On Monday I figured it was time for Christmas decorations. Having happily thrown tinsel around my desk, I asked HOWARD what he thought. He hadn’t noticed. I asked him if he wanted me to decorate his area. “You don’t have time”, he said, pointing at his dictating shelf. It had been pretty empty the night before, but now it groaned under the weight of the files to be typed on.
“When did you do all this?” I asked.
“How the fuck am I supposed to remember?” HOWARD said. “I dictated it last Christmas; back in the days when it was hard to get hold of a WEii.”
Later, when HOWARD helped me carry some of the files to my desk, OLLIE, our criminal solicitor, told him how lucky he was to have a good secretary.
“The joys of a plain secretary.” HOWARD told him. “She’s unlikely to find another man or have kids. Nothing to rush home to.”
“Hey” I said.
“Entirely agree, mate.” OLLIE replied. “In a toss-up between ugly and pretty, I’d take ugly. ‘Specially no kids...if they’ve hit 30 and they haven’t had kids they overcompensate in work. Life’s left ‘em on the shelf. They’ve got to work. Otherwise, what’s the point of them being alive?”
“You can’t say things like that,” I said.
“Don’t take it personally,” HOWARD laughed. “Anyway, I’m not surprised you’re on your own, Eva. It’s written all over you that you haven’t had many serious relationships.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “I was married.”
“What I mean is - it couldn’t be more obvious that you haven’t had many boyfriends.”
HOWARD repeated it until I believed him. I took him seriously, worrying it meant I’d been on the shelf for too long. I know he thinks I’m too independent. Was it obvious to everyone, and if so, how? And could I do something to change, or at least mask it?
Couples were everywhere as I walked home. Everyone I passed seemed to be linking arms with either Mr or Mrs Right and it wasn’t just the cold forcing them to snuggle closer as they walked. Christmas cheer was everywhere. Was I subconsciously giving out all the wrong signals? What if it was my own fault and I didn’t even know I was doing it?
Yesterday, having driven myself insane, I was determined to get HOWARD to tell me where I was going wrong. I sent him an e-mail asking him to explain.
“You obviously cling. So I imagine that if you have a boyfriend you stay with them unless they leave you!”
I realised how gullible I’d been.
I might be stuck on the shelf at the moment but, unlike HOWARD, at least I’m not blind to the people I look down on.
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."