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. Bullied by my boss in 2008, I looked for another job but the recession hit. Feeling trapped, I started this blog. 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." I was unaware back then that it would catalogue one of the most extreme cases of workplace bullying in the UK. I've found another job, but am subject to a gagging order. I'm still blogging, of course. Just don't tell the lawyers!

Saturday, 14 November 2009


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 I told myself there was a chance the prize bottle of Blossom Hill 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. I thought about the moment when he’d walked into the vacant building and envisioned his empire.

The only thing to spoil the little game was Howard. Catching me scribbling away at lunchtime he snatched the list out of my hands. I'd come up with six suggestions. If none of them were chosen, it didn’t matter. It had been a fun, if nerdy exercise.

“What’s this shit?" he said. "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 sheet of paper and shoved it in a drawer.

I forgot all about it until this week, when Philip and the Office Manager called me to the boardroom to ask me about the strap-lines. The Office Manager told him I'd come up with a few. I fetched the crumpled sheet and gave it to Philip, who frowned. He nodded. These are good, he said. The Office Manager agreed.

“Nothing wrong with these, 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 Office Manager 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. 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 Philip. His firm definitely closer to 180 AD than 2009.

See you later, Gladiator.

Eva x

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