Quotes of the Day: (Where to start!)
“This job was one of the worst working experiences I’ve ever had. The management was horrendous… I felt like I was a slave, the manager would scream at me like I was a dog to make the items faster…
One of the things that I absolutely hated about working at pret, was the fact that management wanted you to act like you were were having fun and smile at all times. Obviously you want to treat the costumers great by smiling but they don’t know what happens in the back and how much stress you have to go through to get all the stuff done in TIME… There’s also no job security because you could get fired for the tiniest thing… you need to dedicate yourself to pret 110%. The manager was always putting me down making me feel like I wasn’t giving my best and threatened to fire me if i didn’t make X amount of item per hour… whoever is reading this and is considering to work or apply to this company, PLEASE don’t do it”
I have read you and so will others! I believe you. I have been there.
I can underline every word here. In bullet points:
- The co-workers are great, and I can verify this, the teams most of the time are wonderful, hard working, follow really well the lead as a team leader if you respect them, help/support them and treat them well. It is just when people start moving into management levels, that they start to change and turn from being nice to being task masters out of pressure and immaturity handling power and leadership without adequate training in leadership principles and skills.
- Fear management
- Constant threat to job security
- Unnecessary pressure, even if you don’t mind working hard, it is never good enough!
- Emotional labour, forced to smile non-stop even while unrealistic (I was bereaved and treated with NO mercy!)
- Horrendous management …
I could go into every sentence in this review, but I want to explain something about this forced happiness and smiling that this reviewer put so well into words:
Quote: “One of the things that I absolutely hated about working at pret, was the fact that management wanted you to act like you were were having fun and smile at all times.”
This expectation is so warped and twists your emotional well-being into this sick feeling and eventually makes you mentally ill. On the one hand there is a manager shouting at you, manipulating you, threatening you with your job security, day in day out – and then on the other hand – is expecting you to be HAPPY and SMILE!
If you have never experienced this sick abuse and perversion of emotions, and this IS abuse and perversion, you will never understand how this feels, and especially when you even go through bereavement on top of this!!! It is textbook emotional abuse!
After I was transferred to a shop of one particular line manager in the middle of my traumatic grief and grievance hearings after being bullied extensively, we had a poor Mystery Shopper result. The Misery Shopper as I call it, literally stated that upon entering the shop they felt “miserable”. No one was smiling, no friendliness etc. So, we lost bonus and had one of the poorest scores ever in the company.
The line manger gathered us team members in the kitchen and gave the biggest “anti-motivational” speech I have ever heard! He ranted on about how “a smile is part of your uniform!” We were supposed to leave our problems at home, and smiling is part of our job description. He repeated that a few times as it seemed he loved the sound of it…
I remember my paralyzed emotions and disbelieve that this nightmare never seems to stop. He then went on to say if we had anything to say about this, to speak up then and there, because later he won’t accept anyone to come to him about this. In hindsight I believe he said this because he knew the team was too intimidated to say something right then and there. But he didn’t realize that when you have lost a loved one, you have nothing to lose anymore as the depth of grief and pain can never be topped with bully-crap management like this.
Perplexed I said to him that I rather would want to say something in person later in the office, not in the group as I felt very strongly to tell him something for which he was notorious, but I didn’t want to be disrespectful to my boss in front of the team! He persisted and said, “speak up now or later there is no opportunity!” I asked surprised if he was sure, he just looked at me. So, I said to him calling him by his name: “But So-and-so, you never smile!”
He was visible taken aback a little and immediately “corrected” me, that it is not up to me to tell him this, but that it is up to his boss to tell him this. I apologized and thought to myself…. what I won’t write here!
But from then on I could see an improvement where he made an effort to smile and be a LEADER and an EXAMPLE in what he expects from his team! He also improved in encouraging the team after I mentioned in the office later that teams are never motivated by being told off all the time, but with some encouragement, miracles happen!
Needless to say, I never gotten promoted nor given the credit for building the team UP instead of tearing them DOWN!
I was getting tired of having to train managers who reaped the harvest!
So, it’s my turn now to rant and rave, and to have my “I-have-a-Scream-speech” moment!
I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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