When I worked for the Government many years ago, I walked past the office of a Director and saw him sleeping behind his desk. I was very upset. I was told later that he was suffering from a sleeping illness.
It was my job to read letters of brilliant professionals commenting on proposed legislation and amend the said legislation appropriately. I saw a few of these letters containing incoherent sentences with missing letters in the words. In some cases the words were misplaced and the sentences became a bit difficult to read. I subsequently realised that something must probably be wrong with this person’s health. It is a sad end to that person’s professional career.
I recently worked in a team where one person, being diagnosed with cancer many years ago, told us of his treatment and the costs thereof. Apparently, the doctors told him that there is nothing more they can do for him. I could see in his eyes that he was suffering, but notwithstanding his suffering, he was showing a very positive attitude; making jokes about his illness and - as an IT specialist – was always ready to assist his fellow team members with their IT problems.
My opinion is that we all have our daily ups and downs, but some need to try harder, carrying this “thorn in the flesh” with them. There are many illnesses and people go to work with these illnesses, and most of the time their colleagues do not know of their situation when dealing with him or her. Life is hard and they need to “carry on”, because, there is no place for “wimps” in the workplace.
Some of the afore-mentioned people may be dealing with depression (hereditary illness), anxiety, post traumatic stress, the after effects of bilharzia (a parasite in the system) and malaria, that can make that individual tired every day. Some may need to take supplements with their medication to keep them going. People in general do not like to speak about their illnesses, as they do not want to compromise their public image and will keep up a front until they need to take leave for treatment of the illness. At this stage they usually tell their closest friends about it and normally it is not long before everybody knows.
People living with an illness normally endeavour to do their best in their work, and where relevant, assist their children with their homework and sport, showing their “human spirit”. “It is inevitable that some defeat will enter even the most victorious life. The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated … it is finished when it surrenders.” – Ben Stein. I wonder how many people out there, in the workforce are suffering from an illness they do not want to share with others, and it makes daily life difficult for them? The fact is, nobody, especially your boss wants to hear excuses, as they need to see results. Many people may have sympathy with you, but they know that the person with the illness may need to work until he or she literally dies behind his or her desk or in the job. This is a reality and there is no free meal out there, even if you knowingly are dying in your job.
For all the hard workers out there with a “thorn in the flesh”, keep believing that your illness may be cured and keep on doing your best.
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