I really hoped, given my pay rise and extra responsibility, things might work out. My desk move happened quickly, nobody made a fuss and HOWARD was pretty quiet. For the first time in my life I thought about sitting the ILEX exams.
Sadly, yesterday HOWARD was back to his old self. I couldn’t escape from it at lunch either. I still had to answer the overflow telephone calls from reception. Trying to cheer up, I told myself things would get better. My heart sank again as I looked at my desk. It was peppered with Post-It reminders. I’d planned to be more organised and I’d completely forgotten to use the Dictaphone I’d bought. While HOWARD was chatting to the PM after making himself a coffee, I tried to understand the manual and how to work the machine. I’m not great with technology. I’d just about given up anyway when HOWARD returned. Knowing he’d laugh at my incompetence, I chucked the Dictaphone in my bag.
The remainder of the day was horrible. Before going home, he said he could say and do whatever he wanted to me now. When I asked what gave him that idea he reminded me there are still no jobs around and that I can’t match my new salary anywhere else. Look what happened to OLLIE’S secretary, he said.
I don’t need reminding. For a week, my feet have been knocking against a box of her personal possessions. PHILIP, who’d never warmed to her, had bullied her into a breakdown - then threatened to sack her if she came back. I’d boxed up her things, figuring I’d deliver them at some point. She’d been replaced with an equally tearful temp. Last I heard, OLLIE’S hard working ex-secretary was about to sign on and desperate to keep her rented flat.
I was counting myself lucky.
It was only when got in I realised the Dictaphone had been recording. I didn’t know what or when, but it registered 37.33 minutes. I assume it was like the time I’d got a new mobile phone which dialled people if my bag touched against the buttons. My handbag works technology better than I do. It shouldn’t have heard anything from the inside of my bag but I was curious so I plugged it into Windows Media Player.
It was 37.33 minutes of my lunch. There’s nothing at first… then HOWARD’S voice telling everyone I’m gay. He tries to convince them for about 10 minutes. Everyone’s laughing. I deny it. I tell them I was married. I tell them a few months ago I went on match.com to find a boyfriend. HOWARD changes tack, talking about how ugly I am. The PM and Employment Lawyers laugh louder. HOWARD tries to persuade them to agree. Again, I repeat over and over that I’m not gay and I’m not ugly. Scornful, he asks a series of personal questions about my family, which I’m reluctant to answer. Are they are as ugly as I am? Or are they uglier? He calls me ugly for about 15 minutes while I try to eat lunch and answer the phone.
Then HOWARD tells me, over the Employment Lawyers giggling in the background, that I’m not to get upset later because he says I’m ugly. He’s sick of me crying about it. He does his new impression of me as Beaker from The Muppet Show.
“I’m sick of you getting upset” he says, “and I have to do my Boutros Boutros Ghali bit.”
I’m so humiliated. How on earth did it get this bad? I think somehow I’ve become too used to laughing it off.
Not wanting to hear more, I switched off Windows Media Player. It was a mistake to listen to it. How naïve was I to think I could be a fee earner or to think I have a future with this company? I’m taking the Dictaphone back to Argos. It’s one of the stupidest things I’ve done. I don’t know if you can imagine. What I’d heard gave me nightmares last night. I woke up after one bad dream where HOWARD was pressing against me, holding my wrists down against the desk and telling me I’m sacked if I don’t type what he tells me. He leans on me and forces my wrists down harder so I can’t move…I woke up shouting for him to leave me alone.
I have to find another job soon.
So much for Boutros Boutros Ghali.
- Bullied By The Boss
- Welcome to my blog. My pen name is Eva James. I'm an aspiring writer paying the bills working as a legal secretary. Relentlessly bullied by my former boss, I looked for another job but the recession hit. Feeling trapped, I recorded everything in this blog, which serves as a revealing insight into workplace bullying. WEEK 1 starts the story and, as the weeks progress, you'll note what starts as banter soon spirals out of control. Sadly, it's all true. Whilst along the way I've found alternative employment, my passion for blogging about workplace bullying remains. Trevor Griffiths, legendary theatre, TV and film writer said at the outset, "I like the writing a lot: smart, cool, placed. If you were prepared/able to take your prick of a boss on, you'd marmelise him."