This young man talks about his experience with a Berkshire based consultancy that led to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and more than twelve months in therapy.
The first words he used to describe his ordeal to us were ‘traumatic’, ‘disturbing’ and ‘surreal’. What on earth goes on between those office walls to deserve such a description? This was the question we asked and he told us the full story in all its bizarre detail.
He had heard about the company through a friend of a friend. “This guy was waxing lyrical about this amazing job at this amazing company.” He said that he should have known then that there was something wrong as no one should be that moony eyed about a job.
Crying accountants and inflatable sharks
He tells us that the first day he arrived in his brand new tailored suit he was greeted by a one of the more senior consultants wearing shorts and flip flops. He thought the guy was one of the software developers but he was a consultant who had just finished chairing a meeting with a client, the client’s FD and their firm of accountants. The clients were all wearing shorts and t-shirts too. In fact the only people in the whole office who were wearing suits were him and the accountant. He says it was really uncomfortable and just weird.
That same afternoon someone put an inflatable helium remote-controlled shark on his desk and told him to fly it around the office. He thought everyone was joking until he saw someone else playing with a helium clown fish. He says that this was just the beginning and things just got progressively more weird and more stressful. During his three month ordeal he witnessed clients crying with delight, accountants of the suited variety crying after being fired and prospective clients crying on the phone begging for help. He said that it was so emotionally draining and a side to business that he had never been exposed to before. He said that everyone behaved as though they were experiencing some sort of divine intervention. What could possibly be making everyone behave in such a freakish way? He was questioning everyone’s sanity. It was as though he had been dropped slap bang in the middle of his own Kafkaesque nightmare.
Life without walls or rules
He said that there were no rules. Literally no rules. He said that someone told him once that there was only one rule and that was that there were no rules. He told us that he felt sick when he heard this. He just couldn’t fathom how any business could exist without rules. He didn’t even know what time he was expected in the office let alone how much holiday he was allowed to take. He just heard people talking about outputs and not inputs and nobody would ever give him clarification on any of these types of questions. He said that they would just laugh at him. Then there was the fact that there was no boss and no management. He said you literally didn’t know who was who. He said that they all referred to each other as ‘partners’ – like some weird group of swingers. He added that they weren’t but he just didn’t know what the whole gig was about. Had he accidentally joined a weird cult or stumbled upon a new radical political faction?
When enough is enough – time to get out
He told us that it was when he stopped sleeping that he realised he had to get out. He said that when he did sleep he would have nightmares and wake up screaming and sweating. He still has flashbacks now. He says that he has no idea what went on for those few months of his life or how it will affect him later on in life. He knows that the company is still there and has doubled in size since he left. He says that they are always taking on more people and that he now believes that it could be some kind of weird experiment or a grossly outrageous reality TV show that has yet to be exposed. Whatever turns out to be true he feels that he has to put it all behind him and move on. He said that the therapy and drugs have helped and that he is now going to join the army to get a bit of discipline in his life.
His parting comment to us as he left was “I think from this day to the day I stop working forever I will say that this truly was the worst job I ever had.”
If you want to find out more about this company – you can read more about them here.