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."

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Creative Writing


In last week’s blog, I mentioned there is a solicitor out there trying to cast doubt on my credibility. I know that it’s hard for some solicitors to believe that everything I blogged about actually happened in a law firm. They compare it to their own business and say: ‘Bullying could never happen to that extent. You must have been exaggerating or brought it on yourself’. 

Sadly, it really did happen and I did nothing to deserve it.
 
The gentleman in question is a partner in a HR Department and a specialist at defending employers against employment claims, so do I expect him to have much empathy for a bullied member of legal support staff? No, of course not.

With an implied insult that I almost found funny, he has drawn attention to the fact that I am a ‘creative writer’. The implication being, of course, that I have a vivid imagination and that this might impinge on my ability to know truth from fiction. 



Petty insults aside, I have been fortunate this week to run into an old friend from my original firm from hell. She walked out years after me and has all the inside gossip. What she told me left me reeling. It’s a list of horror stories involving inappropriate behaviour in terms of bullying, partners treating staff as though it’s a dating agency and, as they did in my day, no one ever hands in their notice. You simply get to the point where you walk out – whether you have another job to go to or not.

The good news is that she’s putting me in touch with my old colleagues. It'll look more like a  support group than a creative writing circle. As I said on Twitter earlier this week, I’ve been running my anti-bullying campaign since 2009. 

That’s not creativity - that's passion.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Solidarity


I’ve been reading a rather marvellous book by Owen Jones called ‘Chavs’ which exposes how the middle classes have come, due initially to Thatcherism, to deride the entire working class as money-grabbing, lazy and ignorant. Jones describes the modern day working class as including roles such as secretaries, nurses, call centre workers and service industry workers, including retail. 

I cannot help but think of things in terms of class at the moment, especially when there are still lawyers who still insist I wasn’t bullied, but that I am, instead, a money grabbing individual out to extort the system. 

Newsflash and timely reminder: I took my settlement money and this is what I did with it:

1) I wrote and self-published my self-help book Bullied by the Boss. I hired a marvellous English editor (@FionaWordsBird) and an American editor to make sure it had cross-channel appeal and I used my own money to do so.



2) I launched the book in Canary Wharf tube station and hired a barbershop quartet to sing work related songs while hired helpers handed out flyers. I bought my ‘team’ Bullied by the Boss T-shirts. All this came out of the settlement money, as did the hotel and travelling expenses. I also hired a great photographer, Adam Hollingsworth.


 
3. I made a donation to the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

4. I retrained as a literacy teacher.
 
Just because we’re secretaries, nurses or clerks standing up for ourselves, whistle-blowing or taking legal action doesn’t mean we’re out to extort money. Sometimes, just because of a sense of solidarity and a stubborn sense of fairness, we will spend our time and money trying to help people in the same boat.


Bottom Swirl