Last month I saw the French film Polisse. It is about police detectives who handle crimes against children, along the lines of Law and Order. At the end of the film, one of the detectives walked over to the window during a staff meeting and jumped, killing herself. It, of course, was an eerie end to the film. I remember being taken back by it, but assumed it was for shock value more than a commentary on society.
Then last week, I read an article about how CEOs in France are being investigated for employee suicide. When I first saw the headline (30 suicides)I thought the article was going to be about the Foxconn scandal in China where employees were killing themselves due to poor working conditions. When I read further, I was shocked that a company in France had over 30 suicides between 2009 and 2010. It seems as if restructuring, performance demands, and poor treatment when those demands were not met led to the employees’ demise. One employee stabbed himself during a staff meeting while another threw herself out her office window. Can you even imagine? A couple of thoughts went through my mind while reading this horrible story. First, no one thought to investigate this before 2012? And how did the number get to be over 30 without some kind of investigation. That is a lot of people, especially when many referenced their job being the reason they took their lives. What took so long?
But then I also had another thought…why are people killing themselves over their jobs? I know that the job market is ROUGH right now and that the thought of staying in a job you hate because you can’t get another one is horrible, but still, it’s just a job. When I think about the last year or so in mine…it was bad. We were treated like crap and spent the first part of last year in tears and the second part pissed off, but never once did the thought of killing myself cross my mind (although the thought of kicking the person who was making us miserable in the shins did pop into my mind from time to time).
It’s beyond my frame of understanding that one company would have that terrible statistic. And also that it wouldn’t just occur to them to investigate why BEFORE it got to that number.
I know, kind of a downer of a post, but I’m sitting up exhausted with a sick puppy who I can’t get into the vet until tomorrow morning. So I’m feeling a little bit like a downer.