I’d like to be able to say that I could never understand someone who stayed in a job that was making them ill, but I can’t because I’ve done it myself. The moment of realisation came when my astonishing wife put her arms around me and said “Don’t worry about the job, we’ll survive”. Sometimes you need a “kick up the pants” to make you see what is blindingly obvious to everyone else. So when I’m advising employers not to drag performance reviews out because the employee claims to be suffering from stress, it’s not because I’m one of those remarkable individuals who believes “lunch is for wimps” or “holidays are for also-rans”. It’s because something is seriously wrong and a quick resolution is usually the best way to deal with it.
I can hear people now saying “It wasn’t the job it was my manager”. Well maybe, but which is easier to change, your job or your manager? So if you are dealing with a person who isn’t performing, and instead of dealing with the issue they have gone sick, taking the slow, soft approach could actually be making their health problems worse.
I have always worked hard at whatever I do (despite the “occasional” lapse into cake breaks!),but a job is just a job. Compared to my wife, my kids, and my health it comes bottom of the list.
Sometimes you need to be firm with an employee to make them realise this.