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."

Friday, 30 March 2012

WEEK 222 a The 10% Stupid

In February 2010, I was delighted to be asked to guest blog on the Guardian Careers website. 

I explained the benefits of being an anonymous blogger and being able to “tell it like it is in a world where corporate identities are protected by PR, marketing and corporate spin”. I looked at other workplace bloggers successfully doing the same thing; Dr Crippen recording NHS truths in the Guardian, Banquo in the Financial Times and the plethora of workplace bloggers listed at workblogging.blogspot.com. 

I concluded my guest blog with the following:

‘Companies should reap the benefit of these candid, ground-level observations. Taking a long, hard look in the mirror isn’t easy, but it is a quick method of improvement and these blogs offer a free and realistic reflection of a huge range of firms. What you do with the information is up to you.

‘Think of it this way. If you found out one of your colleagues was an anonymous blogger – would your corporate conscience be clear?’ 

Clear conscience or not, if you inadvertently overstep the mark the consequences of anonymously blogging can be dire.

What do I do now? Sadly, I have to suspend the blog with immediate effect.

Thanks to everyone who has helped along the way! I’m completely choked at the moment, but that’s understandable I suppose when you’re standing downwind of your burning bridges. 

I’ll close on one of my favourite quotes:

One man can make a difference, and every man should try. (John F. Kennedy)

I wanted to make a difference. My effort may have been 90% courage and 10% stupidity. I own that. I also accept I have a big price to pay for the 10% stupid.

I still tried.  

Very best
BBTB

Thursday, 29 March 2012

WEEK 218a Photos of Launch 26.03.012

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in the book launch, from the hands-on organisation to getting the word out on Twitter. I can’t put it any better than Adam Hollingworth’s post launch feedback. He was the photographer of the day, but he’s a lovely writer too. Check out http://adamhollingworth.wordpress.com
I’ve attached a selection of Adam’s beautiful shots from the launch for you to enjoy.



Federico from Kreate is in full flyer action.

On of my favourites from Adam Hollingworth

Capital Chorus outside Canary Wharf DLR

A little product placement


Katie from Kreate shows the book to commuters as Captial Chorus sings Sixteen Tons.

Federico explains the launch to an interested commuter.






Another flyer from Federico.

Capital Chorus gain more fans!





Such a shame it's all over! Thanks again to everyone who helped make the day such a success!

Very best
BBTB x

Saturday, 24 March 2012

WEEK 218 Would the Real Eva James Please Stand Up?

It’s natural, I suppose, with only a couple of days until my anti-workplace bullying event and book launch, for me to be wondering...

HAVE I GONE CRAZY?

I mean, I walked out two years ago. Why isn’t writing the book and the blog enough? Writing is how I ordinarily deal with workplace bullying, so why come out from behind my desk, go to the lengths of adopting a disguise and organising a Joe versus the Volcano referenced promotion?

This is why: 

In the book, I conclude that I’m still as fired up as ever, but that it’s a broader frustration with employment law, the political reforms being proposed and the blanket refusal by employers to recognise the problem.

All true, of course, but it goes deeper than that.

During my recent interview on BBC Radio Wales, when Jamie Owen asked me to recall one or two of the worst instances of bullying, I struggled to describe things without welling up. It caught me off guard – another indicator of how long it can take to recover.

And the biggest reason is the messages I get from those who’ve been there. It’s all those people who contact me on Twitter and the blog with their own stories; people still trapped in abusive jobs going through just what I did. 

I’ve always said that writing is a healthy way to get over things. It’s cathartic. I hold to that. But I’m so eager for change that I’m ready to stand up and be counted. There’s something to be said for grabbing your megaphone when nothing is fair – on any level. 

Yes, I’m comfortable sat behind my desk, but I’m happy to stand up for the British employee. Someone has to.

I’ve always referred to the book launch as my closure.

But I’m wondering now if this is just the start...
Wish me luck for Monday morning X

Very best
BBTB

Sunday, 18 March 2012

WEEK 218 Finishing Line

Today is the 2nd anniversary of me quitting on the spot and leaving the abusive, bullying Howard and his friends behind me. 

I couldn’t be happier. 

Bullied by the Boss is available on Amazon and the book launch is a week tomorrow. Here’s a link to the press release in case you or anyone you know in the media might be interested in attending the launch on the 26th March 2012. https://skydrive.live.com/#!/view.aspx?cid=D868C2E1F4CBADC2&resid=D868C2E1F4CBADC2!107

Aside from the logistics of the launch and persuading the media to attend, something bigger is about to happen. I’m about to get closure. My comeback wasn’t as smooth as I planned, but I got there in the end. Gone is the woman who couldn’t look herself in the mirror; who couldn’t meet people’s eye; who was developing a stammer.

If anyone’s left who wasn’t entirely sure of my motives or thought I was plain crazy - it’s this simple:

I’m proud of myself. 

Overcoming workplace bullying was 100 times harder than I anticipated, but once you’re there – it’s worth all the effort! 

Trust me!
Very best
BBTB

Sunday, 11 March 2012

WEEK 217 Humour Me

A few weeks ago, when one of my followers misunderstood a tweet, I received a curt reply of: ‘There’s nothing funny about workplace bullying’. 

But as T S Eliot points out: ‘Humour is also a way of saying something serious’.

My own case proves this. My problems started because my boss thought he was a comedian. Even serious abuse can be shrugged off with the ‘I was just joking’ quip.

Further, a sense of humour was integral in helping me survive what turned out to be the darkest time of my life.

So it may not come as a complete surprise that the inspiration behind my workplace bullying book launch and my way of raising awareness come, not from some earnest role model, but the opening scene of a screwball comedy - Joe versus The Volcano. (http://youtu.be/ytS4yFM4Oxw)

Do you know the film? It’s the fable which opens with the dehumanization of Joe Bank's job and work environment. His dispirited trudge into work is overplayed with Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford.  

So between 8am and 10am on Monday, 26th March 2012, we’ll be in the concourse of the Docklands Light Railway at Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, London where I’ve hired a barbershop quartet to sing Sixteen Tons as commuters trudge to work – perhaps wondering what they can expect from their own workplace bully this week. Promotional staff will be on hand to ask passers-by if they too have ever been affected by workplace bullying.

It’s very ‘now’, with the anti-capitalist demonstrations and Occupy St Pauls, but it’s a humorous take on it; as stressed and possibly harassed workers slope into the corporate machine for yet another week.

How can I afford all this, you might be wondering? Well, once again I’m using some of Howard’s settlement money. As I comedian, I expect him to see the funny side!

Do stop by and say hello if you’re in the area.

Very best

BBTB

Saturday, 3 March 2012

WEEK 216 Resolutions


I’ve posted more than one blog objecting to Vince Cable's assertions that economic growth is being hampered by employees' rights.

I'm not alone in worrying where Vince Cable's employment reforms are headed. In this month's edition of the Employment Law Journal, Richard Keynon and Angus Ackroyd took a close look at the proposed employment rights reforms.

To summarise, I've included a few items from Keynon and Ackroyd’s list of 'Vince Cable's New Year's resolutions':

"Introduce a system of protected conversations to allow employees to raise issues with employers free from worry that this will be later used in tribunal proceedings".

(He wants to gag employees).

"Introduce a 'rapid resolution' scheme for simple tribunal claims, which would involve an independent legal expert reaching a decision on written evidence".

(He wants to dispose of the Judge in certain cases).

"Introduce fees to lodge a tribunal claim and to progress it to hearing".

(He wants to make employment litigation as expensive as possible for the employee).

"Increase the minimum qualification period for an unfair dismissal claim from one year to two".

(If employers want to bully, harass you and fire you unfairly, Vince Cable would like to double the time in which they're allowed to do it).

Move to a simpler, quicker and clearer dismissal process…without getting tangled up in red tape and bureaucracy.

(He wants to make it easier for firms to sack staff, regardless of length of service).

Keynon and Ackroyd conclude by quoting Vince Cable’s excuse for such reform: "First and foremost we want to reduce the number of tribunals happening in any one year – because we believe the only winners from that are the lawyers".

On the contrary, under Cable's plan employers and lawyers win. After all, employees will be in need of legal assistance to find out if they have any redress and, with such wide scale reform, only the lawyers will know if they have.

I’m left hoping that, like the majority of New Year’s Resolutions, Vince Cable’s motivation for change has evaporated by mid-March.

Very best
BBTB

PS: My exciting book launch/anti-workplace bullying event details will follow within the next few days! I'll keep you posted.
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