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."

Saturday, 9 February 2013

WEEK 263 Volunteers Wanted

This week, I was kindly given the opportunity of reading witness statements from a textbook case of constructive dismissal.

The situation couldn’t be clearer. An ‘independent’ outside assessor was brought into a company to get employee feedback. They made it clear to the employees that answers would be confidential and asked questions like: ‘If you could change one thing about this firm, what would it be?’

If you been bullied or you’ve ever come a cropper with your employer, you’ll wince at the above. You know what’s going to happen next. But if you’ve never had such a problem, there’s every chance you’d be flattered. To be asked for your opinion on ways the company can improve sounds a lot like inclusion and respect.

The reality, as we know, is that if you have any great ideas – you’re in trouble. They’ll suspect you’re second guessing management decisions. Even worse, you might be planning to set up a rival firm after poaching their clients. I wonder whether the majority these one-to-one meetings which claim to be off the record are out to reveal exactly this. 

In this particular witness statement, when the former employee was challenged openly by his boss about his answers he said thought his responses were confidential. He was told: ‘The assessor works for me and while I pay him, he tells me everything’.

I do wonder what the company agenda was in conducting these interviews. We’ll never know. But it certainly wasn’t to listen to their employees and improve productivity. The only time, it seems, when you can safely appear to care about the firm you work for is during the initial job interview.

And they wonder why the British economy remains sluggish.
Very best


RJBuxton said...

Your blog shows how real life is usually too far-fetched to be acceptable if it were presented as fiction. Here is my contribution to that.
Last year, the company I then worked for held 2 or 3 'feedback days' where they invited staff from all levels to come along and 'have their say about the company'. On my particular day (they all followed similar formats) we had; a 'Facilitator' - apparently impartial but the same Training lady that we always used;a member of HR; and finally the MD herself. The Facilitator then announced without apparent irony that everything was 'within these walls'. All that followed was pointless, as you would expect, and must have cost thousands of pounds in salary. Each point raised was queried, countered, rubbished, dismissed etc. They just couldn't contain themselves. The HR lady (I'm 5*, she is 2*) had a chat with me later suggesting that I seemed angry, and might have raised some of my points with my line manager.

Graham Harris said...

Sounds all to familiar. All because I made the naive mistake of believing that the outside mentor who was alledgedly brought into the company to make improvements. And told me that everything discussed would be said in confidence. Did in fact do the complete oppisite and little did I know at the time that everything I said would in fact be told to my superior. And ultimately caused the demise of my job.

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