A couple of emails have come into the blog over the past few days (emails to southside socialist at hotmail dot co dot uk) which suggest that the problems within Lush previously raised by employees here haven’t been resolved. This is one of them, with identifying details omitted.
You absolutely have permission to post this, with any identifying details left out or omitted. I’m doing this to warn other people and so wouldn’t want to have it come back to bite me.
Thank you for your kindness, it’s been difficult as I did really love the job itself. The company set up is very very flawed with major problems everywhere. Overall it was a toxic environment and that’s my silver lining for having left.
I’ve read your blog for the entirety of my career at Lush, I used it as a warning for me to get out when things got bad. I found I didn’t listen, however I should have.
I was recently dismissed, without any form of disciplinary warning (verbal or written). Their excuse for this was that my service only stood at 1 year 8 months, and the minimum for a proper disciplinary was 2 years.
The reasons they gave me were poor attitude, reluctance to work and unprofessional attitude on social media. I found these reasons to be ironic and somewhat insufficient as I had been sent to work to London with them twice through my consistent hard work both in store, and on their social media accounts as their social media representative. I also found it ironic that one of the reasons was unprofessional attitude on social media due to the fact that the company who praises themselves on allowing staff to be who they want to be, and hiring people solely based on performance, and not of personal background. The other two reasons were based upon two weeks of developmental feedback. I don’t think it’s fair that my whole career with them was whittled down by a bad fortnight.
I had also disclosed to my manager that I was having mental health problems, and was seeking help from the NHS a week before my dismissal meeting took place.
I was given a four weeks paid notice period, and asked to leave immediately. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and questioned everything I’d done wrong (one of my pieces of feedback was that ‘I looked like i didn’t want to be there’). I felt more so embarrassed because a manager of mine had recently been demoted for having 7 counts of bullying raised against them. This manager had a chance to appeal the decision, and was still given a job, just not one as high up as they had before.
This highlights how utterly inconsistent Lush is as an employer. They’re supposedly great to work for, and I just think that people need to learn that all that glitters is not gold with Lush. I’ve moved on now, but please do keep me anonymous. I just wanted to tell my story as a warning to other young folk getting excited about a career with Lush. Lush doesn’t give a fuck about what you want. If you’re not management, they just view you as a drunk student working part-time. That’s all you’ll be to them, I assure you.
It’s too late for this person’s career with Lush, but my advice to anyone, in any job, is make sure you have joined an appropriate union, and at the first sign of anything worrying, get their support. That’s what they’re for.
A couple of other emails have come in from someone else. We’re in the process of discussing what they would like published, and they are providing me with certain documents as evidence of their story. It’s another of the sort of story that makes me want to tear my hair out. So watch this space.
For me, the hardest thing about depression hasn’t been low mood, it’s been my complete lack of motivation. I go to work, I come home, and I spend every evening and weekend on the sofa eating carbs. From swimming 3-5 times a week and pilates at least once a fortnight for the past couple of years, this year from January to April I swam twice other than class. I’ve put back on all the weight I lost in the last 2 years, which doesn’t help my dodgy hip, and just urgh. Swimming is very important to me; it’s cardiovascular and strengthening, it supports weight loss, it helps me sleep, it’s mentally relaxing and can be almost meditative for me, it relieves and prevents pain in my hip, it’s something I can do comfortably and confidently, or I can challenge myself to go faster, use better technique, improve my weaker strokes, and it’s something I enjoy. No matter how pissed off I am when I get into the water, no matter how annoying other people in the pool can be, the act of cleaving through the water makes me feel better. So not being able to motivate myself to go has been difficult for me, in lots of ways. I took annual leave the week beginning 13th April, and the following Monday & Tuesday. I had hoped to use the time to get back into an exercise groove and I wanted to swim every day and do one or two classes as well. In the end, I only managed to swim three times. To be honest, I’m disappointed I didn’t manage more than that, but I’m trying to look at it as a good start rather than a fail. Stroke development started again on Friday after the Easter break and I headed up to it, but there was a power cut at the pool and it was cancelled. Owing to annual leave I was only at work Wednesday-Friday last week and I’d aimed to swim at least once on Saturday or Sunday, but I just couldn’t do it. I sat on the sofa with a loaf of sourdough and a jar of peanut butter, feeling that I was letting myself down. I think work is taking it out of me more than I realise, and I think that because I have started to feel better, I’m assuming I’m better than I am and I’m expecting too much of myself. The good news is, a meeting finished early today and I took advantage of that and was in the pool by 1630 and did a kilometre. I also managed what might be my fastest ever 50 metre length, 67 seconds, and my average speed per length was pretty good (for me). Months of eating carbs obviously agrees with me. I might not make it to the pool again this week before Friday, I might not make it there next weekend. But I might. And if I don’t, that’s fine, and if I do, that’s great.
Now that I’ve acknowledged that things aren’t right, I’m trying to use the periods when I do have a bit of motivation to set myself up for when I don’t. So this morning I realised the prospect of the walk to Lauriston Place and back was too much for me and I scrapped the idea of giving blood. Instead, I went to Tesco and then to the Wee Boulangerie for a loaf of rye sourdough. Then I came home, had a sit down, and had bread and peanut butter for lunch. I spent the afternoon reading The Monogram Murders and watching the last 3 sets in the Davis Cup men’s doubles.
This evening I chopped up some onions and garlic and put them in a frying pan on a very low heat to soften, while I had a sit down. Once I felt like getting up again, I chopped up the 6 packs of tomatoes I accidentally ordered the other week instead of 6 tomatoes, and stuck them in the pan too, with a bay leaf, some honey and some balsamic vinegar. Once that’s all cooked down, I’ll have pasta sauce for 2 dinners this week and another couple for the freezer. Tomorrow I will make Anjun Anand’s spinach with black-eyed beans and that will be two more dinners for this week and two more for the freezer.
So I’ve used the small pockets of energy and motivation I’ve had today to make sure I’ll have decent meals when I get in from work with no energy and motivation. And when I was too schlumpy at lunchtime to make a decent lunch, I had really nice bread and peanut butter which was easy and so delicious it didn’t feel like I’d settled for the only thing I could manage.
Since about mid-December
– no motivation at all to do anything. My usual exercise regime of swimming 3-5 times a week plus 1 session of pilates has been reduced to swimming class once a week (and I think I only struggle to that because I don’t have to talk to anyone while I’m there). Apart from class, I’ve swum once this year and managed one session of pilates. I’ve made it to one of my silver classes and every other Tuesday night I’ve got home from work and been utterly unable to go out again. I’m spending every weekend in my pyjamas doing nothing, not even cleaning my teeth until bedtime. On Saturday I was really thirsty and it took me 40 minutes to work up the oomph to walk five paces and get a drink of water
– bad thoughts. No thoughts of suicide or self-harm, but constant thoughts about bad things happening to loved ones, like daydreams of awfulness which eventually bring me to tears unless something external gets me out of it, like a phone call or a cat jumping on my head
– really tired all the time, but no changes to my sleep pattern
– joint pain, especially really sore elbows in the morning
– the elbows might be because the 2+ stone I have lost over the past 2 years has all gone back on in the past 3 months and lying on them hurts. Not motivated to cook properly for myself, living on delicious chocolate and biscuits. All I want is sugar and carbs
– no desire to socialise at all, just want to be left alone in silence
– all my work paperwork is up to date, for the first time in ever, because I’d rather sit at my desk typing than make phone calls or visits.
– all of the things that I should do to combat it all, like exercise and eating healthily, are utterly beyond me
– I can make an effort and put a front up in front of other people, but as soon as I’m on my own I turn into a big schlumping human beanbag. I’m trudging through a sludgy brown world instead of skipping (or at least ambling) through a world of colour
Saw the GP today and agreed that we would do blood tests to check for thyroid problems etc and if that’s all normal then we’ll start antidepressants. We also agreed that there was no point telling me to eat healthily and do regular exercise, cos I was doing all that when it started, and if I could do it now I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor in the first place.