“You can talk to me now.”
Words in an informal moment of around 3 – 5 minutes, while the HR advisor who took the notes, briefly left the room to get the print-outs.
I entered a new Twilight Zone and the most confusing time of my life, not realizing how calculated this was.
This is a true account of the painful and degrading way Pret A Manger is claiming to be “doing the right thing naturally”.
I have survived working in a company that bullied me during bereavement and had a laugh while I tried to bring suggestions for improvement.
Yes, how stupid I was. And no I wasn’t. I was traumatized. I am actually known for my “eagle eye” and discernment and not being bull-shited easily. But in trauma, you lose every sense of common sense! You are gone!
If anyone wants to understand what emotional and mental abuse looks like:
In the disciplinary hearing my (positive) shock was that there actually is a person in this city, in this company, in this room, who also has lost her brother almost identical, almost the same time and similar way I did??!!
Not knowing how abusive and calculated this was from Pret’s toxic HR department under their Head of HR and Recruitment.
Here was a person, as in a Development Manager working in HQ for over 15 years, in the same company, who also supposedly lost her brother, laying dead in his flat for days?
Why did they do this to me (and to her if this is true)?
Who came up with this?
It made all sense later, when all crumbled and after I asked myself many times why she had a drawing, her brother (if he existed and if he died) drew as a self-portrait, that she put on her Pret work phone, while not having an avatar picture on her private phone.
A personal picture on a professional phone?
An empty avatar on her personal phone? No picture.
Why did she let them use her tragedy of her lost brother against my tragedy of my lost brother?!
In many of my dark moments, in tears and numb despair I wondered, why did she never have the courage after working there for more than 15 years, knowing all the staff there, to respectfully decline being the hearing manager for my disciplinary? Was it just “survival”? Fear management at its best? What was it?!
But I understand now what it was.
It is an elite of people, who come from a different place, far removed from the “ground” floor, the front-lines of the business. It’s the usual story that repeats itself again and again.
If you like culture, art, movies outside of Hollywood, you may know the 1927 silent movie “Metropolis” by Fritz Lang.
This film portrays repeated life. The top stomping on the bottom to make their world go around.
Life is like a beating heart, a machine that Pret has mastered with a smile: The top steps on the bottom, who in turn kicks back to the top… pumping blood through a system.
Development Manager, Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner, Griever, professional, semi-professional, personal, alien, human… Wearing too many hats, hurts people. HQ people sleeping with people from shops, taking advantage of them, hey all they managed to do for me was a person who lost a brother.
If at all …