This is something that should be discussed much more regularly than it is, addiction in the workplace.
Having worked at some world leading companies (not a brag - I hated it because due to my addiction), not once was a meeting/training session held on this subject or how to deal with it...
Knowing first hand that in some instances, over half the team were using drugs daily. This is either a clear f*** you to employees, or management is blissfully unaware that they are losing employees, and money, as a result of addiction.
Perfect example...when interviewing for a role the other day, I asked what the company could offer employees on a personal basis - hit with the response “are we interviewing you or are you interviewing us?” (this, by the way, was after being asked whether I had any questions for them…)
Even financially forward thinking businesses have become like sheep over these last few years, only spewing the generic ‘Mental Health’ statistics via bulk email because they see it on the news, scared to receive legal backlash if they are seen to be ignoring the issue.
Come and Talk to us...even though we treat you like shit daily...the irony astounds me.
Not once however, did I hear resolutions to the possible reasons mental health is an issue in the first place. I only read (vs heard...think about that) ‘you can talk to us’ / ‘we want you to feel safe here’ / ‘here is a survey for you to fill out on how you feel’...
Don’t get me wrong, I am sure there are companies out there that do genuinely care about the root derivatives of mental health, but from what I have seen and heard, what I write is predominantly accurate.
The 'cog in a machine' analogy didn't come from nowhere...
I will only speak for myself here, as it would not be my place to discuss anybody else's personal life. It is difficult to establish where the blind eye starts, as your Managing Director/CEO could be an addict themselves. In my experience, my managers also used drugs, and instead of understanding that it is a detriment to performance, ignored the issue for months before handing out daybooks/disciplinaries, for said performance.
Addiction usually stems from a root issue that only the individual either knows, or needs help figuring out.
It is predominantly used as a crutch to numb a particular issue...I think in society, we tend to see it as the other way around…’oh they’re homeless, that’s why they’re an addict’...’they use drugs and that’s why their life is s***’...with a complete disregard for what brought them to that point initially. I have, and I know there will be others out there who have resigned from their job because one issue felt like an overpowering problem they couldn’t deal with, however, after quitting...you may have realised why you incorrectly sent that email/wrote that letter that changed your life forever.
For the life of me, I am unsure why this problem is not consistently tackled in the workplace. This is one of the main reasons I created ‘The Last Strain’ - to minimise issues such as this in workplace environments. I struggle to believe that Management are completely unaware that there are multiple addicts in their employ...given the statistics.
The problem is, due to the stigma around addiction, employees feel uncomfortable speaking to their manager about such issues, I know I did. They think they will be judged, not given any respect, not treated as though they are a functioning member of society.
The problem is...it feeds into the idea of the ‘rat race’...and I assume that’s a major reason as to why management are hesitant to help. They don’t want employees thinking for themselves, knowing that they hold the power, knowing that their pay-cheque doesn’t all have to be spent on weed/cocaine/a new phone/cigarettes/alcohol (it could be a mixture). They would rather the employees be dependant on the pittance they receive for the substantial amount of work they deliver under stressful environments, juxtaposed with possibly horrific home environments.
What a combo eh...
If you are an employee reading this...I urge you to question whether any help has been sent your way, whether on a generic (training) level, or a specific 1 to 1 level...if not...I implore you to question whether that company cares about your health, or how much money you’re making for them...especially during such difficult times.
If you are management/ownership...I urge you to question when the last time was you had a training session/informative discussion with your employees on this topic...and how many of your employees may not be working to their fullest potential because they are addicted to a particular substance/action.
The Last Strain will eventually establish a consultancy on such issues, within the workplace, and offer training sessions on how to make employees feel comfortable speaking about this issue. To any employee reading this, that is not part of management, I guarantee you, some are addicts too...they just hide it better than you.
Decrease employee turnover due to unhappiness, and I GUARANTEE you, your revenue will increase. Employees who feel like they are cared for, care for the work they deliver. If they know they can get away with the current situation of using everyday, and delivering 50% of their performance capacity, they’ll take it.
Let’s change the stigma around addiction, and create some positive outcomes, at the moment...I see none.
I love Nathaniel Drew - A minimalist Youtuber who speaks on topics such as this...a video that may peak your interest is: