I was pondering to delete all my rants against Pret, because I feel like I have become this “monster” to speak out publicly on what happened to me and how ill I have become. I never in my life would have imagined to go so out-of-sync. I used to always be very discreet, private and professional. Friends know me as this person who doesn’t spill the beans on things like that or talk about people. But I feel I can never recover.
It is especially upsetting when people tell me to put myself in the shoes of a multi-million pound company because they were at a loss and insecure how to help me. Excuse me??!! I have to put myself into the shoes of a powerful group of professionals??!! A company that has enough money and resources to be able to have made a positive impact in an employee, who was extremely good at her job, instead of mistreating me on top during my darkest time in life. What is going on in this society?! I am not suffering from Stockholm Syndrome anymore to be protecting powerful people who should and could have protected me.
And people criticize my speaking out as naming and shaming Pret. But first of all since May 2015 I approached Pret’s HR department informally to bring suggestions on how bereaved employees could get support. After that I went for about 3 years being bullied, put under suppressive management and subsequently fired while my dad was just out a coma. And even during the worst nightmare of grief + bullying, I still made suggestions, encouraged my teams, while flipping out in emailing, but still doing an excellent job. But my hard work for 10 years was treated like dirt and worthless contribution.
And secondly, the naming and blaming and shaming is exactly what Pret has always done. When a shop received poor scoring for health & safety for example, HQ would send out mass emails to all the shops to name and shame that one shop. That was done to scare the shops to do better. This always bothered me. Of course shops that did extremely well were also mentioned in mass emails, but this to me seemed like a manipulative way to make others jealous, like patronizing someone in a crowd by slapping their back how well they do to motivate others to follow suit. But I can accept it, it is better to do this, then to never mention success.
The argument and critique may be that Pret did not email the whole world to name and shame the shops, but the reason why I speak openly is because I almost lost my life and staff are still suffering from bad treatment. If this happened to me, it happens to others. And some may never be able to speak up.
I heard a BBC broadcast about a manager of a luxury shoe company going out of their way to support a mentally ill staff member.
This has me in tears that there are indeed companies who have incredible leadership in place, like also this company in Germany whose HR manager has mobilized their entire 650+ staff to donate their overtime worked (each employee roughly 5 hours overtime accumulating to over 3000 hours), to enable a colleague whose young son has gotten ill with leukemia, to be at the side of his son. The father was able to be off work for more than a year without losing his job! I cannot get over this big-hearted and plain human kindness. This to me is emotional intelligence at its best, common sense and frankly a no-brainer to gather around a vulnerable one of their own in support.
And the below radio program has me renew hope in humanity again that there really are good people in the workplace, who CARE by deed and not just to cover themselves up after getting caught doing wrong.
Please pass on this radio program and the news article above as many people experience the complete opposite, which makes them mentally and physically ill from work, not to mention people ending their lives as I have almost done.
I really hope to move more towards positive blogging and social media as I actually really dislike communicating negatively. But what I have experienced was so horrendously painful and scary, almost losing my life and certainly having lost my mental health. Unlike in the radio program, my line managers would laugh about me having an anxiety attack on the shop floor! Another line manager forced me out to do customer service while I was in the middle of a nervous breakdown and in tears, and the grievance I raised about this the hearing manager rejecting everything!! Later the appeal’s hearing manager asked me what my definition of bullying is!! I still feel like I’m in a Twilight Zone and wouldn’t believe my own experience if I wouldn’t have it all in writing. In hindsight I can only answer this question with the question of what her definition of bullshit is!
I still cannot grasp what I went through and the coldness of people in the workplace, and me having turned so badly ranting about it. And even lashing out at people who have tried to help me, because I became so paranoid thinking everyone is out to get me.
Managers, bosses like in the article above and the radio program here below should get a massive pay-rise or whatever awards. Nobel Peace Prize to be honest, because they help restore lives and not destroying it.
I aim to turn positive again, how I used to be and get myself “unstuck” from my rants. But I am still in too much pain and anxiety to just sweep things under the carpet, knowing how much staff are suffering.
But for now, here’s a hero: Manager Ian Cardy (?), Church’s Shoe Shop in Regent Street needs a mention here.
Are they looking for staff? I’d do anything!!!
One thing the young lady who became ill said about her manager’s support:
“I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the help he’s given me. I strongly believe that.”
It is very sad that I have to say the opposite, that I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the bullying they’ve given me at work. I strongly believe that. But as someone just today said to me to take one day, and sometimes one hour at a time, that is what I need to focus on. Getting better, even if I have to crawl through life, bit by bit.
After a brief introduction in the beginning, the story starts at around 10:22 min: