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上班时莫谈“心”事(英汉双语)

(2009-10-23 09:29:29)
标签:

职场

心理问题

健康

分类: 【C】【学习频道】

作者:英国《金融时报》专栏作家 露西•凯拉韦

    24年前一个冬天的早晨,我与一位上了年纪的男性在圣保罗大教堂(St Paul's Cathedral)附近的一间地下室里会面。他让我躺在一张硬床上,用橡胶锤击打我的膝盖,查看了我的口腔。然后,他把一束光照进我的耳朵里,将一个金属器具放在我的胸上,用手指按压我的胃。如果我是男的,我还要承受进一步的无礼举动:必须脱下裤子并咳嗽,以便他用手检查我的睾丸。

那个时候,我们都不会多想。这是每个想得到办公室工作的人都必须通过的体检。我们不会奇怪,我们的扁桃体或睾丸的情况与我们的雇主、或与我们改写公司利润的能力有什么关系。那是个纯真年代。我们知道,我们的健康状况不会成为普遍谈论的话题,从这种意义上说,它们是保密的;但我们也知道,如果体检出现什么不好的结果(这种情况很少出现,因为体检都很敷衍了事),我们的雇主将完全有权利说,他们不想雇佣我们。

如今,我们的健康与就业之间的关系要模糊得多,似乎没人能搞明白。

上周,新闻记者安德鲁•马尔(Andrew Marr)询问英国首相,他是否在用药物帮助自己应对担任首相的压力和一团糟的局面。观众纷纷向英国广播公司(BBC)抱怨,称马尔无权提出如此不相干且不友好的问题。马尔回答称,首相的健康与整个国家(事实上就是他的雇主)息息相关,因此,这个问题相当合理。报纸专栏作家纷纷进行了探讨。

自我参加体检的那个时代以来,英国法律一直在朝着保护雇员的方向前进。雇主一般不会纠缠于体检结果,因为他们知道,如果他们据此回绝了某人,他们可能会被起诉到倾家荡产。

但与此同时,雇员不愿在工作场合(或任何地方)谈论曾属于隐私的健康问题的习惯,也消失了。最近,在一个办公室走廊里,我听到两个女人大声讨论其更年期症状;在电视上,法医检查人的粪便、名人平静地讨论自己接受灌肠的经历等节目层出不穷。

不过,尽管有上述种种不得体的言谈,但对于最重要的问题——心理健康——人们仍守口如瓶。我们周围不乏有关工作压力及其对心理健康影响的谈论,但没人愿意承认自己出现了类似症状。这么做会使你看上去比较软弱,而较之偷懒或好色,软弱是更令人无法接受的办公室特征。

我只能想到4位承认受到精神疾病困扰的公众人物,其中三个人的坦白没有价值。斯蒂芬•弗莱(Stephen Fry)做过一期关于患上躁郁症的电视节目,但他的坦白没有价值,因为他是一件国宝,国宝可以不受任何影响。他还具有创造性,在无知的观察者眼中,抑郁与创造性的结合,可能具有一种说不清的魅力。

接着是托尼•布莱尔(Tony Blair)的前新闻官阿拉斯泰尔•坎贝尔(Alastair Campbell)。他的承认也没有价值,因为他拥有强硬且卑鄙的名声,一点点的软弱会使他显得更具人性。

然后是挪威首相谢尔•马格纳•邦德维克(Kjell Magne Bondevik),他说工作压力让自己患上了抑郁症,他需要休假。他的坦白没有价值,因为他是挪威人,而挪威明显在这些问题上更加开明。

最后是史蒂文森勋爵(Lord Stevenson),他承认自己在担任HBOS董事长时曾有过几段抑郁期。这很勇敢而且有价值:他说,雇主应该更具有同情心。

    可悲的是,他们没有。

事实是,鉴于我们对心理健康的无知和过分拘谨,采取缄默的态度或许更好。我们几乎根本就不知道我们的同事在想什么,或者某人实际上是如何度过一天的。领导职位现在变得如此可怕,伴随着如此多的出行、如此多的暴力行为和如此多的公共失灵,我们可能会想,唯一合理的反应就是服食大量药物。如果,在某次可怕的转世投胎中,我成了首相或首席执行官,那么我敢说,我会依靠兴奋剂、镇静剂、β受体阻滞药和安眠药,来使事情看上去不那么糟糕。但如果是这些给了我胜任职位的能力,我的浴室柜橱将成为我唯一关心的东西。

我问过几位医生:是否英国的大多数领导人都在依靠药物度日。他们回答说,不是。高级职位会损害一个人的精神健康,但还不及低级职位或完全没有工作的危害性大。一位过去在一家巨大的零售连锁店工作的医生告诉我,迄今为止,最严重的问题出在公司司机身上。

无论如何,英国每年会开出3600万份处方,以帮助人们度日。真正令人震惊的不是马尔竟敢问首相是否用药,而是人们竟然把它看成是如此大的一件事。译者/董琴

 

THE PERILS OF OPENING YOUR MEDICINE CABINET AT WORK

    One winter's morning 24 years ago, I had a meeting with an elderly man in a basement room near St Paul's Cathedral. He made me lie on a hard bed, hit my knees with a rubber hammer and peered into my mouth. He then shone a light into my ears, put a metal implement on my chest and pressed his fingers into my stomach. Had I been a man I would have suffered the further indignity of having to pull my pants down and cough so that he could cup his hand around my balls.

In those days we did not think twice about it. This was a medical check that everyone had to pass in order to get an office job. We didn't wonder whether the condition of our tonsils - or balls - was our employers' business or what it had to do with our ability to write news stories about company profits. Those were simple times. We understood that our medical details were confidential in the sense that they weren't a topic for general discussion; but we also understood that if the test had thrown up something sinister (which it seldom did as it was so perfunctory) our employers would be perfectly entitled to say they didn't want to hire us after all.

Now the relationship between our health and our employment is far more murky, and none of us seems to understand it at all.

Last week, the journalist Andrew Marr asked the British prime minister if he was taking pills to help him cope with the pressures of the job and all hell broke loose. Viewers complained to the BBC that Marr had no business making such an impertinent and insensitive enquiry. Marr replied that the prime minister's health is relevant to the nation (which is, in effect, his employer) and that the question was quite fair. Newspaper columnists lined up to thrash it out.

What has happened since the days of my medical is that the law in the UK has marched forward to protect the employee. Employers don't usually bother with a medical as they know if they turned anyone down on the strength of it they'd be likely to have the pants sued off them.

But at the same time, employees' reticence about discussing once private health matters at work (or anywhere at all) has vanished. In an office corridor recently, I heard two women noisily discussing their menopause symptoms; on television, there are programmes in which a cod doctor examines people's stools and celebrities calmly discuss their enemas.

Yet despite this unseemly outpouring, the biggest problem of all - mental health - remains tight shut. There is no shortage of general chat on the pressures of work and the effect this has on mental health but no one wants to admit to suffering any symptoms themselves. To do so would seem weak and weakness is still even more unacceptable as an office trait than laziness or lecherousness.

I can only think of four people in the public eye who have admitted to suffering from mental illness and three of them don't count. Stephen Fry made a TV programme about being bipolar, but he doesn't count as he is a national treasure, and national treasures can get away with anything. He is also creative and depression mixed with creativity can look (to the ignorant observer) borderline glamorous.

Then there is Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former press man, whose admission doesn't count as he had such a reputation for being hard and mean, being seen as a bit weak made him more human.

Then there was Kjell Magne Bondevik, the Norwegian prime minister, who said he was depressed through pressure of work and needed time off. He didn't count because he was Norwegian, and Norway is evidently a lot more civilised in these matters.

And finally, there was Lord Stevenson, who admitted when chairman of HBOS to having had a couple of spells of depression. This was brave and did count: employers, he said, should be a lot more sympathetic.

Which, alas they are not.

The truth is that given our ignorance and squeamishness about mental health, it is probably better to shut up about it. We have very little idea what is going on in the minds of our workmates or how anyone is actually getting from one end of the day to the other. Leadership jobs are now so hellish, involve so much travel, so much aggro and so much public failure, that one might think the only sensible response is to swallow handfuls of pills. If, in some hideous reincarnation, I found myself the prime minister or a CEO, I dare say I'd be on uppers and downers and beta-blockers and sleeping pills to make things seem less bad. But if these enabled me to do the job, my bathroom cabinet would be my business alone.

I asked a couple of doctors if most of the leaders in the country were taking pills to help them through. No, they said. Senior jobs can damage one's mental health but not as much as junior jobs, or no jobs at all. One doctor, who used to work for a huge retail chain, told me that by far the most serious problems were presented by the company chauffeurs.

Either way, there are 36m prescriptions written in the UK each year for drugs to help people get through the day. What is really shocking is not that Marr dared to ask the prime minister if he took pills, but that it was seen as such a big deal one way or another.

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