Whenever HOWARD thinks he’s in trouble he plays the ILEX card. He encourages me to become a legal executive. It would mean four years of exams, a personal cost of around £4,000 - £5,000 and a lifetime sentence as a legal exec, probably working for HOWARD. He raised it after learning PHILIP had overheard his last public announcement:-
“Eva doesn’t mind what I say. She doesn’t know any better. Look at her! She’s been treated like shit by every man she’s ever known. Her father, her husband...”
Someone nudged him to warn PHILIP was listening.
That afternoon something frightening happened. I couldn’t read the letter I was typing. I struggled to focus on the words. It was like my brain had disconnected with my eyes and then – WHAM – these crazy zig-zags swam across my right eye.
I couldn’t see HOWARD when he came over to give me work. I felt weird. I told him I had to pop outside for air. I didn’t tell him I suspected I was going outside to die of a brain tumour.
“Wait a minute,” HOWARD said. Perhaps he could see the seriousness of the situation – offer a final word of kindness.
“Take these letters with you. There’s only a few. You can put them in envelopes out there.”
Sobbing with self pity and panic I left the office and stumbled down the side of our building. Mercifully, the alley was free from smokers. This is how it ends, I thought - me at the end of an alley - found dead on a pile of discarded cigarette butts and clutching a pile of HOWARD’S stupid letters. I cried for a few minutes. Then the jagged lines eased a little. Maybe it wasn’t a brain tumour. Socked by a thunderous headache, I realised it must be a migrane. I’d never had one before. When I got back to my desk, shaky and exhausted but thankful to be alive, I squinted in pain at HOWARD’S latest e-mail.
“You should give serious thought to the ILEX.”
I’ve never wanted to do one, not once. I can’t watch the Shawshank Redemption without fantasising about walking out of here carrying a pair of HOWARD’S shoes. Plus, I already know what I want. I want to be a writer one day. It may never happen, but it absolutely won’t happen if I give up on my little dream. When I confessed the ILEX wasn’t for me HOWARD wasn’t happy.
“Any excuse for being too scared to try. Face facts, Eva - your brain is fucking lazy. ” he said.
It’s not that my brain is lazy. On the contrary, my brain appears to be going into meltdown with stress related migraines, which makes the whole ILEX thing a no-brainer. My head’s not in this job any more than my heart is.
Just like the migraine, I suspect the ILEX leads straight up a blind alley.
See you soon,
- 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."