About half of Australians will experience workplace bullying at least once in their career, according to Jessica Hickman, the 83rd person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers

Jess was one of them.

For three-and-a-half years, Jess was bullied by an insecure boss who resented her skill, emotional intelligence, confidence and success. He responded with aggression, gaslighting, false rumours and, on occasion, throwing objects at her.

The relentless bullying steadily wore down Jess, until, one day, she collapsed at work from extreme burnout. It was the result of working in a toxic environment for a prolonged period of time, Jess said.

In 2017, Jess founded Bullyology, which helps businesses identify and eliminate bullying. Her mission is to build a generation of upstanders rather than silent bystanders. Jess also shares her message globally as a keynote speaker.

Jess has a steady flow of people contacting her to share confidential information about workplace bullying. Naturally, Jess feels sympathy and wants to help, but she’s had to master the art of emotionally detaching herself so she doesn’t get overwhelmed by all these negative events.