Stress, Anger


It’s GDPR week and every second email seems to be about it. I’ve also had to do a GDPR e-learning course. I have to confess I thought it was going to be fairly straightforward. How much do individual employees need to know about this stuff, I asked myself. It turns out I was wrong. It didn’t help that I chose to do it in the evening when people are prone to interrupt about minor issues like dinner.

The course consisted of a lot of information and case studies. You had to choose who was a data controller or a processor or a third party or whatever then read about lots of dates and laws and what not. “Mum, I’m hungry…” said only son. His dad was in Spain. “Just wait a moment. Mum is trying to decide whether John Anderson from some jewellery company is a data processor or a third party and whether he can claim a GDPR breach,” I muttered. Daughter one waded in with her dream about failing all her exams. “Not now. Is John Anderson being denied his right of access or his right of communication?” I asked myself. Daughter one retreated. I could tell that she didn’t care much about John Anderson.

“How long is this course?” I muttered. It seemed to be going on for ever. Finally, it said, “you have completed the course”. Halleluia. Overcome with relief and on a bit of a GDPR high, I decided I should take the quiz. I failed. It asked me stuff about dates and rights and a lot of the options sounded very similar. I’d taken notes, but I wasn’t planning on this being like a university exam that I needed to revise for. All I want to know is how it applies to my job.

I emailed a coach after a dad got in touch to say his wife needed help with returning to work. She got back to me and said she couldn’t help, but copied in a colleague. Ping. Another email came in from her. “Is copying in a breach of GDPR?” she asked. I had done my course, but I had no idea. I only knew about John Anderson and his problems with getting payroll data.

Only son came up to me. “Mum, I’ve been cleaning our room,” he said. Note the ‘our’. As my partner is away only son is moving into our bedroom, although he is there most nights in any event. In fact, the other day he told he he was studying rhetorical questions in English. I asked if he could give me an example of a rhetorical question. He paused. “Can I sleep in your bed?” he said. Hmm. I went to look at the room. The bed was perfectly made with two teddy bears – one for me and one for him and lots of pillows. He’d even cleaned all the shelves.

Downstairs his sisters were listening to Eurovision yet again – mainly the Swedish entry. We also have it in the car for school runs. Usually we fast forward past Israel because no-one likes the song and several people think Sweden was robbed. We did listen the other day. “I’m not your toy. You stupid boy,” the singer shouted. “That’s very rude,” said only son. “Boys are not stupid.” I tried to explain that she didn’t mean all boys, and certainly not only son – just the ones who treat girls like objects. Only son agreed, after interrogation by his sisters, that he would never ever do that.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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