Tag Archives: bullying

I Fought Back…And Won

Actually, I canI was sacked from my job last October for having MS, preceded by a vicious campaign of bullying and harrassment which almost drove me over the edge. At the same time, I was struggling to cope with my diagnosis and had also just been through Alemtuzumab treatment in the summer.

The day I was sacked,  I went home in shock. I was at my lowest ebb. The drip-drip effect of the bullying had left me sapped of confidence, drained of energy and incapable of any positive thinking. The sacking was the culmination of a truly horrific year. How anyone can bully a person going through a diganosis of MS is beyond me and the cruelty of it still astounds me.

I decided to accept my fate and leave it at that. But then I got angry, then furious. Was I really just going to walk away? Luckily, I still had one tiny scrap of fight left in me and so began a long legal process.

I am over the moon to report that I have now won my case. The matter is settled and it is time to move on, with my dignity and pride restored.

Bullying at work can be insidious. It is not always immediately obvious. It can start insignificantly and like an abusive partner, can slowly erode your confidence, your judgement and your rational thinking. When the bullying then escalates, you feel too undermined and isolated to fight back.

Bullying someone with MS (or any other serious illness) is cowardly. The bullying may come from a position of strength, from their status in work, but it is only carried out by weak people who take delight in hurting others who are already in pain.

I have fought a long, exhausting battle and was close to giving up along the way, such was the hold these people still had over me in my mind. It’s only thanks to family, friends, fellow MSers and a fabulous lawyer that I got to this point.

If you are in the same position I was, don’t accept it. You are worth more than that. Keep notes of every incident no matter how small, every date. Surround yourself  with a strong network and most importantly, realise that it is not your fault.

It’s a beautiful feeling to wake up every morning knowing I am no longer bullied. I am a worthy person and I will go on to better things. As they say, success is the best revenge.

Tagged , , , , , ,

The End of the Beginning

I think I reached my lowest ebb yesterday, and when you’ve hit rock bottom, the only way is up.

I am going to be more proactive rather than reactive. I don’t have a daily routine any more, so I will have to create my own one. As Jan pointed out in a comment to yesterday’s post, these couple of months are a great opportunity to review my life and see which direction I want to take. When your whole life is smashed to pieces in a year – from a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, to bullying to being sacked from work – it’s a rare chance to re-build it, just the way you want.

So, I am going to regard today as the start of the next chapter. Yesterday marked the end of the beginning. On the plus side, I have two months work, I am away from a toxic office, I will no longer be bullied and they made a huge, massive mistake in sacking me the way they did. On the down side. Hmm……absolutely nothing. I can’t think of one thing.

There doesn’t seem much point stressing any more about the MS. Stressing will only make it worse anyway. There’s not a thing I can do to change it. What I need to do though is have some space to come to terms with it, but that’s kind of on hold right now. And that’s fine.

Autumn is a time of renewal. So I have decided to be a tree, shedding all the old leaves and generating new shoots, ready for next year. And if that sounds odd, it’s probably because I am working from home, all by myself, with only the cat for company. And we have great conversations…


Tagged , , ,

Just Hook Me Up

I am living on coffee and stress so why am I putting on weight? I want to be one of these people who sheds pounds when they’re dashing around like a demented chicken, pumped up with stress and an unfair dismissal.

My mind is racing, but it seems my body isn’t. It’s just over a week since I was sacked for having MS. There is too much to do, apart from the everyday routine, the Christmas planning, the taxi service for The Teenager. Throw in all the ubiquitous health appointments, blood tests, a newly-diagnosed day and a fatigue management course and I’m up against it.

So the thought of launching a legal case is filling me with fear, and coffee. I (think) I am a nice person. I don’t like fighting. At school, I gave my lunch money to the bullies without a word. But this scenario, the one I am facing right now, is out of my league.

The bullying in work was horrendous enough. A year of loathing myself for not standing up to them, whilst battling to come to terms with my diagnosis and what it means for my future. Perhaps there is a tipping point. By dismissing me on the spot, expecting me to clear my desk and leave straight away has made me angry. I would hate myself more for walking away.

What have I got to lose? I have had incredible support. My healthcare professionals have risen up in outrage and anger, my friends have rallied round and my forum buddies have carried me along on a wave of advice and soothing words. One of them pointed out that I would only ever have to do this once. Excellent point.

I have to do this.

Tagged , , , ,


After waiting a whole morning, the memory stick is shoved through my letter box in a plain envelope. The boss knew I was in but couldn’t be bothered/wasn’t polite enough to knock the door and have a civil conversation. No acknowledgement of my letter, of dropping my ID card off, clearing my stuff from the office. No ‘hey, thanks for working for us for two years’.

I can quite honestly say that I have never, ever been treated so shabbily in my whole life. Being sacked for having multiple sclerosis is bad enough without all this game-playing on top of it. At least I have been polite, left without a squeak, but in my own way I have kicked ass. I defended myself in the boardroom when I was unexpectedly sacked on Monday, when the two bosses had so obviously been planning it for weeks.

I specifically told them I should have representation but was turned down. I negotiated two months grace. I calmly collected my belongings. I kept in touch and was blanked.

This has been a humdinger of a week. I am an emotional wreck, high on coffee and stress. After a year of bullying, they got me out. I am angry, sad, grieving, furious, melancholic, all in equal measure. I need to calm down, think rationally and create a new plan. I am struggling not to take it personally. How can I not?

Maybe the writing was on the wall when I spent a week in hospital for MS treatment over the summer, and was on sick leave for three weeks (statutory sick pay, the bare minimum). Not a Get Well Card, not a phone call or visit. No communication whatsoever.

It’s the small things that hurt the most. In our little office, we buy chocolate eclairs when there is a celebration. Guess what I found in the fridge on Thursday when I was clearing out my stuff? A big box of them. Wonder what they were celebrating?

Tagged , , , ,

So Long, Farewell….

updated so long pictureThe saga continues. Yesterday, I was to go to The Office Of Doom at 9am for one last time (hopefully) to pick up my belongings, the memory stick and finalise details of my employment and dismissal. I’m all psyched up but I have no idea what I am going to face.

I arrive early and call on the off-chance I can get this over with. No reply. Ten minutes later, one of the bosses hurtles out the door, so I go over to see what’s happening. Barely casting a glance in my direction, he shouts over his shoulder that he will call me later, he has to leave. Nice.

I go home. Do I still have my job for two months? What’s going on? My mum comes over for coffee. We go over every possible scenario. At half ten, I call the office. I need to get this over and done with.

The office junior picks up. I ask if I can come in. Of course I can. She sounds bemused. Everyone loves a drama. Coward that I am, I take my mum. We go armed with two bags and an attitude. The office junior is alone in the office. Apparently the boss has gone out to buy a memory stick.

I pack all my things, and while my mum makes the junior a cup of tea (!), I divert my emails, scribble a quick letter explaining I have left my ID card and could the memory stick be dropped off later. Collecting my mum from the kitchen where she is washing up and bleaching the sink, we leave, balancing a plant and two bulging bags between us. I look back, remembering the awful times. It’s history.

But will the memory stick be dropped off? Am I still employed for two months as agreed? There’s been no phonecall, no recognition of my letter, or that I have been to collect my things. I feel humiliated and worthless. Am I really meant to be treated like this?

But no matter what happens, I have my freedom. And dignity. Which is a lot more than can be said for them.

Tagged , , , ,