Work Experience Reconsidered — Part 4


My fourth job was a result of using one of my connections. It was my classmate’s husband whom I contacted and asked whether he would like to hire me as an assistant to his office located on Bond Street, London. He was in antique jewellery business. The business was owned by him and two of his brothers. They already had a secretary and now got me as a freshly baked assistant.

Since my boss was the husband of my classmate I felt obliged to work diligently and tirelessly to help his business prosper. My tasks were various. I dealt with exquisite pieces of jewellery art, including, for example, Faberge. My salary — 900 GBP — was not much more than at my previous work place — First Choice (500 GBP), but was divided into an official and unofficial parts. This aided my employers to avoid paying certain taxes, and, at the same, time ‘deprive’ me from bigger contributions towards my pension. The unofficial part of my salary was received as cash, and the official one as a cheque. The unofficial one was sometimes delayed as my bosses forgot about it on regular basis.

What my three bosses never forgot about was to constantly tell me what and how I should do or should not. This depended on their mood which fluctuated greatly. Thus, one day one of the bosses walked in to the office and proclaimed that from now on I was not to say hello to any of the dealers who frequented them. I was to sit with my back to the door and keep silent even if the dealers would greet me.

Occasionally, I would be sent with loose diamonds or jewellery containing diamonds to Holborn Street diamond dealers. This I did by using tube (metro), carrying diamonds worth millions simply in my handbag. My bosses never let me use black cabs, saying the tube was safe and if anyone attempts to rob me I should not prevent them but let my handbag with its content go. Sure, I would, for no diamonds was worth my life!

The conclusion: Working for this particular company was a win-lose situation where employers looked for benefit at the expense of their own employees. Such unbalanced one-sided relationships never work, be it in personal or work relationships. My case was a living proof — I lasted only 9 months at this job, then ‘divorced’ the company with just one day notice. They did not like it, of course.

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Seraphima Bogomolova

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