So then...

About Me

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."

Thursday, 28 October 2010

WEEK 109 Mini Break

Last week I wrote about my nerves being shot. I’m eyeing up the last of the pancake mixes again (8 boxes left = 54 individual pancakes). I can’t sleep or concentrate properly.

It’s time to take my first proper break of the year. I’m off to a yoga retreat on the coast, where Catholic Nuns cook wholesome vegetarian food and relaxing treatments are available all weekend.

I’m back on the blog next Wednesday, when I’m sure I’ll be back on top of my game.

Take care of yourselves too.

Best wishes

BBTB x

Saturday, 23 October 2010

WEEK 108 Quiet Ones

Eight weeks have passed since I sent off my book proposal, and I’ve heard nothing.

Coupled with the fact that last week was to be my Tribunal hearing, my nerves are shot. To hide my jitters in work I’m working harder; getting in the zone. I threw myself into it this week. I was quieter than usual.

Even then, I’m clumsy. I broke a colleague’s mug when making her a coffee. I made mistakes, but I got through it. No-one suspects I’m fraying around the edges.

They were trying to persuade me to go out last night. I went for one drink, with one of the girl’s persuasive observations ringing in my ears.

“It’s not like you’ve got anything else on!”

Anyone suffering from workplace bullying would agree home is sanctuary. But more than that, it’s where we can stop putting a brave face on.

After I initiated my claim against my old firm, they claimed I didn’t act like someone who was being bullied. It makes me laugh now. (As if being withdrawn, covered in hives, complaining to HR and quitting don’t count).

I’m sure if you asked any of my colleagues now if I behave like someone who’d been the target of an extreme bullying campaign, set up a website and blog, settled a court case, and written a book to help others going through the same thing, they’d fall off their chairs.

They’d just tell you I’m a bit quiet.

It’s the quiet ones you want to watch. We don’t look like we’ve got anything else on – because we’re making every effort to hide the sort of emotional baggage few others can truly understand.

Best wishes

BBTB x

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

WEEK 107 Final Chapters

I’ve been dreading this week.

My Tribunal was scheduled for this week and the start of next. It was removed from the Court list ages ago, but the date loomed large in my head.

I’m full of questions. Still heartbroken about the terrible lies they told in the ET3, I can’t help wondering if they would really have been prepared to take their fictional masterpiece to Court. Surely it was too complex a web? All those lies to cover up what they knew to be more lies by HOWARD. There’s a possibility, of course, if my barrister wasn’t up to much HOWARD could have taken it to Court and won. Can you imagine the field day the local press would have had if I’d lost? Sadly, it’s a possibility. I’ve seen it happen.

I know I did the right thing getting out of it.

Perhaps it’s the writer in me causing me sleepless nights. Every story has a beginning, middle and end. And with the original ending rubbed out of the diary, I’m waiting on word from the publishers.

I hope they give my book a fair hearing.

Best wishes

BBTB x

Sunday, 10 October 2010

WEEK 105 I Didn’t Do It

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt as a legal secretary it’s that, on paper, things aren’t always as they seem.

Employment claims, obviously, involve work conflicts. The worst ones (usually the ones about bullying or harassment) are the ones where the bully and the employer pretend there was no conflict at all. Bullies often claim their relationship with the accuser was 100% conflict free; that the Claimant has another agenda.

Under pressure, the employer or guilty boss/colleague will go to such lengths to prove they’ve been set up that the whole thing becomes bizarre. They’ll allege things like “After our innocent chat about the weather, the Claimant started to cry and complain of harassment! She’s obviously after money!”

I heard this hundreds of times at my old firm. “We didn’t do anything. So and so is suing us because she’s a money grabbing *****”.

Weirdly, people buy this. But here’s the newsflash. The majority of people walk away with a settlement ranging from one to two month’s wages. Considering they’ve probably walked out of their job months before and have a solicitor to pay – they’re probably stacking up debts that one or two month’s pay isn’t going to touch. They know they won’t get much - but something is better than nothing when you've been bullied out of employment.

We all know the real security is keeping the job you’ve got - more so when you have a family, a mortgage to pay and bills coming in.

So when an employer or one of its employees says, “I didn’t do anything – he/she was trying to maliciously extort money from the firm” – it’s only a matter of time before the thing they didn’t do happens again to somebody else.

Best wishes

BBTB x

Saturday, 2 October 2010

WEEK 103 Sympathy Vote

Sometimes I have this recurring dream about HOWARD.

I dream HOWARD corners me in the street and begs forgiveness for the way he treated me. He admits he took his personal problems out on me and he’s sorry now, now that his troubles are resolved. He’s full of regret.

Emotional and sympathetic, I tell him not to worry about it. I tell him I understand. It’s water under the bridge.

I wake up annoyed at myself. You see, I learnt my lesson in real life. I’m done with making that mistake; sympathising, forgiving – and then being harassed all over again.

Whatever personal or professional troubles HOWARD had at the time – they were more than matched by the one’s he gave me.

He’ll never apologise in real life, but if he did, I like to think I have the maturity to forgive him – this time without an ounce of sympathy. Sympathy implies support.

And any sympathy I have is now reserved for the targets of bullying.

Best wishes

BBTB x
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