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."

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Cyber Bullying Resource - ecrime


Around 4 years ago, the charity director of the National Bullying Helpline, Christine Pratt, was so angered by Downing Street’s denial of a bullying culture (having listened to 4 calls from No 10 staff) that she confirmed her helpline had itself taken calls from No 10.  
 
I followed the story at the time, thinking that the subject of workplace bullying would be launched into the media spotlight, but what followed was an argument over whether Mrs Pratt had the right to speak her mind as she had. 

One year later in the winter of 2010, the National Bullying Helpline ceased to be a charity, despite its 13 year history of listening to up to 30 calls a day. Following the Downing Street revelation, funding was badly affected. Talk about rough justice, I thought, when Britain has its fair share of horribly run business where angry outbursts are a daily occurrence. No-one was cutting off the funding to those businesses. No-one was giving them a hard time or putting them through trial by media. 

In an extraordinary show of strength, Christine Pratt didn’t give up. After taking time to recover from her ordeal, she decided to run the National Bullying Helpline as a voluntary organisation, free to the majority and levying a small charge to those who asked for extra legal work to be arranged.

I was amazed Christine and the National Bullying Helpline survived and I empathised with what she went through. At the time of her troubles, I had been going through my own terrible ordeal. Like Christine, I’ve had my own subsequent challenges with people trying to shut me down.

Now, as she launches her much needed e-crime website (www.ecrime-action.co.uk) a resource for those experiencing any kind of cyber-bullying, she is going from strength to strength.  

In a world that fails to fully recognise workplace bullying and where advice is so often questionable - from ignorance about cyber bullying to being motivated by money or a desire to shut the complainant up as soon as possible – communication between organisations is essential. We need to be ready to offer the best help and assistance to those targets taking the brave step of reaching out for the first time.
 
Best wishes to Christine and congratulations too.
BBTB x

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Share the Fair



Having been bullied at work by lawyers and finding my aim of going to the Employment Tribunal thwarted by other lawyers (see book and blog), you’ll forgive me for being somewhat cynical back then about the legal process. 

My aim, as I said in my 2010 Mad Scientist blog was: 

‘If I can’t prove I’m being bullied by Howard and employed by the biggest bunch of liars - then no one can’.

I was sadly unable to prove it, despite overwhelming evidence. Forced into settlement, my plan to write about the bullying process from start to finish (ET) to help others had to be reconsidered.  

It was extremely disappointing, but I resolved to keep anonymously writing and raising awareness. It was only when my former bullies launched a legal attack to remove me from Twitter and shut down my blog that things began to change – in a way I hadn’t expected. 

My new legal representative, a former boss, read through the files and was shocked by the extent of the bullying I’d gone through and surprised about the way the case was run. The first thing he did was to see off the bullies – hence I’m still here. The second thing he did was to begin to challenge the way my case had been handled. 

I hadn’t expected it to have such a positive effect on me.  I can’t really explain why. Perhaps it’s just that my cynicism has lifted.

There are bad lawyers out there, but there are some really good ones. I don’t have a list yet. I just have the name of one lawyer – mine - but it’s a start. If you need the name of a good lawyer, drop me a line via email or Twitter. If he or his firm says you have or have not got a claim – then believe them. They are trustworthy, which is the main thing. 

And if you’ve had your case dealt with by a good lawyer then drop me a line too. Maybe we can get a list together.  It’s the opposite of name and shame. Let’s share the fair.

Very best
BBTB

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Fourth and Final Extract from Janice Harper's Mobbed! A Survival Guide to Adult Bullying and Mobbing



Here’s the deal: mobbing can kill your career.  It can kill it through rumors and gossip and intentional lies.  It can kill it by cutting you off from the social networks that make it possible to enjoy professional opportunities, to get a job and to be recognized in your field. And it can kill your career by being so psychologically wounding and traumatizing that your brain may actually be changed, your emotional strength nearly crippled, and your sense of hope for the future so darkened all you see before you is the black, blood darkness of a dawn that never comes.  In other words, once mobbing commences, you have to scramble to safeguard your career just when your capacity to do so is at its lowest.
And it’s this mortal blow to one’s career that has so many of your coworkers and friends turning against you—they know what’s up ahead for them if they support you, and you’re missing the lifeboat if you don’t get it, too.  So get it—these are dastardly times and you’ve got the choice to sink or swim.  Here’s how to swim.
Assume you are constantly monitored.   Just because they’re out to get you doesn’t mean you’re paranoid.  But as an FBI agent once told me, if they are out to get you, it pays to be paranoid.  Always assume that there are cameras watching you.  If I had said this a decade ago you would have had cause to consider me nuts.  But these days, there are cameras everywhere; in the hallways, in the bathrooms and even in your office or cubicle.  Do not do anything stupid like defacing the public space, or even your own office. 
Assume every keystroke you log on your computer is being monitored and recorded.  Almost always, once a mobbing starts, management alerts the technology folks to keep an eye on what you’re up to.  That means do not go shopping on the internet, do not check out dating sights, do not log on to Facebook or Twitter and do not use your workplace computer for any personal use.  I can’t state this warning clearly enough, and it is probably the most disregarded—and important—piece of advice I can give to any mobbing target.  You shouldn’t be doing any of this stuff anyway, but most workers do, and if you can’t stop, then they have cause to fire your ass.  Get it together and segregate your personal life from your professional life. 
And that also means do not send any personal emails, or especially emails seeking advice or discussing your problems at work, from an email account your employer has assigned you, even if you do so from your own computer.  I regularly receive emails from mobbing targets who are writing me for advice from their work email accounts.  Never do that!
Every worker should follow this advice at all times.  An even better piece of advice is to get your own laptop which is used only for work and not connected to your workplace servers.  Unfortunately, in many if not most cases, that is not practical advice.  Either the workplace servers are necessary for you to access, and/or you cannot afford a separate computer just for workplace use. 
At the same time, you should never use your personal computer for workplace use, because once you do, you risk having to turn over the hard drive in the event your conflict gets to the courts.  If you have used your personal computer for workplace use, and if you sue your employer (or someone from work sues you), you can be compelled to turn over that hard drive.  So in other words, use the workplace computer only for work use, and/or get a separate computer just for work.  Do not use your personal computer(s) for workplace use and vice-versa.  (And that includes smart phones and iPads.)

Friday, 27 September 2013

Third Extract from Janice Harper's Mobbed! A Survival Guide to Adult Bullying and Mobbing



It’s all about your emotions.  You’re feeling terribly hurt, crushed and devastated.  You’re furious in a way you’ve never known before.  You feel true hatred for the first time ever.  You’re terrified, scared and distracted.  You don’t know what’s coming next.
In a word, you’re emotionally overwhelmed.  But before a mobbing target can effectively respond to the shunning and onslaught of personal and professional attacks, he or she must control the emotional flooding that mobbing produces.  There are four reasons why it is imperative that to do so. 

First, emotional flooding can be deadly.  Anytime we are emotionally overwhelmed, we are prone to stress-related illnesses.  It is not unusual for mobbing targets to suffer heart attacks or strokes or develop cancer shortly after being mobbed.  Many are made to feel so worthless and unwanted that they commit suicide.  Others, such as former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner who went on a murderous rampage in the wake of his termination from the police force, have been known to kill their coworkers, managers and others in a desperate effort to gain power over a situation which has left them feeling utterly powerless.  The documentary, Murder by Proxy (available on Netflix at the time of this writing), is an excellent exploration of the role mobbing plays in many workplace shootings, and how some may have been avoidable had the targets been treated more humanely.

Second, emotional flooding confuses us, making it difficult to concentrate and get our work done.  When our coworkers and managers are out to get us, becoming an unproductive worker is hardly in our best interests.  A mobbing target must work extra hard to avoid any perception they cannot do their job, and do it well.
Third, it is impossible to effectively respond to aggressive attacks and escape the mob (by getting a new job, for example), if you do not have control of your emotions.  At the very time you have been made to feel completely worthless and loathed and utterly crazy, you must muster the poise, confidence, and control to respond to repeated accusations of misconduct, find a new job, and perhaps even pursue a lawsuit.  It requires the strength and emotional control of a Navy SEAL to respond to mobbing, so there’s no more critical time to gain control of your emotions than when they are understandably exploding inside of you. 

And finally, anyone who is emotionally overwhelmed is a drag to be around—the mobbing target almost always finds themselves alienating their support system at the time they need it most because they are constantly babbling about how awful their situation is and how furious and depressed they are.  No one can withstand hearing that for very long before they’re ready to run for their lives from the pitiful friend they wish that they could help but would rather just escape.  If you’re being mobbed, chances are your friends and family are feeling overwhelmed themselves; give them a break from your emotions by gaining control of them.

To control your emotional flooding, understand that there are three primary emotions that mobbing provokes: anger, fear and sadness.  Each of these emotions is experienced as a range of feelings.  Unchecked anger turns to fury and rage; unchecked fear turns to paranoia; and untreated sadness turns to anguish and serious depression.  All of these emotions are normal and natural responses to threats to our survival, but they become maladaptive when they are not controlled.  To control the painful feelings associated with mobbing, here are a few steps you can take to gain greater control of your emotions when you are under group attack.
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