Death is lurking in corporate corridors

Death is lurking in corporate corridors

Sometimes it takes a series of events, so unfathomable, for reality to truly hit home.

Since the beginning of 2008, 24 employees at France Telecom have committed suicide and an additional 13 have attempted suicide. Many of these victims left suicide notes implying the company’s working environment was a key factor in their decisions — one even explicitly cited “overwork, stress, absence of training and the total disorganization in the company.”

In September, the telecom giant announced the launch of a training program that will teach its 22,000 managers to recognize signs of depression. A reactive measure akin to handing out first-aid kits and addressing the symptom rather than the root problem:

Closer home, the sad demise of Ranjan Das, MD, SAP India, late last year was another of those many reminders that have been trying to knock open the doors of our collective consciousness.

This is not the first time. There have been natural and not-so-natural deaths of members of India Inc reported galore over the last few years. Not necessarily due to reasons of failing physical health but also because of suicide, depression and other emotional dis-ease.

The tendency has been to look at the cause of such unfortunate event to try and get a corrective fix. Not ever wonder that death after all, from a systemic perspective, is a natural intervention happening to restore the overall systemic harmony.

The questions here are more fundamental. What are we doing to ensure a harmonious existence at workplace? What are we doing to ensure that certain amount of ease prevails amidst the entire struggle? What are we doing to call upon the collective consciousness to look within and figure out how each one of us is contributing to the systemic dis-harmony and dis-ease? What are we doing to bring in a state of watchfulness, a much required awakening of the individual and institutional awareness?

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