I’ve written about needing an oar to keep swimming. I offer those oars to people when I can — as a career coach focusing on people with chronic illness. And, I gotta’ tell you that at least once a day, I talk to someone who is drowning just trying to get to work, never mind getting the work done.
In rare moments — when I have nothing else to do (like when I’m meditating or falling asleep… and that can be the same)– I try to calculate my own “lost income” over 30 years of living with chronic illnesses. Unfortunately, this goes nowhere .. I haven’t a clue how to figure it out. But I’d guess it’s a lot of $$$.
In an Op Ed piece in The Boston Globe, Ranch Kimball, chief executive of Joslin Diabetes Center (Boston, MA) wrote: “…more than half of all Americans have at least one chronic illness…” “The Milken study pegs the total cost of these diseases on the national economy at $1.3 trillion annually for treatment and lost productivity.”
This article naturally focused on cost of health care dollars. Needless to say, I’m focusing on the real elephant in the room: a chronically ill person’s PRODUCTIVITY. Why don’t employers, large and small, realize that this is a problem, there are things they can do about it and they’ll save $$!
Many of my clients (professionals & executives with chronic illness) are climbing a career ladder and they aren’t nearly as productive as they could be if they were in a different environment. Too many call me when they’re already underemployed (or unemployed) and demoralized. Their high potential was wasted because they couldn’t keep up.
I figure if you’re reading this, you’re with me in that you care about the cost to the individual. I firmly accept that business is about other factors. But if only they’d take their heads out of the sand and they could look for creative approaches that make good business sense.