Ladder kickers, according to psychologist Meredith Fuller, come in eight varieties. She catalogues them in her book, Working with Mean Girls: Identifying and protecting yourself from workplace nastiness. First up is The Insecure, an obsessive fault-finder who is always micromanaging you and disapproving of your work. Then there’s The Excluder, who ignores you and fails to pass on critical information; The Narcissist, who treats you like her servant, craves admiration, and overreacts to criticism; The Screamer, who erupts at a moment’s notice; The Toxic, who pretends to be your friend one minute, then sinks the boot in the next; The Liar, who tells fib after fib to get ahead; The Incompetent, who steals your ideas while making you do her job; and, last, but not least, The Not-A-Bitch, who is nevertheless so busy with her career and family life that she is tuned out to your needs.
Sound familiar? That’s because, as Fuller explains it, these office mean girls are everywhere: in large corporations, small businesses, legal and accounting firms, hospitals, universities, the arts and professional member associations. “So many women are losing their love of work due to a bitchy environment that is both sneaky and covert,” Fuller says. “Work has become a minefield, where people are more self absorbed, lacking in manners, too tired and feeling invisible to value others. But we should be able to go to work and feel safe instead of worrying about insidious jabs.”
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