Tag Archives: Health

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Over the holidays a survey was released about how we interact with our doctors.

English: A female doctor examines a child.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll tell you what it said with a grain of salt since the folks underwriting the survey are from a medical information web service.  They’re a kind of online chat service except the person on the other end is a medical professional.  Why is something like that needed?  Well, according to the survey:

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents have avoided going to a doctor in favor of searching online for medical information on at least one occasion. Americans are bringing their medical questions online for a variety of reasons, with insurance-related concerns, embarrassment, and the fear of discovering a pre-existing condition high on the list.

Not surprisingly, many people don’t go because they lack health insurance or because even with insurance it’s an expensive visit. But a very large number don’t want to ask their questions of a medical professional because those questions are about uncomfortable topics – sex, drug use, etc.  They also admitted lying to the doctor about alcohol use, poor diet, or lack of exercise.  Obviously not asking about something or giving bad information because it makes you uncomfortable can have serious ramifications later on.  Which is exactly the business point.

How many managers ignore symptoms in their own organizations because what they see makes them uncomfortable?  How many of us feel that something is not quite right but don’t take the opportunity of a staff meeting to discuss the symptoms?  Some of the thinking is probably akin to that of people and their physicians:  we are afraid to find out the truth or the discussion itself just makes us uncomfortable.  Most of the time when we do summon the courage to ask the doc about what’s going on it’s nothing.  I suspect the same is true about business – we don’t have complete information about what we’re seeing and a bit more knowledge can ease our fears.  However, sometimes something really is wrong, and just as in a medical situation, catching it early is a lot better than waiting until it’s too late and not much can be done.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” isn’t a way to handle your health or your business.  An open, honest relationship with your doctor and your business team keeps everyone healthy.  You agree?

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I’m Sick

This may be a bit more incoherent than usual today.

Common cold

Common cold (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a foggy brain, a stuffy nose, and body aches.  That’s right – a common cold.  Not unusual, you think, but it really is for me.  Since I stopped commuting to work and flying all over the place, I’ve been sick exactly one other time.  That’s right – one cold in five years (until now).

I’m not sure where I got it although I was in a lot more large crowds over the last week than normal.  Maybe the guy with whom I slapped palms at the Springsteen show last week had a cold.  Maybe it was someone I greeted at the wedding we attended.  Maybe it was someone I was near at the market.  Who knows?  However, it’s good business point.

You can’t (and don’t want to) avoid interacting with other people.  I’m not sure how you do business without doing so.  However, it turns out about 80% of contagious diseases are transmitted by touch.  That’s right – the best protection from the common cold and flu is frequent hand washing.

Our businesses run the risk of infection – something that disrupts their normal functioning – if we don’t take the time to make sure they’re “clean” – that we’re not off-track, that the team is all in sync, and that the contact with outsiders hasn’t done something to disrupt that.  Think of staff meetings or check-ins with your team as a good hand scrubbing.  That sort of communication can prevent a lot of  what ails many businesses.

Now I’m going back to bed.  After I wash my hands….

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Your Boss Is Making You Sick

There was an interesting piece in Lifehacker yesterday that summarized a number of studies on the effects a bad boss can have on your life.  Among other sources, it cites a study by Université Francois Rabelais, and published in the Journal of Business and Psychology (but you  can read about it in The Atlantic).  The gist of that study as well as the others they mention is that the effect of having a bad boss can go way beyond the office:

The psychological climate in which you work has a lot to do with your health and happiness. Recent research has found, perhaps not surprisingly, that bad bosses can affect how your whole family relates to one another. They can also affect your physical healthraising your risk for heart disease.

The Lifehacker article goes on to discuss a number of ways in which one can deal with a bad boss including hobbies, meditation, the HR department, leaving, and others. Of interest to me is that they don’t discuss my preferred solution which is not to get yourself working for a bad boss in the first place.

As I’ve mentioned before, the very first question one should ask when discussing a new job opportunity with a recruiter is “to whom do I report?”  Once you have that name, it’s on you to do every bit of research you can to find out if that person is a fantastic supervisor or Miranda Priestly, the bad boss from hell in The Devil Wears Prada.  Talk to contacts at the company or people who’ve worked for/with the boss-to-be.  A nice title, a nice paycheck, and other things should not cloud your thinking about the potential gig if the boss doesn’t check out.

Of course many of us have been in a situation where the boss changes – the dream for whom you went to work is promoted or leaves and working for the new boss is less preferable than sitting at home ripping out your fingernails with a pliers.  Having had that happen to me on a few occasions, I took my own advice and left.  Loved the company, loved my co-workers, loved my job, hated my boss.  No contest.  Is that always the smartest choice?  Yes, as long as your perspective isn’t focused solely on money (and I get that sometimes it needs to be) as these studies show.  It’s definitely not the easiest choice.

What do you think?  Have you ever left a job you loved because of a bad boss?

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