In January 2013, my seizure disorder spiraled out of control. I had three significant seizures most days, and it took my brain over two hours after each seizure to be back to full strength.
I need full brain power to do my job, so I was losing at least half of each day in recovery.
I knew I was struggling professionally, but I didn’t realize how poorly I was performing. Until I talked with Stuart (not his real name).
I called to talk to him about something else, and then we discussed my health. He asked when I thought my seizures would decrease. When he could expect the ‘old Chris’ again.
I told him it would be a month until my medication was even potentially therapeutic. That’s when he shook my confidence.
Chris, you should consider short term disability if it’s going to be a month. You should take care of Chris and not worry about your job right now. Plus, it’s hard for project managers to depend on you in your current health. That’s not a good place for you to be.
I didn’t know what to say. For the first time in over a decade, I was told I was in trouble professionally. I was a problem child, not meeting expectations for my managers. I wasn’t angry, just…stunned.
My health progressively declined, and I did end up on short-term disability while I figured out what was happening with my seizure disorder. As I move forward to a new company next week, I find a profound sense of gratitude blossoming in my heart.
Not every manager would care enough to give it to me straight. Many would just write me up for my poor performance.
Looking back on this, Stuart was not acting under compulsion due to government or company regulations. He was legitimately concerned for my health. Not every employer cares – Stuart cared.
Thank you Lord, for placing me in a company for nearly five years where my managers actually gave a hoot.
Over the past several months, I slowly realized something else. It is like I have been making deposits into a bank that holds Trust, not money.
Each time I met or exceeded expectations, a Trust deposit was made. Each time I didn’t a Trust withdrawal was made. A Trust balance has been accruing and gaining interest for years, because I have rarely dropped the ball.
This balance of Trust is part of what produced care. Stuart knows I am not “acting like myself,” because he knows what to expect from me. He knows the balance in my Trust account with him.
Good work, completed on time, with a positive attitude is the norm. He had seen none of that for the three months leading up to my time off for short term disability. Each time I have not delivered, a withdrawal was made from my Trust account. Only I didn’t notice.
My conversation with him could be reframed in this way.
Chris, your Trust account is almost overdrawn. How can I help? I don’t want to close the account. You have good credit here. Let’s figure out a way to make this right.
Thank you Lord, for opening my eyes before my Trust account went negative.
Do you have any Trust accounts you need to put some deposits in today?