Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stress and Slushies

The news that Pfizer's 55-year-old CEO has decided to retire because he is burned out and over-stressed by the job probably struck a chord with many people.

Probably millions of people.

The difference, however, is that while Jeffrey Kindler is likely to retire with enough money to buy an island and have a personal slushy machine, the rest of America's workers -- including those older than Kindler -- will continue working.

In a Wall Street Journal story, a company spokesman noted how Kindler put "110% into his role."

Hmmm.....I guess this means he probably worked long days and weekends. He probably had trouble sleeping, with all the work on his plate. His family life probably suffered, and his wife may have begun to worry that the job was taking a physical toll on him.

I think while we may not be able to buy an island -- or even afford a slushy -- we can identify with Kindler. Who among us has not gone through a lot of stress in the last couple of years? Who hasn't wished to retire and get away from it all?

Let's just hope that employers start to figure out that the stress and overwork is taking a toll on all of us. Not just CEOs. Everyone from entry-level workers to senior managers can't keep up this pace and expect to produce the kind of quality work needed to compete in today's global marketplace.

In the meantime, let's hope Kindler buys the island and invites us all for some time off. I'll even make the slushies.

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