Thelma Makes A Decision.


Once upon a time there lived a lovely lady called Thelma. She worked very hard to help people and always tried to do her best.

Sometimes she managed to help people but most of the time her hard work came to nothing.

She was very puzzled by this. Her parents had told her that if she worked hard and did the best she could to help people everything would be alright.

Things did not feel right to Thelma . In fact they felt very, very, wrong. Thelma was sad.

One day Thelma went to a meeting at work and was surprised to discover a new person in the room. He was called Bob. He was big and grey. In fact he was so big that he was squashing other workers. They looked very sad and uncomfortable,  but they said nothing.

Thelma remembered what her parents had taught her about helping people. She asked Bob if he would mind moving, so that everyone could be comfortable. Bob refused to move. He shook his head but did not speak.

Thelma tried again and again. She asked Bob if he realised he was hurting people. Each time she spoke, Bob shook his head and refused to speak. Nobody else was speaking either. Thelma began to feel quite odd.

Suddenly Thelma knew what to do. She rushed out of the room and locked the door behind her. Then she went to the hardware shop and bought some bolts and a screwdriver. Back at work she fixed the bolts to the top and bottom of the door.

Thelma felt fantastic. As she skipped away she realised that to truly help people she had to look after herself.   She vowed that from that day forward she would no longer be ground down by patriarchal systems embedded in a toxic culture.

Thelma lived happily ever after.

C.R.U.S.H. A Policy for Managers.

Managers! You have given long service to get to the position you have achieved.  You have embraced our philosophies; you are a ‘Yes’ person.  We Like ‘Yes’ people.  As a reward for being promoted to your level of incompetence we are now giving you an inflated salary, a desk away from the minions, and a copy of the Management Handbook.

As a Manager, you may have some vague memories of ethical practice.  Perhaps in the beginning of your Management Career you may sometimes find that concept hard to square with the need to protect our hierarchy. Don’t worry! With mentoring from an established Manager who is tougher and wiser than you, you will soon come to believe that Our Way Is Best.  Managers must stand firmly together, follow the True Path, consult the Management Handbook, and deny any wrongdoing. We WILL prevail!

Chapter 243 of the Management Handbook: The C.R.U.S.H. Policy

Occasionally there will be an experienced old hag who has expressed some concern about an issue. Don’t Panic! When a pesky minion such as this raises a concern, follow the C.R.U.S.H. Policy: Crush Rebellious Underlings Swiftly & Heartily.

  1. Ignore the concern – it may go away. Keep ignoring it.  There are three vital words here: Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.
  2. If the pesky minion continues with the concern, continue to ignore the issue, but threaten them.  Make Sure you do this Privately. You may start investigating their practice with Absolutely No Evidence whatsoever. Accuse them, don’t question them.  Try to ensure that any official letters are not riddled with mistakes and factual inaccuracies. If the pesky minion has evidence to the contrary, bury it.  Don’t overly concern yourself with following policies and procedures – they are there for the minions.
  3. Deny the pesky minion the rights that all employees have.   If they work flexibly, take that right away. Don’t invite a union rep into any meeting you hold with the pesky minion.  It is usually sufficient to apologise at the beginning of the meeting that you had forgotten to tell them a union rep could have been present.  Blether on about ‘the Needs of the Service’.  Don’t worry about legislation or policies and procedures. Remember that most employees cannot afford a lawyer on the wages we pay them.
  4. If the pesky minion continues with their concerns, make a show that you want to listen to them by convening a meeting. Do Not Minute it, and do not bring the correct paperwork to the meeting.  It may be advisable to invite the Manager tasked with investigating the pesky minion to the meeting. Whilst we as an organisation cannot concur with Acas’ stance that this would be exerting ‘pressure’ or ‘gagging’ the employee, it may effectively silence them.  It’s probably best not to play with your Blackberry in the meeting. Remember to say everything your Manager has told you to say, and Do Not be tempted to go off script.
  5. Butter up the union.  The occasional round of golf should do it.  Put custard creams and bourbons out at meetings with them.  Consider upgrading from Maxwell House to Kenco.  Show them we’re all in this together. The sooner they stop supporting the pesky minion the sooner they can get back to their national campaigns which don’t concern us.
  6. Warn the pesky minion’s colleagues not to have any contact with them.  This should  effectively isolate the pesky minion from any source of potential support in the workplace. Remember to do this individually, and not in any forum which could be recorded – supervision will usually suffice.
  7. Usually you will find that the above actions will result in the pesky minion quitting. (Huzzah!) However, occasionally the pesky minion may find the resources to consult a lawyer. If this is the case, embark on the Campaign Of Compassion & Kindness (C.O.C.K. policy).  Ensure the lawyer and the union know that ‘you are happy that Managers are doing Everything they can to Support the pesky minion’. (You can use these words, but remember to delete  ‘pesky minion’ and try to spell the pesky minion’s real name correctly.)
  8. Never reply in a timely fashion to any letter or enquiry from a lawyer.  Remember! The pesky minion may not know that they only have 3 months to approach an Employment Tribunal.
  9. If the above actions have not resulted in the pesky minion resigning, use the P.O.O.P. Policy: Pile On Overt Pressure.  For example, if the pesky minion is off sick by this stage, call them into an absence Management meeting. Choose a softly spoken new Manager to politely  inform them that we can sack them if their absence continues.
  10. When Acas phone, remember to smile! Acas will hear the cheery supportiveness in your voice. Throw in a good word or two for the pesky minion. This may be difficult to do: some Managers jot down keywords, ready for such an occasion. ‘Determined’ may suffice.  As Soon as your phone call has finished, Contact Your Manager, who will Consult Readily And Promptly with our lawyers. (The C.R.A.P. procedure, only to be used by Senior Managers in Emergencies And Risky Situations (S.M.E.A.R.S.)).
  11. From this point forward leave the matter with our lawyers.  Don’t Panic! Our lawyers have a steadfast approach to Acas negotiations. If all else fails they will Resolve the Situation with 2 questions: ‘How Much Money do they want?’ and ‘Will they Write their own Reference?’
  12.  When the Pesky Minion is finally dispatched, attempt to refrain from  fist-pumping or dancing openly in the office.


Turn the page for Chapter 244: Advanced Policy: Start Humming If Things Horribly Explode (S.H.I.T.E policy).









This week we are going to be talking with Bubble’s Clinical Psychologist about schema focussed therapy.  I’ve just started reading about this, and am at a very early stage of understanding the theory. From what I’ve discovered so far, though, it seems to be a possible positive way forward.

Schemas can be seen as index cards, filed in the brain, with each one informing the person how to react to incoming information or stimuli.  If a child has endured trauma, neglect, abuse or deprivation, then the index cards will contain negative messages.

As they are stored in the brain’s amygdala, which is not amenable to logical analysis, the index cards’ messages are self perpetuating, resistant to change, and do not go away without therapeutic intervention. The child develops maladaptive coping ‘behaviours’ which respond to perceived triggers.

Psychologists have identified 18 early maladaptive schemas arranged into 5 domains.  Looking through the descriptions of these, we immediately recognised Bubble in some of them, particularly in the domain of disconnection and rejection. We linked in her history and her way of interpreting her world with the schemas.

Between sessions we have considered triggers, emotions and thoughts, and coping behaviours, and we will use our session this week with the Clinical Psychologist to reflect further on these.

The more I research therapeutic interventions, the more I am convinced that talking therapies, whilst having their place, are simply not enough to assist with changing the established patterns.

Perhaps we are beginning to find a way forward that will help us support Bubble more effectively. Time will tell.