My SUPERPOWER

 

I wasn’t a fan of Ricky Gervais. I know he must be funny because he’s big in Hollywood, and I am German, I don’t have humour! I am more a Robin Williams person, or Russell Brand with his fast brain, thinking around 7 corners at the same time, and yet bringing it all together to make sense, sort of…

But what is it with comedians that portray serious and devastating life issues with such conviction?! Sure, isn’t it always the Clown who in reality suffers depression, is suicidal and may be shy in real life? It certainly takes a sensitive person who experienced life in the different facets. Or if personal loss hasn’t graced them yet, observe closely and understand pain even without having to suffer that particular pain. Clowns who can interpret life from all angles in order to be funny and believable!

And it always fascinates me how humans work. I get blocked on Twitter of course, due to my Pret rants. I do these “drive-by” Tweets where someone comments on Pret. And as fast as I drop into the conversation, I drop out again. I do this, because time is short and conversations keep going on. Silly, I know! But I’m like a politician who’s going from door to door knocking. I’m not running for an office, I run an online-marathon of raising awareness of Pret A Manger where two customer deaths were not acted upon until they became public, and where I ask for independent investigations into staff deaths including suicides. How people “vote” in their decision on what they learn, is up to them.

Sometimes the blocks are completely justified because I came across rude, certainly angry etc. Other times, actually the majority of the blocking, is due to simply how bold my Twitter profile is. At times I just “like” a Tweet and boom I get blocked, never having posted to or with the person. I bluntly mention in the few characters Twitter gives me that my brother died and I was bullied in Pret. I know, I know, a great downer from the get go!! What people don’t understand is, that I am not looking for friends or a following. I am very grateful for the support and the people who do follow, especially when they keep following even during my flip-outs! THOSE are the followers/friends/people I care to know. And the conversations that are happening in the background, positive or negative, people don’t see. Thank God!

At one time in a drunken stupor I blocked everyone, kicked all out, unblocked them again because it wasn’t against them personally, I was just overwhelmed with 30 followers that I didn’t even know! I had worse flip-out since my brother died and lost a lot of friends. But what always fascinates me is that some people who block me, because I am too blunt or loud about my story, these same “blockers” follow people like Ruby Wax, Russell Brand and famous people who have had horrific mental pain and/or a serious drug “career” behind them.

They’ve been to the bottom and back. And when they were unknown, I’m sure no-one would have wanted to be around them, let alone follow them on social media. But now, they’re millionaires and turned their trauma and healing into a career. Now they’re funny and they explain hell in a heavenly way! Death, grief, trauma, drug addiction is sanitized now. Now they are popular, it’s acceptable, even desirable to be “wacky”. We follow success. We don’t want to know the people WHILE they are in the mess! Just tell us how crazy you were in your past, we want to know once you are good again! Alright!?

So, I stumbled over this Netflix series with Ricky Gervais, who’s the brains behind, and all the main parts in it again. I saw this Tweet two days ago while I was searching hashtags. A bereaved mother mentioned Gervais’ “Afterlife” series under the #TraumaticGrief hashtag.

I don’t have Netflix anymore, as I unsubscribed from everything including Amazon. But the few snippets of this series are enough to be 1. devastated that it takes the film industry again to 2. understand what bereaved and traumatized people go through!! It takes a film again to show how torturous loss and grief is. No, it’s no excuse to be outrageously rude to people. It’s not about a license to offend, but it’s high time that the subject of grief, trauma, all the messy complications of it are talked about. People die by suicide. It’s called the “silent killer”.

“In 2017, 5,821 suicides were recorded in Great Britain. Of these, 75% were male and 25% were female.” – MentalHealth.org.uk

“Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK.” – TheCalmZone.net

“In the UK, the highest suicide rate was for men aged 45-49.” – Samaritans

So, what does that mean, that we should go around offending people so we won’t kill ourselves? It’s not about a license, it’s about understanding how grief and trauma sometimes manifests. And even though “Afterlife” is dramatized and also polished up, the messiness isn’t as extreme as it is in real life, I understand that the subject has to be accessible for “regular” mortals. One step at a time! And even though I haven’t seen the whole season, I think Gervais succeeded here! And it took someone like Ricky Gervais to do this, so people feel “safe” to test the waters of what will come to all of us eventually.

In our society we push people back into the grief-closet! We love to look with pity on the grieving mother, as long as she’s nice and quiet, hidden away at home. We love her few, little, quiet tears. We offer to be there for her if she needs anything. And we damn right mean it! And she must be okay, because she never calls. And if she goes around offending people, well hell yeah, she’s a bad and rude person! She’s out of line! Get back in line! Get a grip lady! How dare she dump her pain on us! We have lives to live and kids to raise. Don’t bother us with death and grief!

What hit me most from roaming through the various “Afterlife” clips is the one thing that Ricky Gervais says, which was exactly how I felt. Ricky’s character lost his wife to breast cancer. His trauma and pain is so unbearable for him. He turns to cynicism, and it leads him to lash out at anyone with the vilest, darkest, yet colourful barrage of insults. I never used the F-Word until my brother died! I can relate! He offends anyone, except a fellow widow and his dad who suffers dementia. I can also relate. One of the things he says to his therapist in a nutshell is, that when everything fails, he still has his “superpower”, the option to end his life.

When I started publicly to name Pret A Manger and how Pret, under CEO Clive Schlee and their toxic HR department has bullied me during the darkest time of my life, I did with Plan B in mind. I had nothing to lose but life itself. And life that I have is no life. It’s just a blob of existence waiting to end. My full story in the interview at the bottom of this page, but Pret gaslighting me, communicated that my emailing was wrong. Yet, they were having a laugh and stepped all over me from the very top senior leaders using even HQ personnel. When I started naming Pret I was shaking in fear, but I didn’t care anymore. What Ricky Gervais called his “superpower” was my Plan B. I can always end it all and almost did in 2015/16…

I am not advising people to have this strategy for themselves in order to cope with grief, pain and trauma. But it was just how it was for me. And in “Afterlife” Gervais portrays this brilliantly! Everything has stopped for him. Nothing matters anymore. We might as well now do whatever comes to mind.

After having followed all the rules, paid our taxes, loved our closest ones, worked hard, played by the book… with all the imperfections and failings, it all didn’t mean anything in the end… Suicide is the last Superpower and control of a broken person who’s had the foundation underneath their feet pulled away from them!

And maybe sometimes it’s better to watch a film or series like “Afterlife” and scrap all the therapy business!

For anyone who is suicidal, or knows someone who is, and doesn’t feel life is worth living, if you are in or close to London UK, please check out these two charities that support people who are suicidal. They give one-on-one sustained support:

Maytree – Brief intro on YouTube.

The Listening Place  – Intro on Vimeo.

I can vouch for the Listening Place from own experience.

So, I have to find myself a way to view “Afterlife”. And I will NOT do a “viewer discretion advised” warning for the YouTube trailer here even though indirectly I just did! But we are not given permission, nor discretion advise when we are born. I had no “viewer discretion” when I received the message of my brother’s death AND cremation via email. I assume that no child under 18 is reading my blog, but if they do, welcome to my blog! Thanks for stopping by. For the rest, I know you Christians out there are big boys and girls, you can handle this.

Thank you Ricky Gervais and everyone involved in this, for your courage to take a shot at this taboo subject that is death, grief, trauma and all the mess of it.

 

If anyone has Netflix, please check this out. If it is as good as I subject it is, could you feedback? I won’t go back into subscribing to anything in the near future. I lean towards becoming an old woman planting trees.

 


 

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.

Interview:

 

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My Odyssey through the Mental Health System

 

My odyssey through the mental health system started with my brother’s death.

He died in December 2014 but we didn’t know that he was dead AND cremated until January 2015, 5 weeks after his death!

Apart from the trauma and shock, I moved like a hypnotized zombie stumbling around on autopilot. I started to investigate and continued to work in-between all the errands and family matters I had to run, traveling back and forth between London and Germany until my savings ran out.

With some common sense still in tact, I immediately sought help via my doctor. After the funeral and all the main errands where done, I went to my doctor around February 2015 as I realized very quickly that I can’t handle this on my own, still working and also trying to help my family. I remember a friend saying to me how surprised she was that I got a counseling spot so fast as she once waited over a year for a spot when she was in deep depression and suicidal.

 

COUNSELOR #1 – Spring 2015

I was lucky to have gotten a place very fast in May 2015 with a counselor. But when I did the initial telephone assessment with the NHS, I asked for bereavement counseling and assumed this is what I was then referred to.

The NHS funded 6 sessions but rejected further sessions that the counselor applied for. He then gave me a rebate and I continued for a further 7 sessions (13 altogether) paying out of my pocket. The sessions didn’t help, for several reasons, one I was gobsmacked when the counselor suggested in the 4th session for me to do an additional counseling session with a bereavement counselor.

But I thought HE was the bereavement counselor! I also learned later towards my last sessions that he was a trainee therapist. Nothing against trainees, we all have to start somewhere, but I needed an experienced therapist who understands trauma.

I also think it didn’t help because of the timing. I was is such a state of shock and a whirlwind that was going on in my head. But I needed help and my friends were overwhelmed from the get go, because of the circumstances of my brother’s death, the way I found out and all the lack of support from the Police etc. I didn’t want to, and couldn’t put this on my friends. And yet, months later I hurt all my friends and strangers in a complete traumatized state!

I quit after the 13th session.

 

COUNSELOR #2 – Mid 2015

Then a friend introduced me to a private counseling organization which is Christian based. By then I ran out of money as my savings dried up with the errands and flights to Germany. The assessment alone cost £50 which my friend lent to me.

But this counseling procedure didn’t sit with me, and I didn’t have the funds to pay for the sessions thereafter. I didn’t go back.

 

COUNSELOR #3 – Mid to Fall 2015

This wasn’t a counselor, but a free volunteer organization a friend passed on to me because I started to lament that I can’t find help. It was Cruse, the largest bereavement service in the UK. I was offered 8 fortnightly evening sessions with a young volunteer, who seemed very knowledgeable and well trained. But I quit after 4 sessions because she lied about something, which for me was devastating, because the foundation of especially counseling has to be an honest foundation.

We did an initial phone assessment after which she offered the 8 sessions. After a few weeks after the assessment call, I received a text message from an unknown number about my first appointment. I logged the number in my phone as plainly “Cruse” assuming that it was an automated Cruse number texting out appointments. My GP does that and other official organizations, where you cannot reply, or if you reply, it is not picked up. So, I assumed this was an automated Cruse number for the sole purpose of sending text reminders.

After my second appointment with the Cruse volunteer I noticed that the “Cruse” number that is automatically also stored with Whatsapp has her photo on the avatar with a cat on her shoulders. I never checked this before as I didn’t use Whatsapp much. I was perplexed that a volunteer would use their personal number for Cruse, but didn’t make much of it.

In our 3rd session I talked about the videos I was making for my brother on YouTube and that this is the only thing at that time which helped me somewhat. She then offered for the 4th session to bring her iPad and that we could look at the videos there. As I had 2 weeks to think about it, I decided to not want to do this in the session as this would mean nothing to me because she didn’t know my brother. It would have been much more meaningful if a friend or family would watch this with me, as we knew my brother and could have remembered situations of some of the photos.

Once I was sure I didn’t want to watch the videos in the 4th session with the volunteer I texted the “Cruse” number to pass on a message to this volunteer not to bring her iPad. The sessions we had was at 7pm every two weeks. I assumed that she might have worked all day and came straight to the sessions from work. I wanted to avoid her carrying an iPad around, which isn’t very light, while I decided I didn’t want to watch my videos. That was the only time I texted that number to pass on to the volunteer assuming it was a general Cruse number.

In the 4th session she thanked me for the message that had been passed on to her and that this isn’t her number. I was confused that and WHY she even mentioned that it wasn’t her number. I assumed it was Cruse number. But now I think she tried to protect herself and accidentally gave away that it IS indeed her number, but lied as she feared I’d contact her again. But I never did and always assumed this was Cruse’s number.

After the session it dawned on me that this IS her number and in anger I confronted her about lying and I never went back. I thought if she lies about this, what else would she lie about in regards to Cruse etc. This was around the time of the first grievance that was raised by the HR advisor at work on my behalf.

By now it is the end of 2015 and the bullying in Pret is in full gear! (For any new reader to my blog, my story with Pret is in an interview audio player at the bottom of this page). After around 9 months of approaching Pret, their HR department and managers / area managers, an HR advisor heard my story for the first time from me. Up until then she only knew the area manager’s side who was the catalyst of the bullying, involving several managers and shops against me.

When this HR advisor heard my side for the first time, she became dead quiet on the phone as I shared what I was going through in my shop. I had to check my phone at one point thinking it just switched off the phone call like it sometimes did, because she was completely quiet. I asked, “Are you still there?” to which she answered in a very quiet, slow and solemn way, “I’m listening”. She then let me continue what I went through.

I understood later that she must have been shocked to hear a completely different story than what she was fed back up until then. To my initial shock, she then raised a grievance on my behalf against my line manager and his boss, the catalyst of the bullying. She raised the grievance on the grounds of “bullying” and was supposed to be at the hearing, but was “sick” I was told. I never heard from her again, except later in a different hearing, and I immediately went into paranoia, because for the first time there was someone who believed me, but she was taken out of the process. And the first hearing they rushed through and seemed very annoyed that I was even there. The hearing process itself was very dodgy in many ways. I will write about the Pret HR hearings (10 altogether) I went through and how systemic it was. But I want to concentrate on the mental health system here.

But all the bullying allegations were rejected fully, which led me to appeal etc.

The appeal was only substantiated in a tiny little thing and I felt from the get go in my gut, that there’s something wrong here. The bullying was never admitted and the hearings were a mess! The bullying continued, even intensified, as my line-manager was angry with me for the partially substantiated grievance against him. He bullied me now openly and aggressively. And after almost a year of approaching HR, managers etc. I contacted Clive Schlee the CEO of Pret, who will be “retiring” officially in September 2019.

New grievance hearings were arranged which then had the initial HR advisor PRESENT who raised the first grievance and was “sick” when the hearing took place. ONLY THEN did Pret start to offer help, AFTER I contacted the CEO. But from how I experienced their “help”, it felt mainly to cover themselves in case of a court claim, so they could say how supportive they were!

 

COUNSELOR #4 – January 2016

I was first referred to a counselor who even lived close by my address in walking distance. Pret’s insurers that arranged the counseling meant well, they probably looked at my address and sought for the closest, most convenient counselor in my area. But I only did 2 sessions with a lady who did counseling from her living room.

Everyone is different, but I don’t like to be in a counseling situation at someone’s private home. The lady was very professional and her living room was arranged like a counseling room, where she had dividers, to separate her private things with her counseling area in the living room. She did nothing bad, but I did not feel comfortable, especially with telling my story of a brother who died in his apartment, was not found until approximately 6 days later when his body was already disintegrating. He left 3 cats behind, that God knows HOW they survived! But the cats ransacked the whole place, probably in distress! I was told his apartment was a complete chaos where the cats pooed everywhere, ripped things apart etc.

My brother was very well kept, handsome, well dressed and his apartments were always super clean and organized. You had to take your shoes off when entering his house, like in my flat as well. But the cats completely destroyed the place! Animals understand death! I remember him sending me photos of his one cat, the mother cat, that slipped out one day and came back pregnant. He kept two kittens and gave the others away.

The mother cat

DSC00221

 

DSC00188

 

My brother loved animals, we grew up with a dog that reached 18 years!! Even as a kid, he was not afraid of anything! When he was around 10 years old he climbed over a fence of a property where they had a kitchen show-room. Our parents went inside to look at kitchens, while we remained in the car right by the window where our parents could still see us. My brother of course always active, couldn’t sit still, saw this huge German Shepherd on the property and climbing the fence, went inside. He cuddled the dog while I was white as a sheet for fear he’d get devoured by this monster! But he didn’t. Actually, this business should have then gotten a new guide dog, because this dog was only useful as a teddy bear and any robber would have easy access!

But how am I going to talk about his death, and all the weird things surrounding it, to a lady who counseled from her private den! I pictured myself counseling someone with a traumatic story in my living room, and being left with the imagery and words alone later in the evening, watching a movie! I would need a professional surrounding, where I can leave the stories in that room and go home to my sanctuary. But some people obviously can do it. And also, this lady, when I told her about Pret, the first counseling was just the day after another grievance hearing. So, I spoke about it and this is what she wanted to concentrate on in the next sessions.

But I needed help with my brother’s death and making sense as best as I could.

The remaining 4 sessions thereafter (6 altogether) were cancelled then on my request, and Pret via their insurer looked for an alternative.

 

COUNSELOR #5 – Early 2016

I was then referred to a Psychoanalyst that the Head of HR introduced me to, saying that he referred other staff to him. These employees were HQ office staff or Operations Managers, people who are in upper leadership roles or jobs, because they were harder and expensive to replace. Regular front-line and low paid staff, from the shops would never be taken care of with paid therapy, except shop managers. Again, anyone who is expensive, in higher position and harder to replace. The rest is fired fast. So, my therapy support paid by Pret ONLY came when I contacted the CEO in WRITING about the bullying and the HR advisor who tried to help, but was “eliminated” from the process. Only then did support start. In fact, reading their email communication between them after I applied for my file, they were running around like headless chickens changing direction now!

I wrote it several times before that I can’t make up my mind if this is stuff for a thriller or a comedy! I’m sure both! But it gave me a lot of insight into the heart of Pret and how deceptive they are.

And again, in the counseling sessions we talked about everything BUT my brother’s death. He wanted to dig into my childhood and wanted to get me to do a cheap 2 year Psycho Analyses with a trainee counselor, where the trainee would learn and I get it half price. I started to think now that there is no help, I don’t need to be guinea pig, I need HELP!!

I learned only then the difference between Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Psychoanalysts! I asked him what I am going through as the emailing started around that time (I explain in my interview at the bottom). This is when he then explained that he can’t diagnose me as he is a Psychoanalyst, not a Psychiatrist.

I quit after 4 sessions of the 6 sessions that were arranged.

Back to square one.

By now the Pret issues continued. I felt blamed that nothing in the counselings seemed to help and I increasingly asked for a trauma specialist via the NHS, Pret, any avenue I could find. This is when I felt increasingly suicidal, still working, started to drink, and the spiral of anxiety and neurotic behaviour added to the nightmare.

In hindsight I can pinpoint very easily WHY the counselings also didn’t help, apart from that I still feel they were the wrong types of counseling. For one, by the time I started into the death of my brother, the 6 sessions were over and I had to start again somewhere else!

And two, I was basically going to counseling once a week or fortnight, went back to work where the bullying continued, this time in a more subtle way. And Pret didn’t understand why the counseling didn’t help me, as I always communicated openly and also quit the counselings, not wanting to waste Pret’s money! I was so stupid and like in a Stockholm Syndrome situation to care about Pret’s money! Figure that!!

But it was like a woman who gets beaten by her husband daily (Pret’s bullying environment), and the husband then gives his wife money to go to hospital and the pharmacy to get “fixed” up (counseling Pret paid for). And when she returns home, he beats her up again…and sends her to the doctor again… and the vicious circle continues. In hindsight, I should have run away FAST from Pret early on! But 1. I never imagined that I would get bullied, and 2. I was in a fogged up daze and a traumatized mind to fully understand what was happening. During the day I was highly professional, worked even very efficiently, and at night I started drinking. I still don’t know how I even worked, and maybe the adrenaline of trauma kept me going on autopilot.

 

COUNSELOR #6 – 2016

I found another charity that offered bereavement counseling. And even though it is a charity, they charge according to your income. I paid a minimal amount for weekly sessions after I was offered 12 sessions. But I did 8 sessions and stopped because the lady seemingly in menopause would freeze and then sweat profusely, and by the clock, around 20 minutes into the sessions would nod off slightly EVERY week!! I kept talking as if nothing happened as it is understandable when someone may be in menopause or even ill. But after 8 sessions I felt like she could at least make an effort and have a glass of ice water and a fan next to her! In hindsight, if this would happen again, I would try to find a way to say something! But I was still in this “nice” mode, continuing something that did not benefit ME!

 

COUNSELOR #7 – 2016 and beyond on and off

I found a charity that works with people who have traumatic loss. All loss is traumatic, but they concentrated on the kind of deaths that don’t seem “normal” or that are premature deaths. But there I also didn’t stay long as I was getting increasingly suicidal. I then found a charity that deals with suicidal people. I became aware of Maytree, a charity that has a house in North London that offers 5 nights for free for suicidal people. I found them via a documentary I saw on YouTube about grief after suicide as I was trying to still find out why my brother died, even though the Police ruled out suicide and fowl play. I was researching all kinds of online support, bereavement forums, YouTube stories, anything!! They showed Maytree in the program where a woman whose husband died by suicide without any previous warnings or signs to her. I link here directly to the part where she visits Maytree to interview the staff.

After a few phone assessments I was advised that I could stay with Maytree after I haven’t drunk anything for 8 weeks. I managed at times to not drink for 2 or 3 weeks, but when I drank something, the clock started at zero again. But Maytree referred me to an ambulant charity in London, called The Listening Place (TLP). They are also run by volunteers in Central London and see people by appointment. I was one of the first “clients” and they were still in the trial period where I was often asked if they can change anything in the service. It was a good way as I was able to help them as well to draft their service, and how they can shape a foundation from which they then offer help.

The Listening Place, even to this day, has been the most professional and helpful, even though they are not paid professionals! I visited TLP on and off between 2016 and 2019.

In 2016 and 2017 I went to hospital suicidal, but was sent away, back into the community and services there. Having applied for my file in 2018 they even clearly mentioned that I was suicidal, and yet I was sent away. In early 2019 I spent a night in the Police station being watched as I went there in fear I’d kill myself that night. I didn’t want to go to the hospital again, getting send away. So I went to the police that I visited already for the third time, but this time they held me over night while waiting for a bed to free up. But all beds were full I was told, so I was sent back home the next morning and I started to go back to TLP again.

The Listening Place

 

COUNSELOR #8

This was a three times 3 hour sessions in group CBT therapy via the NHS, so basically 9 hours of group sessions. This was actually really helpful, but once the group got comfortable in the setting, the program was finished.

 

COUNSELOR #9 – Mid 2016

This was again via the NHS 6 sessions CBT therapy, but even the therapist after the 3rd session realized that this is not what I needed and I was put on a waiting list for another therapy.

 

COUNSELOR #10 – End of 2016

This was again a regular counselor arranged via the NHS. I was now offered 12 session compared to the usual 6 sessions the NHS funds. But this counselor, although more experienced, again didn’t seem to be interested to get into my brother’s death. It was like pulling teeth where I had to initiate the conversation and it felt frustrating. It lasted 4 sessions.

Nothing clicked. I kept asking for trauma based therapy. But nothing came my way.

In-between the months I went back to The Listening Place on and off.

 

COUNSELOR #11 – End of 2018

The third and last Therapist that Pret financed came when the Head of HR started to warn me about potential dismissal. This was in the middle of the gaslight situation with the Development Manager Pret used to manipulate me. I explain fully in below interview. But I was in such a mental state where I was so blinded, manipulated and neurotic that I firmly begged Pret to give me a chance, while I was actually the one who should have gone to court much sooner. They twisted things so well that I felt I was in the wrong. So, the Head of HR pretending to be once again so terribly helpful, arranged for this last Therapist.

This Therapist was the first Counselor to mention that the Development Manager acted abusively and that she isn’t a proper Therapist when she acts like she did. He said to me that as a Counselor he isn’t supposed to give his opinion, but in this regards he saw a lot of wrongdoing by Pret and the danger of an abusive Therapist’s behaviour. I even agreed, but by then I was so eaten up with guilt, shame and felt like a complete failure in all aspects, fully emerged in confusion. I was and am still coming to terms about my brother and the added hell in Pret. This time I finished the sessions, as I felt he was competent and understood a lot of what I was going through. He was also the Therapist who after hearing my story with all the emailing, said that “people in bereavement do the strangest things”. He had a lot of emotional intelligence and understanding.

 

COUNSELOR #12 – 2017 / 2018

I kept going back to my doctor and now they started realizing that I need something serious and long term. By now I am mentally broken down so much, still coming to terms about my brother and with the added trauma of the systemic bullying I was going through like in a mental war-zone. Also my father was found on the floor in his apartment and put into an induced coma and a whole new set of a nightmare started.

I was put on a waiting list for long-term therapy and had two assessments with a Psychologist, one in December 2017 before I lost my job, and the second in January 2018 after I lost my job and my dad in hospital in Germany, after his three week coma as a result of a stroke. He died in March 2018 and the whole thing of nightmares started again like a never ending Twilight Zone.

At the second assessment in January 2018 I was offered a twelve week group therapy introductory course with a relatively new therapy form called Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT). A little taken aback at the esoteric sounding name, I was explained what it is and was relieved to be offered 12 sessions straight away. As I had a good experience with the 3 session CBT group the year before, I finally felt hope!

But it didn’t stop there, it was getting even better! The Psychologist explained that after the 12 group sessions which was an introductory course to MBT and a way for the group to get to know each other, that after the 12 sessions there would be a few months break. And then after the break this same group of about 8 – 10 people would start 18 MONTHS sessions of the main therapy!

 

I felt like I won the lottery!!!!!

 

But it didn’t stop there!!

This would be TWICE a week for 18 months, once a week in a group setting, and the second session one on one with the Therapist. The group sessions are held by two therapists, one which is a Psychiatrist and the other a Psychologist!

I thought this must be an intense therapy that it is that long and held by two therapists. It took THAT long for the NHS to finally put me on a long-term program like this.

In September 2018 the first introductory group sessions started. We were instructed to NOT talk about our personal issues, which was weird and even my friends asked why I was there then, if I couldn’t talk about my trauma. But since this was an introductory course and we were told that the main sessions are then for us to share, I thought nothing further of it.

In the 6th of the 12 sessions the Psychologist dropped a bomb! She asked us how we felt with the therapy program and wanted to do stock count half way through the introductory phase and inquired how we felt so far. But then she mentioned almost casually, and yet in hindsight it was completely calculated, after we each shared how we felt with the therapy and group she said, “I want to stress that the main 18 months sessions will be video recorded” ….

Sorry what??!!

In shock and disbelief we looked around and started to ask what for! I noticed that whole time even before they dropped the bomb, the Psychiatrist who was mainly quiet didn’t look me in the eyes a lot when she spoke to us. I remember even thinking that and assumed maybe I have one of my angry looks, as people sometimes tell me I look so serious. Well after all the forced smiles in Pret and what happened in the last 4 years, sorry, in my private time I choose a face that suits ME, not anyone else! Look elsewhere if you don’t like the looks of my face!

We were explained that they use video to look and analyze “frame by frame” at what is and what is NOT being said. Yet, MBT in a nutshell is all about AVOIDING assumptions and learning to ask and explain emotions. It slowly dawned on me that the Psychologist who mainly talked was in TRAINING, with the Psychiatrist being the supervisor, saying a few things in-between, and we were like guinea pigs here. They would look at the video material afterwards to learn the therapy. We were assured that the videos of the group and individual one on one sessions would be deleted “after a few weeks”, but nothing was tangible and clear! It was all very vague!

Me and another guy got up and left.

I researched this at home later and found that it is becoming increasingly common practice to video therapy sessions, especially MBT. What I did NOT realize, is that I could have just declined consent and continued the therapy. But without them saying it, they left us in the assumption that we either consent to video filming and are part of the therapy, or we cannot participate! They never gave us clear information that we can decline consent and they cannot force us either way.

After a phone call with the Psychologist, whom I believe was in training, I stopped the therapy AGAIN and filed a formal complaint with the NHS. I also would have discontinued even without the video as I lost trust and confidence in the Therapists. What else are they not telling us, I thought.

My main points were that we were never told this in out INITIAL assessment ONE YEAR before. I wasted 1 year on the waiting list which I could have used for alternative therapy OR if I had the full and transparent information, I could have declined and they would have had to continue without videoing the sessions.

I also said that I felt this was calculated to give us this VITAL info, which involves data protection, half way through the 12 week intro sessions so that it would be much harder for us to decide against it as we would have gotten used to the group and therapy. All of us were not private patients, we had no choice and grabbed every opportunity of help, and I felt strongly that they took advantage of this. I even still feel like people who cannot afford a private therapist are used as guinea pigs for therapy training while they would never do that with paying private clients!

I felt used as a “poor” NHS patient for the education of therapists who then use this for paying “rich” patients.

Except for my “conspiracy” theories that wasn’t responded to, all my 4 page points were fully upheld by the NHS complaints department, which led to the therapy NOT being filmed.

But here I was again, raising hell and others benefit from it while I am now back to square one on yet another waiting list! You’re welcome y’all!

The leading Psychologist who looks over the program and the Therapists held an appointment with me after I refused to have an appointment with the Psychologist who dropped the bomb of videoing. But this “chief” Psychologist seemed to have been ticked off with me as I ruined his program to film sessions, because he started the appointment by saying he has only 30 minutes and seemed to rush. He offered me a choice of two programs, one would be a long waiting list again for a long-term therapy, or as an alternative to cut the waiting time, I could volunteer in the nearby hospital! So, basically if you don’t want to wait for the proper therapy, you can just go to the hospital and do volunteer work where there are professionals to talk to if I needed to! If I chose the hospital volunteer scenario, I would lose the therapy opportunity if I didn’t want to wait. I thought he was joking! And again, I felt like a carrot was dangled in front of me and I felt manipulated, to be forced between not waiting long and being cheated out of real long-term help if I skip the waiting period.

Those two options didn’t even match! It wasn’t an option between one type of therapy and another type of therapy like I was given a choice before. It was a choice between long-term therapy after a long wait – OR – volunteer in a hospital if I didn’t want to wait. WTF! It actually felt like he wanted me to quit the idea of therapy and used the waiting time-carrot. He seemed ticked off as I ruined his video project with my successful formal NHS complaint! I emailed him later that I felt he was cross with me and now wants to push me to the side to do volunteer work in hospital where there would also be some doctors if I had a crisis and needed help!! I couldn’t believe it!

He was very patronizing and I really felt he was pissed off and even gaslighting me to some extend. When I emailed him, he quickly diverted and said that he would not speak about my concerns via email and that I raised serious allegations. He further wrote that he would be happy to see me in person and speak about it. I replied that since he thinks that I raise serious issues, I’d like to keep our correspondence in writing (and in my thoughts not be lured away into a “he said / she said” scenario).

One decision I made after the whole Pret nightmare is to trust my gut again! And in this case with this chief Psychologist, I trust my gut and don’t trust him. Sorry, but I’m not sorry. Life is too short to be continuously bull shitted!

I refused to see him in a new appointment, because for one, there are many mistakes, even missing information in my medical file which I had to send evidence in of corrections to be added. For example one hospital assessment where I went suicidal, the doctor assessing me wrote that I was “unwilling to received help from Maytree”!!! And two, I didn’t trust him after the whole video thing and his patronizing way.

Maytree advised me to come back to them once I didn’t drink for 8 weeks. Sure, friends said to me to just lie and say that I didn’t drink for 8 weeks so they would take me in. But I can’t do that. If something is based on a lie, it won’t be effective. If I seek help, I want to do it in a proper way, otherwise I would always feel I missed something because I lied about something. So I applied for my files from Maytree and The Listening Place with all the dates I was in contact with them, which are always dates where I initiated contact as these services never initiate contact.

Also, BOTH Maytree and TLP have written 150% correct information to the T! They written down brief thoughts on each session or phone conversations and what I spoke about. I even got paranoid thinking if they recorded the sessions without my knowledge, because the information they entered was absolutely correct!! But I trust that they wouldn’t secretly record. But it is strange that two VOLUNTEER charities make correct and professional data entry, while almost every NHS staff either entered wrong info or left vital information out!

If anyone from the NHS is reading this, please help me understand here, and please don’t come with the NHS cuts! Volunteer based services are stretched as well, and they are not even paid! Maybe it is just their passion that makes them work efficiently, with care and transparency. And I fed that back to Maytree and TLP with great appreciation for their attention to detail!

I felt that the doctors from the NHS want to cover themselves, so in case I take my life, they would say that they tried to suggest help, but I was “unwilling” to receive help, while in reality I went from service to service, to hospital, even tried to get locked up with the Police because I feared my self and wasn’t sure at times if I survived to the next day.

And this is what I can advise anyone who seeks help from medical services, be it from a charity or their respective country’s medical services, I can advise everyone to always apply for your file after a period of time when your life has quieten down a bit. in Europe under the new GDPR laws we have great advantage to access what is held about us. Apply for your file and read carefully if ALL information is correct! If not, gather evidence and ADD it to the file. In my case, they refused to delete the incorrect info, but offered to add next to every incorrect info the correct info I updated them with.

There were other instances where for example an NHS Psychiatric Nurse, who assessed me after I had a mental crisis, just closed my file and said to my doctor he can’t get a hold of me, therefore he will close my case! And yet THE DAY when he emailed this to my doctor that he can’t get a hold of me was THE DAY my father died and I went to the Mental Health Club where I bumped into him. We briefly spoke, I said that my father died and that I am in the middle of raising a Tribunal claim against Pret. He offered me to look up some free legal advice help and emailed me later THAT DAY with some links to legal advocate sites! A few minutes later he emailed my doctor saying he can’t get a hold of me, so he has to close my case! My doctor printed out the email because I kept saying that I saw him several times for assessment as I was suicidal and bumped into him on the day my dad died.

And another Psychiatric Nurse who assessed me after my night at the Police station, she left some vital information out. So, I am in disbelief and in a neurotic conspiracy type thinking WHY on earth NHS staff not only lie, but keep writing incorrect notes about me, while TWO charities wrote everything correctly! What’s going on?!

And as I write this, I have already submitted the correct information with all the evidence from various services. I did this also with the help of POhWER that helps patients with NHS complaints as a kind of back-up, so the clients are not alone, and the NHS people cannot mess with a lone and vulnerable person raising issues. I may be well worded, but I’m a mess inside!

And all this coupled with what the Development Manager from Pret A Manger did who is also a Hypnotherapy with the National Hypnotherapy Society, that refused to see through the formal complaint I raised with them. I more and more believe that therapies are a load of horse dung and tools to manipulate vulnerable people! I more and more believe this all is not real and just another money making machine!

Now I am again on a waiting list and don’t even know for what! But I have this strong sense, and some may call it “conspiracy theory”, that when you are relying solely on the NHS, because you have no money to choose your own therapist, you are really used as a guinea pig, as you have no choice but to take anything and everything they offer you. I haven’t even been diagnosed after 4 years of my Therapy odyssey! How can this even be?!

Deep down inside I have lost faith and all hope that I will receive help. In Germany I would have by now probably finished trauma based therapy as the health system is very good. I continue in this mental health desert. At least I don’t drink as much anymore, but when I do, I continue to have these “flip outs” where I lash out at wonderful people who have done nothing wrong, but in my drunken traumatized mind they turn to monsters who are out to get me! And I am desperate for help, but I have lost hope and have no confidence in the NHS when it comes to mental health services.

A friend in Germany who is a family counselor once said to me that I should maybe just stop all this therapy search and find a new hobby!! She didn’t say it quite as blunt as I write and it was in German, but it showed me that even she as a Family Therapist doesn’t know what helps. This whole therapy thing is bogus! And I used to have hobbies and was very active, but nothing much interests me anymore. My Pret writings is to expose and turn the tables on them in my way.

And if any “hobby” psychologist or even real Therapist is reading this, forget contacting me, I am not interested in anyone playing saviour or trying to help. I was searching early on especially in 2015 and 2016 on bereavement groups. I met a Psychotherapist once in a Meetup.com group, where people who experienced trauma met weekly to just chat, have a drink or a meal. The Psychotherapist started the group and I even asked him why he is doing this? Of course the answer was to help! And weeks later he offered me a one-off session for half prize and my alarm bells went on. I never went back to the social meeting and later found he was gone from the Meetup page. I never noted down his name, but he surely was dodgy.

So, any Therapist reading this, I am happy for your input on the NHS, but I am not interested in any “therapy”. I do this the proper way via the NHS or Charities that are registered and accountable to their respective Counseling Bodies.

I can also add any organization regarding suicide, or other mental health support. These can be left in the comments section or via my contact page. But those have to be registered and accountable.

In hindsight I think I approached the mental health system from a German perspective, as in Germany the health system in general is really good. Bereavement care is almost immediate and for a prolonged time. Trauma therapies are better available, even if having to endure waiting lists etc. So, I’m not sure if my mentality is still too German. But I certainly went to town trying to get help. And maybe it’s not what I need.

Thank you for reading my mess with the mental health system.

 

 


 

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.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

I am Tired

 

Tired to convince even close friends

who hide under a protective blanket

of indifference to suffering

that some things are just

plainly wrong and unacceptable

Since January 2015

my life is nothing but loss

The last 3+ years my life

is like sand running through my fingers

I have become like an outcast

I am not a desired guest at

Christmas dinners

or birthday parties

or walks in the park

On 12. January 2015 I learned

via a cold email

that my brother was found dead

in his flat

on 15. December 2014

I learned in one email

that they couldn’t find next of kin

that they cremated him

that his flat has been emptied

that he had debt

that his belongings that had no value

were destroyed

We received a box with paperwork

photos, ID cards, letters…

memories

A Box

An Urn

A Hell

Everything else,

every fibre of my brother

Gone

I went to work

to the funeral

to my family

on my shock

on my anger

on my loss

on trying to understand

how an efficient German system

can mess up like this?

I worked hard to find answers

I went to work in Pret A Manger

that worked hard in return

to get rid of me

tricking and trapping me

from beginning to end

I became an inconvenience

that needed to be discarded

like a broken machine

Since January 2015

I lost my brother in December

I lost friends

I lost my mind

I lost my job

I buried my dad

I am losing my mum to dementia

I have lost my mental health

I have lost trust in systems

any system

I have lost faith in workplaces

with their slick slogans and PR

mistreating their workers

for gain

fooling the public

for gain

again

I have lost faith in words

that are not backed with deeds

I have lost confidence in leadership

that should not be called “leadership”

but mis-leadership!

“leaders” who don’t understand what

it means to lead,

but who follow their own

selfish gain

Leaders who are captains

of ships but jump ship

first when it sinks

leaving a multitude

of passengers to

fend for themselves

I have lost confidence in the police

who don’t care to investigate properly

I have lost hope in “charity”

that is just big business

using poor people

and little children

to raise money

And politicians?

Don’t get me started!

I am tired of people

being overwhelmed with

my story

I am tired of those

blaming me for not

copying well

I am tired of excuses

that this society

can’t handle grief

and loss

I am tired that professionals

can’t deal with ONE person

right in front of them

I lost the sun

but I know it shines

I lost my taste for life

but I know I live

I lost the fear of my

friends’ anger

whose silent appeal,

that I lost my way

my person,

deafens me

I may be mentally out-of-sync

but I have a voice

that needs to be heard

I may have postponed

my ability to quickly

forgive

but I have a message

that is still not known

And if no one else speaks out

I still have a beating heart

willing to volunteer

I have lost fear

of bullying

by a company who prides

itself in smiles and

customer service

on the backs of hardworking

people of integrity

I am not paralyzed anymore

under fear management

I am not intimidated

by powerful people

whose only “courage” it is

to step on those

who are already broken

on the ground

I am tired

but I will never be silent again

nor give up

nor believe the voices of

indifference and complacency

that this is just the norm

This is NOT the norm

this is WRONG!

 

— Late Night Girl

 

In memory of my brother, Thomas whose death I was robbed to grieve in peace and timely manner.

 

Hand Sunflowers pexels-photo-1287103

 

©2018 LateNightGirl.org

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

The Legacy of an Abnormal Load

I have been extremely angry for a long time now since my brother died and the mistreatment at work which added to so much turmoil and pain. I have reacted very badly in so many ways, had no tools to wiggle my way around trauma, the anxiety and subsequent illness I have found myself in.

But I want to be “sweeter” again like I used to write, encouraging people, but this time with a good pinch of salt and where needed some hot chili!

I cannot and don’t want to change other people who think it fit to mistreat vulnerable people. I certainly cannot and don’t want to change a multi-million pound company that is toxic and hurtful towards people who are traumatized. I can only change myself. I know that of course, but anyone who knows about excruciating emotional pain and loss knows that without wholesome navigation it is impossible to get through this emotional mine field alone. To get through this you will bump some fellow travelers on the road.

In my darkest time on my way to work I was sitting in the bus looking aimlessly and on autopilot out the window. I saw one of those cars that have the task to not only navigate oversized Trucks through the streets so they don’t bump into other vehicles and buildings, but to warn the traffic ahead that a “monster” is approaching and that they should steer safely along the way.

Abnormal-Load

I thought figuratively speaking that I needed a car like this to navigate me and warn oncoming traffic that I am carrying a load in me that I cannot safely bring to wherever I was going. I had no vehicle like this. I bumped into others, some so hard their cars totaled, and they either steered away from me in fear or bumped into me in frustration and some frankly being pretty mean!

I found this depiction of how I stumbled through this nightmare:
Sesame Street’s version of my turmoil courtesy of AntiBullyingAtWork on Facebook.

I wrote last night on this blog another angry message regarding Pret. I wrote that if I had to put into one word what Pret is to me, it would be the word: Arrogance. With that I meant a company that feels invincible to treat people so hurtfully and believe they get away with “murder” so-to-speak. I deleted that blog entry again because I never mean to offend or hurt others, no matter how big they are. And yet, my life is so out of sync and even this morning I woke up with an anxiety attack again. But I learned to ride those out as they don’t take long. But it makes me angry what I have become and have let others treat me so poorly.

I remembered a song yesterday that I heard years ago about what legacy we leave behind. My legacy for sure is messed up as this angry, crazy, ill, bonkers… fill-in-the-blanks… person. But one thing I will not be remembered for is that I step on people who suffer in whatever way or form they suffer. I may be remembered for having been insensitive, clumsy, hectic, loud, super angry… but not taking advantage of vulnerable people. And that “legacy” is enough for me.

If I can get back to the person who used to give people the benefit of a doubt and who was fast forgiving and moving on in life, I’d be in good shape. And if I can become like this vehicle here above, to help others who have a monstrous load on them, navigating them safely to their destination, I’d be in really good shape.

A good balance of self-care and care for others without burning out or breaking on the task to love myself as I love others, that’ll be grand! As my favourite poetess put it into better words:

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

— Emily Dickinson

 

“I want to leave a legacy

how will they remember me

did I choose to love…”

— Nichole Nordeman

Legacy

 

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Pret A Manger Staff Complaints (UPDATED Jan. 2019)

 

When customers who are so impressed with Pret because they only see the outside, the facade through the PR[et] machine, they ask Pret about these complaints and then are too easily sweet-talked into believing that this is just an unfortunate exception. But the truth will always come to the surface, no matter how long it takes.

I have chosen to do this public because I suffered so much and almost lost my life. I do this publicly for my own protection.

I wasted close to 10 years of my life in Pret! It is my biggest regret.

 

 

If you want to skip this long intro, scroll down until the red writing, and below it click on any of the many staff complaints I linked from outside Employment Review websites.

 

This is one major reason, but not the only one why there are so many complaints: Bridgepoint Capital. With the new JAB takeover, it will get even worse unless Pret radically changes their approach to the work conditions, and a £1000 fix won’t do it in the long-run, it is just an incentive to lure new workers in and retain current staff.

In the end, when nothing worked to make me resign because my grief was in the way of Pret’s business and my suggestions to improve work conditions was an inconvenience. When nothing worked (bullying, threats, file notes…) Pret used a Development Manager from HQ who also is a Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner, both that can be very dangerous tools in manipulating people, and they used it well. This development manager supposedly lost her brother similarly to how I lost mine and that way they used her to get to me, stepping on her as well as my dignity.

On a side note, she is governed under this therapy body who have a commitment right on their front page that I have not seen on other therapy sites: “Our accredited Register status helps to ensure the safety and protection of the public.” I find this  odd, as if they have therapists who are not working for the safety and protection of the public. This Development Manager who is also a Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner certainly is not adhering to safety and protection.

I became suicidal and ill. I was tricked and trapped again and again by management and HR, and my ill emailing out of trauma, having started to drink, I was fired while my father was in intensive care just out of a coma. I declined 4 settlement offers not signing anything and survived to speak of the ordeal I went through. This is Pret “doing the right thing naturally” as their HR department, and Pret in general claims.

 

Right Thing Naturally

 

I want to “let” others speak as well, complaints from even recently on employment review websites, YouTube, Twitter and other sites in the long list below.

 

Complaints from current and former staff members and managers, you can “blindly” click on ANY link below at RANDOM and it will read the SAME in a nutshell, at different times/years, from different positions: Discrimination, horrible, biased and incapable management, overworked, not paid for overtime, favouritism shown to own country-men etc…. Pret has extremely good PR in place and is sweet-talking their way out of this or post their “good deeds” online to cover up what really goes on behind the scenes, when customers contact Pret regarding these Staff Complaints.

 


 

The first person ever to stand up publicly against Pret’s terrible work-conditions was Andrej Stopa. I am the second, and in time more people will stand up.

 

 

 

In my own way to cope with this be it sarcastically or with humour to get away from the seriousness and pain, I take a complaint from below’s list and put them daily as “Quotes of the Day” on my blog and collect them HERE, to stress the point how toxic Pret’s work environment is, and how it is hurting people hidden behind the shiny PR(et) facade.

NOTE:

Since I compiled all the staff complaints there seem to be quite a lot more “positive” reviews appearing, especially regarding “good” management and work environment. If there are fake news, I am not alleging anything, but there may be fake reviews! And also the Pret website as well as the CEO’s has as the main pinned Tweets the “good” deeds Pret & the CEO are doing, again excellent PR. There are good managers and good shops of course, but the management style in Pret to pressure for more profit, is poisoned throughout the company. And in time the truth will always come out. Knowing how Pret and their corrupt HR dept. manipulate, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is tasked to write these reviews. In my 10 years in Pret I worked with over a dozen managers, and only 2 were decent, fair and caring, not to mention hard working. The majority I worked with are immature, discriminating, bullying, insecure, complacent and oftentimes incapable due to lack of training.

True reviews will always continue be written on the same lines of horrible and bullying management until this changes. Pret does annual staff questionnaires that are at times manipulated by management. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if some are leaving fake reviews.

 

One quote from a former barista in Pret NYC mentions that every shop they have worked in, it is the same story re: bad management, favouritism etc. And it really is, also in London, UK: “I worked in 4 different shops and the song and dance was the same in each one.”

Another review also from NY: “Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company …” And I can verify this even in London, and I have worked with more than a dozen managers! Only 2 of them were exceptional and good, but it is the sad exception even now in 2018 as my experience and the below reviews show.

On the subject of missing pay and overtime not being paid as I have experienced as well in 10 years countless times that I had to chase missing pay from managers. This was draining and a job in itself.

Pret staff in the UK and elsewhere should do the same as Pret staff in the USA have done, go to court to reclaim missing pay: Pret A Manger settles overtime wage claims of 4000 employees!

You can click on ANY of the below reviews and read the same in a nutshell: bullying, discriminating management, over worked, missing pay, discrimination etc.

 


 

I did not correct any mistakes in the below reviews to keep it in their own words.

 


 

Start of the long list of staff complaints / reviews:

 

Get ready to lick so many a***es to advance
Dear Lord, protect me from ever need to work for Pret a Manger ever again. Amen.
For this company you are numbers, robots, machines, you are no humans.

 


 

NEW 01. Nov. 2018 NY “horrible managementmanagement is disrespectful, they fire people when they are having rough times in life even if they talk to a manager about it , i was penalized for calling out for a funeral.

 


 

NEW 30. Oct. 2018 NY “Go back to the UK, PretI have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment. Employees relocating from UK were given preferential treatment, better salaries for equal experience

 


 

“Horrible place they shout at you all the time for any little mistake. … push you to be more and more quickly treat you like a robot not a human being … Dumb and bossy staff members….” Review from 27. June 2018

 


Review on YouTube towards the bottom beginning of July 2018 from RPQ who now changed the name to Branzinotito, quote:
“I used to work for Pret. What a truly brutal nightmare is was. Horrible company.”

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply2

Same comment, new name:

2018-07-24 RPQ now Branzinotito comment on James Hoffmann video

 


 

 

I am an ex GM. I walked out last year as I couldn’t take the way we had to treat TMs to achieve ever increasing demands for profit and efficiencies.” (Full review in the picture below.)

 

The “certain venture capitalist firm” this Ex-GM is talking about is Bridgepoint who set the immense target since the 2008 purchase of increasing shops by 15% per year and were set to make a seven times return on their investment in 2018. It is “deal hungry” JAB’s turn now to take the baton from Bridgepoint and squeeze even further the life out of staff. Good luck Pret employees!

 

2012-07-23 Ex GM

 


 

 

Terrible experience one of the worst jobs I’ve ever had … lots of stress … under payed … long hours/ short brakes … terrible management … really unflexible schedule.”

 


 

 

My initial comments to James Hoffmann’s video and his response, which are still not released but only visible when I am logged in to my YT account. I wrote an Open Letter to James Hoffmann because my comments weren’t visible, otherwise I wouldn’t have written one. He still hasn’t responded and just briefly recognized it via Twitter, as I have a hunch that he might have contacted or has been contacted by Pret who may have sweet-talked their way out of this again, as “PR”et is very efficient for the outside facade:

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply1a

 

 


 

 

Unfairly dismissed Worker was unfairly dismissed, became homeless, lost his relationship, slept in his car for a few weeks. 

 

Unfairly dismissed Flawed HR Hearings and Appeal’s Hearings.

 

Dismissed for starting a Union.

 


 

 

A review regarding Pret’s Head Office from a former IT ANALYST!

Quote: “Manipulative and exploitative approach to employees as owners and senior management concerned about profit margin only. People are taken into account only if it makes good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.”

 

2018-07-06 Head Office PR

 


 

 

A review from a former Purchasing Director in Pret NYC.

One of the oddest work experiences. Worked their during a transition period – so company going in one direction and then the opposite.

2017-02-28 NYC ODD A Manger

 


 

 

Quote Pret #20 Terrible Company

Quote: “Every manager I have worked with – I have worked with 6 – will immediately try to belittle you. Not sure exactly why this is such a common practice among managers but it is an intrinsic behavior within the company…”

This, dear New York Employee, is because like you already mentioned that there is no training in leadership and employee relations. I have had over a dozen managers, and even more managers I’ve worked with when I helped out in other branches for a few days. In my 10 years in Pret there were only 2 of them that had people and leadership skills, one of which is this wonderful person, who’s also proven that a manager can be nice, hard working and still be really successful, as she was often at the top (#1, 2 etc.) out of all the shops.
Also, Pret pays a little more than the competition and gives incentives, more holiday, bits and pieces here and there, because if they won’t give more they would have no one wanting to work in Pret as Pret is just way too stressful and hard work. To me, the hard work was not so much the issue, the issue was the UNNECESSARY bullshit = bullying and discrimination. And for Pret to dare bully me while I was going through extreme trauma with the loss of my brother and all the tricks and traps I could not clearly see until later, you bet I will speak about this openly no matter what they come up with next.

 


 

 

A former Manager’s review:

“I am an ex GM [General Manager] … I walked out last year as I couldn’t take the way we had to treat TMs [Team Members] to achieve ever increasing demands for profit and efficiencies.”

12 Blogger dot comCROP

Source, scrolling down to the comments.

 


 

 

James Ashword video comment by Hailey Hyein Lee

From YouTube ca. February 2018

 


 

 

Perat A Manger London video comment by Budai Andrea

— and —

Perat A Manger London video comment by justineyouloulou

— and —

Perat A Manger London video comment by Logic 2000

From YouTube 2008 this was before Pret became increasingly and intensely bullying But it has always been difficult, but since the 2008 Bridgepoint takeover, it became more systemic bullying as Pret was tasked and pressured to open more and more shops fast on almost every corner in London at least. I won’t point out who, but in the video is one person I later worked with, who became a GM later (I worked with them when they were AM) and is one of the rare people/GMs being good to their TMs.

 


 

 

The idea of proper training is also rediculousMost people are taken in under promises (including being a front of house or kitchen person but then dumped where they are needed and not where they were promised) but find that often by day 2 or 3 are thrown on a bench on their own in the kitchen and nagged at due to not being fast enough and expected to reach TM* productivity levels within the first few weeks with hardly any proper training.”

Throughout all my time in Pret I have mentioned the lack of training again and again and again and did my utmost best to train my teams even though many of my managers tried to stop me because I was investing time in my teams, but managers wanted me and teams to just be busy on the tills and in the kitchen… Training hardly exists in Pret. Development Managers are just doing their 9-5, Mon – Fri job, not being bothered if what they train is even implemented in the shops! There is a huge chasm between HQ and shops, no matter how much “PR”et is trying to convince otherwise!

 


 

 

“I’ve learned a Lot!…” “Cons: In Spite of the wonderful Pros of this company, Your subjected to emotional blackmail and serious labor issues with Most shops being run by Unprofessional and Bias Managerial staff backed by a corrupted HR Dept. Advice to Management: The Core Values you instill in your Employees are Virtuous , And is the the secret to your success!…..On the Contrary, I strongly suggest a Labor Union! so employees that are treated unfair have a platform for their voice to be heard without resentment or the sinuous backlash from your Inadequate Managerial staff & Flout HR Dept.!!!! who support them.”


 

Pret A Manger Logo “If you want to work in a happy enviroment without being bullied then whatever you do DON’T work for Pret”Being made to feel incompetent. Worked into the ground without empathy. Managers treat staff like idiots. The image of the happy enviroment is a joke. It would be good for the BBC or Dispatches to go under cover and work in a shop for a week to show the world what really goes on behind the scenes.” – Welcome to the Club and my website! You are not even safe when you grief the loss of a brother!


 

“fire the HR staff”

and replace them with more educating indiviuals and ones that dont discriminate … Nothing but aggravation and a discriminating HR” <– (This review is as recent as 12. June 2018! I have my own extensive experience with the Pret HR dept. as the Head of HR said that I “Exhausted the HR department”. Sorry about that @ Head of HR, but as a Tribunal Judge already ruled that your hearings are “fundamentally flawed” I can more than verify this after raising grievance after grievance that were NOT conducted fairly and impartially).


 

First review 4 months before this review underneath. 

“Interesting comments. My husband now works for pret and is being treated so badly by his area manager. I am astounded that they can get away with it. It seemed like such a nice place to work but it’s like some kind of sect… ”

My response: they get away with it because it is systemic and they are trained to treat staff like this, for more and more profit.

— 4 months later: —

“Further to my previous comment [scrolling up above this review] about my husband having problems with his area manager. They stitched him up good and proper and fired him…this was done in such a way that they found a couple of things to hang him on which wouldn’t normally result in him being sacked. They clearly did all of this because he was going to put in a grievance against his area manager for bullying (he was talked out of this and thought it had all smoothed over) and then wham! The company disgusts me – how they could treat an employee with a wife and 2 small children like that I don’t know. The management of this company are pure evil.”

 


 

 

Response to above review:

“Regarding the area manager, yeah they just sit on their fat bums all day, and email on their phones or look at stupid graphs. End of the day its about increasing sales, meeting targets and reducing labour. They will always cover there own backs first, to watch there bonuses, and not care about the workers.

Alot of managers i have met, are complete arrogant snobs, that know nothing about even running a store, yet alone trying to explain things to you, they sit on there high throne, and blah blah blah things.”

 

pexels-photo-262218

 

“Please get the bullies out” “Forced to work without pay, … bullying tactics used by Heads, unfair salaries, descrimination …


 

“I want to be as loud as possible here – PRET DOESN’T CARE!” … “I just feel very strongly that the general public view of this company is very far off from the truth, and I believe in using my voice.


 

Pret doesn’t care about workers. The most important is business, profits. That’s why they cut working hours and made you work harder.”

 


 

“Hellhole … you treat people like they’re useless and worthlessget down from that high horse you’re on”

 


 

“Poor … Lack of defined management, finger-pointing, politics and poor organisation.”

Poorly trained management Too much dependency on skillful employees.”

“Squandered opportunities” “Poor management, broken promises, stressful work environment.”

“”rude behaviour at the workplace (kitchen manager shouting at everybody)”

“Pure Misery … kitchen staff is treated like slavesThe upper management is a bunch of heartless

“Overworked and Aweful Managers everyone complains how much they hate this job”

“If you want to follow the company standards, you need to have enough labor. Do not kill your employees.”

“Workers are slave Very bad management. They treat you like a slave. You have zero value for them. They don’t recognize your effort

extremely rude co workers, unprofessional management, not properly trained however expected to know what you’re doing and smile while doing it.

Would not recommend … Managers do not care about they team. Never get 2 days off in a row. Practice favoritism”

“Hell job for minimum salary.”

Bad management who talk to staff rudely, and yet don’t do their jobs properly

“even when you are having a bad day you must smile” Not just on a bad day, even during traumatic bereavement!

do not give power to irresponsible people

“Stressful and dominating … Supervisors/Team Leaders treat you like a slave”

“It’s a trap” “listen to your employees. Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!

“Head Office” “People are taken into account only if it makes a good PR. Genuinely fake and dishonest company.

“Manager- horrible upper management, unrealistic goals, promotions based on politics.”Favoritism with managementNo integrityA lot of show and dance for support center and president/ceo.

“The brainwash is real”The coffee calling system is broken. During busy times it is nearly impossible to keep up with the orders without hating everyone around you. managers/team leaders are not properly trained when it comes to simple communication. Especially towards female staff members. A lot of people cry in the staff room especially in their entry period. Advice to Management: Get some proper training regarding real people skills.” (Absolutely true!)

“Bad jobs for sometimes good people” “Advice to Management: Good luck with Brexit!” … (Well, that’s why this is happening: Pret is giving £1000 to each employee now)

“… Team Leader … Every shop has less people than required as this affects shops profitability” True about the Mystery Shopper! But even if you do well with the Misery Shopper (yes MISERY Shopper!) as I did again and again for years, I never gotten rewarded other than the usual bonus, even during bereavement doing really well, no mention. But the moment a few points are lost, hell breaks loose!

“Managementhas no clue how to manage people

“Very demanding … Nothing you do there is appreciated “… Horrible atmosphere and you feel too much pressure all the time. Advice to Management: Please treat employees as humans not as robots! It seems like you enjoy making people unhappy.

“Not kitchen, food factory” “Not everybody has to be a leader who works long enough for Pret and shouts loud enough. Management should assess the personality, the leadership skills and the interpersonal skills before making someone a leader.” 

“Horrible training, too many lies” “Training sucks, people are treated like crap. Upper management do not care about you, will never recommend this company. Bottom line as a British company they treat employees as machines, they don’t care about how they feel, expect too much for too little. Horrible environment. Advice to Management: Treat people with respect and appreciate their hard work. Stop using your British mentality when it comes to deal with people. You’re people are horrible at this.

 

Robot sad crop

 

“Toxic, low class, unprofessional culture … upper management and hr are fully aware of but ignore. … Terrible management training program” really unprofessional and have very low management skills.

“Advice to Management: Treat people like human beings“”

“Worst place..” “Advice to Management: Absolutely less stress and please cut the roles because looks to work like slaves. Terrible experience.”

“Worst first day experience” “Pros: Nothing at all….. Not even a 0.0005 star. …Lies about family team vibes… They don’t recruit you for your work ethic…”

“Slavery hasn’t been abolished!”

“Most of the managers are really difficult, they forgot where they come from”, please treat the people as human beings, We know the profit and your career are important but you don’t have to be rude.”

“Worst company to work for”managers are always working with fear … Advice to Management: Get back to basic, care about the team and always listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt.” (And I thought I was tough with my critique!)

Very hard work … No support and respect from Manager

“The worst job I’ve had in London” “the good payment is not enough for getting worse my health (my back and my heart). l am with anxiety all the time, working in a tiny kitchen in a HORRIBLE atmosphere!!” (Yes, I was bullied during bereavement and tricked and trapped via HR, high five!)

I have asked for several transfers to other shops due to management. Either a manager was extremely “lazy”, un-supportive, but gave the team a hard time when things didn’t go well, or another manager was like a tyrant, constantly threatening the team & individuals with & giving file notes for the smallest things. Ops Managers either aren’t aware of it, mostly being concerned with mystery shopper results for their own bonuses or not bothering about how the team is “motivated”.”

 

“You are of course right, hiring happy people is only a part of the solution. If an employee is unhappy, and its affecting their work, ask them what’s up (gently).”

My response: I lost my brother and in my bereavement was NOT asked “gently” what’s up, I was bullied, targeted, tricked and trapped by Pret’s HR dept. to get me out and ultimately fired while my father was in intensive care, just out of a coma. So, here I am again having survived to tell my story as “gently” as possible collecting all these reviews from other sites.

 

pexels-photo-278303

 

Pret A M*ffin “…team member are over worked and managers are always working with fear … listen to the little people, also be open and get rid of some top management who are so corrupt

Pret A Robot “People are treated inhuman way in terms of sickness and work load. Employees are being treated more like robots than human beings

Pret A JokeYou have a limited time to do your job everyday but this time limit is a joke. they give me the next rota just the day before the week starts.

Pret A Nothingdidn’t learn nothing as i have things to give to that shop as i came with lots of experience and skills.

Red A Manager “their [managers] personality only is good for business, but not for the people that work under.”

Pret A Unhappy If an employee is unhappy, and its affecting their work, ask them what’s up (gently)”

Trap A Manger “It’s a trap! … Huge stress. Never stops.Shouting all around. … Say something nice from time to time. Don’t insult them!

Pret A Unpaid “Very unfair company”

Pret A ScreamOne of the things that I absolutely hated about working at pret, was the fact that management wanted you to act like you were having fun and smile at all times.

Pret A Managerthe staff are great the guys who do the real work. The management suck

Pret A No RespetarLos managers son penosos“, “un horror!!” “desastrosa” and “todo… no tiempo libre, no respeto..”

“When the job takes over your life”

“Too much pressure and managers with poor interpersonal skills. … Advise to Management: Respect your team…”

“Brainwashed sandwich making”

“Fun but stressful, not worht it”

“Busy job”

“pret a manger”

“… hot chef…” (Hot Chef in Pret shops is the hardest job!)

“barista”

“Too Much Pressure”

“Really working at Pret” (“Advice to Management: quit”)

“Team Leader”

“Sometimes long shifts due to lack of people. Advise to management: take care of workers.”

“too much work. Poor leadership

“Minimum Salary for everyday smiling”

My response: Yes, even smiling while going through trauma, dare you not smile when you just lost a loved one!

 

emoji-happy-thumbs-upSIDE Down

 

“Good but not perfect”management should do their jobs

“Never ever!” I hate all manager…”

NOTE: I don’t agree with the racism here! But the trend of complaints about management and leadership should be clear.

“Hot Chef Advice to Management: Be human. It’s not your own business.”

My response: That’s what I said once to a line manager who told us leaders that if we don’t like it in “his” shop to f*** off, I replied that he is also only employed by Pret, he does not own “his” shop!

“Brain wash, Control, Never stop…” “Cons: Aggressive and mortify management, brainwashing, mobbing, after working hours NON PAID, if you don’t finish YOUR DUTIES you stay after the working hours non paid… Advice to Management: Respect people that work hard! Don’t exploit them!”

“Assistant Manager Respect yourself don’t let managers to overload you.”

My response: easily said when they immediately threaten with Note of Concerns, disciplinary and job security!

“…also has a motto: FIFO or Fit In or Fu*k Off. I always got the impression that Pret was actually a free-thinking company…but perhaps they are becoming too large too and need to do the conforming thing.

 

silhouette-2480321__340

 

“high rated company”

“Pret A Manger Reality”

“Ok job…” (“Atmosphere was horrible at times. … Don’t overload your staff.”)

“Good jobs for good people” (“Look after your people and figures will look after themselves.”) Amen!!

“Will be leaving soon”

“Overworked environment”

“Not much training” True! I had to train myself most of the time.

“It was fine” “… lots of micromanaging”

“Favouratism”

“Barista” another

“Team Member”

“Cliquey environment…”

“Good jobs for idiots”

“Bad experience” “Treat your employees with respect. Be polite .”

“Team Leader” another TL

“TMT”

“Not for British”

“Barista” again “Advise to Management: Train your internal managers better”

“Cool”

“Not for me” “Advise to Management: Don’t be so brainwashed and scared.”

“Not the best place to work”

“Good jobs for part time” “lazy managers high demanding ops”

“Overworked, High expectations, No recognition” “Manager at my shop treated everyone really poorly. Expect you to stay longer to complete your job for free when not enough time is given. Constantly missing hours from extra shifts taken. Have to ask every week to see if they have repaid those hours and in some cases takes months to chase back.”

“I regret working there (don’t go)” “Team Leader who was working with me during the weekends (I was a part timer) was very rude to me , calling me stupid etc. … And I also ”love” how the company itself tries so hard to create this friendly enviroment for the employers by putting these sweet posters around etc. etc. when in reality it is very miserable and stressfull place to work for ! … People working in your company are not robots with smiles on their faces 24/7 !!!”

“Well, unfortunately my post about the harsh treatment at Pret has been removed minutes after appearing here. Censorship. Will find another way to post on the web.”

“yay oy”

“Diverse place”

“place for foreigners young people”

“Good progression tree…” “Management bonuses are profit driven so hours are cut often… I would recommend joining a union”

“Team Leader” “Listen to your team” Absolutely!

Pret a Manger “leader use to shout people.”

“Very average”

“Barista-role part time … There are no appointed qualified trainers there like you promise beforehand, why say it then?”

“Horrible Experience”

“Some of the management are rude or never show up … They always make mistakes like ‘adjust the rota’ resulting in me not being able to work …”

“Disappointing”

“Barista” another one

“My Experience” “Put same manager know how to organize the team and what you have to do”

“Team Member” “Managers are pain”

“very bad team” “manager was very bad he was all day on face book in his office”

“Less than 1 year…”

“No sick pay…”

“Disappointed” another

“Not a good company to work for…”

“Good first job … as foreigner” “Often happen to work “unpaid” overtime to finish daily duties … Limited progression career if you’re not in the state of grace of the Head of your working Area … In many cases I’ve weighed up a big incompetence and lack of skills between Team Leader and Assistant Manager’s position.”

“too much expectations” “management is a joke. numbers are more important than people”

“Eh” “The management is terrible.”

“Demanding. Can be fun” “High demands not in line with pay, lack of support, inconsistent training, stressful/poor work life balance”

“horrible management, super biased” “super biased managers most of the girls in my store are from the same place even the assistant manager and FOH so they tend to group together against people they don’t like even if they don’t know them. … make sure the store isn’t just a bunch of biased friends that if you aren’t part of their group they’ll make your life hell”

“Horrible experience” “Lack of communication b/t managers and staff. – Immature workers – Slave-like environment – Biased behavior – Too strict on simple task. Advice to Management: Work on communication and stop treating co-workers like robots.”

“Team Member” “my location had a rude manager who cleaned up her act after I tried relocating. There is no HR, just a recruitment team who will give you phone numbers to where you wanna go. Overworked for sure; management expects perfection for their weekly shopper. You’ll be running from the basement to the first floor, between tons of customers, and up to the second … ”

 

————————————————————————————————-

 

The one thing that did frustrate me and ultimately caused me to leave was the way it dealt with the enthusiasm troughs. In fairness to Pret, I left 8 years ago; so this may have improved since but in my experience the company was not good at dealing with people’s frustrations. There was a strong message for people who were frustrated with something and couldn’t get it resolved – leave! I saw a number of people become shunned and passed over if they had feedback which wasn’t entirely positive. Often people left disgruntled having started out as the desirable happy employees. I suppose in someways it was a useful self selection process – when I became frustrated with a few things and felt threatened that my feedback would fall on highly judgemental ears I knew it was time to leave – leaving the happy people behind me. ”

My response to this review: This person left in 2008 out of frustration, I started in Pret in 2008 and can only say in all fairness to Pret, that it gotten worse.

 

————————————————————————————————-

 

unskilled managers, racism, bad pay, they take advantage of staff”

“Great company, but will take advantage” “Rude young team members and too many managers in 1 store. Advice to Management: Cut back on all the chiefs we need more indians” – My speech for 10 years!

“Come to your shop at weekends from time to time to see how it’s look like when it’s understaffed”

“Team Member” “Multiple Supervisor – Confusing Leadership … Lack of leadership … Add some structure & look for ways to encourage workers to work hard and have fun without risking their jobs”

“General Manager” “Very racist upper management. They make you work 60 hours per week and they don’t pay you for it (just basic salary). They don’t appreciate your work no matter how good you are. Tendency to promote british managers than american ones. Advice to Management: Open your mind towards american managers. stop racism that is happening to workers. Get involved with the employees and don’t let the operational managers act as they own the people.”

“Takes advantage of your kindness”

“cashier / hot chef” “Some managers are very anal! The customer is more important then workers. Advice to Management: Listen to your employers suggestions!!” – (I think they meant “employees”)

“Advice to Management: Be kinder to your employees they are not slaves.”

“The management plays favorites more often than not”

“Great things preacherd, not always practiced” ” If you are a Pret Person, quirky, and in with the right crowd, you’re golden. If not….good luck. Pompous and thinks too highly of itself.”

“Pret Graveyard shift” “Terrible hours and poor management and training some people…”

“over worked” “hours are constantly changing … team members are constantly training themselfs”

“management talks to you with little respect.”

“Pressure is crazy especially if you work in the kitchen. … Paperwork is excessive at times. Advice to Management: Reward those who work hard for you and give them a raise. Catch them doing the right thing and praise, and dont just discipline the bad”

“team member” “stressful environment, too many people trying to overpower others. Advice to Management: think like a team member and your key roles to understand success of the team”

“just terrible”Discriminatory management. Unprofessional atmosphere … Abusive staff. Don’t just promote the people that you like, promote the people that are the most qualified.”

“working at pret”Lack of accountability … poor management.” (Absolutely!!!)

“Long hours, unrealistic expectations…”Unrealistic targets, little support, long hours. Advice to Management: Stop changing everything all the time with poor execution

“Terrible experience…” “Cons: Pretty much everything is a con: -lots of stress -under payed -long hours/ short brakes -terrible management -really unflexible schedule.”

“Spoiled, selfish upper management…” “upper management thinks they are better than everyone else. They spend (waste) lots of money on dinners for themselves and “leadership conferences” that are really just excuses to party in Orlando or Vegas. “Business” trips to Boston and Chicago are really expensed vacations for their families. The Brits have taken over NYC. Pret has brought over many managers and leaders form the UK and ‘beheaded’ many of the US employees who built the brand to make room for them. Advice to Management:get over yourselves.”

I will shorten the comments now as this is never ending… Links can just be clicked and read….

Horrible,OverWorked For The Pay,Bad Management And Bad Treatment Felt Like A Slave. Fix Your Attitude care about your employees dont over do the staff be reasonable be fair try everybody equally and so on such a bad experience.”

DISCRIMINATION of [in] PRET A MANGER!!!!!!!!!!?”

Retrain management

Horible management

They expect perfection

Politics

They hire if you don’t know the language
(That’s true, because that way you won’ t be able to complain or know your rights).

Horrible management … expecting perfection

Biased management

Listen to your employees, some have great potential that needs to be channeled not blocked

Heavy workload, borderline demeaning, discrimination.

Hard hard working culture, to much pressure to be working 100% every sec.

Careless

most of your employees don’t look forward to working there because you are staring them down every second

Poor senior leadership due to lack of experience and diversity. Promotion and staff recognition based on personal favourites

Management is very incompetent. It is clear they have little to know training and have absolutely no training or experience in employee relations

Interior is very clumsy, depressing sometime.

 

Other review site “Indeed”

Avoid working there

Terrible

Unorganized management

Good benefits, poor management

You will lose everything that makes you human

Very little positive feedback

Rude lower management

Could be more human

Kitchen managers tend to pressure employees excessively

You get to know many different people but nobody really stands for the job.

Very stressful

Everything revolves around achieving the weekly bonus

Poor and terribel mangement

to meet MS standards you have to cheat, ops manager should spend some time with team members (No, they are too busy sitting in the pub during lunch time rush and flying to Dubai to party “their” hard work)

Forced happiness (even during traumatic bereavement!)

When they don’t need you, they make so many displinary needed for you left the job.

Bad Management

I assume this is a complaint with the 1 star 😉

Very disappointed … they never praised me

What the head office ask to us is more than 100% perfomance.

The culture overall was a very rude tone

unfortunate tradition on keeping a dynasty of friends in power while others that don’t make it into the friendly circle will perish.

manager was very rude to another member of staff in front of the rest of us which was very unprofessional

The management of the company seems to have no principle based.

Pret is now too productive and cost minimising company. Labour cost is the key, then customer satisfaction.

many Shop Manager they were very rude and unprofessional

Good company but bad management … You have thousand of standards to respect, but it’s impossible to finish on time NO, when the majority of managers are bad management, then it is a bad company! “The fish stinks from its head” as the saying goes.

Apply there, work for few months and run away a soon as you can.Managment and somemembers of staff were extremely rude and patronising, was often a lot of eye rolling and sighs (Bullying environment)

Crazy management , promoting people from their homeland only . overworking staffs

Harsh Environment. HR problems, employee is treated really badly

I felt like I was being patronised the entire time I was there.

Excessive control. Stress.

Little training was just pushed at the deep end as soon as I started the job

Micromanagement, too many rules

Not fun at all due to management approach

Robots

Fake people, cheat

for every shop the job was done by, let say 20 people. now it is done by 10

Managers treats you like poorly. they are racist and discriminating. if you want to get promotion you have to sleep with someone and kiss manager bum.

Management is trying to squeeze you like a lemon, there is no time to catch a breath, no weekends off, not even 2 days off together.

 

———————————————————————–

 

My own review with a former Senior Manager’s response to my review.

 

———————————————————————–

 

….. and so on.

 

———————————————————————–

In an Imaginary but Honest Interview with Pret I made up the acronym of what Pret stands for: PRET is a four letter F-Word spelled F E A R which stands for: Fire Early At Request. Or one can say Fret.

@Pret, at any company, please treat your people right, as a team leader I have shown you that when you treat your team right, you will still be successful and the money comes in and the team feels truly respected. You don’t want people like me who raise the standard while still treating the team good. I was too loud for you, and yet, if you would have protected me in the darkest time instead of continuing to put me under suppressive management, I would be writing a completely different blog now.

Thank you for reading.

Kind regards,

 

I take back what I wrote at the end of this “video” that Pret has a “good” heart after what I’ve been through and the customers’ deaths, but I leave the “video” as a reminder of Pret’s “legacy” with what I went through and the above list of staff complaints.

 

 

 

 

 

Late Night Girl2

 

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On the 10th Nov. 2017

 

I received a Whatsapp from my aunt informing me that my dad was admitted into hospital. She said that he is conscious and in stable condition, but no other info.

I answered and the first thing I told her was to not give me any bad news, especially a death message via text. Please.

Call me.

She and her husband found my dad in his flat on the floor. He was conscious, but struggling to breathe and not able to respond or talk. He was lying on his stomach which saved him from suffocating, because he had vomited.

On the 11th of November I flew over. When I arrived in hospital, he was already in a coma.

The doctors only knew at this point that his sugar levels were too high. Nothing else.

For three weeks I stood by his side, extended my holiday, while they tried to get him out of the coma again. After three weeks he finally woke up. I was there when he woke up. I was there when he spoke again. I was there when they put him in a chair.

Only when he was awake again was it possible for the computer scan to properly read the brain cells, as the scan cannot read well when the brain is “shut down” sleeping. Only while awake could it be seen that he had a stroke. He survived for approx. 1 to 2 days in his flat. We only estimated from the time a neighbour saw him last on a Wednesday afternoon and to the time he was found on late Friday morning. He was only found because he didn’t turn up to the weekly lunch with my aunt on Thursdays 1pm. He didn’t pick up his phone when they called and just thought he forgot and is out and about as he was really active, visiting people and places with the train. He must have at least laid on his floor 21-24 hours minimum.

It was devastating to see his corrosive wounds in hospital, where parts on his body, the skin was black from the acid body fluids. His ring and small finger on his right hand was almost completely black like a coal in a fire, as his stomach was laying on his right hand when he landed on the floor, stopping oxygen to get through to his arm and hand. I worried if it would need to be amputated and was about to beg the doctors to please not haste with any decision. But the doctors calmed my hysteria and said, “Let’s see first how it heals”. I always thought that doctors are quick to cut and snip snap chop away anything that seems to be irreversibly “kaputt”. And indeed, fortunately after a few months it mostly healed and only fainted shades on the skin were visible. His small finger was the last visible wound in the end that only needed a tiny plaster on the fingertip. It is amazing how the human body is capable to heal with time.

But It was the first time ever that my father was in hospital. He never had to be operated on or needed to be in hospital. Just the usual GP visits. A very strong person. I expected him to throw fits, as he was so independent all of his life and had a very strong will and opinions. But to my surprise I saw a side of him I never knew existed. He cooperated in everything so unbelievably well unlike my mum, who was in hospital just 3 months before, having had a scary operation on the spine. I was already on a roll of flying back and forth between London and German hospitals and rehabs. My dad of course was complaining at times, but he also was joking around with the nurses and doctors. He surprised me. But it made the whole ordeal more bearable and I regained strength during really dark periods of downward fear and renewed anger, as I was in the process of losing my job in the midst of this nightmare.

I flew back and forth to work and in-between I lost my job as I got fired because of my mentally ill emailing. I was already informed while I was at my father’s bedside, that there is an ongoing investigation because my emailing increased, which I explain in another post why it increased. I received a disciplinary from a develop manager who supposedly lost her brother similarly to mine. She then entered into secret, solely electronic communication for which she disciplined me in the first place, making the disciplinary not valid. Pret tricked me again with this. But this crossed a line that lead me to speak openly now.

The HR department got me fired three days after Christmas and shortly after my father woke up from the coma. I used all the money they paid me out, to fly back and forth to look after my dad and his affairs as well as for a job back in London. It was like a repeat with my brother, but this time I had the chance to see my father alive. It was also a repeat from months before when my mum was in hospital. She had an OP in September a day after her birthday. I saw my dad only once then for lunch at my aunt’s house, because I spent every day in hospital and in rehab with my mum, and running errands for her. So, I was on a roll and here again I flew back and forth to be with him and run errands for him and also take care of some things for my mother. It was hard on her seeing me like this, and she didn’t know what to do. She was hard with me after her OP in September, she was so tough that I wanted to withdraw from her. I learned later that some people, especially when they are older, become rude and angry after a major operation.

My mother who is usually meek and helpful in her own way became angry, while my father who is usually strong willed and angry became softer after his stroke and coma. You just never know how people react after a major event in their lives with all the trauma and also the chemicals in the brain affecting their conduct. Makes me feel sorry for all the folk who had to deal with my trauma after my brother died and the bullying at work on top of it. It also makes me worry for any persons when I am of age in hospital or a care home. I’m trying to plan ahead to not give people a hard time. But this unfortunately cannot be predicted.

 

My father has died now, five days after I visited him last and four days after I last spoke with him on the phone from London. When I was back home I’d call him every day, at times he was in therapy, and other times I was able to speak with him and hear about his progress. I saw his progress, but it was a constant up and down. After rehab he was taken to a dementia ward closer to the town where he lived, so that relatives would be able to be with him more often. But 2 days after I left him to fly back to London for my job-search even though I felt incapable to work, they admitted him back into hospital as his health suddenly took a nose dive. Confused about this, because he seemed to make progress again, I immediately booked a flight after just having arrived home 2 days before. But I sensed it was important to be with him for at least one week.

I had everything booked, flights, a hotel room that was really cheap on the hospital grounds they have for family members who live far away. I managed to get a whole week after first being told that everything is booked out. But I persisted and contacted other administrators and any number I could find on their website in connection with booking a room. And suddenly I got a room for the whole week. I planned to be with him, but this time without driving back and forth between hospital and his flat to organize and bring him things. I also planned to not see my mum, as I wanted to be with my father 24/7 so-to-speak. But it was not meant to be. He decided almost 2 days before I’d arrive to call it a day. He knew when I was coming if he hasn’t forgotten it, because I asked the nurse to always greet him, letting him know that I called and have an eye on him. And this time I asked to please tell him that I will be there on Wednesday. But from Sunday to Monday night he might have thought that it wasn’t a good idea for me to see him like this any longer.

I never ever let my dad know that I was fired while he was in intensive care, and that I was bullied during grief after my brother died. I cheered him up. We laughed at times and he told me a lot about his life and his dad, his train collection and his work as a student. He could not tell me anything regarding recent years, but he remembered things from decades ago. And he remembered correctly, because I knew these stories from childhood on. But recent events were hard to recollect for him. A typical thing with dementia. He kept telling me about his VW Beagle “downstairs”. I never knew he had a Beagle, must have been from his student days. I asked him surprised, “You had a Beagle?” as I love Beagles and drove one from a friend when I lived in the U.S. for a while. He insisted that he needs to get the keys for his Beagle downstairs. I stopped correcting him and just entered into his world and said, that we first need to make sure that he gets back up on his feet, and then we’ll go and travel. He loved to travel by train. He nodded and agreed. And then the Beagle story was done for a while until next time when he talked about his Beagle again.

1953-03 Oldtimer

After he died and I had to clear out his flat and took with me the most precious items like papers, photos etc. I found one picture which must have been the car from his father, my grandfather. I was never able to find out whose Beagle this was. And I wish this photo could be turned into its original colour as my father spoke about his “green” Beagle. Unless he mixed it up with the later cars we had in our family, they were always from Opel, or as it is known in the UK as Vauxhall. I grew up with only 3 cars we had, always from Opel. The last two cars were both green.

1972-06-03 WAT Opel

 

1979 Ravensburg

 

1983 Opel Daubr

After a minor accident to the right rear side, the repaired door still needed to be painted green.

As green happens to be my favourite colour, my father either just imagined his or his dad’s VW Beagle to have been green, or this choice of colour for a car really ran in the family with family cars all having been green. In hindsight, I never knew what my dad’s favourite colour was. I’ll make it a “mission” to ask my mum, and also what her favourite colour is and any little detail like that…

 

A week before he died he tried to walk again. He was at times so strangely lively, while at other times just nodding off all day. But physio therapy is hard work. I just entered into his world and adjusted to his version of happenings and agreed that I’ll keep an eye on his VW Beagle downstairs.

But his last week I was able to hold him up while he walked a few steps. He just suddenly had this urge to walk. He got up from his wheelchair in which he would drive himself around the ward. He would do something with his hands like he was holding something, but he could never explain what he was doing when I asked him what he is holding in his hands. One time when I asked him if he was holding a thread or cord, as it looked like he was organizing some shoe laces or a thread that gotten tangled up in knots. One time he answered that he was doing “Kleinkram” meaning “small stuff” or bits and pieces. Painfully perplexed at his delusional hand gestures, I noticed very quickly with the other dementia patients, that this seems a common thing that a person with dementia does. While my dad was still in rehab and I’d see him do this for the first time and I pointed it out to a nurse, who was equally perplexed, I got scared. But seeing this later with some of the other people with dementia, I quickly relaxed and just went along with it.

He just got up from his wheelchair holding himself up by the railing, with me supporting him to not fall over. He then gave me something, whatever imaginary item he was holding, he handed it to me to hold it for him as he tried to hold on with both hands to the railing. I just took this “thing” and said to him “Dad, I’m just gonna put this down on this chair here, so my hands are free to hold you up, so we can walk a little bit.” He said, “Ok”, and then we walked a few steps before he sat back into his wheelchair exhausted.

This time was the most traumatic and also most important time to be with him. To see him so weak and broken, and to speak with him, even though his dementia made it painful as well as funny sometimes, in-between the clear sentences. He had to laugh about his own words sometimes when he had clear moments and looked confused why he said something weird. But I was able to make my peace for difficult times when I grew up. I was able to say my silent goodbyes, while giving him whatever family he had left by his side. It was important. I was never able to say goodbye to my brother as the police just cremated him without finding us first. German efficiency, hey!

Some of the things my father would say, it was clear he felt he was near the end of his life, so I just spent a lot of time just letting him speak about the past as he couldn’t remember yesterday, but he remembered 50 years ago. At times he would gesture with his hand in front of his face, moving to the left and right and say, “I’ve become nuts.” And I’d say, “No dad, you had a stroke, you were in a coma and are receiving lots of medication. It is normal to be mixed up and forget things and in your age it is normal to be somewhat forgetful.” He seemed to relax and continued to talk about his youth. He had some dementia already before the stroke, but it really became worse after it.

So I wanting to spend more time with him when I booked everything after he was admitted again into hospital. I wanted to be there again, without leaving his side to run errands or visit my mum in another town. Maybe I sensed this would be my final visit.

I buried him close to my brother.

I still cannot work or function well after these three years.

I can only say that Pret A Manger is not a place to work for, I wasted 10 years of hard work and loyalty. They’ve hurt me. Pret is not concerned for their workforce. They are just interested in the money coming in, no matter about the cost in the health of their workforce. They don’t care if people are bereaved, ill or their family is in hospital. If they can get rid of any “inconvenient” employee, they will find a way.

The care that is in place is just to cover themselves. I was too loud, tried too hard and made too many mistakes. But I survived and aim to live to keep telling my story.

In memory of my father.

1957 WK 18 Jahre Alt

 

1971-07-14 WK PK2 crop

 

 

 

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved.

 

“This is my Letter to the World,

That never wrote to me,–
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.
Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me”

— Emily Dickinson

 

Dear World,

if you read through this weird and crazy blog and website, I am still in the period of “peace before the storm”, as a powerful company will try one last time to crush me.

I wish I could say that I am healed and moved on, and my blog here isn’t as much with “tender majesty” as I would have hoped to write. But the pain and trauma I still go through seems too grave to recover from. I had often had two choices for my life, I either end my life or openly write down my story, or both.

But I have abandoned the thought of suicide, as this would not help anyone. Half my family is gone, I don’t need to put more grief on whoever is left. And my friends who helped and supported me as best as they could, I couldn’t do that to them. That wouldn’t be fair on them. And I decided no matter what they do to me, no matter how huge the pain and panic attacks and hopelessness, my life is in God’s hands and I want to learn to let him judge and have the final word. I’m not there yet, but my suicidal days are over.

And anyone who struggles or knows someone who struggles with suicidal thoughts and lives in or around London, check out this amazing charity that was started by 2 Samaritans: The Listening Place, their non-judgemental and patient approach takes the sting out of this taboo subject. And also Maytree. Add your own from your own city and don’t struggle or let others struggle alone.

Thank you for reading.

Kind regards,

Logo Late Night Girl NO grief

 

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved.

 

 

How To Exhaust The HR Department

And How To Do Impartial Grievance Hearings:

 

Grievance Hearing 1.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager hold the grievance hearing raised against a colleague from his immediate neighbouring area, as this will compromise a truly impartial investigation and decision.
  • Don’t have the hearing manager patronize and hold the person raising the grievance for an idiot, by asking if 40 or 50 out-of-date items were left by an MOD over night, while the grievance raiser left only 1 item out and was about to get penalized for it by the manager who targeted her. You may look more absurd in the long run for a poor try like this.
  • Don’t remove the HR advisor from the hearing process, who raised the grievance in the first place on behalf of the bereaved and bullied employee, giving hope to that traumatized staff member. Doing so would cause the crushing of hope again, starting a series of events that could have been avoided early on if everything was conducted fairly, impartially and respectfully.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

Appeal’s Hearing 1.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager hold the appeal’s hearing who is not only a known colleague, but a close friend of the first grievance hearing manager. As it would be difficult going against the decision of a friend, this will compromise a truly impartial investigation and decision.
  • Don’t speak to the colleague the grievance is raised against before you hear all the allegations raised first, as you won’t be impartial and would have already pre-judged the case more or less.
  • Don’t instruct the person who raised the grievance to go to the person the grievance is against, to inform them what was spoken about in the appeal’s hearing to prepare the one who grieved the employee that the grievance is about to be partially substantiated against them. Be a manager of integrity and courage, and do that job yourself, not sending the grievance raiser like a sheep to the wolf, if you don’t have the stamina to do that yourself!

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

————————————————————————————

 

Grievance Hearing 2.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager doing the hearing who was already involved in the case by having been copied in on emails sent to managers and HR previously.
  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing, who has no problem whatsoever that a bereaved and traumatized team leader is repeatedly rebuked by her line manager in front of the team, the team leader then having a nervous breakdown two days before the first anniversary of the death of her brother, and being further bullied by having to do customer service while in the middle of that breakdown in tears. If you as the hearing manager have no problems with this, you should not only not be the hearing manager, you should resign and rethink your ethical values and emotional intelligence.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

Appeal’s Hearing 2.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager doing the hearing who has also already been informed prior to the hearing of being asked to sit down informally to calm down the bereaved and traumatized employee who kept losing her mind. Even if you are one of the more empathetic hearing managers compared to the others, you would still not be impartial.
  • Don’t be double-faced by saying that it is okay to email but then behind the scenes sending on the emails to HR who later penalized the person for having sent the emails.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

————————————————————————————

 

Grievance Hearing 3.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager doing the hearing who already finds answers and reasons of misbehaviour before having fully heard and investigated the case.
  • Don’t let the hearing manager just substantiate bits and pieces to silence the grievance raiser, while the people business partner the grievance is against, is waiting outside in plain view pretending to be on the phone, winking at the HR advisor accompanying the grievance raiser out of the hearing.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

Grievance Appeal 3.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing who is brand new to the company having to prove herself in her trial period, after another hearing manager who was indeed not impartial as having been informed throughout, was removed from the process upon request by the grievance raiser.
  • Don’t have that hearing manager who is a head of a department have a laugh during a very serious hearing process.
  • Don’t have a note taker who compares the traumatized bereaved with another traumatized bereaved employee, judging both as being “bitter” because they keep raising grievances due to mistreatment during bereavement. Not taking their issues serious may hurt their lives irrevocably.
  • Don’t have that note taker say, that in hindsight he made a mistake by agreeing that the company can indeed improve on the supporting of the bereaved employee.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

————————————————————————————

 

Disciplinary Hearing 1.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing who has personal conflict due to very similar bereavement.
  • Don’t have that hearing manager enter into secret and solely electronic communication after giving a disciplinary for electronic communication.
  • Don’t have that hearing manager take personal advantage of the vulnerable and traumatised grievance raiser, by abusing their position in using tools of Hypnotherapy and NLP for their own studies, and personal as well as occupational advantages.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

Appeal’s Hearing 0.0

No Appeal raised due to naivety and plain stupidity of having believed to be truly supported by the company now.

Dont’s:

  • Traumatized Bereaved Grievance Raiser, don’t trust an HR department and company who repeatedly hold flawed hearings.

Do’s:

  • Do regret not having raised an appeal and gone to court early on due to repeated lack of impartiality and “fundamentally flawed” hearings.
  • Do learn from this that if this happens again to raise a grievance against the hearing manager abusing their position for personal gain.

————————————————————————————

 

Grievance Hearing 5.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager and HR advisor hold the hearing where you have to start the formal procedure as they kept starring at you, not knowing how to start.
  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing who is at first empathetic, even sharing personal information in an informal moment, confirming that the grievance raiser has “been wronged” and then later be completely the opposite, as HR is really behind the decisions.
  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing who does not investigate and interviews witnesses named.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

No Appeal raised as it was useless and ridiculous to keep going on in this flawed system. But one gets the point!

————————————————————————————

 

Dismissal Hearing 1.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing to patronize the grievance raiser by being the OPs manager of the manager the grievance raiser loved to work with. Another clever “retaliation” by HR choosing “impartial” hearing managers.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

Dismissal Appeal 1.0

Dont’s:

  • Don’t have a manager hold the hearing who just sits there purposefully not saying anything to avoid to truly investigate impartially by asking questions.
  • Don’t have a note taker who is so slow in taking notes, not attentive enough to follow what is being said, unless there is no other note taker anymore, due to the grievance raiser having exhausted the largest department of the company.

Do’s:

  • Do have a truly impartial Manager and HR Note Taker to do the hearing.
  • Do indeed hold a truly impartial grievance hearing.

———————————————————————————— .

 

How To’s and Tips for a Formal Hearing:

Dont’s:

  • Don’t discriminate by just using mainly women to hold the hearings (17 women/3 men).

Do’s

  • Be truly equal opportunity by giving male managers a chance to hold a hearing for / against a female employee. Unless, of course, the challenge is too grave for them.
  • Do rethink your HR department and if the methods of hearings are so steeped in dishonesty and trickery, that it is hard to break that habit and open new windows to bring in fresh air and clean a toxic environment.
  • Do remember that you are dealing with people, with human beings who go through personal and professional issues that can make them ill and even take their lives. Do remember the name and mission of your department: Human Resources.

Sincerely,

Your HR Department Exhaust-er

 

File2016

The “Ex-Files”!

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – Present poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved.

 

An IMAGINARY but honest Interview with Pret A Manger

 

Pixabay_interview-2071228__340

 

LNG: Thank you for your time and agreeing to do an imaginary but honest and transparent interview, this has been a long time in the making and I am grateful you finally agree to give us an unprecedented look into your business, especially staff treatment, and what makes you stand out on the high street.

PAM: Oh, no problem at all. Sorry it took so long to agree to an imaginary yet open and honest interview, but we’ve been really busy with our success as you know.

LNG: Yes, well done! May I call you Pret?

PAM: Sure, we love to be on first name basis here. We are family.

LNG: Thank you, you can call me what your CEO calls me.

PAM: Great! Okay Late Night Girl, what do you want to know about our company?

LNG: My first question….

PAM: (interrupts) Oh, would you like a coffee? On the house? The first hit is always free! 😉

LNG: No, thank you, I brew my own! 🙂

 

Coffee paper cups

 

 

LNG: So, my first question is, what is the secret ingredient to your success?

PAM: Well, if we stay on the first name we have a secret spelling system here, we love to work with acronyms to really emphasize that we mean business when it comes to motivating our staff. Pret is French for “ready”, so, Pret A Manger means “ready to eat”. Fast food, but made in the kitchens on the premises. But it is not just food ready to eat, we want our staff to always be “ready to work” come rain come shine, in good days and in bad days, till FS do us part.

L: What’s FS?

P: That’s another meaning, “FS” is the Firing Squad, but officially they are called “HR”, meaning Human Resources, of course. Our HR department have a really great slogan to sell their mission as, “Doing the right thing naturally”, and people buy into this slogan without questioning it, as PC is too common. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? HR don’t do the dismissing themselves, no, they like others to execute this nitty-gritty muddy business. They…

L: (interrupts) What’s PC now?

P: Oh, common’?!

L: Ah, yeah, right. Sorry.

P: Tztz, you didn’t do your homework when preparing for this interview?! You don’t know our 6 P’s?!

L: No, no, yes, uhm, I know them all! (nods) It’s just a lot to remember what you give your staff to memorize.

P: Yes, that is how brainwashing works, repeated bombardment of silly word games.

L: Sure.

P: So, where were we?

L: With HR not doing the dirty work.

 

ronald-mcdonald-you-re-fired-meme

 

P: Ah yeah, so they fire indirectly using their operational side of the business, managers who are tasked to hold hearings that are “fundamentally flawed” as one Tribunal Judge called it, they are unfair and only impartial if we need to cover ourselves.

L: Ah! So, it’s a lot to do with fear management?

P: You got it.

 

L: And how does the fear management work exactly? Talk me through a typical day in a Pret shop.

P: No problem. First of all, we don’t like to be known as a sandwich “factory”, even though we are hundreds of little sandwich factories. So, we put intensive incentives in place, pay a little bit more here, give a little more holidays there, put on elaborate parties, let the kitchens play loud and fast music to speed up their work pace and avoid them talking too much with each other wasting our precious time, no matter if they get a head ache or a tinnitus etc. etc.

But our real main ingredient and the real spelling behind our acronym as already hinted early on is, Pret really is a four letter F-word spelled F E A R. It means Fire Early As Requested or with the nickname of “Fret” to make it more appealing. Fear management is the main motivator for our lovely and hard working people, but we facade this in the perfect packaging of “Good Jobs for Good People”. We have a lot of good people, but after a while they get so burned out, feel devalued and dehumanized that they are not “good” anymore, and there are plenty of young people lining up for the job. We give out disciplinaries like napkins, we make sure that our staff always worry about their job security, and we don’t tolerate people being vulnerable (takes a sip from the organic coffee).

L: What do you mean by “vulnerable”?

P: Well, simply inconvenient occasions like bereavement or even mental illness of our staff. We feel that especially bereavement is “imposed” on us. That’s not nice.

L: (looking confused) So, it would be best to not be vulnerable, as staff wouldn’t be safe in their jobs?

P: That’s right.

 

L: So, if staff are bereaved, or suffer from a mental illness or disability that might affect their day-to-day work, and even if they work still really good while in bereavement, there is no policy in place to protect them from potentially being bullied by superiors?

P: Yes, something like that. We have a large HR department, larger than the IT or even food team. But it isn’t large enough yet, as one of our former employees has exhausted our HR department after being bullied during bereavement and being held low in shops. So we want to expand our HR staff to not let this happen again.

L: Wow! Must have been hard work. But at least you learned from this and won’t let the bullying happen again. That’s great.

P: No, we won’t let it happen again that anyone approaches HR with their concern about bereavement and bullying like this anymore, even though we advised that person (whom the CEO called his “late night girl”) to raise grievances, as we didn’t want to interfere with how the managers were mistreating her. As we don’t have an anti-bullying policy in place to protect the bereaved, we aim to divert to the grievance procedure as we don’t want to admit that we have a huge problem. A grievance procedure often deters the employee to raise the issue formally, as this is quite stressful to have to come up with all the evidence, not to mention becoming a target after speaking up.

For other issues like sexual orientation, pregnant women, physical disabilities, religious beliefs, equal opportunities etc. we have a strong and clear zero tolerance policy on discrimination, because there are laws in place and we would get into trouble if we’d let those groups be bullied. Sometimes we even use any of the above groups in discrimination to get rid of other inconvenient employees, the laws for the protection of the above groups really come in handy here, even if we have to tweak our reason for dismissal a little.

And our luck is that there are no laws to protect the bereaved, we can openly and even in writing express that this is “imposed” on us without any problems. We just don’t really want to bother with grief and mental issues, even while we know that we all will die, and 1 in 4 of us will at one point or another suffer from a mental health condition. Death and illness can happen to any person at any time for any reason. But we don’t want to think about it and want to just concentrate on the material world with all the money that can be made. If you work for us, your mind needs to be of steel and you better have “Metal” Health.

L: Just like a machine or a robot?

P: Exactly!

L: I see. Hm…

P: You’re catching on fast, I like that.

L: Oh, thank you, I feel honoured! *blushing*

 

flick2

 

P: So, to finish the thought, we pride ourselves in our HR department. They are super busy with all the grievances raised and disciplinaries issued, and of course the firing squad, ready to fire anytime for any and no reason (checking the phone as a text message comes in).

L: Sounds quite efficient. I’m impressed.

P: Thank you. Yes, could we speed this up a little? I have to attend to some business.

L: Sure, just finally I’d like to throw some questions out that you cannot skip, but have to answer honestly.

P: Uuuh, I’m intrigued, fire away!

 

L: Who was the first one you ever kissed?

P: Oh, I’ll never forget my first kiss! It was McDonald’s. We even got married so I can get a green card to the U.S. But we are divorced now, as I gotten my green card and dual citizenship now and won’t need McD anymore. But we are still friends.

L: Any kids?

P: Naa, we were always married more to our jobs, and our different tastes in food finally split us up! Career is more important, and as soon as I had my foot in the door to the U.S. our divorce was imminent.

L: It was a “marriage of convenience” then?

P: You got it!

L: I see. Okay, while on the subject of super mergers, what super powers would you like to have?

P: To fire all the shop staff in one go and exchange them with perfect smiley robots that are so real looking to customers unlike the current prototypes, fooling them, and so increase our profits even more. That way we won’t have to deal with staff not being as productive when they go through personal issues like bereavement or illness. We also won’t have to deal with any human being thinking for themselves. But mostly that way we can truly “man” all the tills at all times and have enough staff, almost more than customers. We could even place a human looking robot with each and every customer, raising sales going through the roof. We would also scrap the Misery Shopper, as we won’t need them anymore since we have perfect robots. Can you imaging the amount this would slice off our labour costs and bring out the maximum? (sigh, what a dream!) But it also means that we would need to rethink the HR department, maybe turning them into mechanics fixing the robots when they break. (ponder ponder)

 

L: Sorry, what did you say, the what? The “Misery” Shopper?? What’s that?

P: Did I say that??

L: Uhm, that’s what I heard.

P: Sorry, I meant the Mystery Shopper *smile*

L: Maybe I just misheard as I had a miserable coffee this morning! The competition hey. Should have gone to Pret instead!

P: Yes, that’s it, it’s all your fault! You misheard, it was your mistake, not mine! It’s one of our important Pret attributes, always blame downwards, never take responsibility.

 

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L: Okay back to my questions. What time period would you like to visit, past, present or future?

P: The future, always the future as the present is a blur and the past is done with and not worth keeping fond memories of. We move on quickly, whoever can’t keep up with the pace will be left behind.

L: No regrets then, huh?

P: Hello? We are Pret we don’t regret!

L: I see. Who would you like to collaborate with in business?

P: Anyone and No one. Anyone who could pour more money into us, so that we can squeeze even more out of our workers to repay the investors. We don’t like to share the spoils except only with our HQ people and high up leaders. But if we do have a moment of generosity with our shops, it is mainly to try and keep them before they leave or our aim to win new ones (whispers: Brexit’s advancing fast now).

 

L: What is your greatest accomplishment?

P: Okay, that’s another tough one, as we have so many. But I would say… (looking up at the ceiling, tapping with the fingers on the coffee cup) I’d say it really is our HR department with that ever impressive slogan of “Doing the right thing naturally”.

L: What do you value so much that you would put your money where your mouth is, so-to-speak?

P: Again, investing in our HR department, making them bigger, even though they are already bigger than any of the other departments. We’d like them to give more disciplinaries, neglecting the bereaved and mentally ill, and fire faster. Any support that is in place, most are just Pret-ense for our own fear of the Tribunal, as we like to live up to our name.

L: Which was what again?

P: F E A R.

L: Ah yeah, that’s right.

 

L: What was the moment when you felt you’ve made it?

P: When our staff bought into fear management and unnecessary pressure.

 

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L: What was the scariest encounter you’ve ever had?

P: Tribunal Judges at first, but when we lose our case in court, we just pay the peanuts the Judges order us to pay in compensation and then go back to business as usual. Our most scariest encounter will always be the customers and public pressure.

L: And the greatest?

P: All our hard working people in the shops, especially those with integrity and longevity during hard times. We really feel intimidated by them, as they show real passion which we only Pret-end to have for them. But don’t tell them, they need to think that they are not valued and their work is never good enough, so they work harder until they burn out and are exchanged with “fresh blood”. It’s like one of our main acronyms: FIFO, First In First Out or our internal acronym BPOFBI: Black Pudding Out Fresh Blood In. If they find out our tactics, it would also be the most embarrassing encounter, but that’s between us.

L: Of course! You do love your acronyms and slogans, don’t you?

P: (Smiling) It’s what makes Pret PRet!

L: Yes, Pret is next to nothing when it comes to PR.

P: That’s right, we are especially successful in this by employing former homeless people to confirm this when the pressure on us gets high to explain why we treat our staff so poorly. The CEO invites a group once a year to his private Austrian property, and that way we win them for our reputation to speak up for us should we reap criticism from the public regarding staff treatment. We also aim to not integrate them too much into regular Pret shops, but am working on having shops run entirely by former homeless people, as they won’t cope in the long-run in a regular mainstream Pret shop, with all the bullying and high stress environment. It wouldn’t look good on our PR.

 

L: Makes sense. To continue with the questions, which food item are you currently working on to be the best selling of all time, not only in Pret but in the world.

P: Well, now you want to know some secrets here, what food item our food team is working on. I can’t let you in on that one, even though I agreed to do an open and honest interview. But I will say this much: it has to do with the Hearts of our staff.

L: Interesting! Similar to dishes like Liver Mousse or Kidney Pâté, but only with Hearts? Like Hearts on a Platter? Are some Minds part of the new stew as well? Oooh, I can’t wait for the new product launch!!

P: (motions with a gesture of sealed lips)

L: What, if any, is your hidden talent?

P: Doing the wrong thing naturally.

 

People-who-are-dishonest-are-perceived-as-incompetent-

 

L: On a personal level, which instrument would you like to play?

P: Hearts and Minds.

L: You can only choose one!

P: That’s not fair! I can’t choose! *biting on the coffee lid*

L: Well, strive for perfection here, a little extra mile will go a long way.

P: Okay Minds, as Hearts are often broken already and useless therefor. The Mind still needs tuning and somewhat breaking like a wild horse that is thinking on its feet too much. We are not in the horse whispering business, we break them!

 

L: Starbucks or Caffee Nero?

P: Pret!

L: Prosciutto or Posh Cheddar?

P: Well, since we go towards more Vegan, it would be Hearts. Organic Hearts of course!

L: Of course!

L: Mystery Shopper visits or Senior Management visits.

P: (regaining posture after the Heart vs Mind decision) Senior Management visits of course, we love to see the nervousness and fear on the faces of our managers and teams when we walk into shops.

L: Makes sense, that F E A R thing again, I really get to know you now and how consistent you are, very reliable.

P: (lifting the head with pride) Thank you. Now I am almost blushing.

L: Comedy or Drama?

P: Since we have too much Drama already, I’d choose Comedy, although they both go very close together in our company.

 

stressed-woman-3309731__340

 

L: Which micromanaging rule are you most proud of and why?

P: Letting our staff sign countless training rules without having the time to really train. We just like to cover our backs.

L: Which other countries would you like to conquer for Pret?

P: The whole world of course, even jungles where the monkeys live.

 

L: While on the subject of monkeys, if you were an animal, what would you be?

P: A Pret-Bull.

L: Why?

P: We like to look intimidating to our staff, but they don’t know that barking dogs don’t bite. We only bite together in groups and when we smell fear, which brings us back to fear management.

L: All well thought out then.

P: Yes. Are you sure you don’t want that coffee? It’s free!

L: No, thank you.

 

L: Final question, what was the best advise you’ve ever received?

P: Hire fast and fire even faster. Made today, gone today.

L: Thank you.

P: Well, that was fun!

L: Yeah, wasn’t that bad, was it? It must feel good to be honest.

P: Absolutely, never thought it would feel so relieving. I’ve learned a lot about myself today. Well, unfortunately, since it is lunch time I have to get back to the pub with my OPs managers for a few pints while our good and hard working people make it happen for us.

L: Of course, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule. And thank you for this imaginary but honest and open interview.

P: Any time! And let me know whenever you want that free coffee 😉

L: Thank you. But no thank you. I am on my way to interview Sainsbury’s, one of the big ones to have signed up for the Disability Confident employer scheme, I want to avoid too many toilet breaks during this important interview.

P: Disability what?

 

L: Never mind, you wouldn’t be interested in that.

P: I guess you’re right. We need to keep that fear thing going.

L: That’s what I meant. Thanks again. See you again soon. *not*

P: Yes, oh while you are with them, could you ask them if they would be keen to have a Pret shop inside their supermarkets, like Costa does with Tesco with those rather unhygienic automates? That way at least we could Pret-end again to be part of this Disability thing you talk about without really being part of it of course. 😉

L: I see what I can do… *not*

 

Late Night Girl2

©2018 LateNightGirl.org Poetrasblok.com

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – Present poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved.

 

When Machines bring you Death

 

(continuation from “How I became a Late Night Girl“)

 

The poison in my hand, that looked like a phone, wouldn’t help me get out of a war-zone, a bombardment that started raging inside me. The messenger was a machine, the email was a gun, the letters were the bullets.

Another machine that looked like a laptop connected me with a voice that sounded like the police. More surreal messages made their way through the airwaves, cables and electronics.

Questions …
Cause of death?
Organ failure.  

 
Which organ?
Doesn’t say.

 

And the autopsy?
No autopsy.

No autopsy?!!

 

When did he die?
Approximately 6 days before he was found.

 



Why were we as his family not found?

Why am I learning this 5 weeks after he died?

Why is there no clear cause of death?

Why no autopsy??! ……

 

All questions fired out on autopilot while still not having registered the message.

 

My brother dead!

 

The machine informed me that from a police perspective, as soon as they can rule out fowl play and suicide, they are not concerned about the cause of death anymore and hand it back to the coroner.

Case closed.

The policeman further informed me that they had to push his estimated 6 day old corpse away from his door to enter the apartment and they were able to capture two of the three cats that survived while my brother lay dead. The third cat slipped out the door and as a neighbour told me it lives outside now and won’t let anyone capture it…

Thank you for all the details. Very efficient.

 

 

Could I get a copy of the police and doctor’s reports, please?

You need a lawyer to apply for it, only a lawyer can have a copy. It’s the law in Germany.

 

A conversation with a customer in my former work who was a police detective, having worked on many death cases, confirmed that if nothing suspicious is found the case is closed fast, too much paper work. Of course if the deceased was one of their relatives, friends or colleagues, they would go to town trying to find the cause and family.

 

My brother was just MY brother.

 

Where is he now?

He has been cremated.

 
??!!!??!!

 

I realized later that his cremation was already mentioned in the email that I just read minutes before, but the LOAD of this short and brutal email was so surreal and heavy, I didn’t take it in at the time. I just starred at my phone half in mid-air and half on the floor, stuck in Twilight Zone. The turmoil that was soon to start, added by my superiors at work and the anger I would be capable of, would unleash in writings like a never ending mass shooting, but with words and letters in emails… The traumatic angst and rage that was approaching fast, losing me almost everything and everyone I held dear… I could have never imagined then.

 

I learned later that they destroyed all his belongings that had no financial value, since we couldn’t pay his debt from his business and had to reject the inheritance and with it all belongings that were of sentimental value to us. By law we had 6 weeks from learning of his death to decide what to do. We only received a shoe box size of papers, ID cards, driver’s license, photos, letters … and later his ashes…

in the post.

 

I went inside another machine the next day to bring death to my mum who brought us life.

And then I carried my big brother into the earth.

And I buried my heart with him.

 

My life has been a big mess since.

Everyone keeps telling me since day one to be strong.

 

But I am not a machine anymore.

 

©2018 poetrasblok.com

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – Present poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.Page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved.

 

 

How I became Late Night Girl

 

 

Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret A Manger stepped on my dignity, patronizing me by calling me his “late night girl” two months before Pret fired me while my dad was in intensive care, just out of a coma. I was bullied during bereavement, manipulated and gaslighted under the watchful eye of Pret’s HR department. Why the CEO labeled me this I explain on my blog here in detail. I adopted this “label” to be a sore in Pret’s sight, in hopes they will never do to employees again what they’ve done to me.

Yes, this is a handful for you, the reader to come across and read. But you are only reading this, I lived and am still living this! But thank you for your time.

 

On 12. January 2015 I woke up and checked my email while still in bed blurry-eyed. Bed, the most vulnerable and safe place to be in. I had late shift that week and thought I quickly check my mail before turning around to sleep some more and later go to work.

I found myself making the fastest jump out of bed I’ve ever made, but that jump felt like slow motion, as if I got stuck in mid air and my room was moving by me in an eerie pace. The light painted wall became fogged up like someone just poured a dust-like grey powder over it. When I landed on my feet, I felt like a deformed cartoon character out of a Tom & Jerry fighting scene, who got whacked over the head and entered into another world. But it was more like a shotgun hole in my gut, something ripped life out of my system and left a huge crater behind.

My bedroom wasn’t my bedroom anymore, my apartment wasn’t my apartment anymore, my mind wasn’t my mind anymore. It was just like it feels when you return from a two or three week trip to a different country and culture, returning home and your place has a different feel to it, a stale atmosphere because you’ve gotten used to a different place, food, impressions, language.

Of course your apartment or house is still the same, it’s just you who has to readjust to the familiar and safe place you know so well and fill it with life again. But for me it was like I’ve come “home” to hell. It was the beginning of a very long and dark time in that world, which I am still standing in with one foot, while the other foot is trying to venture out to find green pastures.

In a 6 or 7 sentence email the sender went down a quick and short route to inform me that my brother has been found dead in his flat on the 15. December 2014. Next of kin could not be found in time (in a country as efficient as Germany!). Cause of death not clear, no autopsy, he lay dead for an estimated 6 days plus/minus before he was found, and then they just cremated him before finding us!

[After I flew over the next day to personally – not over the phone! – bring my mum the death of her son she gave life to, we arranged for his urn to be brought over from the city where he lived in. To our utter disbelief they sent his urn via post to the city’s council where my mum lives, so we can bury whatever was left of my brother close to my mum. Another German procedure I didn’t know was even done like this, sending an urn via post?!]

Furthermore I was advised to reject the inheritance as his estate was highly in debt, which also meant I learned later that I could not retrieve any of his belongings and was informed later that any belongings with no financial value has been destroyed…

The email ended with some other instructions. Kind regards.

My phone became like a curse in my hand that I could not understand that this was a phone I was holding, just starring at it, reading an electronic mail giving me a message of death.

I died that day.

 

 

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07 TP crop

 

 

Continued > When Machines Bring You Death

 

A Plea!

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – Present poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved.

 

‘Everyone looked at me like I was a ghost’

 

»The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us for an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.«

— Henri Nouwen

 

The “absence” of some of my friends had me in deeper despair crying out too much, too loud, too chaotic, rampantly voicing my pain all over the place, burdening those I never wanted to burden. Silence is brutal only when there is no-one visibly there as well. I felt like being emotionally deaf and blind and just hopelessly crying out uncontrollably.

 

In my pain and despair I reached out to a friend who was overwhelmed and withdrew early on. I said that I understand that they don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do either, so can we not do the unknown together?

 

A friend sent this  following article to me a few months ago, but I just finished reading it tonight.

 

I draw strength from strangers.

 

click: Sheryl Sandberg ‘Everyone looked at me like I was a ghost’

One quote from this Guardian article:

»In the early months after Goldberg’s death, Sandberg says she made the three classic mistakes – “the three ps – personalisation, pervasiveness and permanence”. She blamed herself for his death: “Especially because the early reports, which were false, said he died by falling off an exercise machine. So I absolutely thought that if I had looked for him sooner, he would be alive. A friend would say to me, ‘You didn’t leave a three-year-old alone in a gym.’ But I felt hugely guilty.” When the autopsy revealed undiagnosed coronary artery disease, “I spent months thinking I should have known that. I felt hugely guilty; you blame yourself endlessly. Then one day Adam [Grant] said, ‘If you do not recover, your kids cannot recover. That is it. You must.’ So that really snapped me out of it. I was like, OK, this isn’t my fault. I stopped taking it personally.«

 

Kids are a great motivator to keep going.

 

Another quote in the article:

»Another mistake she’d made before Goldberg died was to ask people in trouble, “Is there anything I can do?” She says, “I really meant it. But it kind of shifts the burden to the person who needs the help to tell you.” The classic inquiry, “How are you?” also turned out to be unhelpful. “Well, my husband just died on the floor of a gym. Like, how am I?” The more meaningful question, she learned, is “How are you today?

But the biggest – and remarkably common – mistake is to ask nothing at all. “I want to talk about Dave. Bringing up Dave to me is always a positive. It doesn’t make me sad. I know he’s gone.” I ask if anyone has said they didn’t like to mention him as they didn’t want to “remind” her of her loss, and she laughs. “Yes. It’s not possible to remind me.” She recommends something she calls the platinum rule of friendship, “not to treat people as you want to be treated, but treat people as they want to be treated. That’s a pretty big mind shift, and some people do that quite naturally and some people don’t.”«

 

Yep.

 

Quote:

»To anyone who saw The Social Network, the film about Facebook’s origins which portrayed Zuckerberg as a socially awkward computer geek, this may come as a surprise, but the emotionally astute stand-out star of Option B is Sandberg’s boss. “Mark is why I’m walking. Most of what [he and his wife Priscilla] did is not even in the book, because they did so much. When I felt so overwhelmed and so isolated and just needed to cry, I would drag him into his conference room and he would just sit there with me and be like, ‘We’re going to get through this and we want to get through it with you.’ He did it over and over.”«

 

Well, Facebook may be there for its employees in tragedy, especially the high-ranking ones. I live in a different world.

The following part of the article I struggle with:

Quote:

»Sandberg is a natural leader and problem solver – not merely Facebook’s COO but its living embodiment – who has dealt with her grief almost as if it were a failing business to be turned around; she studied the data, applied herself to its findings, and found the potential for growth.«

 

Beautiful writing, but appalling thought. I’m sure it wasn’t meant the way I read it.

 

Quote:

»Survivor guilt is a thief of joy. When people lose a loved one, they are not just racked with grief, but also with remorse. “I could have saved her.” “Why am I the one who is still alive?” Even after acute grief is gone, the guilt remains. “I didn’t spend enough time with him.”«

 

I like: “We take things back”

Quote:

»With Rob’s and Amy’s words ringing in my ears, I decided to try having fun for my children – and with my children. Dave had loved playing Catan with our kids. One afternoon, I asked them if they wanted to play. They did. In the past, I was always orange. My daughter was blue. My son was red. Dave was grey. When just the three of us sat down to play, my daughter pulled out the grey pieces. My son got upset and tried to take them away from her, insisting, “That was Daddy’s colour. You can’t be grey!” I held his hand and said, “She can be grey. We take things back.”«

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – Present poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved.