I’ve never really worked a typical nine to five job in my life, but I have worked with some difficult people. My experience has been for limited amounts of time, like for several weeks while shooting a movie. But for those people who are stuck in an office dealing with difficult people at work, there needs to be a way to handle it.
For many people, half of your life is spent at work, or in work-related situations. So, dealing with difficult people is something you have to get under control or risk the stress that comes with it. Sometimes simply ignoring the difficult person is enough. If you don’t confront them, they usually move on to picking on someone else in the office. And that person may be the one who challenges them to stop their behavior, saving you and everyone else in the office from their tirades.
If the bullying is completely focused on you, you will eventually need to confront it or it will just keep getting worse. Let the bully know that you will take the case to someone higher up on the food chain if it doesn’t stop. Sometimes this is enough to get them to back off. Take the high road and don’t stoop to their level.
It’s tempting to want to lash out and do something immature, but if you do, you just fall into their trap and end up looking like an idiot yourself. Stay calm and go straight to the top if all other attempts at civility fail.
This one is really hard, but try to put yourself in their shoes and figure out what the real root of the problem is. Maybe that person is under tremendous stress in their personal life or maybe they feel inferior at work, or any number of other issues. There’s usually a reason why someone resorts to bullying. Try to figure out what it is, and if you can help resolve it that way, it’s best to try it first. If not, get management involved quietly and return to focusing on your own job.