Monday, 24 August 2015

#MicroblogMondays:Crying At Work

I was confronted one day by a demanding parent, insisting that her child's teacher to do this or that, and I said, "No, that's not the way we do things here." I explained that I managed my teachers' time and conditions to minimise stress. "Oh, get real!" Mrs Irate retorted, "Everyone is stressed these days!" "Possibly, " I replied, "But do you really want a stressed teacher in charge of your child?"


I am reminded of this exchange by the New York Times research on conditions at Amazon warehouses. I was especially taken by two things, firstly, that the charismatic CEO of Amazon had no idea that working conditions were terrible, for some, and secondly, that one response was, "Everyone cries at work!" To bully. Intimidate, overwork, distress, low-paid workers with little power, is to be expected, apparently.


I have decided to do something against CEO's, whose seriously bountiful lifestyles are funded on the unhappiness of others. I'm going to change my shopping habits. This is what I am going to do:


Use small local businesses

Buy from recycling centres

Buy from businesses that are employee-owned: The Co-operative, Waitrose, John Lewis

Use the public library ebook and audiobook service (which is free here)

Switch broadband, telephone and energy services to ethical alternatives

Buy from independent book-sellers (


Yes, it may be more expensive, but I can afford it. It'll take a real change of heart, because I am a bargain-hunter, and my habit has been to find the cheapest of anything. I never factored in the true cost in the well-being of the workers.


I once worked in a toxic workplace and I remember being driven to a breakdown. I left as soon as I could, and sought to be my own boss, so that bullying would never happen to me again. And when I was boss, I made sure it never happened to anyone in my employ.


If you want to know why I could face-down the belligerent parent, it was because my school was over-subscribed. I didn't need her. Being kind paid off.





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