A LOT of tech workers are being bullied at work

Annoyed office worker computer

Working as an IT professional is an incredibly mixed bag these days. On the one hand, the pay is great, demand for skilled tech workers is high and the work is often rewarding.

On the other, very long hours are common and the stress and pressure to perform can literally drive some of them insane.

Now add one more negative to the list: a high chance of being bullied by a co-worker.

More than half (55%) of 250 IT professionals in the U.S. surveyed said they had been bullied by a co-worker. And 65 per cent have said they dreaded going to work because of bad behaviour of a co-worker.

So finds a survey conducted by web hosting firm Connectria Hosting, whose founder and CEO, Rich Waidmann, is trying to start a movement to end workplace bullying called “No Jerks Allowed.” Waidmann founded Connectria in 1996, after working 12 years from NCR (acquired by AT&T).

“When I started Connectria in 1996, I wanted to build a company that was great to work for and work with,” Waidmann says in a video that explains why he started No Jerks Allowed.

That means it’s a job requirement at his company that every employee treat everyone else with courtesy and respect as well as “going the extra mile” to take care of people in the community who are less fortunate, he says.

Rich Waidmann Connectria
Connectria founder and CEO Rich Waidmann LinkedIn/Rich Waidmann

That might sound like common-sense business courtesy but in the tech world, such manners are not a given.

Back in 1996 the role model for the IT world was the young Bill Gates, who threw notorious tantrums in those days, as did his successor Steve Ballmer. At one point, the story goes, Microsoft even employed a person to count how many times Gates dropped the “f-word” in a meeting, as a way to measure how pleased or upset he was.

Flash forward to today, and the tech industry can still be a rough and tumble place. The world-famous creator of the Linux operating system, Linus Torvalds, is regularly accused of verbal abuse. At Red Hat, the lines between being outspoken and being rude are so blurred that employees have been known to call the CEO “an idiot” to his face (which is fine with him).

Then there was the alleged “frat-like” behaviour at Tinder that led to a cofounder leaving and suing (the case was settled for a reported $US1 million). Or how about the GitHub incident, where one cofounder left the company and his wife later publicly apologised for pressuring employees to work for her own startup for free?

We could go on, but you get the point.

Linus Torvalds
Linus Torvalds YouTube/TheLinuxFoundation

Waidmann wants more companies to do what schools do, and enact a zero-tolerance office bully policy. This survey finds that two-thirds of people surveyed work at companies that have no such policy.

So, not surprisingly, 83 per cent also said they have worked with a jerk within the last five years and 25% admit to having been an office jerk themselves.

There are five common types of Office Jerks, according to the No Jerks Allowed folks:

  1. The “Know-it-all”: Nearly 30% per cent say this is the most common type of jerk they have to deal with.
  2. The “Bully”: 26% say this is the most common.
  3. The “Complainer”: 21% say this is the most common
  4. The “Brownnoser”: 16% say this is the most common
  5. The “Office Gossip”: 4% say this is the most common.

Office jerks have a bunch of negative effects, according to the survey:

  • Two-thirds say that they lead to low employee morale;
  • 42% say they cause other employees to go “lone wolf” and work alone instead of collaborating;
  • 40% say they decrease the quality of the company’s work and
  • one-third say they cause employees to be unable to get their own work done.

For those that like pictures, here’s the full results of the survey in infographic form:

Connectria No Jerks Allowed
Connectria No Jerks Allowed survey Connectria

NOW WATCH: This Chinese man can draw a life-like portrait of Vladimir Putin on an egg