Folks - I could use help with suggestions for this situation. This was posted in a non-management BBS from another community I am a part of. I've given some advice and already recommended the very timely podcasts on managing through a crisis, but I'd like to hear what you have to say too.


I am in a situation I hoped I would never be in - one of the men I manage has had some terrible news, he now has months instead of years to live based on a re-diagnosis of his medical condition.

When I was on active duty there were straight forward paths to follow - I was expected to KNOW all the details of this kind of situation, and to have the answers a sailor might need to set their affairs in order.

Now I manage folks within a large civilian concern, and I am not allowed by rule and regulation to be "involved" with my folk's personal affairs to the extent I was while on active duty - to the point that I cannot ask about things that might be interpreted as "personal". Married? Children? Take care of your retarded brother? (Sheesh I'd be fired for using the word "retarded")

I want (to put it in blunt terms) my employee to die with full company benifits and the dignaty he would gain from having done his best.
This issue is not new to my company, but it is the first time for me and my next two levels of supervisor (BTW both seemingly good Men)

1) Employee trusts me to do my best - has little trust in the corporation.
2) Employee trusts me not to "blab" personal information.
3) Employee's medical treatments will result in his not being able to perform his job. (Potential seisures)
4) Employee is "four dot oh" to date and I WANT to protect him.

Geese - any help? Oregon state laws if it makes any difference.

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

I spent about 15 minutes composing a reply, then I deleted it and wrote this instead. :)

There's not much you can do, and it sucks. It sucks to be powerless to help someone you care about.

This man doesn't need to work anymore. If he doesn't want everyone to know, then he can't keep working and having seizures in front of everyone. Figure it out with whomever is involved, but get him all of his benefits and free him from work.

That being said, I'd try to go the extra mile if he wanted me to. Does he have a dream that you can help facilitate? There are lots of organizations that might help.

Your job as a manager is to see to the success of the business and watch out for your people. Dig as deep as you can to make it right for this guy, but in the end there's just not much you can do.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

I don't understand. Who or what is keeping you from asking questions, and if so, how do you know what you know?

You want him to stay...but he won't be able to?

I'm sorry I'm struggling...