Thursday, May 05, 2005

Two Very Different but Important Issues

Listening to the 7 am news this morning gave me food for thought.

First ..... IBM is to shed 13000 white collar jobs worldwide.

If ever there was a warning that white collar folks need to be thinking seriously about their future then this is surely it.

Tom Peters has been warning for years that people in white collar positions need to be awake to this threat.

Their jobs are going to be replaced with technology. It really is as simple as that.

This latest IBM news is a stark reminder that we all need to be looking at our CV and thinking creatively about where our future lies outside the large institution.

There is fantastic talent in all large organisations. This talent just needs to be liberated and given the opportunity to spread its wings and be allowed to fly.

The upside of the IBM news is hopefully many people who leave will start up their own business in the services world and creativity will flourish.

After IBM – who will be next?

Are you ready with a CV showing your achievements clearly and concisely right up to yesterday (or preferably today!) if the axe falls?

Do you know what you can offer?

My best advice if you are someone in a white collar position in a large or even medium sized organisation is:

  • Keep a positive mindset about all this and never lose faith in your own ability – retain your integrity and professionalism
  • Look outside now and making your connection and networks. They will be priceless when (not if!) the axe falls in the next few years.
  • Look ahead and decide your own future before circumstances decide your future

The second thing on my mind is far more important to all of us

There is news today that the National Institute of Clinical Excellence has announced their findings about discrimination in healthcare.

Apparently, their advice is that their can be discrimination when treating older people given certain conditions.

Such discrimination will not be permissible on any other grounds such as race, gender, or self-induced illness.

This has major implications for every one of us in the UK.

Like most people I trust UK healthcare professionals - most of the time - to make the right decisions – we still have a healthcare system that is envied by many other countries.

I am very sympathetic to the situation of a person who is beyond medical help and has reached a grand old age, being allowed to drift comfortably off to wherever we go at the end of our lives. Keeping someone of a great old age in that situation alive, when all hope has gone, seems pointless although part of me has concerns about even that situation.

I do not feel qualified to make such decisions and I am pleased I do not have to. I hope I am never faced by that dilemma in my family.

What really worries me is this ruling has made the following fictitious scenario potentially real and I for one have serious ethical concerns about this.

Case number one – an old person – let us say someone who is 85 years of age - with a life threatening condition where treatment is not considered an ‘effective’ route. Does this new ruling allow health professionals to choose
to withhold treatment or drugs?

Case number two
– a young person say 45 years of age who has smoked heavily, drunk heavily and generally not looked after their health, resulting in a life threatening illness. In this situation will the same professionals be required
under this new ruling to treat the patient?

This sounds like discrimination against older people to me …..

What do you think?

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