Since working opposite HOWARD, he’s changed. He’s happier in the job. I wonder whether it’s having me at hand to bully. He’s getting on better with his wife. He’s calmer and there’s an air of confidence about him that wasn’t there before. His reputation as a highly experienced solicitor is growing. More and more of his colleagues are dropping by to get his advice on their files, which is how yesterday’s row erupted right in front of my desk.
A junior solicitor from another floor was panicking and needed his help. She explained the problem. She needed to send an urgent letter, but it would take too long for her to find the necessary clauses. Would he mind writing it for her? HOWARD leaned back in his chair. He told her she’d learn a bigger lesson by digging herself out of the mess. When she reminded him she didn’t have time he reminded her neither did he. Petulant and angry she stormed off.
HOWARD told the PM, when she asked what happened, that he was good at training in a ‘non obvious’ kind of way. He used me as an example.
“Think back a year ago. If I’d have told her she’d be promoted to signing up clients and taking statements she’d have run a mile. She’s totally changed since working with me.”
The PM nodded in agreement.
“It’s true,” she said. “You have changed.”
“Its knowing what they need on an individual basis,” he continued. “Her sort respond best to insults and threats rather than praise. Eva, you need to be manhandled to get the best out of you. Of course, I mean ‘man’ in the literal sense. When it comes to training I’m Thomas the Tank Engine”.
I asked what he meant.
“Thomas is doing the hard work up front – dragging the moaning, whinging carriages along behind him.”
They did have a point, but not about Thomas the Tank Engine. I had changed. Two months ago I’d been considering suicide. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I’d been suffering with hives and depression. Nothing had changed on paper, so how was I coping better now?
I’m still having panic attacks, bouts of crying and still stuttering when nervous, but I feel a bit better. I haven’t felt physically sick about going to work for a couple of weeks. I’m reading again at lunchtimes. I bought some new clothes on the weekend for the first time in ages. The last couple of mornings I’ve woken up with this feeling that everything’s going to be fine, as though I’d had a nice dream I couldn’t quite remember. More of HOWARD’S insults are going over my head as I’ve had a strange notion maybe I won’t have to put up with them forever. On occasions I’ve felt a touch sentimental about my colleagues as though, even with everything I’ve gone through, there are things I’ll miss one day.
The PM was warming to HOWARD’S idea that he had brought about these changes.
“When you think about it,” she said, “you have to admit you’re not the secretary you were a year ago.”
It was then the penny dropped. They’re right. HOWARD has changed me. I’m not the secretary I was a year ago.
I’m a writer now as well.
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."