Changing the Way We Think

I took a class last night about nonprofit advocacy, and my professor asked us to brainstorm social movements throughout history that brought about social change. We came up with a list of movements including women’s suffrage, civil rights, gay marriage, and anti-war. But at the end of the brainstorming session, my professor commented that these movements went beyond changing legislation. They involved changing entire ways of thinking. “At one point in time, it was normal for women not to vote,” he said. “But advocacy changed the common way of thinking.”

While we want the Healthy Workplace Bill passed, we’re also creating a groundswell of opinion that says that employees should have basic rights. We’re moving the needle, each one of us, one by one. We’ll look back on this movement and think how absurd it is that workplace abuse is allowed — just as we think not allowing women to vote was absurd.

We’ve spent months spreading the word about the Healthy Workplace Bill. We’ve shared links to articles about workplace bullying, sent a link to the petition to our friends, and told co-workers about the bill. We’ve passed around simple ways to make our voices heard.

But what I want to know is: in what ways have you been an ambassador that we haven’t mentioned? Have you brought up the bill to people in creative ways? Have you spread the word to specific audiences? Let us know about strategies you’ve used that we haven’t heard about before as you’ve worked as an ambassador for the bill.

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9 comments

  1. David Yamada

    Deb, I think the bigger paradigm shifter is that everyone should expect to be treated with a baseline of dignity at work. It goes beyond the law, it goes beyond workplace bullying and our advocacy for the Healthy Workplace Bill.

    My primary vehicle for this has been my blog, Minding the Workplace (http;//newworkplace.wordpress.com), in which I talk about workplace bullying and the HWB a lot, but also talk about work, workers, and workplaces more generally. It has allowed me to take some of the scholarly writings I’ve done and tease out some of their essential points in a way that is more digestible to folks who understandably don’t have the time to wade through long articles. It also has allowed me to explain how I designed the HWB to fit into our modern system of employment relations.

    It’s unfortunate that talking about worker dignity will get you so many odd looks in the U.S., whereas the basic idea is much more accepted in other nations — not surprisingly, especially those that have adopted some sort of legal protections against bullying at work. It means there’s a bigger point to be made, and we’re fortunate to be in a position to be part of that conversation and advocacy effort!

    -David Yamada

  2. Robbin Miller

    My vehicles have been writing a blogpost for http://www.massmoms.com and doing a TV show on cable access with you. I am also active with the disability rights movement in Worcester area. It takes time to change attitudes about making things accessible for persons with disabilities. I have learned to work with coalitions on common issues to help make change possible for all.

  3. Cre

    I am not sure that I qualify as working as an ambassador for the bill, but I ever since I was viciously bullied out of my non-profit health-related career (go figure?) in 2009, I have been involved in the anti-workplace bullying movement. I currently admin the eBossWatch FB wall and I make sure to post there any news that comes my way regarding the bills in various states in the US.

    I suppose the most unique angle for me has been taking the workplace bullying message to the Lyme disease community, as well as other chronic illness communities. I am very entrenched in Lyme activism and once I started posting about workplace bullying issues to these audiences, I was not too surprised to see that there was a whole lot of interest there. After all, many people with chronic, invisible illness are eventually bullied out of their work and have no obvious recourse (even with said disability discrimination laws in place).

    I’ve also carried the message over to women who have been the victims of domestic violence, abusive partnerships, and all sorts of troubled and dangerous relationships. You can imagine how well our anti-workplace bullying message resonates with these women. As you know, the impact of workplace bullying is now oftentimes compared to that of domestic violence (physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, etc).

    And in my personal life I bring it up any chance that I get, whether it be with neighbors, doctors, therapists, attorneys, letters to the editor, comments sections, as well as friends and family. I shine the spotlight on this “dirty little secret” in the US just as much as I possibly can. Exposure Therapy!
    -Lucretia (Creda) Perilli

  4. Cre

    Hi Deb. I am in West Virginia. The woman in charge of the West Virginia Healthy Workplace bill actually lives in the same town that I do. We have yet to meet up, though. Thanks for your compliments re eBossWatch. I very much enjoy doing it. One of the first things that I did after being forced to resign/bullied out of my career in the non-profit realm, was get involved in the anti-workplace bullying movement. Great people here! -Lucretia (Creda)

  5. Judith Munson

    Changing our own thinking is one of the best ways to rise above workplace bullying. If you practice being assertive by standing up straight, looking the bully in the eye when speaking with them and keep your conversations short, to the point and without emotions, you will do better in keeping yourself above their narcissistic, self centered behaviors.

    Thanks for this timely post and great subject matter.

    Judith

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