Swine Flu pt1

It may be a storm in a teacup. It may be the media exploiting our fears to sell their newspapers etc… but…

What angers me about this sort of thing is that the spreading of infectious diseases could be reduced (probably significantly) with a change of attitude. Let’s not beat around the bush… if “we” in the West were less concerned about working hard and making money, then fewer people would die. Who can deny it? Even without considering the serious health detriments of stress, and the exploitation of the weak by large corporations, we simply don’t have our priorities right as far as the so-called “work-life balance” is concerned. I am personally seeing, and it seems to be an emerging pattern on a wider scale, tougher sickness policies in companies, along the lines of “Three Strike and You’re Out” and suchlike – where “Out” is thankfully not as harsh as “Fired,” but rather “On Statutory Sick Pay” (and if one has a look at what SSP is in the UK, “paltry” is a word which comes to mind). Even aside from official policy, however, how often do we see these stories, in our manipulative media, about how many people are “pulling sickies,” the damage this does to “our economy,” and so on? Presuming there is a core of truth in these tales (and I suppose there must be some truth), does anyone stop to ask why so many people are (allegedly) “pulling sickies”? And what about the cost to the population’s health (and by extension, inevitably, to “the economy”) of stress and overwork and so on? All this leads to a pervading unhealthy attitude towards ill health and what to do about it…

“One must struggle on!”

“I’ll battle through!”

…and so on.

…with the nation’s workforce feeling (or being made to feel) guilty for having any time off for any reason. Endless justification and forms to fill in and “back to work interviews” and the like. An utter lack of trust for people to tell the truth and have as much time off as is needed to recover from whatever ails them… which, by the way, may not be physical, but may be equally or more debilitating than a bout of Swine Flu or whatever (how pathetic is 3 days off for “compassionate leave”?). Particularly in the case of infectious diseases (such as Swine Flu), doesn’t it make more economic sense to actively encourage (through policy and through a more general change in attitude) people to go home and stay home if they have an illness that they may spread around a company, thus causing more people to have to take time off, and so on? I’m speaking in economic terms here, because this is the kind of language Western Capitalist Corporations and the servants thereof understand, but I personally happen to believe “we” have our priorities utterly arse-over-tit, and that economic factors shouldn’t override all else… far from it… but still… change the world one step at a time and all that.

One last point I want to mention is that, being as I am now a dad (and have been for one year and one day, as of today, the 17th of July 2009), although I was concerned about such things as the above previous to my dadhood, my concern for such has increased several fold, and this kind of issue is much more personal and emotional to me now. I want to protect my child and my family. I want to protect our present and our future. Reconciling my “responsibilities” and my beliefs/principles was always a tricky tightrope to walk… that tightrope has now got a whole lot thinner and more wobbly! I am working on improving my tightrope-walking skills day-by-day…

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2 comments on “Swine Flu pt1

  1. flandrumhill says:

    Here in Canada we have so few holidays compared to some European countries, such as Germany. Nova Scotia was the last province in Canada to allow Sunday shopping and this only contributes to making the situation worse. Many people do run themselves ragged.

    On the up side, more people are working from home. It’s amazing how efficient you can become by just focusing on doing work instead of the act of going to work.

  2. pepsoid says:

    More working from home = getting the job efficiently done, leaving more time for idling etc… ban offices! Everyone work from home! 🙂

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