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!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Best Medicine

Feeling a bit under the weather, I phoned my mum.

“I know it was hell. It really was,” I said, “but there were plenty of times we were crying with laughter weren’t there?” I asked. Mum chortled, and reminded me of her favourite comedy moments. These moments were mainly behind the scenes scrapes; before it got deeply unpleasant.

One of the scariest was when I posted a letter and cheque to the IT guy helping to set up the blog. In a rush, I threw it into the sack of office mail to be collected that evening. Two days later, the receptionist handed it back to me, minus the envelope. I’m never going to forget staring in horrified confusion at my damning correspondence which began “Re: Bullied by the Boss blog.

It’s an industry standard that a Partner helps to open the mail. PHILIP had opened my undelivered, returned-to-sender letter and stamped it with his date stamp before realising it was personal.

I had no idea what kind of trouble I might be in. Would I be called to explain? Would he have given it anything more than a cursory glance? Would he put two and two together and sack me for gross misconduct?

I was stuffing the letter in my bag and cursing myself for being a complete idiot when PHILIP marched over. I froze. Beads of sweat materialised as I stared at my computer screen, waiting for the axe to fall. Just as I was about to make up some ridiculous lie as to what ‘Bullied by the Boss Blog’ might refer to, he started dictating a letter over my shoulder. I tapped out the benign letter to the Court under his instruction. Once done, he said he was popping out for lunch – and he was gone.

He obviously hadn’t read it.

Watching him drive off from the corridor window, I laughed with the sheer relief of it. I called my mum and told her about PHILIP date stamping my Bullied by the Boss correspondence. She laughed her head off, and told me someone up there must like me. That was one of her favourites.

One of my favourites was the time when I’d printed out two early blogs for my mum to read and told her I’d masterminded a plan to collect a particular piece of workplace bullying evidence. People around us wondered what we were laughing about. “It’s like a film! It’s like Mission Impossible,” my mum said. “Is it?” I asked, pointing out that I was a target of workplace bullying and we were sitting in the laundrette waiting for my washing to dry.

That’s probably my favourite memory. Maybe it's because my sense of humour lifted us both out a city laundrette, away from an otherwise miserable tale of workplace bullying and transported us somewhere creative and challenging.

A sense of humour is liberating. Find something in your situation to laugh about; turn a case of nerves into nervous laughter, and you’re halfway there.

Best wishes

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