Author Lynne Curry says "don't play nice" on the office playground.

Author Lynne Curry says "don't play nice" on the office playground.

Occasionally, you feel like you're back in sixth grade.

But you're not-you're at work, dealing with the same kind of bully you faced in the schoolyard. It's just as frustrating now as it was then, but what can you do? You don't have a teacher to run to, so read Beating the Workplace Bully by Lynne Curry instead.

Once you graduated from high school, you figured you were done with those thugs who ruled the playground. But, says Curry, "Bullies and targets exist at all levels and in many organizations" and she can help the latter deal with the former. So what can you do when you're on the receiving end of a workplace bully?

First, Curry says, remember that though "no one deserves to be bullied," it's an "epidemic." Ninety-six percent of respondents to a 2014 poll reported problems of bullying at work.

Next, understand that problems with co-workers don't just "go away." If there's a bully in the next cubicle, strive to break old habits and diffuse what's making you a target. Stop playing the bully's game by recognizing the eight "most common bully traps" and the tactics he or she uses to get under your skin. Don't let your tormenter have any space in your brain; try to remain calm, neutral, and don't get angry!

And finally, if you're the boss with a bully on your staff, know how to handle what could become a very thorny situation for you and your business. Above all, remember: "don't play nice- you can't afford it."

Oh, how I wish I'd had a book like Beating the Workplace Bully back when I needed it! I'm sure it would've saved a lot of sleepless nights, job-jumping and productivity loss, because Curry's advice is solid and straightforward without being rash or antagonizing.

Curry teaches a certain kind of stand-up-for-yourself Zen in this book, starting with basic hand-holding and moving on to what amounts to guerrilla tactics with a lace glove. She also offers a series of quizzes at the end of each chapter to help readers determine where they sit and what's next. I found those particularly helpful.

This is one of those books that you won't regret having on your shelf, even if you don't need it right now-because when you do, Beating the Workplace Bully will have your bully schooled.