Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Jobs and health issues relating to working ability

If you have a medical condition, does it impact your ability to do your job? Well, yes it could. Perhaps you injured your back and can no longer perform a job that requires standing or lifting objects. What if you have a chronic condition (note: cancer is treated as a chronic disease these days)? But your brain still works and can you still contribute to the company. Would you/should you tell your potential employer of your limitations due to your medical history? No, absolutely not unless they need to know. If it in anyway impacts your ability to perform your job that is different than if you have a condition that is under control.

A case in point are the recent stories on Steve Jobs. He had a form of pancreatic cancer a few years back and recently had experienced a significant weight loss. The news headlines rang out - his cancer is back, he's going to die. Apple stock tanked. Then did he have a heart attack? Stock really tanked. The media was ready to bury him before he died. Did he perform his job in the past year? As far as I can tell he did. Also, a company is more than just one person. One person cannot be identified as a company. Someday he is going to die (sorry but true, life is a terminal condition and this will happen to all of us). However, he's not dead yet. He's still working. And the company is still going strong.

This is just one example of the millions out there fear and discrimination in the work place and other relationships. Just because someone at one time had an illness, it doesn't mean they will drop dead on you. Or that they are contagious. Or that the brain doesn't work (okay, I will admit chemo brain can be limiting). But they still are who they are and should be treated as such. Don't turn your back on these people, treat them as you would normally. I know it isn't my place to speak for Steve Jobs or Apple Computer but my point is this isn't such a rare form of bias as you might think. It happens all the time.

Okay, that was my soap box rant for the day. Maybe because I have a cold I am being extra crabby. Or the fact that I am trying to type and the (15 lb) cat insists on helping by sitting on my lap. Yesterday I worked all afternoon. Today, I am going to work from home and see how I feel. I may just stay home (as was recommended by my husband) but I have not decided yet (should I start listening to my husband now?).

1 comment:

Daria said...

Hi Caroline,

Thanks for that rant ... after being diagnosed with cancer and completing the treatment, I left my job because I didn't like fellow employees knowing I was ill.

My next employer never knew I had cancer ... as I was in remission. That was the best.

My present employer knows because I had a recurrence.

Some day I hope to go back to work ... I hate the fact my employer knows ... because they and fellow employees will treat me differently ... I know it.

Anyways thanks for bringing up the topic,

Daria