A tough work situation & a true calling to help people
Jessica Hickman, a welsh native who is a qualified practitioner in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and with a degree in Youth & Community, has embarked on a new journey to Australia in the spring of 2013. There she has taken a role in the HR department with a large construction company, which was predominately male dominated. One of her many responsibilities was to improve the culture and men’s mental health in the work place.
Her professional attitude combined with her eagerness to help and her positive and bubbly personality helped her build a great dialogue with her work peers and thus winning their trust. Months later in the job, she has developed and introduced a culture program which had great success internally but also won many awards in Australia.
Following her success and positive change that she has brought in the company, one of her senior managers has started to give negative feedback about her performance on a professional and personal level. At first Jessica thought that perhaps it was her fault and she tried to rectify her ‘mistakes’ even though she thought there was nothing wrong with her work ethic. However, his actions against her continued to be more frequent and abusive. He made her feel incompetent at her job and sabotaged her work. He made her feel that because she is a woman, there was not a place for her to bring change. That’s when she realised that she was bullied, while in turn she was trying to help her colleagues to cope with stress and other work related pressures. During her work schedule she felt she had to put a mask on the outside to serve her colleagues but in fact in the inside she was extremely anxious, confused and traumatised.
“I’ve decided to become an advocate
against bullying, be the voice for the
voiceless and coach people through the
difficult times when faced with bullying”
She was a bullying victim and even though she brought it up to the senior management 32 times there was no real support offered. After three years of torment she realised she needed help from the outside, thus she took part in several counselling groups to help her coupe with feelings like pressure, anxiety, paranoia and nightmares. These were symptoms very similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Her case was eventually under investigation as there was a new CEO appointed, however than didn’t
solve the issues entirely, which after three and a half years she decided to quit the job as it was
damaging her health.
“the higher achievers with good hearts are targeted for bullying in the work
She found her inner strength after attending a conference led by an influential coach in September 2017. That’s when she wanted to put a stop to her past and no longer live the life of being a victim. “I’ve decided to become an advocate against bullying, be the voice for the voiceless and coach people through the difficult times when faced with bullying” said Jessica.
She managed to turn all her negative experience into a positive one. After only six months of speaking her truth with no shame she has developed a partnership with a cyber bullying platform that has a global reach which targets corporates and schools also.
Being vocal about her experience with friends and those around her, made her realise that there are
many people who share similar stories. Thus, armed with her passion to bring positive change in the
work place Jessica decided to found Bullyology to prevent bullying.
Jessica encourages women and men to speak out and seek help. She suggests that when reporting
the bullying, one should put forward factual information rather than emotional. For instance, try to
get some legal advice and when presenting your case to the upper management mention the
financial impact on the business i.e. costs involved with the investigation, sick pay, hiring a new
Throughout her research and experience Jessica has concluded that “the higher achievers with good
hearts are targeted for bullying in the work place”. Despite her success she still gets some negative
feedback from people for being outspoken, but she has learned how to protect her own energy and
ignore the noise. Her tenacious and positive personality has prevailed despite of the tough times she
had to go through.
Jessica has got a bright future ahead of her, soon she will launch an online course that includes the 5
steps to live, survive and thrive following work place bullying, which can be accessed on her website
from everywhere in the world. She is actively speaking at conferences and delivering workshops
about topics closest to her heart such as bullying, positive change, gender equality, mindfulness,
coaching and mentoring. In 2019 she will launch her own book and a technology platform which will
make all the information easily accessible and be streamed much seamlessly.
For more information, about Jessica and her work with Bullyology please visit her website:
Article directed and written by Alex Slabutu