A former employee of Pinterest has gone viral after claiming the famously “nice” workplace isn’t so nice after all.
In a video posted to TikTok, user Shelby (@shelbarlow) says that while working at Pinterest she was frequently subjected to “mobbing.”
As explained by Chron, “mobbing” involves “groups of people targeting a coworker for isolation, humiliation, and aggression.”
Shelby says that frequent mobbing, and her reports of mobbing to her higher-ups, went ignored, leading her to leave the job. Her video has received more than 127,000 views as of press time.
“In my case, my direct manager at Pinterest… was the ringleader of the mob against me,” Shelby says in the video. About mobbing, she adds, “Unfortunately, the vast majority of the time, going to HR will just make things worse… I encourage everyone to read up about [mobbing], because I had never heard about it until it happened to me.”
This is one of many videos Shelby has made about her time at Pinterest. Other videos detail the extent of the mobbing.
“My female manager made it her mission to destroy me,” Shelby recalls.
In the comments under her video on mobbing, users contributed their thoughts on the topic.
“It’s just adult bullying, plain and simple,” wrote one user. “HR is run by PEOPLE who want to fit in at the workplace like everyone else. They are never helpful!”
“Introverts are targeted,” claimed another.
Others chimed in to tell their own tales of workplace mobbing.
“I walked out of [an] extremely high paying consulting job after a month because this began to happen,” remembered a TikToker. “I didn’t know the term for it but [now] I do.”
“I experienced this at my last company,” a further user added. “I’ll NEVER work for a small business ever again because of mobbing.”
Some posted theories as to why this might happen.
“It’s so you quit without qualifying for benefits,” speculated one user.
“It usually happens when you’re new and good at your job,” theorized another. “They see new talent as a threat!”
Many offered tips on what to do if you suspect you’re being mobbed in the workplace.
“Document everything! Keep a journal with dates, times and any interaction. Be specific in your entries,” wrote a commenter. “Arbitrations and Civil suits will benefit you.”
“DONT QUIT!” contributed another. “Get fired and get unemployment!”
Above all, many are happy Shelby got out of what seemed like a bad situation.
“I’m so sorry this happened,” one user commented.
In response, Shelby wrote, “u don’t owe me an apology but thank u… i hope telling my story will save someone else from making the same mistake.”
Update 7:30am CT, April 12: When reached for comment, Shelby told the Daily Dot what advice she wants to give to people who feel they are being mobbed at work.
“My advice to people is to 1. document any and all questionable behavior and evidence from the very beginning, so if/when they begin to suspect they’re being mobbed, they do not have to waste time trying to pull info from memory. Something I regret not doing is recording my interactions with my mobbers,” she said. “2. Figure out an exit strategy – update resume, LinkedIn, etc., reach out to your professional network, and begin browsing and applying to other job opportunities—as the research shows nearly 70% of mobbing targets are pushed out of their jobs eventually whether by being fired or quitting.”
“3. Decide what they need to make peace with the situation—in my case, it was standing up to my mobbers (in as professional of a way as possible to avoid giving them any leverage to get me fired) and then sharing my story and starting a conversation about what it’s like to experience something like this,” she continued.
She also shared her thoughts on how the issue of mobbing can be resolved on a structural level.
“I believe it starts with clear anti-mobbing, bullying, and harassment policies and a true 0 tolerance attitude,” she said. “While Pinterest has these policies, their Employee Relations team used manipulation tactics against me to minimize my concerns and in my opinion mobbed me themselves by offering me 0 alternative options to staying on a team of mobbers and reporting to one.”
“I think companies can and should take it a step further by requiring all new hires to take an anti-bullying pledge and periodically reminding them that they did so, protecting and empowering employees who report, and holding employees who are responsible for bullying accountable,” she added.
The Daily Dot reached out to Pinterest.
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