Weeks ago, an e-mail came round inviting us to get involved and think of a strap-line for the company website. I like writing games so there was every chance the prize - a bottle of Blossom Hill Pinot Grigio - had my name on it, especially as I seemed to be the only one interested.
I researched step by step guides to creating business strap-lines. I walked to work thinking about our firm, what we offered and what we were about. I thought about PHILIP. I tried to imagine what he’d dreamed of for his firm when he first set up. I heard he’d been inspired by the film Gladiator, but I wanted to get back to the real moment when he’d had a dream for this place, Russell Crowe films aside. That moment when he’d walked into this vacant building and envisioned his empire.
I thought about the kinds of law we specialise in; the values we’d have as a business - if we were more focused. We were modern, small to medium in size and, as law firms go, our chaos made us flexible. We weren’t bogged down with the usual company admin like staff appraisals, health and safety or staff contracts. I came up with six lines I was proud of. More than enough – let’s not go overboard. If they weren’t used it didn’t matter. It had been a fun, if truly nerdy exercise.
The only thing to spoil it a little was HOWARD. Catching me scribbling away at lunchtime he snatched the list out of my hands.
“What’s this shit? You think they’re going to use something you’ve written on the website? I wouldn’t wipe my arse on these.”
I grabbed the paper and stuffed it in my desk. Before I changed my mind, I e-mailed it to PHILIP. If one was considered it would show HOWARD.
I forgot all about it until this week, when PHILIP and the PM called me to the boardroom to ask me about the strap-lines. I told him I’d e-mailed them to him and he asked to see them again. I hadn’t saved them on the PC, but I was fairly sure I still had the paper HOWARD had scrumpled up. I went to dig it out.
PHILIP frowned at the creased A4 sheet. He nodded. These are good, he said. The PM agreed. They told me to wait outside while they thought about it. I didn’t wait long.
“Nothing wrong with yours, but in the end we’ve decided to go with a phrase from a Latin translation that PHILIP has come up with. He was inspired by the film Gladiator,” the PM said, smiling.
“Of course,” I said. “Good thinking.”
When I got back, HOWARD was waiting. He asked if they used any of the strap-lines. I confirmed they hadn’t.
“Don’t know why you tried, Eva. I told you, I wouldn’t wipe my bloody arse on them. It’s all about attention with someone like you. Even my sort of attention is better than the alternative – which is no attention at all. You’re the sort who’d put her hand up for a stoning – if it meant people noticing you for a minute.”
A stoning? Was I on the wrong track with those strap-lines, or what? I’m with PHILLIP. His firm is closer to 180 AD than 2009.
See you later, Gladiator.
- 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."