Duty of care – a mental health issue

In this day and age, we know and understand this statement don’t we? It pertains to how we need to look after and care for others. We owe those we associate with, work with and know a duty of care to ensure their social, work and financial well being is catered for.

Things have gotten so out of hand that we even have an R U OK day where we as a society have identified others are needing mental health support due to pressures of life. What happens in ones life can determine how people are and act, we do not know if the person we sit next to everyday is suffering from a mental illness, is one of the women in domestic violence situations or that the person who laughs with us at lunch needs extra support unless we offer or they ask.

What happens when this is breeched? most people know the decisions they make will have a financial and mental health impact and act with no good will towards another person. This is done daily but can be exacerbated close to ‘significant holiday times”. There are CEO’s and bosses out there who act within their own power base with little or no regard to their staff. It becomes about what is best for them, so will retrench, fire, invoke probationary period clauses, remove and terminate employment with no regard for the person they are doing this to.

Should it matter? Should the rest of the office staff be worried? Should they be silenced? Should the person who is the subject of this behavior be further humiliated by being escorted from the premises? or worse still, turn up to work to find their swipe card has been cancelled, computer password changed and have to sit and wait for the CEO to come into work to fire them. It should matter and everyone will be affected by these decisions, especially if no real reason is ever given. It happens and everyone waits for the memo or fall out.

How is that behavior well balanced? how is it good for the work environment or endorsed by a Board or Senior Management? Is it a case for those not involved ‘if I can’t see it then I can’t be blamed? I can’t be fingered if I am not in the room or present at the time of the firing? ”

Can we site ‘the lawyer says” “full support of the board” “in the best interests of” to fire people?  How do the those that remain ever trust a Manager or CEO that can remove people without even turning up to work on time to fire someone? or having the staff watch whilst the person is walked out within full view of an office (Normally not done by the person doing the firing by the way, they hide behind the door and get someone else to do it).

Is any industry exempt? I don’t think so. I think it happens more than we know or hear about. Can we prevent it? most definitely not, should we stand up to yes, absolutely. How do we do this without losing our jobs as well? Humans, being who we are rarely fight it for the humilitation and bullying that the person has suffered by the person who has issued the leave work immediately has the power and the money.

Most CEO’s or Managers will publish a memo or email stating how disappointed they are this has occurred, invite feedback knowing that no one will speak up. If Mangers truly believe they have an open door policy when this occurs then they are kidding themselves and staff know this. Most take the silences of employees as acceptance instead of fear, so go about believing that their actions have had no impact on the remaining staff.

Is there a good way of doing this? I think so, there is always choices especially with 1 week to Christmas. As a good Manager or CEO saying to a Board, this isn’t a good look, why don’t we say please look for work as after Christmas there is no position here for you. Surely leading up to Christmas we owe all of our staff a Duty of Care to ensure they are looked after. On the farm it’s easier when we find an orphaned calf, we care for it until it is old enough to go join a mob, we owe these animals our duty of care to provide for them rather than let them suffer.

If only some human beings would look after staff in the same manner, if you have staff that doesn’t fit somewhere, assist them to somewhere different. To take away financial support i.e. a wage can set some one up for suicide.

If you need help call life line 13 11 14




Interesting aspects of life

Since I married a grazier or farmer as some would like to say, never in my life had I been interested in silence. I know, one would think this would be the weather, the scenery, the animals or the paddocks but I have decided it’s silence. We all drive in Australia our land is vast and spacious, so getting around can require long ‘road trips’ for me getting to the city and back is a 6 hour trip, I have done this on many occasions in one day, there is no option to fly, no airfield and no private plane is parked at my house nor in the town. Keith does have an airstrip which lands the RFDS, and other flying machines but there is no commercial service available.

I travel and note the scenery and changes to it with the seasons, the land is dry and the paddocks and hills are still brown considering we are now in the middle month of Autumn. I love the greenery of the Adelaide Hills it always reminds me of winter – my favourite season. It is a time when my grazier husband can relax, there is food around, there is water and the dams fill. we can have fire which provides warmth and comfort on those cold winters night.

I come to Adelaide a lot, not as much as I would like but a lot more than him, and it is here I realize that I miss it. The silence at night, the calls of animals the sounds of wind, rain, leaves rustling, stillness, roosters and dogs barking, it is a comforting silence. It is the noise of the land that allows you to lie in bed awake in the dark in peace. To really feel the soul of the earth is to hear the sounds of silence. We do get the occasional noise of a truck or car but this is rare and it is not a constant drone that seems to descend upon the city.

The sounds of the night I can hear are cats jumping on fences, cars constantly moving, droning through the night like they are looking for something. The noise level is defined by the size of the vehicle, trucks and cars make very different patterns on the road surfaces and keep coming in succession. Where is the sound of nothing? even after the vehicle has passed you can hear the next one coming, there is no rustling of leaves, no silence of the land as it rests ready to be woken at dawn.

The city is always awake the land never appears to rest, it is always assisting. I enjoy the city, it is alive but so too is the country, both offer many things, lifestyles, life choices and for me both are vital to my happiness and future growth. Living where I do is special and we try to leave the land value added rather than take away it’s value. Having the luxury of a welcoming bed at my daughters or parents place or hotel gives me the best of both world, though I now find I do sleep much better in the country.