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

We're Sorry to Hear You've Been Unwell


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? … [Read More]

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

  1. Selene October 30, 2016 at 12:11 am #

    This is a topic close to my heart cheers. Thanks

  2. Ethnographer November 24, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    We need more research like this to highlight the role of lived body.

  3. Wim Pullen December 5, 2016 at 9:43 am #

    On 16 December 2014 when you received the call Andrea, I was halfway my 6 months recovery after open heart surgery (September 2014). Being a workplace researcher and speaker at conferences I fully agree with the idea that human well being should take the centre stage. However as researchers conditioned by our limited methods (e.g. methods are like -isms. Correlation-ism leads us to deal with dehumanized numbers. In my field of buildings and physical workplaces we say “it is all about counting stories”, how many people are there on the building floors (as a measure of efficient space use). From the anthropologists in my team I learned that methods can also be about “telling stories” as this article does. Especially in research-talks were I illustrate complexity of organizations by telling about my heartsurgery, the complexity of the body, the lack of reproducible and reliable medical research and a personal search for the right combination of medication (all pills have different side effects) I receive more questions about what happened to me personally than about my real subject (workplace changes in turbulent organizations).

    So yes I believe very much in setting new research agenda’s by telling and sharing personal stories and experiences with the possible effect of a good reception with an audience that had same experiences or at least have “fathers, brothers or neighbors” suffering the same shortcomings of dehumanized scientific approaches.

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