you are not in Pret anymore and I would normally start with an apology to you as well, except that I have nothing to apologize to you for. My gut instinct on how you were treating me over a period of weeks and months, were confirmed when I read all your terrible emails regarding me to your boss, who in turn forwarded them to HR, while you never spoke directly TO me about any of the things you complained about.
I guess it was unprecedented for everyone, including myself, but especially HR, that I had enough basic knowledge of my rights, when I decided to make a full access request according to the Data Protection Act 1998. What I didn’t know at the time was, that a full access request, unlike just wanting a copy of my blue file, would give me access to ALL written communication regarding me, except some emails have been deleted by, which was visible that text was missing even though the sender and recipient where in the address lines. And other emails speaking positive about me were never forwarded to HR, they also don’t exist anymore as I was told by some people who wrote either neutral or positive about me when they were prompted by IvH to put into writing what their perception is about me.
For you to complain to your boss who passed your email on to HR where you wrote that it wasn’t fair that my “situation” (bereavement) was “imposed” on you, that knocked the wind out of me when I read this, and further even that HR had no problem with blatant discrimination like this.
Receiving my file in the spring of 2016 containing probably few thousand pages, much of it repeats, I entered into a new period of shock waves when I read emails between HR and managers, and at that time didn’t realize that this was another massive catalyst of an email “Blitzkrieg” that would unfold in the months and years to come.
Emails I read like a fly on the wall, one particularly from you to your boss where you discriminately wrote twice of your complaint that my “situation” (bereavement) was “imposed” on you. This sent another shock-wave through my system! Your refusal all this time to speak with me directly, when I asked you and your boss IH for an appointment, time and time again I knocked at your doors, confused me further. For you to deny that there were any problems when I directly asked you if I have offended anyone or if there is any problem, as I was avoided, rebuked, shifted around constantly.
I believed you when you looked at me with eyes like a deer caught in the headlights saying that you don’t know what I am talking about. I returned to blaming myself in my perception because I was in the darkest time of my life during grief. I always put it back on me, that I am just feeling like this because I am in grief and trauma bla bla bla. I can only say to everyone reading this, do BELIEVE your gut instinct! Trust yourself above others!
What you didn’t realize at the time is that you were used by your boss, who by the end of the day did not care for you either. You happily jumped on that bandwagon and turned your back on my situation, especially when I asked you perplexed why IH is treating me like this, what have I done to her? I was reaching out to you, I was in despair you know. But you just replied that it has nothing to do with you and you don’t want to get involved as this is between me and IH. And yet, oh how involved you got! How involved you got, WG!
You made a very easy and common mistake people make, you wanted to please your boss, regardless if it was right or wrong what she did. You had no principle, no ethics that gave you the courage to speak up and say, ‘Hey, why is P. treated like this, she is going through hell in her loss, I see it every day! Give her a break, help me to know how to manage her in a good way……’ You saw me, even my physical pain on the shop floor when at times I held my ears and head for pain and a roaring tinnitus. You even acknowledged that by saying to me that this may be because I had a lot on my mind. You commented on my weight-loss and saw me struggle week after week when team members who were known for their lack of caring for the job, didn’t turn up for work, leaving me to work like two people. Not only did you not try to find a way to help me, you chose to hurt me and add to my trauma. Even to the point to send me out in tears to do customer service, while I was in the middle of a nervous breakdown after you again raised your voice against me in front of my team.
You had a choice to either help me or what you then actually did, being part of a group of managers trying to cut me out from my position, because your boss targeted me. It’s cozy and easy being part of a group, isn’t it? If your boss would have been supporting me, you would probably have supported me, because you followed her lead. I was especially disappointed at this because in the beginning during an evening drinks with the team, after I just shared about the prolonged late shifts in my previous shop, you shared with me that you once had a best friend. Your friend had health issues and complications and later unfortunately passed away. You know about grief, don’t you? Grief that is “imposed” on you without having a choice. Yeah, I can relate.
You shared with me that your friend stepped in for you when you were bullied years ago in your native country, and how she protected you. And here you were, doing the complete opposite to me where you were in a stronger position of power and influence as my line manager. How easy it would have been for you to speak to your boss and/or HR on my behalf instead of against me! Maybe my expectations are unrealistic. But as a team leader I always stepped in for my team to protect them. Maybe my expectations of leadership is wrong, but this is how I see what a “leader” is. A leader leads, even if this means they would have to disagree with their boss when they see something is wrong. Otherwise it is just being a follower in the oversized clothes of responsibility of a leader, stumbling around and tripping over the excess clothing.
I have blamed myself, even years later for being a strong personality that you just didn’t know how to handle. But you know what WG? This is not my problem, this is your problem! And I don’t take on this false responsibility anymore, especially not during dark grief. Do you know how suicidal I became, almost ending my life? Do you know that? Here is a link “on the house” for you of a charity that helped not to go down that route: The Listening Place.
Our paths crossed last year in 2017 and the way you looked at me while we walked by each other, it seemed like you hated me, and I really still don’t know what I have done to you. And I don’t need to know, because I have not done anything to you.
I hope you are doing well regardless of how you have treated me, which I am still even now suffering from in anxiety, sleepless nights, fear of the future, depression. But I do wish you well and that what happened to me, would never ever happen to you, should you ever read this or not.