Recently, my sister and I had a conversation about workplace bullying. As the boss of her own private practice, she is somewhat shielded from the burden of being bullied on the job, but she recalls a time when that was not the case. When she was in Medical School she was given a list of rules from essay called, “How to Swim with Sharks,” by Voltaire Cousteau. She said it helped her to cope with the bullies in her early career. So, I decided to look it up. The three rules I like the most are:
Do not bleed.
It is a cardinal principle that if you are injured, either by accident or by intent, you must not bleed. Experience shows that bleeding prompts an even more aggressive attack and will often provoke the participation of sharks that are uninvolved or, as noted above, are usually docile.
Counter any aggression promptly
Sharks rarely attack a swimmer without warning. Usually there is some tentative, exploratory aggressive action. It is important that the swimmer recognize that this behavior is a prelude to an attack and takes prompt and vigorous remedial action. The appropriate countermove is a sharp blow to the nose. Almost invariably this will prevent a full-scale attack, for it makes it clear that you understand the shark’s intention and are prepared to use whatever force is necessary to repel aggressive actions.
Use anticipatory retaliation
A constant danger to the skilled swimmer is that the sharks will forget that he is skilled and may attack in error. Some sharks have notoriously poor memories in this regard. This memory loss can be prevented by a program of anticipatory retaliation. The skilled swimmer should engage in these activities periodically and the periods should be less than the memory span of the shark. Thus, it is not possible to state fixed intervals. The procedure may need to be repeated frequently with forgetful sharks and need be done only once for sharks with total recall.
You can find the entire essay on http://www.apor.org/html/how_to_swim_with_sharks.htm