This week’s passing away of a young promising intern at the heart of the Square Mile in London was a wake-up call for many people but how fast will its impact be easily forgotten?

Companies usually expect employees to give the best of themselves, total commitment, productivity, dedication, high performance and loyalty…but at what cost? Should it damage one’s health and wellbeing? Do people live to work or work to live? What is the point of working yourself to the grave? In the case of this young man, he died before he had even the chance to start living as an independent adult. Never mind his potential or family’s expectations…

 Where rests the employer’s duty of care? Everybody accepts the workaholic schedule as being part of the culture of the company.  In the Square Mile characters like “Gordon Gekko” are idolized but the real men and women who work there pay a hefty price for the money they bring home and within a short time span they start to burn out.

The highly driven, talented, ambitious, competitive professionals are also highly addicted to excessive consumption of sleeping pills, alcohol, drugs and sex as escape routes to their grueling and cut throat reality. Balanced, healthy and stress-free lives are things completely unknown to them.

Most professionals in that environment don’t have much of a personal or family life anyway. In fact, the companies act as if they own the staff, therefore the boundaries between personal and family life are so blurred which does enable the professional milieu to know every single detail about what should be kept as one’s own private life.

When was the last time you pushed yourself a bit extra to complete a challenging task in order to achieve targets against deadlines? When was the last time you lunched and dined glued to your desk and in front of your pc? How often have you brought demanding work home and started Sunday morning plugged to a laptop? What time did you leave the office yesterday? Did you ever stop to think about the short and long term consequences this has upon your personal health? I am sure many of you out there can relate to these various scenarios….

Things have become worse since the recession started as those who remain at work carry out duties belonging to the newly redundant individuals who join the dole queue. They are absolutely overwhelmed and overloaded as there seems to be no other way out or options available. They are subjecting themselves to just about anything only to keep a job.

As an employee one must fulfill duties, obligations and responsibilities towards the employer whilst holding a notion of personal responsibility for one’s wellbeing and welfare in the workplace. Instead people wrongly rely completely and blindly on the employer to watch over them and their interests.

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