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Comparison – no comparison

I’ve just finished listening to Adam Kay’s book ‘This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor’ on Audible. After initially being unsure that I liked the format or his voice, I completely warmed to it and found it witty, informative and shocking in equal measure. Recommend.

Food for thought at the end. He makes a plea to anyone who knows someone working in the NHS, in whatever capacity, to support their friend/relative by encouraging them to talk about their work. ‘How was your day?’ ‘How are things?’ And actually listen and talk things over, sympathise – but mostly listen, and try to understand the stresses and personal emotional trauma they can be experiencing. 

This reminded me of my own working life when I felt incredibly stressed a few years ago and needed to unload most days on my poor husband or unfortunate friends who happened to meet up with me. I didn’t do an important job like a health-worker. I therefore should have been able to walk away from the stresses or manage them better because at least ‘nobody died’ was pretty much guaranteed not to be a taboo statement and the answer to ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’ didn’t usually realistically involve the need for CPR. A complaint, a lawsuit possibly. Once or twice, a knock-on effect on a colleague’s mental health…

This is not to say at all that the stresses of accountancy or any other office job are not real, serious, potentially awful. I and others I knew reached low points requiring medical intervention. But the description of working in the National Health Service gave me pause for reflection at how much worse must it feel when not turning up at work could actually have immediate life or death implications for others.

Sobering – and as with so many things, the message delivered with humour as by Adam Kay seems more powerful to me than a march or a ranty Question Time debate. We’re all different I guess. Not sure whether I am getting more or less tolerant of politicking as I get older – and you won’t see me out on a march anytime soon! – but I feel I should do something to help. Awareness may not be enough, but I guess it’s a start.

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