A Deeper Dive into What It’s Like to Come to Work with a Serious Illness: And It’s Impact.

Scroll down to read more!

A Deeper Dive into What It’s Like to Come to Work with a Serious Illness: And It’s Impact.

Scroll down to read more!

Table of Contents

A Deeper Dive into What It’s Like to Come to Work with a Serious Illness: And It’s Impact.

If you’ve never had a previous serious illness, you might want to learn a few things about the impact that it has … On the person, on their loved ones and on their Company. It actually is huge.

For example,

I remember when my Mother was in her 60’s. Like other women, she still worked. She was single, needed to make a living. Although my brother was grown and out of the house … he was 26 when he was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma. That was in November and he was gone by the next November. I was the older sister. He was the “baby” brother. I lived in Chicago and he moved back to Miami to be closer to Mom. So, I was on the phone every day with Mom, with him AND, I had a full-time job as a professor at a small university. Oh, and I had an 8-month-old baby at home.

From a Mother’s perspective, even to a grown child, what I observed in my Mom’s ability to handle it all was beyond awful. She would go to work every day, filled with sadness and yet hope that maybe a cure would come. She and I were in constant contact, but remember, no cell phones operated then … so it was all long distance.

Long story short, she only lived a couple more years after his death. In the interim, she was depressed, not functioning well, not taking care of herself = Not working to her potential

Let’s bring this closer to home. 

If anyone close to you OR you has or has had a serious illness, e.g. cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinsons’ MS … anything like that, you are experiencing some of the following:

Sadness

Anxiety

Feelings of helplessness

Guilt

Exhaustion (especially if you are the caretaker)

And, if YOU are the one with the illness, you have all of those feelings too AND a couple more …

    •     Fear
    •     Financial concerns
    •     How to tell and help your children/family handle it
    •     The full symptoms and fathoms of the Illness
    •     Not knowing what to say to your peers at work
    •     Exhaustion

So, if there is any doubt to the fact that people with illness (their own or that of a loved one) have to handle their responsibilities at work well and why they aren’t always doing a great job.… THINK AGAIN.

Now imagine that that person holds a very high-level position. He/ she knows that everyone there knows about the illness (it’s hard to keep it secret). People avoid him/her, not knowing what to say or pass him by with a mumble.

How about changing the way you communicate? What are things you could say to anyone … the person with the illness or a family member?

Here are a few examples:

    •     “I’m thinking of you today.”
    •     “Let us know if there’s anything you need.”
    •     Can I help you with something?

Is there anything you need me to “cover for you at work?

Don’t run away and avoid them. They already feel uncomfortable and avoided because people don’t know what to do or say. So, do something they can appreciate … something nice. If they are feeling ill, offer a ride. If they seem lonely, suggest going out for a meal. In other words, be a fellow human being on this planet.

Now, on another note, and this is important:

it’s quite possible that they don’t want any attention. If that’s the case, then honor that.. allow them to navigate their experience on their time and in their own way.

The point of all this is this:

It takes compassion and the positive qualities of being a “caring human being” to be there for your -coworkers. Truth be known:  The odds are that at least 40 – 60% of any of us gets a major illness. Next time, it might be you, or someone you love, right? So think, “how would I want to be treated?”

 

Ann Fry, MSW, PCC, is an executive leadership coach and speaker. She has extensive experience in organizations of all sizes, both training and coaching their high potential and leadership teams. She is a cancer survivor and now spends much of her time specializing in taking this information and training into companies. Her website is: annfry.com and her email is [email protected]

Did you like this post? Share it!

A Word From Our Sponsors

Ads help make Workology resources free for everyone. We respect your privacy. To see our Privacy Policy click here.

Recommended Posts

Places to visit while in Chicago for the #SHRM13

Top 10 Must Sees in Chicago During #SHRM24

Must Sees in Chicago at the 2024 SHRM Annual Conference We’ve taken the stress out of planning and done all the work for you....

5 Foods You Have to Eat During #SHRM24 in Chicago

5 Foods You Have to Eat During #SHRM24 in Chicago Check out our free Yoga for HR class and take a break from #shrm24...

Discover the Best of Chicago

Top 10 Things to do in Chicago

Check out our free Yoga for HR class and take a break from #shrm24 at www.yogaforhr.com. Top 10 Things to do in Chicago Chicago...

HR Certification Podcast Episode 13: HR Metrics & Formula Review for HRCI & SHRM

In this episode of the HR Certification Podcast, we are reviewing the HR-to-staff ratio as well as the cost of vacancy (COV)....

HR Certification Podcast Episode 14: Leadership Review for HRCI & SHRM Exams

In this episode of the HR Certification Podcast, we are reviewing the balanced scorecard as well as types of scorecards within HR....

How HR Can Maintain Discipline and Ethics in the Workplace

Everyone deserves to feel safe at work, and companies are obliged to protect their workers and maintain discipline in the office. This includes putting...

Successful SHRM recertification

Your Path to Successful SHRM Recertification

Navigate your SHRM recertification journey with our guide. Uncover the process, benefits, and tips for successful career advancement in HR....
HR wellness retreat recruiting burnout stress reduction

How My Own Wellness Journey Led to Hosting an HR Wellness Retreat

Join us for Hretreat 2024, a wellness retreat for HR and TA professionals from October 10-13 in the beautiful hills of Austin, TX....

Checkout Our Products

Ads help make Workology resources free for everyone. We respect your privacy. To see our Privacy Policy click here.

More From Workology

Discover the Best of Chicago

Top 10 Things to do in Chicago

Click on read more to open this post on our blog.

5 Things to Do In Chicago During #SHRM24

Click on read more to open this post on our blog.

Going Paperless: Transitioning to a PDF-Based Workflow for Enhanced Efficiency

Click on read more to open this post on our blog.

How to Migrate a Brick-and-Mortar Business Into the Digital Domain

Click on read more to open this post on our blog.