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. 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."

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

WEEK 197 Speak for Yourself

Like many others today, I was shocked by the leaked 'Unfair Dismissal' report written by Tory toff, Adrian Beecroft. It reads like the worst sort of scaremongering propaganda. Employees are painted as compensation vultures. They're lazy. They're out to exploit the gravy train compensation system.

Beecroft thinks UK employees are so bad, it's our collective fault we're not leaping out of recession.

Also included in the report is the bizarre notion that firms are terrified to expand because hiring new staff is like Russian roulette. Look at a new staff member the wrong way, he implies, and they'll sue for every penny. Beecroft's assertion is all the more strange since the government has recently changed employment law to mean employees now have to have been employed for 2 years before they're able to allege unfair dismissal. Thus his UK employer expansion worry idea is completely contradicted.

The sad thing is that whilst employers are given more and more power, they are constantly fed stories about rotten employees, milking the system and bringing businesses and the economy to near ruin. Even the most sensible and good-willing employer must be starting to look at their employees with suspicion.

And bad employers are completely off the hook in the report. There's no comment on CEOs who run shoddy businesses. There's no mention of workplace bullying, stress, horrendous hours or inadequate training etc.

Where does Beecroft's attitude come from, I wonder? I get the sense that there's more than just Tory philosophy talking. Beecroft seems very sure of himself. I'm just throwing this out there, but perhaps Adrian Beecroft is projecting his own work ethic onto the general public?

Perhaps that's why, thank God, his advice isn't being acted upon. If I'm right, he'll be too workshy to do anything but talk about it. My advice to Beecroft as an employee is:-

"Speak for yourself!"

Best wishes


Monday, 24 October 2011

WEEK 196 Wishful Thinking

I came across an interesting article last week called “What Works to End Bullying” by K J Dellantonia.

The article focussed on research into school bullying by a noted sociologist, Robert Faris, and Anderson Cooper from CNN. The results, sadly, were pretty depressing, but what caught my attention was that amongst their findings they found an over-focus of anti-bullying programmes routinely attempting to alter the
perceptions of those being bullied rather than the perceptions of the bullies.

Looking at the employment world, there are plenty of guidelines for the targets of workplace bullying, such as the ACAS Code of Practice. If you’re bullied at work – there are rules to be obeyed and office politics to take into consideration. If you fail to follow these rules and end up lodging a claim in a Tribunal – they can actually deduct up to 25% of your final compensation award. Sure, if your company doesn’t play by the rules, they might be penalised too, but again, that’s your company – not the individual bully.

Bullies, on the other hand, don’t play by the rules – and that’s fine, apparently. There are no guidelines for putting a bully back on the right track. No company is going to openly admit they have a problem with workplace bullying it and therefore they'll only deal with those targeted. Let’s change their perceptions, the company thinks. They are the complaining party, so that’s the easier option.

What they're effectively saying is that bullies don’t need more angst – they probably just need more support! The problem is, of course, their problem is our problem.

You can kind of see what they're saying. If we stop complaining and help the bully – then there is no bullying. There’s just harmony…lots of peace and harmony.

They wish!

Best wishes


Monday, 17 October 2011

WEEK 195 Can't Beat 'Em?

Behind the chipper Twitter exterior, I’ve been pretty low this week.

The second publisher falling through was a real knock. Having worked so hard on my workplace bullying book, I couldn’t understand where I was going wrong. Obviously, I could hook the fish, but yet again I’d failed to get it in the net.

Then there was the legal training I’d asked for – months ago. My boss was excited when I’d initially asked him. Despite e-mail reminders, nothing had come of it.

So I’ve been in a bit of a funk; feeling sorry for myself and throwing a pity party. “What’s the point?” I asked myself. I’m a victim – of a publisher’s random change of heart; of recessionary cutbacks in training and of general misfortune.

I did snap out of it. Of course I did!

A Twitter friend of mine, @Fiona_WordsBird, who happens to be an editor, offered to give my book a final edit before I self-publish. I found a great cover designer. I also decided if my boss doesn’t fund my course, I’ll pay for my own employment law studies in night school, in the New Year.

All this made me think of an apt phrase from Susan Jeffers’ famous book “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”:-

“What am I expecting others to do for me that I could be doing for myself?”

It’s hard to get over these psychological slumps whether they're caused by workplace bullying or publishing setbacks, but if we adopt a position of ‘victim’ we are both giving up and beating ourselves up about it. There are enough people out there who’ll give us a tough time without us lending them a hand.

When others are letting us down, we must be wary of thinking “If you can’t beat ‘em, join em” because that’s exactly what we want them to think when they look at the example we set!

Best wishes


Sunday, 9 October 2011

WEEK 194 Indian Summer

I’m back from catching the tail end of an Indian summer in Paris.

It was heaven!

Not so heavenly was returning to a lukewarm, week late e-mail from my potential publisher. She had reservations. Overall, I think she wanted my workplace bullying book to be less personal; a more generic self-help book. Au contraire, I thought. That’s the exact opposite of what my American editor recommended. She said make it more personal.

The publisher was unenthusiastic and suggested I might want to re-write – although she wasn’t guaranteeing she’d like it any more after that.

Here was the crux of it. I got the impression she didn’t like the blog. She didn’t believe people would be interested. They just want a regular self help book with none of that “Hey, I went through it too” malarky. It all came down to a difference of opinion.

The good news is, by self-publishing, my book should finally be out within a month or two. When it is, I'm sure it'll feel like my own Indian summer.

I’ll keep you posted.

A bientot!

Best wishes

Bottom Swirl