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!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

From the Heart

I’d forgotten the guys in my department were to be given a treat. The Senior Solicitor had booked lunch at a French restaurant. Howard, having also forgotten, found he’d double booked. He made his excuses and contented himself trying to rain on my parade.

“We’re paying for your lunch now?" he said. "It’s enough that you’ve benefitted from being promoted out of pity. Saved me the bother of charity donation. You’re off the dole queue. What more do you want? With the pay rise you got, you should buy me lunch.”

In the end only three colleagues turned up, the Senior Solicitor and two others. We weren’t sat down five minutes before the conversation turned to Howard and how he was besotted with me.

“But I think he wants to kill me,” I argued.

“No,” said the Senior Solicitor, as his colleagues shook their heads. “But stop being so bloody grateful for the pay rise.”

“I wasn’t expecting it,” I said.

“Nor was Howard,” the senior solicitor said. “He wanted you moved by him, but he didn’t want you to have a pay rise. It was embarrassing – wanting someone promoted because you fancy them, but campaigning against a pay increase. I mean, he really argued with us about it. D’you know how hard it’s been listening to him going on as if it was down to him?”

I approached a couple of secretaries on the quiet when I got back. I also asked the Practice Manager. The collective opinion was humiliating. He fancies me. It’s why I got promoted and why he doesn’t leave me alone. They believe he’s cruel to me because he doesn’t want people to know.

I tried to see it from their side. I thought back to how the Office Manager had given Howard my mobile number and how she’d tried to keep the peace through a million upsets. I remembered how she was always telling me his wife didn’t take care of him enough and how he was bullied at home. For the first time I got the sense that not only did they think he was in love, but that they were kind of hoping something might come of it. Something special might happen to this pair of unhappy co-workers.

HOWARD was back on top form by the afternoon. He told the office how he encourages me to focus on my work:

“I told Eva one way of distracting herself from lesbian urges is to concentrate on her job. Throw yourself into your work, I said. Then I thought - your work, why not a river? Encouraging! Gotta watch it though. You heard? Male rape’s on the up? Can’t be too careful. She’s more of a man than I’ll ever be!”

There isn’t a chapter on abusive bosses in the dating advice book He’s Just Not That Into You, but I figure that’s only because the authors thought it was obvious.

See you soon

Eva x

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