Assignment #1 I witnessed the situation that I will describe while I was working as a Help Desk Operator. The work was demanding and dynamic and required 24/7 shifts. It was almost the end of the month and I was doing the Help Desk monthly schedule. One of my colleagues came to me and told me that for the next couple of weeks she wouldn’t be at work because she had a surgery appointment. She wanted to tell me so I could prepare for the upcoming shifts accordingly. She explained that it was just a minor surgery and she was expected to recover for couple of weeks.
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We went to explain the situation to our direct manager, who was the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of the firm at that time, so at the end I had my schedule covered and my colleague went on with her medical arrangements. The surgery went well; the condition of my colleague was good. After couple of days a mid-aged lady came into our office, insisting to talk to the CTO. She said that it was a personal matter and she was the mother of my colleague. After talking with the lady, the CTO called me and asked me to change the shifts schedule once again and to exclude my colleague for the entire month.
I was so surprised. He explained that even though the surgery went well, she latter experienced some post-surgical complication and her condition considerably worsen, so she would have to stay in the hospital longer than expected. In the upcoming months the health condition of my colleague was very unstable and complex. It took her nine months to partially recover. She was able to work but she had a certain percent disability so she couldn’t perform her previous work. She couldn’t work on shifts any more neither to work with the load she previously had.
From legal point of view the CTO could let her go because she couldn’t perform the job she was hired for. As an employer he had the right to dismiss her from her duty without any kind of compensation, but that was not the case. The CTO worked with the HR department to find a position within the company that was vacant and my colleague was able to perform. Then he arranged the internal transfer without any additional clauses like probation period or reduced salary. That way, my colleague was able to work and to feel that her job is important and appreciated.
This situation illustrates one of the principles that I strongly believe in: no matter of our job title or position in life we are humans on first place and our obligation as such is to support the physically disabled individuals and to encourage their integration in the society. We should never forget that these people were probably healthy and well-doing may be a year ago. But then something happened. Something bad can happen to us too, and is that going to make us different? Is that going to make us to forget our wishes, ambitions and goals?
It is our major responsibility to integrate disabled people into society, to give them the opportunity to study, work, and have a career. After all shouldn’t the right of sterling and decent life be available to anybody? We shouldn’t think how unfortunate life was for these people because they can’t perform certain physical activities. Instead we have to find out the hundreds things that they are good in and to employ these qualities in something productive that can be beneficial for the community and for the people themselves.
I believe that the CTO of the company that I worked for did exactly this – he found a way to bring back my colleague to the society. He didn’t look at the things that she couldn’t do, quite the contrary, he focused on the values that she still could contribute to the company. He managed to achieve a win-win solution: on one hand the company gained a devoted internally transferred employee and on the other hand my colleague got her way back into the social life. The CTO didn’t perceive my colleague as a sick person, but as the professional that she was only with slightly different job focus.
I can positively say that the CTO successfully managed to bring my colleague back to the feeling of being self-content. She was pleased with the work because she was able to actively participate in the social life of the company. Apart of that, going to work gave her the sense of independence because she was earning and she could provide for herself. At work, my colleague was not the disabled person that people felt sorry for, but she was a team member just like every one of us.
Some people may argue that businesses should be indigent of feelings and compassion, after all a business is about profit and net income. In the today’s world a company should lower its operation costs and optimize its work force in order to gain competitive advantage in its area. From business point of view the employees with their knowledge and abilities are just another tool that supports the company development and growth. And in that sense employers hire professionals with certain qualifications and potential so they can bring value to the company.
If for some reason the employee can no longer do the activities that he/she is hired for, it would be the employer’s responsibility to let that person go, since he/she can no longer contribute to the goals of the firm. After all isn’t it the manager’s only duty to take care of the company profit and development and to put aside emotions likes grace and mercy? I would definitely answer ’no’ to that question. Apart from caring for the economic indicators, companies as well as their managers should look up for the social side of the organization.
The discussion of whether firms bear social responsibility is brought more often to the business forums and conferences. The answer to that question has been undoubtedly ‘yes’. A business doesn’t exist as an independent system, but as a part of our community. As such, a business should look out for the community resources that it has embodied. The greatest and the most precious resource for any company is the human resource. In many ways the firm’s success depends on the motivation, knowledge and potential of the human resource. That is why companies and managers in particular should put some attention to it.
And if it happens that an employee gets sick or disabled, it is not only the person that is hurt, but also the company. It is our responsibility as society and firm’s responsibility to actively involve with the engagement of disadvantaged people. Let’s not forget that before being managers we are humans. There are people that cannot run fast or stand on his/her feet, but that doesn’t make them insignificant. They are as substantial part of our society as we are, so let’s not give up on them and let’s help them be active part of the community.