Boss Lady

Are you the target of career stalking?


What do Britney Spears and Catherine the Great have in common? Both have high public profiles, and both were targets of extreme career stalking. Career stalking is seldom discussed, yet is not a new epidemic, considering Catherine the Great of Russia reigned over the 18th century.

History shows career stalking is not just the recent emergence of trolling over the internet. Marilyn Monroe, Queen Elizabeth I and even Cleopatra were targets, with people mounting a series of calculated attacks to derail their professional credibility. Think of it as Operation Reputation Destruction. It continues in current times through a mire of modern mediums. From emails to direct contact, a career stalker aims to dismantle their target’s business relationships, affecting their livelihood and alienating them with their industry.

For more than 30 years, the Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great was one of the world’s most influential leaders and she attracted a number of career stalkers. Salacious stories, namely about her love life, were planted in the press to infect the public’s perception of her. This stalking was so effective that it has muddled the history books; there are over five conflicting versions of how she died, each more discrediting than the last. For the record, the one that says she died while having sex with a horse is untrue.

Britney Spears was the target of a former manager who reportedly fed off the fame that she attracted. Spears had a well-documented breakdown in 2007, losing control of her assets and a portion of her fan base, during the time at which her ‘Svengali’ manager controlled her affairs. Now similarly ‘managing’ the flailing Amanda Bynes, this man is pinpointed as an example of the modern career stalker.

Statistics show that professional aspiring women are the career stalker’s primary target, because like Catherine the Great and Britney Spears, their careers are the most important asset in their lives.

When we envision a stalker, an embittered ex-lover comes to mind. There’s an automatic presumption that a Stalker and their victim share some kind of romantic connection (real or imagined), but with Career Stalkers, this is not the case.

Career Stalkers may not know the victim personally. Career stalkers may have worked with their target decades ago, and therefore, would be hard to identify by their victims. A career stalker could be a former university alumni. And the motivation for career stalking varies from a business alliance gone bad to competitiveness to old fashioned jealousy.

For a career stalker, it’s exceptionally easy to tarnish someone’s reputation without consequence.

The cousin of Internet Trolling, Career Stalking is not regulated by International Law, largely due to the fact that society holds the stereotype of the jilted lover as the suspect for such a crime.

How can you protect yourself against a Career Stalker?

  • Vet whomever you let in to your life – online and in-person. Question a person’s intention to follow you on Twitter. If your instinct says no, don’t be afraid to block them.
  • Validate them. If you’re unsure about a new connection, do not hesitate to validate their characters with others. Question who they have worked with what kind of person they are.
  • Record everything. Career stalking is a difficult case to prove, so if you’re feeling in danger – take screen shots, file emails and record conversations with your Stalker for evidence.
  • Discuss the matter only with your legal counsel. For example, if a colleague receives an email that discredits you, don’t offer them the full explanation. Simply explain to them that you are concerned about it and it is in the hands of the law. Launching in to Defence Mode may discredit you further – exactly what your career stalker wants you to do.
  • Don’t ignore it. A Stalker is never satisfied with their handiwork, therefore they can execute their attack over a number of years. The sooner you address it, the quicker it can be over. Even if your family and friends do not believe that you have a case, stick to your guns – if you’re feeling as though you are being harassed, you are and it is not legal.

About Anna James

Anna James is a Brisbane-based journalist who cut her teeth in sports reporting. Currently focusing on business commentating, Anna James contributes to the Business Woman Media and Following her passion for the human interest angle, Anna’s work has been published across a wide range of media including Mamamia, Fox Sports, Woman’s Day, FilmInk Magazine and many others.

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