Wednesday, 29 March 2017

‘We're Sorry to Hear You've Been Unwell…’ Personal Reflections on Health and Well-being in the Workplace

an essay by Andrea Prothero (University College Dublin) published in Journal of Management Studies Volume 54 Issue 1 (January 2017)

Opening Paragraphs

Open Heart Surgery

At 6pm on 16 December 2014 while sat at my kitchen table and slowly marking 500+ exams I received a call from my cardiologist. As expected, the various tests I had completed all proved to be normal. However, a cardiac CT scan had surprisingly identified a rare and life-threatening anomaly. It seemed I suffered from a condition which occurs in less than one per cent of the population and could (though might not) lead to me becoming a victim of sudden cardiac death. Open heart surgery beckoned five weeks later. I was not seriously ill before my surgery; tests were sparked by a single fainting episode and a low heart rate detected via an App. Neither the cardiologist nor my 47 year-old self expected such an outcome. Open-heart surgery is serious business, recovery takes about six months to be on the right side of ‘normal’ and another six before you are ‘fully’ recovered. Thankfully, long-term prognosis is excellent and I have recently been discharged from the cardiologists’ care.

What then was my experience of returning to work after a lengthy absence? Here, I provide an intimate introspective account and hope it provides food for thought for future managerial research in the health and well-being arena.

It should be noted that an income protection policy meant I did not have to worry about money during my absence from work, a privilege that is not afforded to many others with long term illness.

Full text (PDF)

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