I want to start a new feature on my website, as I move away somewhat from writing about my Pret ordeal. I boldly write that my website is the “Most Comprehensive Website on Pret A Manger” anywhere on the web. Because it is! For any new reader, the above link gives a good overview on issues of Pret from my own experience as well as what I collected from other current and former staff members and the press.
I want to move more towards positive things again like I used to do, being active in cultural events in London and elsewhere like concerts, theater, writing etc. and also in projects of people who raise issues from their own life experiences.
I want to venture out and do something I’ve never done, but always wanted to do.
I want to interview people I have come across and learned their story. I feel their story needs to be heard, even if also for the amazing interesting lives they lead apart from the campaigns they’re involved in. I did a mock interview on Pret called “An IMAGINARY but Honest Interview with Pret A Manger”, which was great fun! So, the idea came to do real interviews with people whose stories and projects need to be featured and known.
Upfront, please forgive any mistakes, my excuse is that English is not my first language and I never studied in university. Hope that gets me off the hook! 😀 And as I am German, I do get a little wordy, pardon!
Also, some people I interview will be from the U.S. where some words will be American English (labor vs. labour; bumb vs. hump; gas vs. petrol etc.), which I like to keep. I love to keep people’s sentences in their own words. I used to live in Florida and had to change some words when I moved there, and then had to change again when I moved back to the UK.
I was criticized once by a manager after I sent an email to the maintenance team in HQ that the handicap toilet for customers was defect, if someone could come by and fix it. It was part of my job to “log calls” to get things repaired. I was told by the manager that this is discriminatory to write “handicap” because it is called “disabled”. But in America it is called “handicap”, so I had to always rethink my words to not offend people. But I will keep all words in the interviews the way they are in the respective country. If anyone feels offended, apologies upfront, but I will keep the words the way THEY say it in their own words and not change them. Thank you.
Also, the WordPress spellcheck is in American English, so there will be a mix of British and American spelling! Please bare with these inconsistencies. The subject matter is what is important to me.
I have met some incredible people on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms while I was ranting about Pret and coming to terms with my own traumatic experiences these last 4 years. These people have been immensely supportive in whatever capacity, and they have been incredibly patient with my “moments” of despair. At times I get blocked, called “insane” and whatever else people do. And I don’t blame them as at times I was very depressed and angry. But the ones I feature here have been each in their way wonderful supports and encouragements. They supported me when I was completely new to Twitter with my story and at times still out of my mind. They believed me and gave me room and time to share my story, as crazy as I was at times. They continued to support me. And I will never forget that!
I want to give room to each person to share their story and campaigns. The interviews are solely for their purpose, not for them to have to comment on anything about my Pret rants, unless they want to of course. But the purpose is to introduce people and their projects on another platform to make them known more.
These people come from all walks of life, areas, occupations, passions, causes… and I love bringing people together, and to also give more exposure to their own endeavors. I will ask a set of core questions that I find interesting, and then according to each person may add other questions based on them individually. Everyone is free to answer or skip a question however they wish to.
These interviews have a good and a bad thing, just like life. Starting with the bad, I cannot pay the interviewee for the interview, and I am not paid for it either. The good thing, it’s like at the Olympics, just being part of it is everything, right? (Yeah right!). But one day you can tell your grandchildren that your interview was featured on the most comprehensive website on Pret A Manger 😀
Jokes aside, here’s a list of interviewees whose stories and courage inspire me to keep going when I feel like giving up:
David Breakspear – A Reformed Man (Former Prisoner)
I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and 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.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>> podcast interview based in California, and wrote an article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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