I recently attended a friend’s birthday where I ran into a girl I used to go to Uni with. We hadn’t seen each other for over three years and we immediately bonded over our common industry connection - she a journalist, me a Public Relations consultant. For those of you playing at home, it’s the Sydney Vs Melbourne equivalent of our industry. It’s hyped up, but in reality it’s an illusion hyped up by sad sods.
She told me she had only just ‘crossed over’ and worked at a consultancy that I had an interview with about 12 months earlier. She squealed in delight when I told her. I knew this was going to be good…
For two and half years this girl was abused, belittled and pestered by a woman who could only be described as a deluded Sri Lankan version of Meryl Streep’s character in the hit, The Devil Wears Prada. Lets call her Cruella.
Cruella hired my uni mate and instantly started to comment on her look, demeanour and her weight. “You should colour you hair this colour”, “You should go to the gym” and “You should move from your area (Deer Park) to Prahran or Port Melbourne” were suggestions made to my uni mate throughout her time with the company.
I was told that the company had one of the highest employee turnovers known to mankind, noone stayed longer than six months after they realised that Cruella clearly did not know how to be a human.
My uni mate started to get sick, initially with a sore throat, which turned into full-blown pneumonia and all the while, still went into the office everyday. Once her health took a turn for the worse, my uni mate decided to take two days off. A big No-No in the eyes of Cruella.
Cruella couriered a package of work that she expected my mate to complete from home (despite the fact she was feverish, rugged in bed and aching in pain). My friend, after two and a half years had jack of it and emailed her saying not only could she not believe Cruella had the nerve to give her work, but also that she was handing in her resignation. Victory was hers - or so you would think…
Cruella turned up at my mate’s home in Deer Park (shocking for someone whose world consisted of Brighton, Toorak and South Yarra) and sat at the end of her bed, trying desperately to convince my mate to stay with the company. But to no avail. Cruella was asked to leave and to never contact my mate again.
My uni mate never looked back and is now a journalist for a regional paper. I never thought that in this city, would there exist someone who thought that tyrant management would work. Cruella isn’t even in the same realm as Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of US Vogue.
At least we could laugh at Cruella’s expense and know that we are better than her because we are human. Poor Cruella… will she ever learn? Doubt it.