Bullied at work.
I have worked for several organisations, some were enormous, and others were tiny. My preference it to work for small organisations. I like that you get to do various jobs and experience all areas of a business. The best job I ever had was working for a company called Emtech. We specialised in fire prevention and running risk assessments for multi-tenanted buildings, mainly in London. We worked out of the owner (Emma) dining room. On the odd occasion, she had a dinner party. We had to pack the office away and turn it back into a dining room. It also meant we went home early.
I had the best job ever – before bullied at work
Three of us worked at Emtech, the owner Emma, and a part-timer who was a friend of Emma’s from childhood and myself. It was indeed a family business. I had just returned from backpacking around southeast Asia and Australia, so I lived in Dorset with my family. Emtech was in Gloucestershire. As a result, I would lodge with Emma in the Yellow Room for the first four months. In fact, during my interview, I ended up answering the phone for a client and organising a Fire Drill. We both liked the same music and had that blaring on the CD player.
A fantastic groom would come into the office for cups of tea when it was cold, and she needed to warm up. One of the additional tasks was to feed the horses if the groom had a day off and Emma visited a client in London. As you can see, it was very much a lifestyle job. I loved it.
Financial rewards were massive
I received my biggest bonus from Emtech. I had an appraisal (which we didn’t do). The first appraisal was after 12 months of service. We sat on the Cotswold stone wall in her garden drinking gin and tonic. She said she was happy with my work and what I was doing and gave me a £2000 pay rise. The second appraisal followed a similar process. Again, she said she was happy with my work and asked if I wanted a pay rise and bonus. Naturally, I said yes, that would be nice. I had a £2,000 pay rise and a £10,000 bonus.
Working for a small company has its issues. The most critical issue was what would happen if Emma sold the company. She had told me she never would, as it was her baby. Emma started the company at 18. We had an agreement that if she ever sold the company, she would tell me. It would not mean I would leave, but it would give me options.
I was summoned
You can understand my surprise when I was summoned to her home one Sunday as she had something urgent to discuss with me. Emma had been sick for some time, and I thought it was something to do with that. I drove to work at 2 pm and I found her sitting on the front lawn drinking Pimm’s. I joined her, and the first thing she said was that “your job is safe for a year”. She then told me she had sold the company to Chubb Fire, and they took ownership of the company on Friday.
I was devastated. Not that Emma had sold the company. It was probably the best decision, as she was looking to move into a different business. We had an agreement that she would tell me if she was going to sell the company. In the previous weeks, I had noticed that something was going on in the office. Paper was going missing. Items in the office had been moved, and the paperwork was out of order. In hindsight, she was preparing for the sale of the company.
I still find it challenging to comprehend that Emma lied so badly to me about the sale of the company. Indeed, only three days before the sale, I asked her if she would ever sell the company, and she told me it was her baby and she would never sell it.
I was asked to attend the office at 8 am the next day to help her tell the other staff members and assure them that nothing would change for about a year. 2002 was the start me being bullied at work and three years of hell working for Emtech and Chubb Fire.
What I learned about writing my memoirs and being bullied at work
- When it comes to money, people will lie and betray you.
- I know how much I was worth in 2002.
- A company is just that, and everyone is expendable, whether we like it. We are not unique or invaluable when it comes to money and business.