How many times do you think you’ve been stereotyped?

What do you think when you hear the word stereotype?

I would say that normally people think of the way someone looks, whether it is racial, or just the way someone  physically portrays themselves. A typical example – A blonde girl wearing fake tan is most likely to be thought of as a ‘ditsy blonde’ or just plain ‘fake’ which has been the classic stereotype for years. This judgement can occur anytime anywhere, whether you are just walking down the street and someone is simply observing the way you look. But the question is what happens when you are being stereotyped at work?

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The definition of stereotype according to the English dictionary:

‘Widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing: the stereotype of the woman as the carer sexual and racial stereotypes.’

It is only human for us to stereotype, once a person has heard something negative regarding a person, they will automatically relate it with future observations.  Whether it is said out loud or just thought of, it will still go through your head, as we are just wired that way.

Have you realised that the country you come from may be giving you a misperceived reputation?

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Image taken from

Here are just some of the most publicised stereotypical opinions I have come across, through both discussing the topic with people and analysing survey results.

The Germans – Controlling and demanding.

The French – Cold and find it hard to take orders.

The Americans – Exaggerators and loud – ‘Who came first the chicken or the egg….the American’

The Arabs – Lazy and money orientated.

British – Talk like the Queen, lazy with bad teeth.

Chinese – Hard workers but never shake hands to greet people.

Spanish – Always partying, so they need a good siesta.

It is completely unethical for people within a workplace to immediately make assumptions of co-workers because of their heritage. Not only do problems occur when we alter our own behaviour to fit our theory, (which may or may not be correct) but we also start making decisions about observations made. The dilemma is we miss the opportunity to let someone in and create a human connection, which marks a barrier when it comes to effective teamwork and relationships.

‘Familiarity corrects stereotyping. The better we know someone, the more we see the person as an individual.’ Marylin S. Kelly

Remember: Think before you judge, if you are English you would not like co-workers to assume you were just a lazy tea drinker with no ambition.

Lastly, have you ever been stereotyped at work? If so, how did it affect you?


Does bullying still even exist when you’re an adult?

If you thought bullying only happened at school, then think again…

You will be surprised to know that 40-50% of people say they have been bullied during their working life.

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Shocking isn’t it?

Especially as the number of victims to this abuse is increasing. It is worrying that these issues are not properly dealt with and subsequently just brushed under the carpet.

Bullying doesn’t have to be just physical; if it is happening in your workplace then speak out. It could be that someone is constantly criticising your work, belittling you, making you feel inadequate, embarrassed or shameful.

Although, the outcomes of bullying are continuously publicised, the act of abuse is almost seen as trivial. Here is an example of one of the many tragic bullying cases.

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Image taken from

David Orr a 21 year old began working full time at BT after successfully completing an apprenticeship with the company. After several bullying incidents from the management team and failed actions taken regarding his concerns, sadly, he committed suicide.

Before his death during October 2011 David had stated that he was being bullied by management. However, his worries were ignored. With his mother Michele Millar finally speaking out, she has said BT Openreach continually failed to respond to his concerns.

“It doesn’t matter whether it is in BT or any other workplace, I don’t want any other boy and their family to go through this. I would say to anyone who is being bullied, speak out – tell people about it until somebody listens and somebody does something about it.”

Michele Milliar

With these tragedies heightening, it is important that victims know how to address the issue. If you are being bullied or know someone who is follow encourage them to follow this five point plan.

  1. Acknowledge the problem.
  2. Inform yourself.
  3. Confront constructively.
  4. Keep a diary.
  5. Seek help.

It is important to not forget that a bully is normally jealous or threatened of skills and attributes, they are the ones that are insecure, therefore determined to undermine others. Actions may seem subtle, and it may lead to believing you are just overreacting.

Remember: When conflict arises at work, it should be healthy and creative.

A question for you, have you or someone you know ever experienced bullying as an adult? If so, how did you personally deal with it? Did you speak out, and was action taken?