“I’ve ben injured at work, should I claim for workers compensation? I’ve heard I’ll screw up my career if I do.”
This is the one of the most depressing questions We received at the IWSN helpline and it occurs at least once a month. It says two things to me. The first is that the government and big business has been able to convince this person that they should not access their rights and that if they do they will be punished, the other reason is that whatever injury they tell me they have, its going to be worse than what they say it is. They will be in more pain, they will need more time off work, and that their recovery will probably not be 100%.
Lying about your injury is part of most cultures. The Japanese have a stock standard response to Daijobu, Daijjobu. It means “I’m fine, I’m fine. So yes they have the same response as the English and Australians do in fact most cultures see it as politeness that if someone asks you about your injury, you lie about it, telling them its better or its nothing they should be concerned about. We, as humans, don’t appear to like weakness.
There is a significant problem here. This reluctance to tell the truth as a society about injury allows the Government to ignore it as an issue, it allows inhuman theories of management such as “the art of war” to become the measurement of proper behaviour at work and within our society. The social lie about our weaknesses allows the injured to be ignored.
That’s a meta thought though isn’t it, you telling your friend that your fine isn’t the pinpoint reason for the down fall of Western culture. you thinking that it might be better for your career to not use workers compensation isn’t the green light to a Government cabinet to slash funding to hospitals and rehabilitation programs. The blame for these things lays solely with the people doing it, they have to bear the cost of making laws that harm other people in their society. We have to take the blame for that one little lie.
But lying does lead to order within our society, most people don’t want to hear about how injured you are, they don’t want the blatant truth, and you- as an injured person, know that. Though they don’t want the unabashed truth, they do want a summary- they want a part of that truth. They want to know if you are worse than you were before, they want to know if you are recovering or coping, and- and this is important- they want to know if they can do anything to help.
It’s another sentence in our socially acceptable banter with someone who is injured.’
“Are you alright”,
“I’m fine, (or) No, but I am doing what I can)”
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
Yes, this is a throwaway statement but they had a choice of throwaway statements to make to you. So maybe there is something they can do to help. Maybe (going metta again) the whole workers compensation system was formed and is there to provide them with the actions they are offering to take on your behalf. So that if you have told the truth to yourself and to others you have an a answer to the question that people will offer you. Our Society has set it up to help you recover, you should access it.