Thursday, October 23, 2014

Another case of the warm fuzzies

Now that we are past the age where the three martini lunch was an acceptable daily interlude, it is not acceptable for anyone to be under the influence of anything (other than a post-four hour meeting daze) in the work place.

Back in the late 70's and early 80's I worked in a restaurant that was a destination lunch place for a bunch of office park employees. We had cab company phone numbers next to the phone for those who could not safely drive themselves back to the office. Over the five years I was there, often working as a cashier, I watched the lunch checks go from three martinis to one glass of wine or a single Bloody Mary or other vodka based drinks. Times changed even then.

Later in the 1990's I worked for a British company and went to the UK regularly for week long trips. I was usually taken out to lunch at a local pub where I was expected to have a beer, or at least a half pint Shandy (lemon/lime soda with beer) with my meal. I usually declined because it would cause my jet lagged body to demand a post meal nap instead of working for the afternoon. In the US, I think its very rare that alcoholic beverages are consumed at lunch during the business day any more. I don't think any work place is immune to impaired employees but some of them have more long lasting implications than others.

When we go to the doctor we make a few basic assumptions, that they are trained and know what they are doing, they won't hesitate to consult their peers when they are unsure, and they are sober. While the majority of doctors would report their impaired colleagues, 17 percent actually have dealt with one. Um, do the math, that's one in six. I'm not picking on doctors and actually believe that they are probably one of the more conscientious industries. They are probably less likely to go out for fancy lunches to celebrate a business deal, or even have time to do more than grab a quick bite during the day. But when its my body and health that's being treated here, I would like the basics.

What astounded me about this article is that the numbers are so high. What it doesn't state is if the 17 percent reflects over their career they have dealt with impaired employees or over the past five years. We need a little more information here before becoming concerned. But I am already concerned. Should I start sniffing their breath?

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