Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Work and Misplaced Loyalty

When I first returned to work, I was so grateful that my boss held my job, I pledged undying loyalty. It felt right to do it and I wish I hadn’t.

It’s not that my boss is bad, or my job is bad, or anything like that, it is just that commitments made after treatment should fall into a certain category. There should be a year – maybe two -- withdrawal policy on such commitments.

It kind of goes like this, “I am so thankful for not losing my job, I will gladly stay here forever, if that’s what you need dear boss.”

The boss if he/she has any mettle in their spins should retort, “Easy there hero. You’ve been through a lot and you may feel different later. Remember, I kept you to do work, not because I’m a nice guy/gal.”

But bosses won’t do that. They’ll take you up on your offer and expect you to keep your word.

But what really happens is the patient in remission – that’s right patient – is in no condition mentally, spiritually, or physically to make that kind of commitment, but the patient does anyway (even if it is unspoken).

But. The workplace is unkind, unforgiving, and ruthless. Some employers may be kind at first, but once your cancer fades into their background, they aren’t interest in your neuropathy, physical limitations, or side any effects you may still be experiencing.

Once Maslow’s hierarchy of needs kicks in, the you may start resenting the commitment they made; you may feel like they are being taken advantage of (excuse the ending of this sentence). You get your ambition back, you get your drive back, and you get your desire to do well for your family back. But it’s too late. Your last name is “He Had Cancer.”

You know. “That’s Bill,” they’ll say. “He Had Cancer.”

And pretty soon promotions go to the next guy and eventually the patient will hear these words (or some form of them), “You survived cancer; this (fill in the blank) is nothing compared to that.”

And there you are; your thankfulness and loyalty tossed across the employee parking lot, but you’re stuck. You’re stuck because you drifted far from the lessons cancer taught you; you’re stuck because the bills keep coming, and you forgot what it was like to almost die; and you’re stuck because you were loyal when you should have been selfish.

That’s just what I was told. It never happened to me.

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