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."

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

WEEK 149 Sensitive Soul

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that a couple of weeks ago the one year anniversary of leaving my old job passed by. Cue a strange life-crisis where I developed an overwhelming urge for a make-over. I wanted to be a new person; myself, but better. I wanted to emerge butterfly like, from the cocoon of past employment hurts.

The minute I’d got over my throat infection – I got busy.

First I booked a deep facial. The idea was that my skin would be glowing. My eyes watered as my face was chemically exfoliated. I had no idea that these things were so painful. I’d been warned of a small amount of sensitivity – only to feel like I was getting second degree burns. It didn’t look as bad as it felt, but that wasn’t much consolation.

The second thing I planned was to get back in shape. I aimed to be toned in ten days. I booked back to back classes; boot-camp, sprinting and kettle-bell classes. Now I’m walking like an old lady because my quads are so tight. Climbing stairs is a nightmare. My arms and legs are bruised from the extra martial arts classes I signed up for. My right shin caught my partner’s elbow twice, resulting in egg shaped lumps.

The third element was the most exciting. I decided to really splash out and have my teeth whitened; a real affirmation that I would have more to smile about from now on.

The dentist said it was pretty simple. He gave me the trays, syringes, and it all came packaged in a stylish black and white gift bag. I was sold. Or I was until I took the 20% bleach solution, applied it to the trays and stuck them in my mouth last night. Every nerve in my teeth pinged and twitched. An electric current surged through my canines and molars. And I was supposed to sleep with them in? For two to three weeks? Sleep? Are you kidding? I got around 45 minutes in all. I lay there longing for the morning and telling myself over and over it would be worth it in the end.

Who’d have thought that in trying to put sensitive matters behind me, I’d need quite as much Witch Hazel and Sensodyne toothpaste?

Ouch.

Best wishes

BBTB x

Saturday, 19 March 2011

WEEK 146 Fit for a Princess

I’m looking forward to the royal wedding.

I don’t come across as the most romantic person in the world – and I’m not necessarily, but weddings have a curious effect on me.

My own wedding was lovely. The whole day was rose-gold and cream, crystals and ivory silk. I never thought it would happen to me. Louis Armstrong’s ‘Wonderful World’ played in the background as we exchanged our vows. I wore a tiara and my friend’s little girl followed me around saying “You’re a princess!” My entire family were there, wishing us well. Although the groom is long gone, weddings remain gloriously soft focus.

Whilst I was looking forward to the royal wedding, I wasn’t going to buy them anything. Or I wasn’t until I saw their gift list. Kate Middleton and Prince William have asked their guests and well wishers to donate to one of 26 charities. Included is the Beatbullying charity. It’s said Kate chose them because she had to be removed from a particular school after just two terms because of bullying. Beatbullying are now planning to ask Kate to become a patron.

Can you imagine how those former school kids must be feeling, knowing they bullied the future Queen of England? Ouch. There’s a lesson for bullies and the people they target.

I like Kate’s fairytale example.

Because maybe we’re the one’s who’ll live happily ever after.

Best wishes

BBTB x

Thursday, 17 March 2011

WEEK 145 March Madness

Exactly a year ago today, I walked into my old firm clutching my “To whom it may concern letter”. I dug it out this morning, having half a mind to write a blog about the terrible things mentioned in it, and how I’d successfully moved on.

I forgot how unpleasant that letter is. The specifics are certainly too unpleasant for my blog. Not that I haven’t moved on, but the details remain upsetting. I signed off that letter saying I couldn’t take any more.

How I longed for this first anniversary to be triumphant!

I hoped to announce I’ve found a publisher. I hoped to say I’m 100% recovered and better than ever. But this is real life. I have a nasty case of tonsillitis. My whole head is aching and my throat is full of ground glass. I’m still hunting for a publisher after a most disappointing let down last week.

Looking on the bright side, however, I’ve still come a long way since that letter. Add to that the fact that the weather is a few degrees warmer and the sun is starting to shine. I’m hoping my recent illness and disappointments are just the last remnants of my own period of winter.

Bring on spring.

Best wishes

BBTB x

Saturday, 12 March 2011

WEEK 144 Daydream Believer

It’s been one helluva week.

And all my own fault, of course.

A big-name publisher kept my workplace bullying manuscript for six and a half months. I was cool at first, telling myself not to get my hopes up. But as the months dragged by, I daydreamed about getting a yes. What if? What if I could get a top publisher? Blimey, I could hold my head up then. What a comeback to HOWARD’S assertions that I’d never make it as a writer. Hurrah!

For the last couple of weeks I knew they were going to say yes with every ounce of my being. I’d waited so long. It had to be a big, fat, glorious YES.

They said no.

There was nothing wrong with the book, but they said my platform’s not big enough. They’d asked me about my following on Twitter and on the blog. How I wish now that I’d lied (although they would have rumbled me in the end). It’s a tough book marketing world out there. These days you have to be well known, super fashionable or a celebrity to land that sort of publisher.

I hold myself to blame in the respect that if I’d spent more time Tweeting and getting my “brand” out there, it might have been a different outcome. Also, if I’d spent less time daydreaming and more time being realistic I wouldn’t feel quite so heartbroken.

So it’s time to knuckle down and expand my platform, and maybe one of these days I’ll announce my train has pulled in.

Best wishes

BBTB x

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

WEEK 143 Crepe Crusader 2011

I can hardly let Pancake Day slide without reference to this time last year when, suffering from anxiety and depression, Betty Crocker pancakes were my dietary staple, seconded only by Greens pancakes (the only difference is you have to add your own egg).

What I don’t know about pancake mixes or workplace bullying isn’t worth knowing.

I was tickled yesterday every time some asked “Will you have pancakes tonight, Eva?” as my new colleagues discussed crepe fillings. I did have pancakes yesterday evening. I’m not going to buck tradition - but that’s my lot for this year.

There’s a saying about those who want to change the situation they’re in. They’re said to be trying to “flip the script”. A year on, I feel I’ve done just that. And I’ve also flipped the pancake on comfort eating.

Best wishes

BBTB x

Saturday, 5 March 2011

WEEK 142 Forgive and Forget?

Do you like reading tweeted literary quotes? I do. My current inspirational favourite is:-

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much”

Not only is he right, Oscar Wilde would have adored Twitter!

Ordinarily, forgiveness is a controversial subject when it comes to workplace bullying. Emotions run high. It’s very easy to confuse sympathy and forgiveness. Sympathy allows the anti-social behaviour to repeat. Forgiveness is a cut-off boundary that our abuser has no control of. It’s easier to do once we’re out of the bullying situation as it’s an act of letting go, releasing and moving on. It’s an inner mission statement – “You have no power over me. Your place is in the past – and I’m forgetting you.”

I’m not saying that forgiving someone is plain sailing. It takes work. I can go for months thinking I’ve forgiven HOWARD and my old firm, and then have a weekend where I’m so angry at them, I don’t know what to do with myself.

But if you’ve suffered from workplace bullying, then do make every effort to forgive the person/s who did it. Not for their sake (as Oscar Wilde points out - they’d hate you for it anyway), but for yours.

You deserve it.

Best wishes

BBTB x

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

WEEK 141 Loophole

Just after Christmas I was approached about being involved with the Bully OnLine website to help with editing. Sure, I said. I have a great deal of respect for Bully OnLine. It was one of the first resources I found back in 2008, when my problems began with HOWARD.

Editors are meant to work in pairs so finding a friend on the forum was the first step. This week I met the anonymous ‘ujlia22’. She told me of the awful experience she’d had with trying to get legal redress after workplace bullying. She was candid. Her union weren’t much help. The law was even worse. ‘Ujlia22’ was angry and hurt, and her pain and frustration had obviously been compounded after she’d left her workplace bully far behind.

It occurred to me that aside from me and ‘ujlia22,’ few people are ready to talk about their experiences with the legal system after workplace bullying. I’m not surprised. It’s often a deeply humiliating process. With few laws against workplace bullying – we’re treated as though we’re ignorant or naive. We’re looked at with suspicion; as though we’re having a flutter on the compensation culture and trying our hand.

Legally, there’s a strange backward view to workplace bullying. As there is no specific law against it (it currently has to be combined with a breach of your statutory rights; sex discrimination, disability discrimination etc), the law’s attitude is that if it doesn’t exist legally – it doesn’t really count. Wouldn’t it be nice if life were that simple!

However, the real truth is that where exploitation is allowed by law – it’s called a loophole. It means there is an exposed oversight, as opposed to there being no problem at all.

So if you’ve tried to get legal redress for workplace bullying, but been told you don’t have a claim because the law doesn’t recognise it, don’t be embarrassed for yourself.

If anyone should be looking sheepish, it’s your lawyer.

Best wishes

BBTB x
Bottom Swirl