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I worked in and around Ballymena in retail for over twenty years. During that time I was a sales assistant and a shop manager, as well as having brief spells away from retail as a barista and a kind of jack-of-all-trades waiter/manager type person.

I’ll get straight to the point. Over that period of twenty years I experienced and witnessed some really bad working conditions and treatment of me and colleagues. Some of my reactions included angrily standing up to it, quietly ignoring it, defiantly fighting it and weeping in utter despair. During my adult life, the workplace has driven me to some horrible low points. When I look back across those twenty years it wasn’t all bad of course but, when I recall certain times, places and people it still makes me deeply sad and angry.

I understand that it’s hard for small businesses and organisations to address every single staffing issue or employees needs attentively. Small businesses are often under tremendous pressure. As a shop manager I saw those pressures from a different perspective. I certainly felt the weight of responsibility to lead staff every day but also, to care for them and help them do their job.

But, as well as my own experiences, I have spoken to a lot of people over the years and heard a lot of horror stories. We could probably write a book on this. A very sad and frustrating book. Bullying, verbal, physical, mental & spiritual abuse, manipulation, illegal practice, blackmail… these are some of the things I have either seen or heard.

It’s not good enough. Business owners need to treat their staff better.

Many businesses do treat people well though. That has to be said too. Since being self-employed I have worked with and alongside some amazing businesses and people. It’s amazing to see a balanced, honest and caring approach to others as part of the very fabric of a business.

Which is why the latest Tamper Tantrum is really important and challenging. Like… REALLY challenging!

Talor Browne’s “Coffee, I love you but you’re bringing me down” brings the topic of coffee professionals’ physical and mental health directly to the forefront of our discussions about the future and sustainability of the coffee industry.

Listen below:

You can also watch the video here.