At a time when bullying in the workplace is in the spotlight, there couldn’t be a more timely moment to release a book on that very topic.
Former TV producer and now media advisor for Shine Lawyers, Miriam Sawan recently released her debut novel, Louboutins, Lattes & Live TV which tells the story of a young television producer who is severely bullied by one of her superiors and her journey in dealing with the situation.
While Miriam said her story was based purely on fiction, she too had experienced bullying in the workplace and therefore felt very strongly about the topic.
“Across the board in every single type of career, be it in government in a library or in a TV studio, the statistics for workplace bullying are as high as 53% of all people,” Miriam said.
“A lot of people starting out in the workplace find themselves in a situation where they are being bullied and either leave and are labelled a quitter or they just weather the storm in the hope they’ll be promoted and gain the love and affection of their boss and eventually rise in the ranks.
“That’s why people are taken advantage of or it could also be because they have a low income and need their job, so employers take advantage of that fact and really make them work for every cent.”
Miriam decided to embark on the epic journey of writing her first book about a year ago after she came across a number of cases at work which deeply disturbed her.
Her book comes at a time where an explosion of sexual harassment, bullying and poor workplace behaviour have come to light involving a number of high profile film and media identities.
She said she was happy to see people starting to take a stand against bullying and to see people backing the victims instead of just sweeping the issue under the carpet.
“I work in a compensation law firm which is my connection to Brisbane and have been exposed to horrific stories of verbal and sexual abuse in the workplace which have resulted in the decline of people’s mental health,” Miriam said.
“Obviously you can’t tell client stories, but you can write fiction and create villains in your imagination which represent an extreme example of how bad bullying can actually get.
“People are itching to talk about bullying which you can see now with the #metoo sexual harassment movement, Tracy Spicer’s call for female journalists to speak up about bullying and sexual harassment.
“We’re finally seeing people stand with the bullied instead of being afraid of the bully.”
Louboutins, Lattes and Live TV is set to be featured in Cosmopolitan’s January issue and Miriam said the response to her book had been overwhelming and hoped it would help make a difference to people everywhere.
“When I was writing my book I did so with the hope that mothers would give it to their daughters or new graduates with the key message of knowing their value going into the workplace,” she said.
“I want them to know that it’s unacceptable for them to be bullied and that there should never be a ‘cruel to be kind approach’ and it should always a ‘kind to be kind approach’.
“I want people to have the power to stand up and step up for themselves if they need to.
“It’s also important for companies to not only have anti-bullying policies in place but to also have plans on how to execute those policies to properly protect their workers.”