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Wonder: Dealing with adult bullies

Bullies in the classroom and on the playground grow up to be bullies at work, in politics, and in their communities. And dealing with these unfortunate people, no matter what the environment, requires the same approach: you must stand up to them, strengthen your voice and resolve, and not back down. It is as painful to do as an adult as it is as a child, and we must do it. Once you stand up to them, their insecurity will cause them to lie about you and do and say anything possible to disparage you. Promise yourself to be such an amazing person that no one would believe them. Stand your ground and be your best you—that’s the only way forward. If you’re dealing with this now, let me tell you a story.

When I started working at a financial services company in 2008, my Director and VP were pretty awful people. 14 months after my start date, I found another job at the same company in a completely different division with great people. The work was interesting and the role was a coveted one. My Director and VP were furious that I had gotten another job without their help and after they had done everything possible to prevent me from moving on to a new role. They were bullies and because I worked hard, spoke my mind, and did well despite their poor leadership, they continued to speak badly about me even after I left my role on their team. I moved on and never looked back.

Within a handful of months, they were both managed out of the company (a nice of way of saying they were fired). Shortly after that, my old VP reached out to me on LinkedIn. He had started a consulting practice and wanted to know if I could introduce him to my new VP in the hopes of getting a contract with my new team. He wanted to work for me after treating me so badly! It was shocking.

I ignored the message and never responded. To a bully, silence is deafening. Dismissing them without a second thought is intolerable. And in my eyes, that is exactly how he deserved to feel after his bullying—intolerable. It was a satisfying moment to hit delete. I fired him from my career and my life. I never heard from him again.

I recently faced a very similar situation and I’ve decided to deal with it exactly the same way. I’ve moved on and focused my attention on my new role with a great boss, talented team, and fascinating work. I’m not looking back nor listening to the noise and toxicity that I left behind. My future is ahead of me, not behind me.



About Christa Avampato

I make a living in business and I make a life as a writer, artist, and yogi. I use my business and storytelling skills to build a better world. My first novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published in the Fall of 2017 by Thumbkin Prints, a children's and YA imprint of Possibilities Publishing Co. My creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events to help people live happier, healthier lives. A recovering multi-tasker, I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I am proud to New York City my home, and I've been called the happiest New Yorker by friends and strangers alike. They're right. Follow my adventures on Twitter at and Instagram at


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To be a writer is to first be a listener and observer. I often go somewhere—a coffeeshop, a museum, a store—and just tune into the conversations of others. I don’t take out my phone or notebook. I don’t have any purpose other than to listen to what people say, how they say it, and then how people respond to them.

I tried this experiment recently at the @metmuseum. I went to their Astor Chinese Garden Court and sat there for a while as people wandered in and out. It’s a bright and peaceful place in the museum. Good for clearing the mind and opening up the ears.

It was fascinating to see such a diverse set of people come into the space and have a similar experience, of peace and contentment and happiness. It reminded me how hurried and cluttered our lives can become. And it made me more conscious of the power of places that give us time to just be. The expression of “wow” on everyone’s face when they entered the garden made me smile.

As we edge toward 2018 and the cold weather takes us indoors for a few months, I’m looking forward to more of these listening and observing activities. We have so much to learn from each other.

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