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!

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 ( 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.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

All You Need is Love

This week, it occurred to me how often people say they love their job. This is a great thing in this economic climate, but what is puzzling is that these people are often in contact with me because they are experiencing bullying at work.

I hear it a lot. And they usually follow it up by saying how unfair it is that they have toxic colleagues. My response would be – it is unfair, but employees should take care not to compartmentalise. 

We must take our jobs as a whole – measuring pay, culture, colleagues and the management style we have to work with as well as the nature of our own particular job. I get the impression that when people are being bullied at work but still say: ‘I love my job,’ what they mean is they love one or two aspects of their job.

It’s very easy to over-focus on this good part and resent the fact that we’re not left alone to enjoy it, but this, of course, is no accident. Whoever put the company together and created those lovely, interesting jobs also hired all the other staff or put bad management in place.

The good news is, if you’ve found a job you love doing, then you know what works for you. You can’t buy that sort of enthusiasm. There will be other companies you can work successfully for. Similar jobs can and will be found elsewhere – but you can leave those toxic colleagues behind. Do that, and at some point you may be able to say wholeheartedly that you love your job: every bit of it. 

Very best

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Dr Google

A big thanks to @UNISONNews for sending me this link to a TED talk by Clive Boddy about Bullying and Corporate Psycopaths. His statistics are interesting, but there is an inherent danger in identifying corporate psychopaths at work. And it might not be what you expect.

Labelling your bully can be rewarding, but only up to a point. Attributing the psychopath label can be a bit academic. If you’re being tormented at work for 8 hours a day, whether you're working with a psychopath, sociopath or someone who sits somewhere on an autistic spectrum is pretty irrelevant. At first, having read a number of on-line articles, I believed my bully to be a sociopath. Later, I wondered whether he might be on the Asperger's spectrum. Later, I realised the arrogance of this. I diagnosed someone I hardly knew, with a complete lack of medical or psychological training.

Labelling people is easy to do, but much less easy to prove. Clive Boddy points out in the TED talk, “Psychopaths have absolutely no conscience”. But how on earth do we know for sure that someone has absolutely no conscience? We often don’t see these people outside the work environment, let alone have a glimpse into their psyche.

We’re often encouraged to diagnose our bullying colleagues, but as I point out in, Bullied by the Boss (Amazon, 2012):

“Stereotyping and labelling bullies is dangerous because it reinforces the very egocentric bias that allows bullying to happen in the first place. We tell ourselves they are inherently bad people and we are inherently good. Isn’t that the very thinking that [my bully] adopted? He believed he was an all-round better, more worthwhile and valuable person than I was. 

“We can’t dehumanise people who dehumanise people and expect a positive result. I can’t help being reminded that, whilst these experts’ Orwellian ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others’ philosophy is understandable, it puts us at risk of adopting the same behaviour we claim to abhor”.

Perhaps it's human nature to search for labels in an attempt to undertstand a predicament which is patently unfair and makes no sense. But it's always going to be more helpful to look at what we can do to get out of a situation, rather than put our faith in any diagnosis from Dr Google.

Very best

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Friend or Foe?

The Christmas holidays can be a strange time.

Former colleagues seem prone to getting in touch and it’s amazing how many times I bumped into them in the January sales. 

It’s easy to imagine that everyone is imbued with festive cheer. That was until a former secretary contacted me to wish me Happy Christmas and fill me in on exactly how much my old firm still curse me. I put a brave face on, of course. But it was sad to learn that a previous friend had altered her opinion of me. She’d bought the HR propaganda.

I was disappointed.

Days later, trudging down the High Street, someone shouted my name. It was a former solicitor from the same firm as my former friend. She could have been judgemental. I wouldn’t have blamed her at all, but she was happy to let bygones be bygones. She hugged me and wished me Merry Christmas.

Sometimes, the people you trust most who let you down and in the all-too-rare cases where you do find an ally in the workplace, it’s often the person whom you least suspect. People are unpredictable. 

That’s why it’s more important to have supportive friends and family outside work. They won’t succumb to office politics. Their pay packet isn’t threatened because of the bullying you’re going through. 

Then friends you have in work are simply a bonus.

Very best wishes
Bottom Swirl