Tuesday, 12 April 2011

In My Neighborhood

Imagine you had a job which was fairly stressful and relied upon your knowledge and abilities being one hundred percent, and then.....you walked away for nine years.   You return, get a brief introduction to your old environment....in terms of a few days, and you end up crashing a subway car.  Pretty nifty, huh?

Today, the report finally came out over a Metro DC crash in 2010.....and it reads like a comical script.

The individual in question....came to METRO around 1976.  She eventually took up the job of subway driver around 1999.  Things went well for a year, and then in 2000....she had this stumble.  The best we can say is that she ended up with a injury that lasted almost nine years.

Year after year, she collected unemployment compensation and disability.  METRO was paying out the check.  A stumble injury that lasts nine years?  Yeah, that was the odd piece to this story.  I can't imagine someone having an ankle injury and using this for nine years.

So things continued at this rate until late 2009.  We don't have a full story here but I suspect that METRO finally said enough on the workman's compensation and forced her hand.  So she returned.  The curious thing is that METRO offered up a refresher course to bring her back onto duty.  On a scale of one to ten, my impression is that they offered up enough of a class that would fit for folks who had been out a year....maybe a five on my scale.  The problem is that she'd spent almost a decade out of action.

The safety board meeting demonstrates a huge screw-up by METRO, and even a bigger screw-up by the individual involved.  As for the gal involved now?  She got fired by METRO about two months after the accident.  The good thing is that no one died in the accident.  The bad thing is that a lack of confidence now exists with customers.

So a moment of advice here for you guys who contemplate long-term unemployment on an injury.  The day may very well come....where you finally see the gold ticket sinking fast and you have to return to your old profession.  Depending on the stress or complexity of that job.....you just might have become a threat to the lives around you, by wasting away on the couch for two years, five years, or ten years.  And you don't even realize the potential mess you've created.