Just give us a little general rundown of what that means and what it could look like in this situation for you.

Tammy [00:14:29] Yeah, I think for even those who maybe aren’t familiar with it would probably get the concept that it’s basically, I tell you what to do and you do it. And if you don’t, you’re going to get charged and you could go to jail or you could be demoted or find all those kind of things. And so I was just as shocked as you all were. And I know that people might be on the other side going, Well, you must have done something in that meeting. Honestly, I thought we were having a discussion. Like, I didn’t think there was much other than the fact that she wasn’t happy with me. I wasn’t happy with her. Minor kind of.

Gina [00:15:02] Slave. Like not everyone is going to get along swimmingly. Okay, so you just thought you were having a conversation. So obviously it sounded like she was like, trying to throw her weight around.

Tammy [00:15:14] Yeah. Hindsight. It’s great, right? Like, in the moment, I had no idea. I thought, Where is this coming from? Like, you don’t have to exert yourself here. We’re on the same team.

Nicola [00:15:23] But.

Tammy [00:15:25] You know, she was 20. I didn’t even know she was in her twenties. She was young. New nurse, new captain, new role.

Nicola [00:15:31] Mm hmm.

Tammy [00:15:32] I just thought she was inexperienced. Even after that moment, I thought, I can deal with this. I’ll manage.

Nicola [00:15:38] You’ll manage up.

Nicola [00:15:39] And.

Tammy [00:15:40] Yeah, I’ll manage. Operate like I’m older than her. I’ve been around, I’ve managed people. She just needs to learn.

Nicola [00:15:47] Right.

Tammy [00:15:48] She never did charge me with insubordination. So then of course, I’m like, All right, well, that’s the first lesson. Taking care of our nerve.

Nicola [00:15:57] Is it? And I’m like, Oh, God.

Gina [00:15:59] Let me guess. That wasn’t the first lesson I learned.

Nicola [00:16:03] Okay.

Gina [00:16:05] You know? Well, that.

Tammy [00:16:05] That was probably the most shocking. Just didn’t latch on to it in the moment. And then over the next couple of years, we had this dance, you know, it felt like two steps forward, one step back, and then one day she’d be okay with me. The next day were button heads, and there was just always something. And so she would set me up to look like a failure over time. So, for example, we had to go in, you know, in the military, we’re a medical field, so we’re often supporting mission. So the air shows in town, we go and support and work alongside the the Red Cross and the other agencies. Everybody’s out there for really early, like meeting at six in the morning. I’m like, I’m free to go at that time. Now you can show up at noon. But I’d rather come and go out with the team. Now you can show up at noon. So they all travel together. I drive out there. It’s an hour and a half away in my car, show up at noon. And of course, my colleagues are like, Oh, well, look who finally shows up.

Nicola [00:16:58] Oh, you do it right? Knew this is coming. Of course, damaged.

Tammy [00:17:05] Though she would take moments to make me look like I wasn’t a team player. And then I get there and I’m always early, 15 minutes early, and I find out my role because she wouldn’t tell me ahead of time was actually one of the liaisons. So if there was a plane that goes down, I’m one of the lead liaisons to coordinate with civilian agencies, etc..

Nicola [00:17:27] And.

Tammy [00:17:27] I have no idea what her call signs are for radio or what the procedure is for evacuation. Like, this is a huge girl.

Nicola [00:17:35] Candy cane. Candy cane. We got to bear down.

Tammy [00:17:40] I’m just like, Holy fuck. So I take her plans. I’m in the back room reading it, and I hear another colleague come out looking for me and she goes, Oh, she’s laughing. She’s in the back reading my orders. So I’m like, Yeah, because you’re setting me up to look like an asshole. And I will not look like, well, like.

Gina [00:17:56] God forbid something happened and you didn’t know.

Nicola [00:17:59] Oh, my God.

Nicola [00:18:00] Can you imagine?

Gina [00:18:01] Can you imagine? Like.

Tammy [00:18:02] Like I was stressed.

Gina [00:18:03] So she that and obviously it probably would have come back directly to you, Tammy, and like, you would have been sputtering saying like, well, I didn’t know she didn’t give me her, you know, and trying to be like, I gave you the handbook. So that’s.

Nicola [00:18:18] That’s what.

Gina [00:18:20] She did. You dirty.

Tammy [00:18:21] She did me dirty on you.

Nicola [00:18:22] Could you? Because obviously I’m I’m I don’t know much about the military or the organizational structure of said I get the gist of it because I’ve watched enough movies to.

Nicola [00:18:35] Come to the vets but what I’m thinking is can you.

Nicola [00:18:40] Charge her? Or the charges only come downwards.

Tammy [00:18:44] They only come downwards. Oh, I can find grievances. And I was.

Gina [00:18:48] Going to say, there are things you can do, right? Like but usually but usually they don’t really go anywhere. I mean, okay, if anyone has been listening to this podcast knows I’m like a huge true crime nerd. So I listen to all the true crime podcasts. But like, I’ve heard so many, like women in the military file grievances about sexual harassment, other things, you know, anything, harassment in general. And it like literally doesn’t go anywhere because it’s usually yeah, because it’s usually someone in a lower rank who’s filing the grievance.

Tammy [00:19:20] Yeah. So I’d be quite challenging.

Gina [00:19:22] Yeah, yeah.

Nicola [00:19:24] Yeah. So did you, did.

Nicola [00:19:25] You complain, Did you put any grievance, Did.

Gina [00:19:27] You file a.

Nicola [00:19:28] Grievance Like what happens that.

Tammy [00:19:30] Whole first two years. I mean I’m quite an advocate. We back and forth, head butt, get back on board. We’re back in enemy territory for two years. And it was actually while we had no I was having lunch with a new colleague. So this is two years into my experience. This lady’s only been here for a year and we’re having lunch. And she looks at me and she goes, I’m really glad I got to know you. And I’m like, Well, that’s cool. I’m glad I got to know you, too. We got along really well, but there was something in the back of my mind that said, That’s just not something you say. So I asked her why she said that, and she goes, Because when I started here, our mutual boss had warned her to not get close to me. And it was I hate to say it, but that was the moment I knew I had a bully before. I just thought I had someone who didn’t know how to lead. But that’s when I knew she was poisoning all my other relationships. So she was actually yeah, bullying.

Gina [00:20:22] But I mean, obviously and I’m sure you see this now, she is clearly threatened by you.

Nicola [00:20:29] Oh, she was.

Gina [00:20:30] Because you could have had her job like 16 times over. You’re more experienced, you know, for whatever reason. You know, that’s that stinks of where you and I met Nicola. We were always the toxic people because we.

Nicola [00:20:46] We were more experienced than. Yeah. And inexperienced.

Gina [00:20:50] People. And the higher ups lacked maturity and experience. And they felt threatened for sure.

Nicola [00:20:56] Yeah.

Gina [00:20:56] Yeah. But you didn’t notice. I’m sure that wasn’t what you immediately thought of at the time, Tammy. You were probably just like, What the actual fuck is happening right now?

Tammy [00:21:04] Well, and we’re nurses, so it’s like, it’s in my.

Nicola [00:21:07] Nature to care. Now you’ve got like nursing, which has, like toxic traits to it, and then you’ve got this military bullshit on the top of your toxic nursing. It’s like a double whammy.

Gina [00:21:18] It’s a shit sandwich.

Nicola [00:21:20] It’s a.

Nicola [00:21:21] Sandwich, and everyone’s was the.

Nicola [00:21:22] Meat.

Gina [00:21:25] Okay, so once you heard that she had been kind of spreading rumors or poisoning.

Nicola [00:21:31] The.

Gina [00:21:31] Your colleagues about you, like what? What was your next thing that you did?

Nicola [00:21:36] Well, I.

Tammy [00:21:37] Wish I could say I had some great insights into how I could change my behaviors and my interactions, but I didn’t know any better. So all I did was got louder and more frequent, put in more grievances, called out more because I just thought, Hey, if you didn’t hear me before, maybe you’ll hear me now. I didn’t have any jokes.

Gina [00:21:56] Well, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tammy [00:21:58] Yeah. And in that process, I was so absent, too, being aware of my own health decline. So for the first two years, I was just, you know, me to toe to toe. I’ll teach you how to treat me kind of thing. The last two years underneath her is when I started to develop anxiety and panic attacks to the point that I was afraid to leave my home. Like, I went from being afraid to be on the same floor with her to looking in stairwells. Before I went into the building to scanning the parking lot for her car to leave a key kilometers away and being afraid to open my laptop and my phone because she would be there. It wasn’t a.

Gina [00:22:34] Great, I guess, that.

Tammy [00:22:36] The senior leadership at the time we had gone through a couple different leaders because as they do in the military, they get posted and moved around.

Nicola [00:22:43] So the first.

Tammy [00:22:45] One I maybe had a little bit of she tried to mentor me, but there was a lot more of, you know, just get along kind of mentality. The second one wouldn’t even see me. She would cancel my appointments. And it’s because my belief.

Nicola [00:22:59] Is.

Tammy [00:23:00] My bully worked alongside them because she had their ear and she was painting the picture of me to them and they didn’t get to know who I was at all. So they only had her words to work with.

Nicola [00:23:13] Yeah.

Tammy [00:23:14] So I felt very isolated and alone. And chaotic like I was to the point what I’m going to call the press. Like somebody has to hear me and somebody needs to save me.

Nicola [00:23:27] But no one did.

Gina [00:23:28] So at that time, did you feel like you did? Did you get help for yourself or were you just like this was your new normal?

Tammy [00:23:35] Yeah, it’s a great question. In the last couple of years, I was on four different stress lives. So in Canada, they can write you a note to be off work. And some organizations pay for that time. Yeah. So medications for sleep, medications for anxiety. And they wanted me to be on anti-depressants. And this is not medical advice. But I refused the antidepressants. I absolutely needed them.

Gina [00:23:59] I was going to say some. I went through a period just like that. I was like, it’s going to change who I am. I’m not going to be the same person. I don’t need them. But then I went to a doctor on 72nd and Park, and he looked like a cross between k.d. lang and Liberace. And the man saved me. He was the best. He saved my life. He was like. If you were diabetic and I said, you need to take this to live, you take it. And I was like, Yeah, He’s like, There’s something fucked up with your brain chemicals. So now, looking back, you probably were like, I should have taken the fucking pill.

Tammy [00:24:39] Oh, absolutely. Yeah. For me, in that moment with those pills represented and the little backstory to that, as I was going through those last couple of years, I was talking more about my struggles with my colleagues, which I don’t normally do, but I couldn’t keep it in anymore. It’s like I was just bleeding out of me. Like, you know, like, God, somebody has got to see I’m in pain and somebody needs to do something. I just need a lifeline. And I learned that every other person who was underneath this bully was on frigging medications. And I just thought honestly. But they were all afraid to speak up because in the military, you lose promotions, you lose courses. You know, it’s a career if you’re on medication.

Gina [00:25:17] Or if you speak up.

Tammy [00:25:19] Okay. Yeah, if you speak up. So that’s like a that’s like a bullying.

Nicola [00:25:24] Like that’s a subreddit of this bullying.

Nicola [00:25:26] Culture. Mm hmm. Yeah, I think so.

Gina [00:25:28] I think the military is.

Nicola [00:25:31] By nature.

Tammy [00:25:32] Very hierarchical.

Gina [00:25:34] Yeah. Bullying. Yeah. Okay, so you start talking about it. People are like, Oh, yeah, I’ve been on whatever Zoloft for whatever how many years.

Tammy [00:25:44] They’re all in depressants. And I’m just like, no, there’s this isn’t right that we’re all medicated to be numb, to be in a place that hurts us. I refuse to be another stop that way. So for me, that’s why I refused it. There was still this fight in me, not the upstream resolution was to deal with the friggin bully and to give me psychological safety.

Gina [00:26:05] But meanwhile, you were afraid to, like, even look at your cell phone.

Tammy [00:26:09] There was a white flag moment where it almost did. Mm hmm. At the end of that, that’s not really quite the end, but I was on my fourth return to work plan, so I’m doing the things that I need you to stay healthy at home, and I go to work for part of the day. I just got out of the shower. I went to my room. I looked at my my closet and I just collapsed on my bed like I had nothing left in me.

Nicola [00:26:34] To keep going. Wow.

Tammy [00:26:37] That was the day I called my doctor. And I said. Like, I just can’t. He goes, Is this the day? Because he’s been trying to get me on anti-depressants for a long time?

Nicola [00:26:46] Is this your rock bottom? Have we hit our rock bottom?

Tammy [00:26:49] Yeah. And I said, Yeah, I think this is the day. And the pharmacist delivered them to my home and I opened the door. And I still remember the look on her face because we’re a tight, you know, small little unit.

Gina [00:27:01] Yeah.

Tammy [00:27:02] I just grabbed the bag and closed the door, and I sat there and I stared at this brown bag and I just there was something in me that just said, No, I’m going to stop fighting her. And I got to start living for me. And it was in that moment that, again, I should have taken the meds, but I never did take your meds, but that I got really close to like succumbing. It’s my word to the conditions in which I was working in and resigning to the fact that it wasn’t going to change.

Gina [00:27:30] So in that moment, Tammy, did did something change for the better?

Tammy [00:27:35] Yes, and obviously not right away. But my the efforts of my fight, because I was so focused on trying to make her see me, to make her change, to have her see my value, that I lost my own value.

Gina [00:27:51] Okay. So what did that look like as you began to kind of, as you said, start living for yourself.

Nicola [00:27:57] Claw your.

Nicola [00:27:58] Out of the box?

Nicola [00:27:58] Yeah.

Tammy [00:27:59] There’s many years of clawing my way out of the basket, but the efforts turned towards me and I started to focus on my health because I think that is actually when I was like, Oh my God, people around me saw for two years how I was struggling and I was, you know, so panic ridden. But I didn’t see it because I thought I was still in the fight. And so that was when I actually saw me for the first time. And I wish I would have had the picture I took off. I tell you, I deleted the picture. I took them, but I wish I had it today because I described weight loss pale. I was tired looking. There is no life or love or joy in my in my body. Mm hmm. So I had to start putting that back in and focus and be intentional about doing the things like, just going to the gym was a struggle. But I forced myself to do it because I knew the benefits were there. And, you know, in a couple of months, I started to see the change and I was like, okay. Like, I had to have faith that if I just went back to what I was like before and do those things, that my body would change and respond.

Nicola [00:29:00] Did you did you, in your mind, like just in the back of your mind, did you create yourself kind of like an evacuation strategy on how to get out of this toxic role?

Nicola [00:29:12] Oh, it.

Tammy [00:29:12] Was in the military. You can’t leave, which is part.

Gina [00:29:14] I was going to say. I don’t think that’s allowed. Right. I know there have to be like honor guard as charged a wall or dishonorably discharged.

Nicola [00:29:24] I’m here for an wall.

Gina [00:29:26] I mean, if I were you, tell me. I would have been like a fuck this.

Nicola [00:29:30] You know, because then you go to jail. What? That’s ridiculous. Now you go to.

Gina [00:29:37] You go to military prison, right?

Tammy [00:29:39] Yeah, that’s.

Nicola [00:29:40] Right. Like, that’s not a fun time for you.

Gina [00:29:41] But if they catch you.

Nicola [00:29:43] Can we just pause here for a second and remind people that if this podcast is something you enjoy, we would love to hear from.

Gina [00:29:50] You. You can find us on Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Let’s break up toxic workplace stories.

Nicola [00:29:56] Sharing and subscribing really helps us feel validated.

Gina [00:30:00] So what ended up happening that, you know, you’re starting to do the things you always did to kind of make yourself feel better. And as Nicholas said, you know, kind of crawl out of the barrel there.

Tammy [00:30:11] I took my power back. And so even in the motel, I found a place to take my power. I refuse. So for return to work, to the same place, same building, I refused to go there. I said, I will work out of the library because you guys don’t have my best health and interest. I will go to a library. There’s a computer there as my stuff’s is all online. Okay. They checked in with me every morning at 8:00, which let me tell you, that was still a sore point for me, that they would even think they have to call me to make sure I’m at work. I’ve been fighting for four years to be here, you know, like.

Nicola [00:30:42] Yeah.

Tammy [00:30:44] So I work out of the library. I put in my release. It’s a voluntary request which takes up to six months. But I was in my power now and I was calling the shots for my career.

Gina [00:30:54] So when you say you put in your release, does that mean you’re asking to be let go?

Tammy [00:30:58] Yes. Okay. And there’s not a break up. Just six.

Nicola [00:31:02] Months.

Tammy [00:31:03] Yes. And it’s.

Nicola [00:31:04] Wait, how how long are you committed.

Nicola [00:31:06] To the cult for?

Tammy [00:31:09] So my initial contract was 12 years.

Nicola [00:31:13] You wait.

Tammy [00:31:18] Yeah, you can do is as low as three, But my initial was for 12 years.

Gina [00:31:24] Are there any, like, lifetime contracts.

Tammy [00:31:27] And not right off the hop, but you can extend after that to 25. Yeah.

Nicola [00:31:32] Jesus Christ. Okay. Okay.

Gina [00:31:35] So how many years did you end up lasting?

Tammy [00:31:38] Ten. So this was serious? Okay, Serious happened my first three years. I was a nursing student, so I was in school. Right? It was the year five that it happened. So it was five years after that when I actually got out. Now, that release that I requested, yes, it was four months into that six month period when somebody from our big office in Ottawa, we call it, called me to find out what the heck was going on. And I’m like.

Nicola [00:32:07] Oh, I’ve.

Tammy [00:32:08] Been screaming it from the rooftops forever. Oh, Kyrie finally gave me a different workplace. She put me into another building, working for another organ. Well, same organization, but another unit. So when.

Nicola [00:32:21] Once.

Nicola [00:32:21] Kind of like deferred to another is like a.

Tammy [00:32:27] Transfer rate, it’s like.

Nicola [00:32:28] A train. Yeah. Like, okay, so you’ve got a new captain, so you’re like.

Gina [00:32:31] Having a new department kind of. So you have a new manager.

Tammy [00:32:34] New boss and everything, right? Yeah. Hank Bowie I wrote about.

Gina [00:32:38] Yes, I have a question. How did the bigwig from Ottawa get wind of this? Was it your grievances?

Tammy [00:32:47] It was my request to leave.

Gina [00:32:49] That’s what. That’s what happened. So they were like. They probably always considered you a good worker or whatever. And then they were like, Oh, why are you requesting to leave? Was that kind of what happened?

Tammy [00:33:01] It probably just finally got to the front of her pile of everything else for months, and then we still only had six months to agree to it. Ready to let me go or not? And when you’re in a specialty trade like nursing, if we’re short, man, like we don’t have enough nurses to fill the positions. Just like in a hospital, they can say no and say, Sorry, you signed for 12. We’re keeping you.

Nicola [00:33:20] Right?

Tammy [00:33:20] So when she I know she was very nice though when she found me the places that.

Gina [00:33:26] Yeah. Yeah. So they were wonderful. Heard you. And she was like, All right, let’s put you somewhere else where you could feel better.

Tammy [00:33:33] Yeah.

Gina [00:33:33] Okay. So how did you ultimately so what happened after you changed departments in so much?

Nicola [00:33:42] Well, so you were in.

Nicola [00:33:43] A happy place.

Nicola [00:33:44] Like, I’m so excited to know that they did the story. The.

Gina [00:33:48] Did the bully come after you again? No. She still gunning for you?

Tammy [00:33:52] She had no power.

Nicola [00:33:53] I don’t use the term gun in a military sense. Clean.

Tammy [00:33:56] It’s all good.

Nicola [00:33:56] I’m good with that. Okay.

Tammy [00:33:59] She had no more power over me. And this new organization, they were so good that I actually requested to pull my release and say, Oh.

Nicola [00:34:07] Okay, yeah.

Tammy [00:34:09] Now my doctor was like, Are you sure?

Nicola [00:34:11] Yes.

Tammy [00:34:12] Because you’ve been going through this for a long time and I’m like 100%. And the the lieutenant colonel, who was my boss at that time, he wrote a very supportive letter about my worth and my value and how I was contributing. And I’m like, Thank the fucking cray. Somebody sees that, you know, because I am a good worker.

Gina [00:34:29] Validating. Is it when someone actually sees you and like, yeah, I feel like whether it’s the military or corporate America, it is very rare to get a thank you or to be like, you’re doing such a good job.

Nicola [00:34:43] Like, yeah.

Gina [00:34:44] I just I that’s like, that’s always in my craw. Nicola hears me talk about her all the time, like, Yeah. Oh, good. I mean, I do think it’s really important, especially if someone was struggling or if there are new to something and they’re learning something new. You know, to say you did a good job today like that was a lot of work. I saw you do a lot of work. You know, I think it’s important to say that.

Tammy [00:35:09] While I was back working full time with them, too, right? So I went from part time to full time. And in that office I’m like, I still need to work out. So I actually walk to and from work eight kilometers each way just so I could have my physical activity because I knew it’s what was keeping me alive at one point. Yeah. So when they decided to withhold my release and let me stay, I was with them for a year and then I got transferred and I was scared to leave. To be honest, they had taken this. I kind of always like in myself to a bird. I just flew into the window and it’s stand and it can’t fly anymore. They nurtured me back to the place where I could fly without that department. I honestly don’t know where I would have been.

Gina [00:35:51] So then you got transferred to an yet another department and you were a little fearful. Your analogy was so beautiful, but I’m assuming you. You were okay there or. Yeah. No.

Tammy [00:36:04] Yeah. Yeah. You know, I was good.

Nicola [00:36:06] Okay.

Gina [00:36:06] Yeah. So what happened to the bully? Did anything happen to her? Was she ever found out? Did did anyone blow up her spot?

Tammy [00:36:14] You know, I put in a grievance and, I mean, like, there’s many multiple in the unit, but then I put in a big one in the military. It took them four years to look at it and to. What’s the word like give a verdict kind of thing on it. And they came back and they said that they could see that there were issues in the relationship and that I wasn’t necessarily to blame. Those weren’t their words. I’m keynoting it around what’s called noting it.

Gina [00:36:41] Yeah.

Tammy [00:36:42] So basically they found in my favor, but she was already out of the military as was supervising censor.

Nicola [00:36:49] Everybody like nothing.

Tammy [00:36:51] Happened. Nothing happened. Just made a lot of work for people.

Gina [00:36:54] Okay, So like, for Nicole and I, after we both left our where we met at this toxic place, we both like, we we got back in touch and we were like, Holy shit. That was that was really bad, right? Like, it wasn’t just me. Did you have any of that with any of your coworkers who also worked underneath her? Did any did you like have any kind of camaraderie or commiseration regarding? No.

Tammy [00:37:21] No, not really. But I had already isolated myself away from everybody. Like in that process underneath her, I had started to not trust anybody, like even the people who were friends. I just isolated myself from everyone.

Nicola [00:37:33] I do have people.

Tammy [00:37:33] Every once in awhile reach out and they follow me and what I do on YouTube or Facebook and put in comments that I know that they know and they’re not against me or for me, but they. They just that they know.

Nicola [00:37:43] Okay. Okay.

Gina [00:37:44] So how did you leave? How did you end up leaving the military for good?

Tammy [00:37:49] Yeah, well, when I got moved to the new province, so we got there and I was just sitting around all day, and I’m not a sitter, so I’m like, I got to work, like I want to do something. So then I put in another voluntary release because I got a job teaching. I applied and took an interview. The interview was more for me just to see what do I need to do in the next couple of years to prepare myself to become a teacher. But they hired me.

Nicola [00:38:12] So.

Gina [00:38:13] So like a nursing teacher. Right? Yeah.

Nicola [00:38:16] Okay, cool.

Tammy [00:38:17] So I know they hired me right there. So I’m like, Hey, guys, I want a voluntary release again. Would you let me go? And that was a couple of months. But they did eventually say yes, and I got to take my job teaching.

Gina [00:38:28] Oh, and is that what you’re currently doing?

Tammy [00:38:30] No, I actually just left teaching last year, so it was, oh, my gosh, ten years. I don’t even know. It’s been a lot of years of teaching. And now I’m a coach. I teach communication skills and leadership skills to end incivility and workplace bullying and health care.

Nicola [00:38:47] I love this.

Gina [00:38:48] I think it came.

Nicola [00:38:50] Out a full circle. Circle.

Gina [00:38:54] We always ask everyone, do you think you could have done anything differently within that relationship with your bully? Obviously, you’ve made it known. You probably should have taken the anti-depressant, maybe not thought as much, but what else? Because we all have and this might rub people the wrong way, but I feel like we always have a part to play in everything, and we have to be responsible for 100% of our 50% in any relationship. So what was your part? What do you think you could have done better or different or anything? Yeah.

Tammy [00:39:35] It’s a great question. I totally am in alignment with what you just shared. I do believe that we have a responsibility and ownership in all of our relationships, and so I know was communication. What I was looking for from my leadership team was mentoring. I never come across this before. I mean, I didn’t even recognize it was bullying for two years. It’s like, dear Lord, how many times you have to be hit in the head, right?

Nicola [00:40:00] Seriously? Well.

Gina [00:40:02] You know, it’s a bunch.

Nicola [00:40:03] If you lose.

Gina [00:40:04] Your hair, Tammy. It’s a whole.

Nicola [00:40:06] Bunch. I mean, when I was regular, also a whole bunch through.

Tammy [00:40:10] Yeah, right. When she threatened insubordination. That should have been, like, all the clues I needed, but I didn’t pick up on that.

Gina [00:40:17] It’s so. It’s so crazy to me. Every single person we’ve interviewed, they say this was the red flag, but I dismissed it. The first one.

Nicola [00:40:28] The first one is always the one where it’s like, Wait, what?

Nicola [00:40:33] Mm.

Gina [00:40:33] And then it’s always dismissed for a myriad of different reasons. Ego, you know, being like, I can’t really be that bad. Whatever this case is, it’s just. It’s crazy. Okay, so anyway, carry on.

Tammy [00:40:47] So the communication skills 100%. I mean, when she threatened that, what did I do? I actually leaned back in my chair and I’m like, Bring it. Like, I just gave her the socks right back. Right. Like, that is not going to help. Right. I was in my stance in my power, but my power wasn’t about aligning. It was about defeating. And so.

Nicola [00:41:06] I mean, for going to work that you have to find.

Gina [00:41:08] A way to set up that battle almost.

Tammy [00:41:11] Oh, yeah, I was a willing participant.

Nicola [00:41:13] So do you feel like that was your toxic trait? Was that you came in hot and heavy straight off the bat?

Tammy [00:41:19] Reactive would be the word I was into that came in hot and heavy, but I reacted to that equally like I would put my toe to the same line.

Nicola [00:41:28] Mm.

Nicola [00:41:29] Yeah, just going like, let’s go. And then she wore you down.

Tammy [00:41:34] She yeah, she won because she wore me down.

Nicola [00:41:37] Yeah. Yeah. So it’s like, you mean.

Gina [00:41:40] What kind of person. And I don’t know if this gives anyone any kind of feeling of solace, but like, what kind of person does that to someone? Like, how happy can they actually be as a human being? Do you know what I mean?

Nicola [00:41:52] Like, insecure and miserable.

Gina [00:41:55] They must have a meet like a host of their own issues.

Tammy [00:41:58] I don’t hold anything against her like I’ve long since let that go. And what I believe to be true is that she was young and inexperienced and she was trying to meet the bar that her boss set for her. And she was struggling to do that. And anyone who’s struggling and is feeling inadequate or incompetent, it comes out against other people because she can’t send it up. Words we all know you can’t send it back. You got to send it out sideways. So I believe that that she did.

Gina [00:42:25] She could have asked for help from like her team, like.

Tammy [00:42:29] I don’t think she would have, because at one point she said, Do you think I can tell my boss no? And I’m like, Yeah, you can. You can say, I don’t have the power to do this. I don’t have the means, I don’t have the knowledge, I don’t have the time. You can participate. But she didn’t think that she had that right because of the hierarchy.

Nicola [00:42:44] Well, in that case.

Nicola [00:42:46] So now, I mean, that’s my.

Nicola [00:42:48] Let’s go all the way back to Shut.

Gina [00:42:52] The fuck up, Nicola, with your.

Nicola [00:42:53] Point. Look.

Nicola [00:42:56] Sir, you’re in leadership and communication coming out of the military. See, now I’m going to. This is my one smart commentary for today.

Tammy [00:43:02] Bring it on.

Nicola [00:43:03] Okay, so coming out of that space, I am confident at this point that you’ve read about the leadership of the guys in the submarines where they create like a really positive working environment around trust and they get the subordinates to really work on building that like responsibility and independence early, which is quite uncharacteristic for military organizations. And I’m curious to know if she had employed something similar to that, would we have landed ourselves in the same hot water Shachar?

Tammy [00:43:41] No, of course not. Of course not.

Gina [00:43:44] We I don’t. Can I have a dumb blond moment here? What the fuck are you talking about?

Nicola [00:43:49] It’s called ship. Now. What is it called? I think it’s called the letter of leadership. And essentially what happened was there and please, this is paraphrasing. I’m going to need to Google this just to give the better version. But in summary, what it is, is there was a submarine. Kept submarines. Something went.

Nicola [00:44:10] To the guy.

Nicola [00:44:11] Who runs the submarine and he can show of the submarine and you’ve got your subordinates under him. And instead of being authoritative, where it’s I give you an instruction and you do exactly what I say from the bottom up. He was allowing people from the bottom up to provide instruction upwards, which we know is uncharacteristic, because he tried to push it down. But the subordinates now, the bottom would they wouldn’t be given all the independence to push that information upwards. They were given little, little pieces like on a letter. So once they got to the first level, they could then get a little bit more independence and a little bit more. And it provided the opportunity for the subordinates to really get into understanding leadership, understanding communication, and kind of climbing that ladder towards being an independent crew, where he could then say, I can trust you emphatically in an emergency situation because I know that you have got the skills and experience that I can trust for us to deal with this. And I know that you are willing and confident to say something that needs to go upwards that potentially in the past wouldn’t really cut the class in more military.

Tammy [00:45:26] Yeah, I would say probably depends a little bit more on what you’re doing in the military. There are certain trades where you write, you get nervous, you need to follow through and they need to trust that you’re going to follow through. Because when we’re at war, that’s just how it is, you know, which is why we have a lot of issues from the past surfacing when people followed orders that were maybe not legal orders.

Nicola [00:45:46] My apologies. It is called the Letter of Control. And David Marquette, captain of the USS Santa Fe, followed a leadership principle where you push authority to as low level as possible and a normal practice. Officers would request permission to perform operations such as submerge the ship. The captain would approve the officer and then he would carry out the task. David insisted his officers move up the ladder of control, stop asking permission, and instead, state captain, I intend to submerge the ship. To which he would respond very well. Initially, he had a lot of questions for the officers about whether it was safe, whether the preconditions were met, and whether the team was ready and whether it was the right thing to do. With time, he asked fewer and fewer questions as the officers learned to provide that necessary information up front. And at the time they stated their intent, The immediate and obvious benefit was that the small shift in language, just a few words.

Nicola [00:46:51] To.

Nicola [00:46:51] The officers became the driving force behind the Marines, the submarine’s operations. So the letter starts at Tell me what to do. Letter one I think I recommend. I request permission to. I intend to. I just did too. I have been doing so. You go up this letter of control, which is a total juxtaposition from what military should usually be. They would go they was my they was my one smart moment for the first time in, what, like nine podcasts?

Nicola [00:47:26] No, no.

Tammy [00:47:29] No, that’s great. And of course, is if the leader had that style, it would definitely be different right now.

Nicola [00:47:33] No, but I think that.

Gina [00:47:35] Your the what the ladder of success or this is this is a ladder given seven different names. So the ladder of control and success to me that sounds more like a mentorship, like training and mentorship like but as Nicola would say, circling back, what do you think your message to people who have also experienced bullying because that that was actual bullying. It wasn’t just like a toxic workplace where things are out of whack. Yeah, it seemed like it was very targeted towards. Do you have any suggestions in general? I mean, obviously yours was in the military, so you had some constraints on how you could kind of move within that scenario. But what what would your suggestions be for other people who.

Nicola [00:48:25] Who.

Gina [00:48:25] Feel bullied?

Tammy [00:48:26] Yeah, I like that you share that. A lot of people have toxic work environments, incivility. And I think what happens is when things don’t go our way, it doesn’t feel good. We label things as bullying right away. So I actually don’t take offense to the word bully. A lot of people that gets they’re kind of up on the back of their neck when they hear that word and they get a little scared and intimidated. What I hear when someone says they’re being bullied is that they don’t have the capacity to deal with what’s in front of them. They need some help. They need some mentoring. They need some coaching they might need. I mean, it could actually be true bullying. And that’s something we got to figure out. But I would suggest people don’t get freaked out by that word and just hear that someone is actually saying that they need help for something. And that’s what I would love to help to start.

Gina [00:49:09] So ask questions. Maybe, you know, just find out what they need. Yeah. Try to understand the situation better, because I think I think sometimes, especially the workplace that Nicole and I met at, I was so overworked as a leader that if someone came to me with a problem, like, I didn’t even want to hear it because I’m like, I don’t have the capacity to fucking deal with that right now. Like, Yeah, you know, or why don’t we set up so.

Nicola [00:49:36] That solving problems.

Gina [00:49:38] What’s that? Yeah.

Nicola [00:49:39] My whole job there was solving problems.

Gina [00:49:41] Well, you. Yeah, you were in a I had more like, don’t talk to the people under me without asking me first kind of issues. And I’m like, I am fucking boss. I could talk to whoever the fuck I want whenever I fucking right.

Nicola [00:49:56] But I think what.

Gina [00:49:59] You know, instead of I never said that, but it would be like, you know, in some of these toxic workplaces, I probably seemed like the bully when it was really because I was overworked and I needed help.

Tammy [00:50:13] That’s what I teach about bad days bullies. We don’t talk about bad days, but we all have them. And we’re all capable of saying something that doesn’t land right. Of making a face of groaning when we’re like, really tired, being angry. And all of those can be interpreted as being a bully. Like, we’re only one interaction away from being labeled one.

Gina [00:50:32] Absolutely. And what I find is people don’t remember the good things you do. They remember the shitty things you do so that one day that you’re having a bad day and you say something like, Oh my God, so-and-so, you’re killing me right now. They’ll remember that, but they won’t remember the 20 times you said you did a really great job today. So how do we change that narrative or is that or is that just like the human psych psyche? Like, yeah, you know, like, I think my dad.

Tammy [00:51:01] Inclined to focus on the negative.

Nicola [00:51:03] Yes.

Tammy [00:51:03] You were inclined to hear that and take that with us and discard the positive.

Nicola [00:51:09] Things when.

Nicola [00:51:09] I go with that. I struggle with that because my internal critic is.

Nicola [00:51:15] She’s a bitch. Yeah, well, I’m.

Gina [00:51:18] I’m a Scorpio, and I can be real spiteful and I’m not really big into that kind of thing, but I’m an Italian Scorpio and that runs deep in our blood, like to be spiteful. So it’s like if, like, if. Tammy, you were my boss, and you told me a million times how great a worker I was, but then one day you’re like, Freak out at me and yell at me. I’d be like this fucking bitch. And I’d be like, you know, like.

Tammy [00:51:43] I was plotting revenge.

Nicola [00:51:45] Yes.

Gina [00:51:46] Like, yes, exactly. That’s exactly how my mind would work. Or I’d be like, I don’t like her anymore. Fuck that.

Nicola [00:51:52] And now I’m the total opposite. Like, you’d tell me all the nice things, and then you tell me one bad thing, and I will judge my value on that one bad thing for.

Nicola [00:52:01] The rest of.

Nicola [00:52:02] Eternity. I’m like.

Nicola [00:52:04] I did it one day so bad could.

Gina [00:52:07] Make one bad thing.

Nicola [00:52:09] Look bad. Back of.

Gina [00:52:10] The 110.

Nicola [00:52:12] Good stuff. Okay, so hold out a reflection moment here for a second. Yes, I will reflect on the one bad thing, but that’s because I was raised by a narcissist who put value on achievements or performing well. So the minute I don’t perform or I don’t achieve what I’m setting out to do, or you don’t feel like I’m performing or you don’t see the value in me, my entire value system is stripped down and I revert to a child.

Tammy [00:52:41] Yeah, those are called saboteurs in the coaching world, and they’re very useful when we’re young because they do help us navigate and survive really challenging situations. But when they stay with us into adulthood, which they do, if we don’t acknowledge them and understand them, then they’re.

Gina [00:52:56] Responsible.

Tammy [00:52:58] Yeah, they’re responsible for all of our negative feelings because they tell us we’re not valuable, we’re not worthy, we’re not capable.

Nicola [00:53:04] Yeah.

Gina [00:53:05] No, but it’s like we are allowed to have bad days. Like, I love that you said that we are allowed to have bad days. We are allowed to miss being. We are human. And I think. It sounds you know, I can only speak for corporate America because that’s been my experience. You’re really not allowed in corporate America like you have to be on all the time. And that’s just not realistic in any way, shape or form.

Nicola [00:53:31] It’s just the.

Tammy [00:53:32] Irony. The irony is they talk about bringing bring your authentic self to work, but nobody wants your authentic self because you’re.

Nicola [00:53:39] Authentic, want a massive.

Nicola [00:53:40] Vision and.

Tammy [00:53:42] You want the socially acceptable version of you. And that’s fine. Yeah, we have multiple faces that we put on depending on the context in which we’re in. But when it comes to conflict, including if. Like there’s a model that I teach called the Pause model. If you know where you go to react, then you can find your way back to interact because the reaction is what takes you off of that normal state? We’re having a great conversation right now. If I say something that’s going to push you off of that and that spot and you’re either in the fight or flight mode, which it sounds like, Jenny, you’re a fighter. Nicola, I think you might be a fighter too.

Nicola [00:54:18] I absolutely am not.

Tammy [00:54:20] Are you. Are you a fighter? You avoid conflict.

Nicola [00:54:23] I will run. I will say no. You know what I’m at. Can I be a frieza? Because I will sit there and I will look like a deer in the headlights until it’s done. And then? Then I will choose a path of fight or flight.

Tammy [00:54:37] Fair enough. So we’re going to put you on the flight side anyways, because there is something that you’re not in your your equilibrium anymore. You’ve been moved off of that.

Gina [00:54:44] And so it’s like a magnet pushing you somewhere.

Tammy [00:54:46] Yeah. And then you’re either going to talk about the issue or you’re not going to talk about the issue. And so those give different energies and conflict if you know where you go. I’m a speaking energy, which means I am in a fight mode and I’m going to speak about it like we need to talk about it. We need to figure it out. We’ve got ideas. We’re going to solve this. And for me, what I need is to be validated in order to shut me up because I need to know the answers. Yeah, right. So because I know that about me, then I can either self validate or I can say to the person, Listen, if you could just acknowledge that you hear me, you don’t have to always agree with me, but you understand how I got here. Then that conversation can help de-escalate me.

Nicola [00:55:24] But if.

Tammy [00:55:24] You’re the one who moves away from conflict and maybe you don’t talk.

Nicola [00:55:28] About it.

Tammy [00:55:29] That’s maybe the older avoiders and accommodate or. Mm hmm. I don’t use those because people attach themselves to that. Like it’s a code that they’re never taking off. Like, this is who I am. But really, I have to look at who they’re being in the moment. And that’s a positive energy. And what they need is safety to come back into that conversation. So sometimes I have to give it to themselves.

Nicola [00:55:49] I’m I’m usually that. So if I feel safe in a conversation, I will pause because I really don’t like conflict. I will run for the hills. I just do not deal well with it. Hashtag narcissistic mother. So what happens is now that I’m an adult and I can actually communicate is I will pause in any kind of conflict situation and then I’ll think it through for a minute and then I’ll be like, okay, now I’ve got to start. Either I stay quiet and I’m out of here, or I can say, actually I’ve had the opportunity to turn my thinking brain on and now we can go toe to toe because now I’m ready to.

Tammy [00:56:26] That’s the strength of a positive energy, is that they do take that time away. They can scan the environment, they can look at things. Yeah, the risk is they never come back to the conversation and then they become revictimized by their own self-loathing and their own negative talk like, Oh, if only I could speak up then blah, blah, blah, blah. Right? And so but it sounds like, Nick, they use the advantages of the positive energy so that you can then step into your speaking energy, which is, I’m here now, let’s have a conversation. Now, speaking can also be very aggressive because speaking is talking and they are fight mode.

Gina [00:56:58] That’s where I go right away.

Tammy [00:57:00] Yeah. Yes, I can validate you. Then I can bring you down if I go. Yeah, I hear you. I totally understand how you got there. I don’t have to agree with you. We can have completely different experiences, but if I can understand how you got to that conclusion and I can empty you of your thoughts, then there will be space for mine.

Gina [00:57:16] Yeah. I mean, I think Nikola just kind of helped coach me through a thing with a client today. She was asking for a refund for something that was not valid. She did not get the refund. And I was typing an email and I was like going ham. I was like, You don’t understand how this works. Poverty, barbaric, like.

Nicola [00:57:40] The pain said.

Gina [00:57:43] And I was really pissed off because, I mean, now that we’re talking about it, she didn’t validate all the fucking work that I did on her behalf that I got no payment for. Nicola was like, Send it to me. So I sent it to her. She wrote something nicer. I then like put it in the email and then I handed it over to my business partner. Because even in this day and age, a man’s voice is much more definitive, whether it’s an email or it’s, you know, face to face.

Tammy [00:58:14] So yeah, it just.

Nicola [00:58:16] Might.

Nicola [00:58:17] I’m glad that you were open to the feedback on your defense of email.

Nicola [00:58:23] Oh my God.

Gina [00:58:23] Because I was like, I was like, Give me your lawyer’s number. Like, I was.

Nicola [00:58:26] Going for it.

Gina [00:58:28] I was like, if you if you want to talk to our house counsel, here’s his number. Like I was, you know, let’s go. You know, like, that’s where my mind got.

Tammy [00:58:37] The speaking energy right. If he energy needs to be heard.

Gina [00:58:40] And thank God she was there because she was like, no, send it to me because I was really getting amped up really quickly.

Tammy [00:58:48] Yeah. So in that process, she was able to hear you and validate. You’d say, Listen, I totally get it, but why don’t you try this? So for me, it’s fascinating. I can see a lot of the dynamics at play because I’m on the outside when it’s my own. I, I’m aware of them, but I can’t always control them. And so conflict is always going to be here. Bullying, perceptions of bullying. Bad days are always going to be I.

Gina [00:59:08] Was bullying that client. I was today 100%. I was. I will own that.

Tammy [00:59:14] So I don’t know if it’s bullying because bullying and bad days, they share some common characteristics in that there is a unwanted behavior Nobody likes to be talked to in that way, whether it’s female or vocal on either side, there’s nonverbal and or verbal elements. And then where it starts to change is power imbalance. So a misuse or abuse of power to gain control. The third or the fourth one for bullying is there’s an intention to offend, degrade, humiliate, offend, isolate a person or group of people. And then bullying is typically believed to be repeated in nature. In the research, you only have to do it once if you in. And you’re using your power to to control somebody. It still fits the definition of bullying. Sure. Whether you do it multiple times or not, but it’s often repeated. But sounds like what you had was a bully like behaviors. And that was unwanted. It involved verbal, nonverbal. The intention may or may not have been there to hurt them. The impact is likely to have hurt them, which is why the impact is so important to work on.

Gina [01:00:15] I loved everything you said. I loved your con story. I loved your bullying story. I love how you came out of it and all the good stuff you’re doing and all of your tips that you just gave me personally. Is there anything else you want to say? Share. Ask us anything.

Tammy [01:00:33] Oh, we could be here another hour if I do that. So I just think this is what I think and I must very much with Joanna. I don’t think people intentionally go to work to be a bully. I don’t believe that even when I went through that experience that my boss woke up every morning thinking, how can I sabotage her life? I think it just naturally evolved in our relationship. And that’s what she knew to to do, to survive. And I did what I knew to do to survive. The thing that needs to happen is mentoring, coaching and training. Everyone is out there relying on their playground upbringing about how to have conversations that are difficult, and nobody stops to think why it’s working and why it’s not working. And that’s what needs to happen.

Nicola [01:01:13] What do.

Gina [01:01:13] You think? This is my last question. Do you think, like with the younger generations that are, I don’t know, that are being raised differently Because I think all three of us ladies, we’ve been raised, you know, within the same gender generational sort of time period. And, you know. That was kind of what was taught. You know, the woman with the power suits, you know, so and so forth. Do you think then the younger generations are going to be experiencing similar things as they age into corporate America? Or do you think it might be different?

Tammy [01:01:52] I think the advantage today’s generation has is they’re far more focused on the work life balance and having a quality in life than they are about working for a particular organization for any length of time. This is just needed, no matter what age or what generation you are.

Gina [01:02:07] I was. I did not. I’ll be honest with you. I was like, so tired. You know, it’s Friday. I’m like this work the whole week, tired. The last thing I want to do is podcast. I had so much fun.

Nicola [01:02:18] Every here. We ran on a.

Gina [01:02:20] C for showing up and just being who you are and giving us an amazing story and amazing suggestions that I hope our listeners will take heed of. I know I will. Thank you so much.

Tammy [01:02:35] You’re welcome.

Nicola [01:02:36] Thanks for.

Tammy [01:02:36] Yeah, Have a good night, guys.

Nicola [01:02:39] Thank you for joining us today. If you would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you.

Gina [01:02:45] Also, leaving a review helps us create more content because it shows us there is an interest in this topic.

Nicola [01:02:51] For those of our listeners who do better with reading, we have closed captioning available on YouTube.

Gina [01:02:56] Next week, same time, same place.

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