Friends, Britons, moneymen, lend me your ear.
If only for 300 seconds.
For today, I’ll have you know, is national ‘Time to Talk’ day, and you are impelled, nay, obliged to take 5 minutes out of your day to talk to your pet office nutter, or at the very least, talk about nuttiness or the deranged to your peers in general.
And just in case you run out of stuff to say and are tempted to welch on the deal, you have to log your five minutes on line, so don’t even think about it, sane person!
Oh my. 🙂
This is one of the few times I’d love to be back in the corporate world watching everyone squirm like a fish on a gaff, trying to say something relevant and politically correct, whilst eyeing the clock frantically until the final seconds tick past Or worse still, patronise the nearest depressive (simultaneous outing them) whose name they can’t quite remember, who they’d never normally talk to anyway as they are so far down the food chain.
‘Erm yes, hello young, erm Janice, so you work in accounts…sorry, of course you’re my PA…..yes, I know, 5 years now….well don’t you worry about your depression at all OK? My wife’s second cousin was once hospitalised, but we all talk about it now and go and see her at least once every five years and…erm…well at weddings and funerals. Just try and smile a bit more! What’s that song that American with the mountie hat sings, yes buy a copy of that, that’ll cheer you up! Don’t worry be happy! <guffaws, then looks up>
Is my five minutes up yet? Book me a cab will you?’
To be honest, as a card carrying crazy myself, I’m not even sure how I’d broach the subject.
Check people’s bags for medication?
Host a game of all staff ‘Name that Mental Health Condition!’ perhaps?
Ask for volunteers to talk about their experiences?
Excuse me if I just smiled to myself here 🙂
Because as we all know, no one ever comes clean about having depression/bipolar/BPD etc. if they want to maintain their career and a roof over their head.
Unless you’re stupid like me and believe that honesty is the best policy, and that as long as my condition didn’t effect my work that I’d be allowed to carry on whilst continuing manage myself, and take annual leave NOT sick leave when I felt the black dog approaching, because as most of you know, it didn’t quite work out that way.
Silly, silly, silly Sista…
What I’d have liked to have done was out all the psychopaths at senior management/board level, but that would never happen, because guess what? The sickest folk of all don’t even know they’re sick, because they have no conscience or empathy whatsoever! They want what they want, and don’t care who they need to stamp all over to get it.
And they’d probably implement and deliver their 5 minutes of faux support talk to some unsuspecting pill popper, words flying off their tongue, as slick as greased weasel shit, and then walk away looking like a hero.
I know some of you normal folk will be thinking ‘What a cynical, miserable old cow, what’s wrong with this campaign? At least they’re trying to open a dialogue about this awkward and potentially alienating subject matter?’
And you’re right.
But 5 minutes of patronising small talk is nowhere near enough my friend, even if you were lucky enough to find someone mad enough to be ‘out’ and tolerate your enforced waffle.
Because any real change in the work place will only be implemented from the top down and would take someone with a fine set of balls, a bit of moral courage and some vision which as we all know is sadly lacking when it comes to most companies.
Because it might cost money.
It might affect productivity.
It might create a need for flexible working hours.
They might flip out if I shout at them!
I won’t be able to sack them without looking like a total prick!
Someone might attack me like that bloke in American Psycho!
Calm down bitches. Little do you know, but that guy is probably already on your dream team 😉
It might mean that the powers that be would have to entertain the idea of valuing honest people with honest feedback as opposed to ass sucking, greasy pole shinning, silver tongued spin masters talking crap in order to justify their huge salaries whilst hundreds of normal working people get laid off.
Because if people continue to be ousted from the workplace and pushed to the sidelines just because they once had a breakdown, are on medication, have to have the odd duvet day, or all of the above, then companies are missing out of working with brave, competent, highly skilled, deeply creative individuals with excellent emotional intelligence and the highly underrated talent of being able to recognise one of they own and support them in their time of need.
And I can put my emotions to one side and be objective about this. I know the potential pitfalls of hiring someone who has a history of mental illness. I’m a bit mad but by no means stupid.
I know certain people wouldn’t flourish in highly pressured roles, boring pedantic jobs or jobs where one has to compromise their integrity, or be willing to fall under the bus whenever deftly pushed by their blame adverse line manager.
But everyone has something they are good at, and if they work in an environment of acceptance and understanding (or the willingness to understand at the very least) they will flourish, contribute, think outside the box and bring no end of benefits to a variety of industries.
Does everyone really want team after team of ‘yes’ men who kiss their asses and big up their ideas and strategies, even when said strategies are not performing?
I have recently had the great satisfaction of now knowing that all the initiatives and target deals that I was meant to bring in three years ago, never came to fruition after all, even when worked on by men three levels senior to me. The projects they blamed me for not ‘negotiating properly’. And now, having no one to dump the blame on, they are being let go, and everything i predicted has finally come to pass.
But joking aside, that didn’t have to happen. And whilst people for a while questioned my sanity, there was and is absolutely nothing wrong with my business acumen.
So to the Alan Sugars, Richard Bransons and Peter Jones’ of this world, please step up to the plate and start creating jobs, even part time or casual positions for people with actual mental health conditions, setting an example to others in this country, and prove that we can be valuable team players. In other words…
Put your money where your mouth is; or you ain’t saying nothing.
And, to reversion that old Stranglers song:
I need a job where I can live what I said
I need a place that understands my head
Where the boss doesn’t curse and wish me dead
if you don’t hassle me mister I won’t lose my head
Five minutes and you’re nowhere near
Five days and I’ll address my fears
Five weeks and you might see
What an asset I might be
Five months and I’ll still be there
And you’ll be pleased you took my dare
Five years and you’ll forget why
You ever thought I could not fly