OLLIE’S ex-secretary is still with us and from my perspective it’s lovely working with an old friend. From her perspective, it’s not so good. She’s going through what I did when I started. If someone laughs, she thinks it’s about her. If someone whispers, she thinks she’s in trouble.
More than once she’s apologised for phoning me in panic on her way home. “No need to apologise”, I tell her. I’ve been there, done it and got the t-shirt. I couldn’t have done it myself without help in the form of Ann Lewis of Recover Your Balance.
I was thinking about all this when I picked up the phone to a potential new client. They asked for my boss. He’s away this week so I asked if the caller would like to speak to one of our other employment solicitors. The person on the phone stammered. “It’s about bullying,” they said. “But I don’t want to talk to anyone other than your boss.”
They’d got his name off our website.
This happens all the time, especially when people have been bullied at work. You can hear the fear in their voices. You might think they ask for my boss because of his reputation, but he’s not well known outside employment law. The truth is, they trust a name they don’t know – and they are hedging their bets their employers don’t know his name either. They fear I might inadvertently put them through to someone who also knows their boss or bully. Their faith has been shaken, they’re confidence knocked. They suspect every decision they make will lead to further trouble.
I hoped the person would call back but, as usual, they didn’t.
This is why I wrote my book. This is why I write my blog. As I sit across from OLLIE’S secretary and I end another call from a scared employee, I want to tell them, “Hey, yeah – it made me paranoid and scared too – but it’ll be alright in the end.” I can’t tell the callers on the phone. It would be highly inappropriate.
So I hope it reaches them this way.
- 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."