The World According To Damien
in a World gone mad – one sane voice emerges…

Damien on… How To Avoid A Work-Related-Stress Nervous Breakdown

WALK AWAY! Oh – you want more? Okay…

The thing is, the human brain REBELS after around ten years of doing the same thing day after day after day after DAY. It is UNNATURAL.

Thus while PROMOTION is normally considered important for raising one’s status and SALARY, its REAL value is more important than both of those put together – promotion means your JOB WILL CHANGE.

The old saying “A change is as good as a rest” is TRUE.

Without that ESSENTIAL change of duties, every seven years or so – people go POSTAL.

And it happens without warning – a small thing triggers it. We all know someone who one day knocked their coffee into their lap and suddenly went BALLISTIC – smashed up their office, then lay in a corner in the foetal position, sobbing uncontrollably.

Eventually, the men in the white coats came and carried them away. A few weeks later, they returned and everybody treated them GENTLY – for a week or two. Then, being human, everyone treated them the same as before.

Perhaps YOU WERE that person. If so, you will know the REST of the story. After a day or two’s observation, you were released from the hospital with a note for your doctor. He gave you some pills and signed you off from work for a couple of weeks – a month, if you were lucky.

Then you returned to work. After a bit, everyone began treating you as if you were the same as before – but you were NOT. You had been BROKEN – like a horse. You WILL NEVER be the same as before.

At this point, the casual reader will assume this writer has HAD one of these episodes. Well actually, NO – he SIDE-STEPPED it. When he realised he was headed that way – and knew that having a will as strong as his (not to mention a loose grip on reality) would result in him totally LOSING HIS SANITY – he did what he advised at the top of this dissertation – he WALKED AWAY.

But of course, not everyone is ABLE to. There are many who are too locked into their life-styles (a mortgage, a wife, several children, etc.) to contemplate dropping off the ladder and starting again. There ARE a number of stock-brokers who have become pig farmers, but most of them do not have FAMILIES – at least, not NOW.

Of course, this is why most companies and organisations HAVE The Ladder to begin with. They know that changing their employees’ jobs every few years will stop them having that meltdown.

However, not everyone WORKS for one of those companies. Many people find themselves in jobs that HAVE no Ladder – or find The Ladder being snatched from under them, when their company gets taken over by another – or “merges” – or simply “down-sizes”.

In fact these days, only by becoming a police officer or a soldier can you GUARANTEE that all-important Ladder.

This scribbler has known a NUMBER of people who have crashed (which is how he knows so much about the problem, without having actually EXPERIENCED it).

So how likely IS it that YOU will succumb?

Well, this observer is convinced that the British government, at least, is less than eager to reveal the true figures – and it is not hard to see why. If the truth became known, every time a person had a bad day at work, they would be convinced they were headed for the laughing academy – and QUIT. Britain would grind to a halt within WEEKS.

H.M.G. would much rather just accept the FINANCIAL cost of the crack-ups and IGNORE the HUMAN cost.

It is a bit like the legal age that children are allowed to be “latch-key kids” – no-one knows what it IS. Why? Because if the government set an age and PUBLICISED it, thousands of workers – particularly single-parents – would also have to quit.

In THAT case, H.M.G. would rather just tut-tut every time someone leaves their kids at home while they graft and returns to find their house a smoking ruin. It happens rarely – and when it does, they can simply blame the parent.

But I digress. The point is, I have seen three of my best friends and a relative go down this path. In fact the only close friend I have who worked for DECADES in a high-stress job WITHOUT imploding – only managed to keep going thanks to regular imbibitions of The Devil’s Dandruff.

And he was not alone. The line-workers in the U.S. car industry were ALL stoned during the Seventies. It was well known. Of course, the corporations insisted they were HEAVILY committed to stamping out drug use. But privately, they soft-pedalled – knowing if they REALLY came down against it, they would be out of business within a year.

One last thought – is it not ironic that the only two professions that still have The Ladder (the cops and the military) are considered “high-pressure” jobs – and as such, their employees can quit on full pension after only 25 years?

I mean, ALL jobs become high-pressure after the ten years – but with THOSE, you are expected to keep at it for up to FIFTY!

This reporter walked away after just twenty-five years – and has NEVER regretted it.

[UPDATE! For MORE on this, hit ].


2 Responses to “Damien on… How To Avoid A Work-Related-Stress Nervous Breakdown”

  1. A good piece that I can really relate to!

    Having a 5% mortgage when the rest of the country was paying 15% kept my safety valve screwed down for 20 years rather than 10 while I was at Barclays Tax Department.

    Then when it DID blow after the workloads doubled on centralisation at Peterborough a friend found me in the management car park one day making notes about the Senior Manager’s car – specifically which were the locking wheel nuts!

    I was quite calmly and dispassionately prepared to remove those nuts in order to save myself!

    Before I could do so I applied for and was accepted for a job liaising with the IT Department – all pressure instantly gone!

    A number of people at a higher level than me DID crack up though – one Group Manager got medical retirement after he wrote of that same Senior Bastard on ALL the whiteboards in the building “Harris is a C**T” AND SIGNED IT!

    Perhaps I should have tried that!


  2. I recall while temping in a factory, there was a foreman I didn’t like – hardly anyone did. So I wrote “Froggitt (no-one DARED call him Froggie!) is a c**t!” on the bathroom wall – and added a caracature! (My artistic skills are feeble, but he looked a lot like BUNTER – so it was easy!) But I didn’t SIGN IT!!!

    Half the factory had seen it by the time Froggitt did. He went ballistic and ordered it WIPED. Unfortunately (for HIM!) I’d used a thick, black permanent marker, so the result was exactly the same as before – except it was now WORSE, since it was obvious that an UNSUCCESSFUL attempt had been made to WIPE IT!

    A couple of people asked me if I’d seen it. I said “Yes” – but did NOT take the credit. One (a friend of Froggitt) asked me – but the crafty git misquoted it. I THINK he was waiting for me to correct him – but of course, I DIDN’T! Nice try, though.

    Another place I worked at had one of those cases on the wall of the entrance foyer, with the names and details of all the companies in the building. You know the type; about three inches deep, with a glass front, containing a black felt board, with little white plug-in letters.

    One day when there was no-one about, I checked to see if it was LOCKED (it was supposed to be). To my delight, I found it wasn’t. So I then jumbled the letters around. Pretty mild stuff – “Tits & Bums Ltd” – that kind of thing. Then I forgot all about it.

    Usually, you are never able to see the RESULT of those things – but this time, I got LUCKY. Three days later, I just happened to be passing it when the janitor – an Irishman – I’m sorry, but he was – saw it and exclaimed “Jeezus! Look at dat! What some bugger did to dat ting!” (I swear I’m not making it up – he really talked like that). I dutifully feigned surprise.

    I could write a BOOK on the mischief I got up to in various assorted workplaces. But then, I’ve already WRITTEN MY book – and I still have 1,500 copies LEFT!

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