For all intent and purposes Workplace bullying seems to be on the rise. As a young nurse back in the day, I experienced my share of intimidation, although then everyone just chalked it up to how we as outcasts were considered not part of the 'clique'. One nurse supervisor in particular would often assign me the sickest patient, schedule me to take last lunch and on one ocassion called me into her office & during my performance evaluation told me straight up that 'I don't like you'. Appearing as bold as I could I replied that I didn't like her either and could she please give me my evaluation. Times have changed in the workplace as bullying have taken on a whole new status. Beverly Peterson is a filmmaker from New York whose films explores areas most folks are fearful of tackling. I had an opportunity of speaking with Beverly about her latest film, There Oughta Be A Law:
Cwe. Welcome Beverly, can you tell our readers a bit about you/film.
Bp. I actually have a pretty crazy backgroundI used to own several seafood restaurants on the upper east side of Manhattan. We had fishing boats & traveled extensively. In the early 90s I gave all of that up and started making documentaries. Financially the decision was a nosedive but, artistically it's been amazing. It's not unusual for my films to come out of my personal experiences and what it is to be living at a certain moment in history.
Cwe. What motivated you to do There Oughta Be A Law?
Bp. I knew about the torment of dealing with an abusive boss first hand.It happens with amazing speed. I went down for the count in less than 6 months. suddenly your life is turned upside down financially & emotionally, your health is in jeopardy and you are filled with incredible shame. I started having severe chest pain. Went for a checkup and the EKG tech was concerned because the reading was adnormal. My doctor thought the machine was broken & hooked me up to another one. I failed a resting stress test, so they scheduled the one on the treadmill. needless to say I flunked that one too. The outcome? Stress!
My doctor sat me down and said: "You were fine before you started working for this woman. You need to find another job. " She was right. I quit my job and my health is fine again. The great thing about having the power to make a film is that it gives you a megaphone to shout aloud the dirty little secrets that those abusing power don't want told. That's why I decided to use the internet to launch this video project. The internet is the place where the private becomes public. I want my website to become a safe place for victims to come out of the shadows and talk as openly as they can about the devastating impact of psychological harassment in the workplace.
Cwe. What can we do to bring about awareness to this type of mistreatment by employers in the workplace?
Bp. I think the most important is exactly what you are doing, writing articles to get the word out. Your readers can easily email your article to everyone they know & those people in turn can do the same. I f someone has a story to share, they can get in touch with me. My overly ambitious goal is to raise enough funding to gather stories in every state. On May 28th Illinois passed a bill to study hostile work environments that just needs the Governor's signature. You can make sure they move on that study so it doesn't languish and disappear.
Cwe. Beverly Peterson has more information to share on workplace bullying iincluding stories of a young wife & mother who after being harassed by her employer eventually hung herself. To view portions of this film, visit http://nojobIsWorthThis.com.
More of Beverly Peterson's interview can be viewed at http://clara54.wordpress.com