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."

Thursday, 25 October 2012

WEEK 250 Con Man

We need look no further for the worst example of bystander apathy at work than the recent sex abuse scandal involving Jimmy Savile. 
When MPs recently accused George Entwistle of showing "an extraordinary lack of curiosity", they could equally have applied this accusation to anyone working on Savile’s shows. None of his former colleagues, however, take an ounce of responsibility for not investigating the rumours.

Speaking to Panorama, Jimmy Savile’s producer on Jim'll Fix It explains:

Jimmy Savile had succeeded in hoodwinking a lot of people including Margaret Thatcher, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Vatican, the Honours Committee, the NHS and hospitals up and down the country and several police forces and some members of BBC staff, including me.”

That fact that Jimmy Savile’s producer puts himself last on the list is telling. Clearly, he’s trying to get a bit of distance. It’s futile. The producer on Jim’ll Fix It is a great deal closer to Savile’s abuses than the Vatican or the Honours Committee.  

He wasn’t being hoodwinked then. He turned a blind eye. It’s wrong, but you can almost understand Savile’s producer not having the courage to destroy his own star. But what about Savile’s other colleagues at the BBC? What sort of culture of fear existed around Savile? New rumours are circulating that, on the rare times he was challenged, Savile would threaten to stop his charity work. And it seemed his fame was such that BBC staff didn’t dare investigate the allegations.

There are rumours that, as well as being a paedophile, Savile was both a con man and a bully. And it was the dangerous combination of con man and workplace bully that allowed him to operate an open paedophile ring whilst employed with the BBC. It enabled him to tow a caravan around the country with a mattress in the back and abuse vulnerable girls at leisure.

If ever there was a reason to address ego maniacs bullying others in the workplace – this is it.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

WEEK 249 Perfect World

Thanks to @fifivdm for the inspiration behind this week’s blog. 

I’ve written before about companies drawing up anti-bullying policies and procedures. These policies are then either posted on a firm’s intranet and/or handed out in hard copy to all staff. After that, they aren’t given a moment’s thought.

Often, anti-bullying policies and dignity at work documentation are drawn up for a workplace  as though they’re reflecting well-worn company practice. But if we looked through a firm’s history for evidence that staff were trained or even talked to about bullying and harassment, how often would we draw a blank?

It's that easy for firms. Just knock up your own document showing you’re all aware of dignity and diversity and forget the training. You don’t have to put any money into it. You don’t have to arrange for your staff to attend any seminars. These policies look and sound genuine, but too many of them lack any sort of authenticity behind them.

They don’t view it as important or relevant.  

But let’s look at it in this context. It’s illegal to misinform in a CV to get a job. If it weren’t, how easy would it be to claim qualifications we wish we gained? How easy to list the relevant experience we wish we’d had? How easy would it be to write a CV declaring ourselves the perfect candidate in an ideal world?

It’s important to have some truth behind any formal office documentation. If firms are going to declare themselves the perfect workplace in an ideal world – they really ought to have something more to show for it than words.

Best wishes


Saturday, 13 October 2012

WEEK 248 King Kong Connor

When a friend sent me a Telegraph article about bullying on a little island called Canna, south of Skye, my first thought was it might not be applicable to me. After all, I write about workplace bullying. On the contrary, it turned out to be fascinating study in exactly that.

People were lured to the remote island by the National Trust for Scotland for two things - the beauty and the potential businesses they could operate; a rock climbing and wildlife business, restaurant and professional gardening firm etc. 

The National Trust for Scotland hired Stewart Connor as property manager. And here’s where the story takes on the usual form of workplace bullying. Stewart Connor, it appears, likes to micromanage. He has to be in complete control. Failure to exert such control lead to grudges, aggressive silences and moodiness.  

When families complained, the NTS employing Mr Connor stated they could see no evidence of bullying. They believed that those who had left the island lacked ‘stamina’ and introduced a tougher selection process. The Telegraph reports that in since 2010, 20 families have left the island. Only 8 remain.

I wonder how long the NTS will continue to back Mr Connor as he casts a shadow over the families and the fledging firms on the island. I also wonder who will have the necessary stamina to put up with him. 

I can just see the next NTS advert now:

Ann Darrow required for remote island adventure

Good luck to them!
Very best
Bottom Swirl