Case 043 - Accounts (small company)

I started work for this company in May 1999 following a request from a colleague who I had previously worked with asking if I would like a job as an accounts person, this was perfect for me as I had worked for the same company for 13 years and I felt I needed a change, the job was harder and I had to learn a lot more but I was confident enough and willing to give this a try. My interview was held in the corner of the office by the owner of the business, he was I felt quite desperate to have someone working in that role and came across in the interview as being a quiet nice person, polite but what worried me was how rushed the interview was, he was not interested at all about me and I felt as though he was making up his own assumptions about me by himself, it felt as though he was seeing right through me. We discussed pay and because I did not have an AAT qualification I was put on a temporary arrangement until I learned the job, this also affected my salary but I was happy with that as it was higher than before.

At the beginning I worked really hard to show I could do the job, I even worked until at least 10pm at night with the financial controller to bring things up to date, it felt like a challenge and I enjoyed it, what I did not notice around me because I was so busy the actions and feelings of others, so I was not aware of what working there was really like.

We had a few people leave over a space of time because of stress of the job they were doing and one in particular our top sales director, the owner was infatuated by her and she did not like it, she had recently lost her husband and was missing him terribly, she could not come in some days because she felt so upset, her health suffered and everything else. Then the harassment started with her, the owner wanted a relationship with her and she was having none of it, after a while she met someone and was quite happy, the owner found out about it and started to highlight her mobile phone bill, I felt uneasy about this as I had to look after the invoices etc and he called upon me to bring them to him so he could check them, he never did once hide the fact of what he was doing, I am a loyal person and I wanted to tell her what he was doing but as soon as she would of found out there would of been an almighty row and fingers pointed at me for telling, this made me feel sick. Later I was called to his desk after I had seen a invoice left on my desk with a little note paper-clipped to it reading SPEAK RE THIS, I went over and he then went on to tell me about the private detective he had hired to spy on her and what she was doing and after that were to post this invoice in MISC. You can imagine how I felt. She later left the company because of his unreasonable behaviour (quite loopy) I thought.

Other people left because of the unreasonable amount of stress he was putting on them, us hard skin workers were left behind. The company was not doing so well, creditors were chasing payment, PAYE and NI was not getting paid, customers were not paying because of poor service and loads of other things, my day consisted on lying to creditors, threatening customers and frequent trips to the Inland Revenue office to pay them by bankers draft because they would not take our bouncy cheques, the bank had had enough and said we had only so much time to pay off the £100,000 overdraft and not deal with us any more, I was juggling money left right and centre to pay wages, suppliers to which I thought I handled very well because in all of this the company lasted on its feet without going into CVA for 9months.

Each day I would come to work felt awful, I was not sure what was on my desk, what mood he would be in, the other members of staff's mood, was I just imagining all of this. I felt as thought I was going mad.

All of the things below are what I have experienced and felt while working there:-

1. An atmosphere when entering the office
2. Fear, hatred, tearful (a lot), bullied, undermined, not trusted
3. He was not interested in what I said unless it was about work.
4. I felt he took took took and no giving back
5. He took all of my self esteem away
6. I felt drained and angry when I got home at night
7. He blamed what was happening to the company on me
8. He did not listen to me properly and when he made a mistake said I had made the mistake and blamed it on me.
9. Made other people in the office feel undermined.
10. I thought I was working in a prison.
11. I felt as though I was not welcome there.
12. I sometimes turned around in the morning and went back home because I could not face it.
13. I done my best and it was never recognised
14. I was generous and never asked for payment for my private miles, I often bought biscuits to cheer people up and he accused me of using the company's petty cash to pay for them when they were bought with my own money.
15. I would sit in the loos and say I hate this job everyday.
16. Sit in my car at lunch time and cry
17. Come home and sit in front of the television and I felt like a zombie because I just felt drained.
18. The owner would stomp around the office and sigh loudly.
19. He often did not wash and he smelled awful
20. Everyone would cringe when he came over to their desks for something
21. Take wobblers as I would call it for minor things
22. Use things against you

... and the list could go on and on

When he was not in the office you would think it was another place, I am not saying when the cats away sort of thing everyone still got on with their work because he timed you on how long it would take you to do it and if it was not done before he got back all hell was let loose. If he saw you sit at your desk at 5.30pm (leaving time) and you were just finishing off he would bring you another job to do and harp on that it needs to be done that night making you stay longer and not getting paid for it.

The last 9 months for me has been a living hell and most recently this year, my nephew who is 16 was in a coma following a road traffic accident, I was involved in a crash later that same month Jan-02 and most recently my other nephew has undergone a liver transplant. I has been a terrible beginning to the year and with work and him it was all to much for me for I left for all the reasons above.

Upon leaving the owner left me a note on a scrap bit of paper saying good luck for the future (to which he did not mean) and said that I had been a great help to him, he put me under so much pressure to which I barely handled so he could feel better he even said that I was a rock and took it to lean on me when things got tough, I think that he used me all the time for his gain and gave nothing back. I did so much and brought many skills with me to that company and he made me feel so bad in return, this has affected me emotionally and psyhically and unable to trust people, I feel so let down. I felt as though I was made to leave because of all the unreasonable demands and how he treat me.

I am now just temping and happy, all of my friends and family have seen the change in me, my health is getting better and my skin complaint is nearly clearing up. I could not of written about this when I left because I felt so unhappy but I feel better now that things have changed.

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