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Executive With Schizoaffective Disorder Uses Job to Cope
October 24, 2011 8:04 AM   Subscribe

A High-Profile Executive Job as Defense Against Mental Ills. “I feel my brain is damaged; I don’t know any other way to say it,” Ms. Myrick said. “I don’t know if it’s from the illness, the medications, all those side effects or what. I only know that I do need certain things in my life, and for a long time — well, I had to get to know myself first.” (Nytimes link). Keris Myrick is also on the board of NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness.
posted by sweetkid (71 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
The frightening conclusion of this is that our high-level executives may be people with only the slightest grasp... on... reality...

This explains a great deal, actually.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:20 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's like all those "help, my boss is a crazy person" Askmes told from the perspective of the boss with the conclusion that, yes, when the manic ideation and critical voices get too much, a stay in a luxury hotel with your lap dog and sympathetic expensive psychiatrist on call can help.

And the suggest that paranoia and despair are actually components of success in the corporate world. I feel for her employees, I mean, what are you supposed to do when you can say "help, my boss is psychotic," and everyone says "Yeah, I know, I read about it in the New York times; isn't it inspiring?"
posted by ennui.bz at 8:20 AM on October 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Not to take anything away from Ms. Myrick's success despite her illness but this probably should make the top-ten list of "Most New York Times-esque" New York Times articles.

"Hmm, mental illness, interesting topic. But how can we make this about rich people?"
posted by ghharr at 8:20 AM on October 24, 2011 [40 favorites]


A lot of people think that people with mental illnesses need to be managed and put into low level tasks, but maybe they're not best suited for those and can thrive in higher positions. I saw this as similar to the situation people with ADD find themselves in, in which they're often limited to administrative jobs that require high levels of attention and detail, which is so far from their wheelhouse. They're better suited to more freethinking, higher level work but often can't get there due to the limitations of ADD.
posted by sweetkid at 8:25 AM on October 24, 2011 [37 favorites]


And the suggest that paranoia and despair are actually components of success in the corporate world.

She's the head of Project Return Peer Support Network, a not-for-profit organization with 94 employees that provides services to people with mental health issues.

Thanks for the link, sweetkid. My brother-in-law has schizophrenia and it breaks my heart every day. Everyone else, this article isn't about psychotic corporate assholes or ca-razy bosses. Read the damn article.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:26 AM on October 24, 2011 [35 favorites]


When sympathy for those with mental illness collides with antipathy for the rich / executives. This is truly a Metafilter unstoppable force -vs- immovable object moment.

Ms. Myrick runs a non-profit, but you would have to read the article to grasp that.

What shakespeherian said.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:28 AM on October 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


Strangely, I read the article. What message can I take away from it? If you have privilege, you can get or create a job that helps you function? I mean, I am glad for this woman -- she was dealt a shitty hand, and she seems to have done a good job figuring out how to cope, and it seems to be working for her. Excellent! So... my friend's schizophrenic brother who has not been able to work in more than two decades should... get a better job? Or am I supposed to just feel good and say "look, the system works! If she could do it, why can't you?"
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:36 AM on October 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


You can take away a message other than 'high-level executives may be people with only the slightest grasp... on... reality...' because that has nothing to do with the article or mental illness, other than in terms of caricature and othering.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:38 AM on October 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've said it for years of myself - I have delusions of grandeur, so the easiest way to get rid of the delusions would be to just give me the damn grandeur and we can all just move on.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 8:38 AM on October 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


Not that that has anything to do with the article or the topic, but damnit, it's all about ME!
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 8:39 AM on October 24, 2011


She's hardly rich--that nonprofit is a pretty small outfit, and if she's "privileged" it's due to her own hard work. Here's another interview that was done before she got this job.
I've met her irl, and know people who know her, and I think snotty remarks from strangers on the internet are uncalled for.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:41 AM on October 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


People need to feel that their days matter. People with mental illness are still people.

It's obvious that if this woman did not have a job, her condition would certainly worsen. Wouldn't yours?
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:41 AM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ms. Myrick runs a non-profit, but you would have to read the article to grasp that.

or "Chief executive of a non-profit organization..." This article is about how if you have power and people willing to back you up, even being totally psychotic can't stand in your way. I mean, I guess it gives you insight into how the U.S. works but still:
She travels a lot to conferences, and when she is back in California she keeps her schedule as full as possible. Her mind runs on high, and without fuel — without work — it seems to want to feed on itself. Her elbows usually tingle when that is about to happen, she said, and she will often play number games in her head. If she needs to, she will make a quick phone call.

Dr. Pylko said: “We might just talk for a few minutes. Maybe once is enough, maybe several times during the day. It’s an ongoing conversation at this point. It’s more like a friendship than anything else.”

Or she will call her father, who is always on her side and will make the trip west if needed.
Everything about this woman screams to me: "run away, run away quickly" if she were my boss. She admits straight-up that she isn't connected with reality. You can read Askme all day about these sorts of people and the havoc they cause for all the little people trying to make things work. It makes me wonder just how many psychotic people with power and connections the nytimes writes little fawning articles about.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:42 AM on October 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


You can take away a message other than 'high-level executives may be people with only the slightest grasp... on... reality...' because that has nothing to do with the article or mental illness, other than in terms of caricature and othering.

OK, I will apologize for that, it was a cheap shot, and a shitty thing to do out of the gate.

I'm still bothered by the take-away (or my take-away) that there's this subtext that "mental health issues aren't so bad; just take a few days off work!" Which, you know, is great advice, but not possible for the majority of people with these sorts of problems.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:44 AM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm rereading So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, and just this morning read the passage about the prostitute with the master's degree in social economics who offers a very special service for rich people, telling them it's okay to be rich. I'm not surprised that Ms. Myrick runs a nonprofit. I've known several nonprofit leaders who had many of the characteristics we normally think of as native to for-profit CEOs. Founders seem especially implicated.

However, I think the article is headed in the right direction. There is no need to marginalize all people with mental illness. Yet as GenjiandProust noted, this woman has been very lucky. There are significant structural barriers in the way of people finding their niche in life, and not only for the mentally ill.

(on preview) I also wonder how her employees feel about her.
posted by postel's law at 8:45 AM on October 24, 2011


The frightening conclusion of this is that our high-level executives may be people with only the slightest grasp... on... reality...

If you follow current events in politics and religion, you'll find the problem isn't confined to the corporate world.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:46 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


She's a black woman with a barely understood and highly stigmatized mental illness. So those are a lot of non-priveleged things she's working with. Yes, she has privilege from her education and family background, but that to me just shows what a complex thing our notion of privilege really is. We all have some aspects of privilege in our lives and lack others, and much more complex and context-specific than people might think.

I don't think this article is saying, "Come on slackers with schizophrenia, stop mooching and get a job." I think Ms. Myrick's story is a way of showing ourselves that we can expect more from people with severe mental illness, and not just shunt them away as lost causes. We can change our own perceptions of them, and support better care programs, medical studies, and therapies because we recognize them as part of our culture and not OMG crazy-voices-can'tdealwithreality. It's not about shaming people into not being like her, not at all. It's about recognizing that people with shizoaffective disorders are people with the same amazing range of capabilities that the rest of us have.
posted by sweetkid at 8:47 AM on October 24, 2011 [28 favorites]


With all due respect ennui I think it's time you stepped away. You said your piece - you're only going to make things worse.
posted by spicynuts at 8:47 AM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


ennui.biz, I suspect your rage (however justified) on a range of issues is preventing you from seeing the humanity of someone like Ms. Myrick here and the complexity of her situation. I find that troubling. She is not a cartoon villain in your Manichean drama, no matter how hard you to try other-ize her and minimize her into that role. Please stop.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:53 AM on October 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


Everything about this woman screams to me: "run away, run away quickly" if she were my boss.

Really? The article doesn't go into her management style much, if at all - the paragraph you quoted is about how she deals with stress before it overwhelms her. It's a little ridiculous how people are falling over themselves to interpret this story in a negative light.

Though I'd have been more interested in reading more about the joint study and what the researchers are concluding overall.
posted by missix at 8:58 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


So... my friend's schizophrenic brother who has not been able to work in more than two decades should... get a better job? Or am I supposed to just feel good and say "look, the system works! If she could do it, why can't you?"

Look, I'm not going to argue that this woman is not in a lucky situation with a decent amount of privilege attached to it (for instant, she isn't homeless, doesn't have to take care of children or disabled relatives, etc.) But buried in the article is a message that I think is really important and as far as I can tell it's what the article is all about, and that is that the mentally ill suffer from being excluded as useful members of society.

In our career-driven society, most of us who are not labeled mentally ill suffer some form of negative mental/emotional effects from being even temporarily excluded from meaningful work. Think about the depression and ennui attached to searching for a job after being fired or laid off. (I'm not talking about those people who find being laid off is a huge step towards what they actually want to do in life and start that hand-made cabinetry business that they've always wanted to-- they might be defining meaningful work outside the normal structures of career but they're still producing something they find significant and contributory to society as a whole.) So if feeling irresponsible and useless is bad for those of us lucky to be considered mentally healthy, how much damage is our society's automatic relegation of the mentally ill to the status of "extra" or "burden" doing to them?

Now I'm not going to say that every type of mental illness and every person with a mental illness needs, or is suited to, fulfilling work. Some really do need to retreat from social pressures and find dealing with other people's realities (or don't know/aren't comfortable with 'reality checks') too hard or confusing. That's cool. The problem that I see with our current models of mental illness, and I freely admit I'm speaking mostly from anecdata here, watching my sister's journey through bipolar with strong psychotic features, is that retreat from social life is automatically counseled regardless of the patient's situation or what they actually, in their saner moments, might want. My sister is on a cocktail of drugs and is not, by her doctor's orders, allowed to hold down a job, or drive a car, or really be taken out in an 'uncontrolled' environment at all. She has no responsibility, no purpose, nothing to do. She is alone, all the time, because her husband has to work, with the echos of her own mind. There is no one around to take care of, even though she's entirely functionally capable of taking care of someone else and completing tasks-- she's only a danger and an irresponsibility to herself, not others. But they shove her in an isolation chamber of her own home and expect her to get better without any type of occupation or purpose in life. If I were in her situation, as a mentally healthy person (which has become something I stopped taking for granted), I would at the very least be unmotivated, listless, depressed and withdrawn. No wonder she's crazy!

The point of the study mentioned in the article is to examine how the mentally ill who have moved away from this socially-sanctioned model of othering, isolation and labeling and have found their own ways toward, if not mental health, than at least excellent coping mechanisms, is to show that this model, the automatic cutting of ties with society and the sudden relegation to 'surplus-to-requirements' non-contributing member of your culture, may not be the curative we think it is. And that other ways forward, ways that have to do with reintegration in normative environments and meaningful work, could do a lot of good for people who can handle it. And I think that's fantastic, even if the article is not written with the sociological imagination I wish it was.
posted by WidgetAlley at 9:04 AM on October 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


The article certainly highlights how important a strong support network is for everyone, but especially those suffering from mental illness. She is fortunate to have such a large network, parts that she created and some that she got from luck. It sounds like she also is part of the support network for her staff, able to respond in a non-judgemental way to their needs.
posted by saucysault at 9:06 AM on October 24, 2011


The non profit she runs:

Project Return Peer Support Network is Los Angeles County's oldest program run by and for people with mental illness

meaning that the place has a mandate to employ people with mental illness.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:11 AM on October 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think the responses to this article sum up why her organization is so important. You really can't escape being branded as "mentally ill" and incurring whatever baggage others want to heap upon you for it. The world is full of assholes.
posted by autoclavicle at 9:18 AM on October 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


ennui.bz: "It's like all those "help, my boss is a crazy person" Askmes told from the perspective of the boss with the conclusion that, yes, when the manic ideation and critical voices get too much, a stay in a luxury hotel with your lap dog and sympathetic expensive psychiatrist on call can help.

And the suggest that paranoia and despair are actually components of success in the corporate world. I feel for her employees, I mean, what are you supposed to do when you can say "help, my boss is psychotic," and everyone says "Yeah, I know, I read about it in the New York times; isn't it inspiring?"
"

Wow, what an ugly comment. Did you notice that she's working for an organization which quite literally empowers people who have been diagnosed with various mental illnesses by giving them jobs and helping them to establish a sense of normalcy and an extended support system. That is flexible with her because it is obviously well-versed in what she's been through and what she's currently dealing with?

This article is the third in a series called "Lives Restored" of "profiles about people who are functioning normally despite severe mental illness and have chosen to speak out about their struggles." This first two: Rescuing Others: Expert on Mental Illness Reveals Her Own Fight and Learning to Cope With a Mind’s Taunting Voices.

Her story is not representative of corporate America. it is however, representative of those who have been marginalized, misdiagnosed and unfairly maligned rather than properly treated.
posted by zarq at 9:26 AM on October 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


This part stood out for me:

In the office, she can ask for a reality check anytime, given that most of the staff members have had their own struggles. “I’ll just say, ‘Excuse me, but is anyone hearing what I’m hearing?’ ” she said. “And if the answer is no — O.K., it’s no. Here it’s possible to do that and not worry about it.”

Reality checks like this are really important for many people struggling with mental illness, but it's really hard for most to ask for and accept them. Likewise, I don't know if most (non-mentally ill) people are prepared to give such reality checks in a non-judgmental manner when asked. Kudos to both Ms. Myrick and her colleagues.
posted by tdismukes at 9:39 AM on October 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I'm going to recommend that people familiarize themselves with the peer recovery movement before commenting here. It is actually a best practice in mental health care, and worth learning more about.
posted by Polyhymnia at 9:47 AM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here is a better link.
posted by Polyhymnia at 9:49 AM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The world is full of assholes.
And I sure never expected to encounter so many on the Blue. WTF? Do people just hate anyone with a job? Or anyone who's the subject of an NYT story?
posted by Ideefixe at 9:57 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I'm still bothered by the take-away (or my take-away) that there's this subtext that "mental health issues aren't so bad; just take a few days off work!" Which, you know, is great advice, but not possible for the majority of people with these sorts of problems.

GenjiandProust - I'm not sure that subtext you're reading is anywhere in the article. Ms. Myrick's history shows that after years of struggle (including lost jobs and hospitalizations) she's found an approach to managing her disease which includes medication, a strong connection to a good therapist, an appropriate work environment for her own particular skills and needs, a loving pet, a set of pre-planned responses to flareups of her symptoms, and the occasional weekend getaway. (Taking time off from work is never mentioned in the article.)

Offhand, I'd say she's demonstrating a good path for a lot of people who suffer from mental illness. Yes, it is true that not everybody with a severe mental illness will be able to hold down a job. For those who can't, the rest of her approach is still useful. For those who can, it's certainly a good thing to have role models who show that having a mental illness does not automatically mean you are incapable of having a career or contributing to society.
posted by tdismukes at 9:58 AM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


See, maybe instead of thinking about how we should worry about "her" (this specific single woman sharing her details), one might think of how this:

I'm still bothered by the take-away (or my take-away) that there's this subtext that "mental health issues aren't so bad; just take a few days off work!" Which, you know, is great advice, but not possible for the majority of people with these sorts of problems.

Could be examined from a societal structuring standpoint, yes, we could say, well, that is privilege, to be able to take a day off... instead of saying "it is injustice that such forms of accommodation are not made, ever, for the millions of others in her situation. So yes, she is "privileged" to have such an environment, but I would suggest you could turn it around, and recognize that there is a "Deprivation" towards everyone else who is in similar shoes, but didn't or couldn't access assistance.

The message isn't "mental health issues aren't so bad", it is "with assistance, people generally tossed aside by society can play key, valuable, personally fulfilling and societally enriching roles". With assistance (but that is the key, the people helping, and assisting wouldn't have been able to build what she has done without her, she, as a person, was integral to societal enrichment, and so it actually is "her creation").

Like, for an example, increasing accessibility of mental health physicians, therapy, and counseling, even taking just this single woman, let us imagine a world where she didn't "get to take a day off"... the world would be poorer for it. Period. I don't care if it is asserted that she is "privileged" singularly, this is a "privilege" which, applied more broadly, would further increase the intellectual, and diverse wealth of the nation.

And after that, maybe asking, is it a benefit or a detriment to throw people aside as "non-contributors", because an accident of genes, or chemistry. Of course, standard notes apply; not all people are the same, not everyone with a mental illness can "be" this woman.
But how many people could share her participation in social life, if we could reform some basic aspects of society? Access to health care for example, workers rights... left and right alike, we used to fight for these ideas of social justice together.
posted by infinite intimation at 10:11 AM on October 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


I worked for a guy once who had, I discovered largely because he insisted on keeping all his meds out on his desk, a lot of the same sorts of mental health issues that I did.

But he wasn't okay with anybody else's issues. He used his position of power to blow up at absolutely anybody absolutely anytime, and because he was the owner, he could do that. We went through four office managers in a year. We were all at-will employees at a time when unemployment in our area was very high. We needed our jobs, desperately. We were abused for it, because the way he used his job to cope was destructive.

I don't think the 'defense' here is so much the executive part. It's working for an organization that has awareness of and space for people who do not fit the definition of "typical" in a mental health sense. If you're working somewhere that it's okay to be a boss with a mental health condition but also okay to be an employee with a mental health condition, where everybody is working together on this, then that would be pretty awesome. But if that's the case, she's in a position that is seriously the exception, in this world.
posted by gracedissolved at 10:17 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like how she talks about her brain getting "spinny" when she's moving out of wellness. Since my bipolar diagnosis I have found myself using similarly non-clinical terms to talk about my mental state. I hate to use the word "manic" though I'm not sure why. I actually have a noise I make to describe my revved up mind. My husband knows exactly what I mean when I do it and can get me to sit down and take my meds and make an appointment...

I also connected with her description of being well and having to ask "what does it mean to be well?". My definition of well has changed now that I know that being better from depression isn't being manic instead. When I feel stable, I feel like I need to drink it in, memorize it for later. Then when my own brain starts to get "spinny" it's easier to tell that something is getting out of whack.

I am currently employed in an environment unfriendly to the mentally ill and I really hope to get something part time in my field soon. When I am doing the work that brings me joy, in my case children's librarianship, I can manage my illness better than when I am aimless or bagging groceries. As long as I build in time for self-care and family stuff, I can be productive.
posted by Biblio at 10:19 AM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


One thought I had when I saw and read the article was -- I hope the experience of having this story published (and re-published throughout the internet) does not end up causing Keris disruption or pain. Being "famous on the internet" can be a pretty overwhelming experience, I would imagine. I was thinking primarily about the notoriety; I did not think people would be dismissive or would label her as a privileged crazy boss. (Sigh.) Disclosure: I know Keris slightly.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 10:22 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The message isn't "mental health issues aren't so bad", it is "with assistance, people generally tossed aside by society can play key, valuable, personally fulfilling and societally enriching roles". With assistance (but that is the key, the people helping, and assisting wouldn't have been able to build what she has done without her, she, as a person, was integral to societal enrichment, and so it actually is "her creation").

Yeah, I thought the article was neat in that it highlighted ways workplaces could be friendlier to people with mental health issues. It sounded like in her job at Cal Tech, she started having symptoms of paranoia and tried to hide them or couldn't recognize that they were not in line with reality and eventually lost her job because of that. At her current job, it sounds like she has symptoms of paranoia and asks a bunch of people, "Hey, is this really happening?", they say no, and they all keep working. That sounds cool. I think more offices should be like that.

It reminded me of this other NY Times article, about different ways of managing mental illness in different cultures. There is a lot to pick at in that article, but one thing I took away from it was the idea that, in America, we want people with mental illness to act as totally normal as possible, whereas in some cultures, if you need to go off for a couple weeks with a bout of paranoia, your family might be like, "Oh, yeah, Snarl's sweating out the demons, it'll be fine in a little while. More soup, Snarl?"
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:22 AM on October 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Wow, what an ugly comment. Did you notice that she's working for an organization which quite literally empowers people who have been diagnosed with various mental illnesses by giving them jobs and helping them to establish a sense of normalcy and an extended support system. That is flexible with her because it is obviously well-versed in what she's been through and what she's currently dealing with?

She's the CEO.... of course they are flexible with her. Look, I don't know anything about this lady from reading the article. She might be great to work for but what's it's like in the office before she realizes she needs a time out...
She began attending mental health conferences that were open to the public and saw that some of her skills — in administration, in computer technology — were crucial in mental health care, where people with psychiatric diagnoses often struggle to make sense of the patchwork of services and clinics. At one conference she met Paul Cumming, a well-connected advocate who works for a mental health care Web site.

The two became friends, and soon Mr. Cumming enlisted her as a speaker at one of his mental health technology conferences. “She was very nervous, and it was last-minute,” he said, “but she was a big hit, very smart and funny.”

In the audience was David Pilon, an executive at Mental Health America of Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization, who was looking for someone to run a unit of the organization in Commerce, Ca. “I was very impressed with her, and I just kind of filed it away,” Dr. Pilon recalled. “Then, later, we both served on a panel, and I said, ‘Listen, if you’re ever looking for a job. ... ’ ”
This little vignette illustrates nicely how well-connected people get jobs... and is la-la land for joe blow schizo-affective disorder. Let's read the headline again: A HIGH-PROFILE EXECUTIVE JOB AS DEFENSE AGAINST MENTAL ILLS. It's telling, at least to me, that they interviewed her parents and several psychiatrists but none of the people who work for her.

Yeah, I thought the article was neat in that it highlighted ways workplaces could be friendlier to people with mental health issues. It sounded like in her job at Cal Tech, she started having symptoms of paranoia and tried to hide them or couldn't recognize that they were not in line with reality and eventually lost her job because of that. At her current job, it sounds like she has symptoms of paranoia and asks a bunch of people, "Hey, is this really happening?", they say no, and they all keep working. That sounds cool. I think more offices should be like that.

For real?
posted by ennui.bz at 10:29 AM on October 24, 2011


A post has been created on MetaTalk for this FPP.
posted by zarq at 10:30 AM on October 24, 2011


It speaks to two ideologies of medicine that currently are (perpetually) competing; health Cure culture, and health Care culture, one takes each person, a day at a time, for life, the other is attempts at "fixes" (we are studying genes to find the one true cause, and then we can erase those genes, because they *probably* don't impact other things... well, maybe they do, but we can worry about that later, when we have even better technology in the future.

See, people need the assistance today. And with all the "technology" will cure us, in time talk... many start to forget that people struggle day to day, not "in the future", and so we get what Shakespeherian noted, a desire to push the issues aside, for another day (and people saying things like "well, they have meds, so it is a personal failing if someone can't even be 'normal' with those magic meds". The point, I guess, is that such illnesses rarely present in a "constant" manner, it is highs and lows, peaks and valleys, and without accomodation, feedback and support structures, the valleys can be very dark indeed.

Yes, medication is vital, and frequently works as the glue, or the stable base of a pyramid of treatment, and is a part of care; but so is environment, support, feedback (like Snarl noted), and universally equally accessible health care infrastructure.
posted by infinite intimation at 10:33 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


WTF? Do people just hate anyone with a job? Or anyone who's the subject of an NYT story?

They don't hate everyone with a job. If she was an oppressed Target employee, an obscure artist or musician, or a drug dealer, this crowd would be falling over themselves to celebrate her.

But yeah, they do hate everything in the New York Times. Go fig.
posted by happyroach at 10:34 AM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


This article is about how if you have power and people willing to back you up, even being totally psychotic can't stand in your way.

You — and many of the other people snarking over this article — seem to have missed to point that she became the CEO of this non-profit after being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, and after having lost at least one job because of it. Your description of her as somebody who has "power and people willing to back [her] up" seems entirely unsupported by the information given in the article.

A few relevant dates and details from the article for the TL/DR crowd:
  • an Army brat. She grew up around the world and nowhere in particular
  • in her freshman year at Wellesley she became increasingly isolated and erratic; she had to move back to her parents’ home after being asked by the college to take time away
  • Managed to complete her undergraduate degree and get a graduate degree while dealing with severe anxiety and hearing voices talking to her
  • From 2000 to 2006 the police had taken Ms. Myrick to the hospital at least six times after she called one of her therapists with thoughts of suicide and hallucinations and the therapist made an emergency call
  • On another occasion she crawled into the closet of her hospital room and curled into a fetal position. She was “catatonic and completely mute,” according to a discharge summary dated Jan. 2, 2005.
  • In 2006, she had just lost a good position in the admissions office at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena. She had been working frantically, putting in long hours, paranoid that her co-workers were out to undermine her — and she finally blew up at someone in the personnel office. The voice in her head was not letting her forget it, telling her that she was a failure, finished.
  • So her doctor gives her the fairly common advice to take an extremely low-level job, but she disagrees. Dr. Pylko also thought she should feel her way back into the work force slowly, starting with less demanding work. She had other ideas; she would not answer phones or bag groceries, not with an advanced degree in management.
  • She began attending mental health conferences that were open to the public and got to know mental health advocates, one of whom invited her to speak at a conference.
  • She spoke at the conference, where one of the executives at Mental Health America of Los Angeles heard her and was impressed enough that when he encountered her again later, he offered her a job.
I truly do not understand how anybody reads that and sees it as her getting things handed to her, or her being so privileged that her mental illness hasn't had negative effects for her like it does for others, or anything like that, unless their vision is so obscured by their own issues that they're not really reading it.

On preview:
This little vignette illustrates nicely how well-connected people get jobs...

Honestly, where on EARTH are you getting the information that she's well-connected? Seriously. Is there information you're privy to about her background that the rest of us aren't?
posted by Lexica at 10:34 AM on October 24, 2011 [20 favorites]


She might be great to work for but what's it's like in the office before she realizes she needs a time out...

I mean, she's not a crane operator with narcolepsy. The article clearly shows she's aware enough of her illness that she can nip it in the bud once symptoms appear.

Why comment on this stuff if you haven't done the research? Boredom? Maybe go for a walk or something.
posted by pwally at 10:35 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I thought the article was neat in that it highlighted ways workplaces could be friendlier to people with mental health issues. It sounded like in her job at Cal Tech, she started having symptoms of paranoia and tried to hide them or couldn't recognize that they were not in line with reality and eventually lost her job because of that. At her current job, it sounds like she has symptoms of paranoia and asks a bunch of people, "Hey, is this really happening?", they say no, and they all keep working. That sounds cool. I think more offices should be like that.

For real?


Yes. Completely. Seriously, think of the crazy person in your office. You've got one, right? I've got one. They are wacky. But they think they are perfectly sane. They think everything they do is reasonable and normal. They think everyone else is crazy. They absolutely believe that they told you about that super important meeting you knew nothing about. Because they're crazy. They absolutely believe you hate them and that every suggestion you make is designed to force them out of a job. Because they're crazy. They treat you like shit and watch you like a hawk and keep you late because they think you are out to get them and they have to get you first. Because they are crazy.

But this lady knows she's crazy. When she starts feeling crazy, she calls up some people and says, "Hey, am I being crazy or does my assistant hate me?" And they say, "No, you're being crazy."

Fuck yeah I would prefer this lady to the crazy in my office.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:36 AM on October 24, 2011 [31 favorites]


1) I think it's a bad idea to attribute to crazy what can be more simply explained by managerial incompetence, prejudice, or just plain stupidity.

2) Most people with major mental illnesses are invisibile and undiagnosed until something really big happens. Our culture encourages a wide variety of coping mechanisms to keep these things hidden. That said, having routine reality checks strikes me as generally a good way to make decisions on the job, no matter what your sanity level.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:49 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm reading this thread and the article and thinking of Steve Jobs.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:50 AM on October 24, 2011


At her current job, it sounds like she has symptoms of paranoia and asks a bunch of people, "Hey, is this really happening?", they say no, and they all keep working. That sounds cool. I think more offices should be like that.

ennui.bz says: For real?

How is that really that different from saying "Gah, is it SUPER warm in here, or is it just me?
posted by KathrynT at 10:53 AM on October 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Mentally healthy and mentally ill people are on a continuum. Whatever the mentally ill have, we all have a little of it. If you want there to be a thick black line between you and the Crazies, this is probably a symptom of anxiety (compare homophobia, always most intense in people scared of their gay urges).
Let's view this article as a Best Practices Review, not as the new standard by which every sick person's performance will be judged.
Dealing with periodically psychotic people is hard. Really hard. If the burden can be spread among many people, rather than falling on one or two family members, it becomes lighter for everybody, including the sick person.
posted by homerica at 11:00 AM on October 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


CBrachyrhynchos, I know not all managers have a mental illness, and not all BAD managers have a mental illness! But the norm in US workplaces is to hide mental illness, so coworkers with a bad manager or colleague don't know if the person is clinical or just obnoxious, and there's no way to check the person in either case. I think it would be better to know about a potential trouble spot in a colleague's interpersonal relationships, so you can check it. Plus, then you know who is just obnoxious and should be fired for obnoxiousness.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 11:03 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The frightening conclusion of this is that our high-level executives may be people with only the slightest grasp... on... reality...

Wasn't there an article here a few weeks ago about sociopaths as industry titans?

And then we wonder who is responsible for the shit thats going down now...you know...which seems NOT to affect the titans' checkbooks.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:09 AM on October 24, 2011


Snarl: I expressed myself badly. I've seen the "crazy boss" idea pop up a few times here on the blue, and it seems that there's more than a bit of armchair diagnosis and confirmation bias going on. I think we're pretty much in agreement here.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:10 AM on October 24, 2011


This little vignette illustrates nicely how well-connected people get jobs... "

Yeah ... that's not "well-connected" in the sense of "my rich daddy talked to his rich friends and set me up with this sweet gig." She got involved in the mental health advocacy field by attending and participating in free public events, got to know the people, and one of those connections was able to set her up with a job which matched the qualifications she had spent years working hard to acquire.
posted by tdismukes at 11:11 AM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Let's view this article as a Best Practices Review, not as the new standard by which every sick person's performance will be judged.

This is what confused me so much about the reaction to this profile, how it could be seen as anything but that; do we say to someone participating, and winning at the Paralympic Games, how Dare you, or tsk at them for not only flaunting their privilege at having fit bodies, but further, how they actually oppress people just like them, by setting un-acheivable standards? And trivializing the situation of the less fit. Would we say "aren't you being privileged, and shouldn't everyone be where you are before you can do something as prestigious as take part in an international competition at the highest level".

No, the answer there is, no, that isn't normally done. Another example of the dichotomy in how people today view different forms of life impacting situations. Physical and mental dichotomy and sociological reactions is interesting. There is much to be said for people striving, and achieving unique goals. Even if it means that one person can win recognition, and another person can only watch. Invisible disabilities are alive and well in the modern world.
posted by infinite intimation at 11:11 AM on October 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'm concerned that people would read this as some kind of a vindication for themselves. "See! There's a reason I'm an asshole! I have a problem, but this problem makes me EFFECTIVE and VALUABLE! This is a good thing. Now, goddammit, come on, people, I'm LATE FOR A MEETING HERE so let's GO GO GO!"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:47 AM on October 24, 2011


I'm concerned that people would read this as some kind of a vindication for themselves. "See! There's a reason I'm an asshole! I have a problem, but this problem makes me EFFECTIVE and VALUABLE! This is a good thing.

This article isn't about an asshole. This woman lives with the difficulties of her illness every day and has multiple ways of managing her symptoms. It's hardly vindication. She was repeatedly hospitalized and has been fired several times. I don't see what you're seeing.
posted by sweetkid at 12:42 PM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have a family member with bipolar disorder who had a fairly out of control manic episode over a three month period last year. In my attempts to reign him in/get him some help I had cause to interact with a lot of the people in his daily life, most of whom called me out of sheer concern.
Please understand that while he was manic he was visibly crazy looking - someone you would make pains to not make eye contact with on the sidewalk if you didn't know him - twitching, talking to himself, duct-taping hardware to his legs, was very agitated, angry, starting arguments with anyone; just really unpleasant to be around. He said some horrible, awful things to many people, including me. That said, most of his friends and acquaintances who I was talking with were understanding. Unbelievably understanding, considering how awful - like racial epithet to your face kind of awful - he was acting.

From my many discussions I noticed a trend: those who had any kind of exposure or experience with a relative or friend with a serious mental illness were the ones who were really understanding, forgiving and helpful. Of the two cops who I worked with when I eventually had him involuntarily committed, one of them was fucking spectacular with him - totally talked him down, was very respectful in her manner and engaged him in a rational-sounding discussion even though his subject matter was identifiably paranoid and fictional. I caught up with that officer a few months later to thank her for how she handled him and she told me she had an uncle who was schizophrenic, so she sought out the non mandatory training that is offered to police officers in how to handle people who are suffering from a mental illness. The friends who did not have experience with mental illnesses were a lot less understanding about his behavior - they just saw the behavior and took offense.

Many people are both scared of and woefully ignorant about mental illness. And many of those who have serious mental illnesses hide their illness from bosses and coworkers, and I think it's a costly choice for everyone involved. I was trying to figure out how to say something about having checks and balances on multiple fronts when I hit preview and saw that homerica said it much better.

I fully believe we should have a society where someone can not be in danger of losing their job if they need to, say, alter their duties, or take sick time or a leave of absence due to mental illness. Like, if I had an employee who was being really ineffective at his job and when I was on the brink of writing him up he came to me and told me about some major depression he was dealing with, I'd work with him. It should save his job, not cost him his job.
posted by 8dot3 at 12:42 PM on October 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


Part of what hindered my brother's recovery is that he has been really, really disheartened by the thought of not having meaningful work, of paths to meaningful work having been foreclosed by his illness. Now, of course there is a lot of other stuff going on with him. But this is something he has talked about a lot. What's the point, he says, of having a meaningless life? (I mean, his frame of reference for meaning is skewed, but I sort of get what he means.) And I think that--and a lot of other things--has been part of what's led him to illicit activity and, now, to a likely felony conviction that really will dramatically foreclose opportunity.
posted by liketitanic at 12:56 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cool Papa Bell - did you see anything in that article which indicates Ms. Myrick acts like an asshole at her workplace (or elsewhere)? Or anything that indicates she considers her illness to be a good thing?

If you're worried about profiles of executives which portray asshole-ish behavior as admirable, I've read a number of those and they didn't have anything to do with mental illness.
posted by tdismukes at 12:57 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Liketitanic - yes, yes, yes, exactly about meaningful work. My family member's former boss is STILL trying to get him to come back to work, and it's sad to say that bosses like this are uncommon. (And underscoring my point above, it should be noted that said boss has a schizophrenic brother so he gets it.) But he also knows that my family member worked for him wonderfully for seven years before that and was a great worker.
posted by 8dot3 at 1:02 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, work makes a huge difference. I stay in a crappy job because when I'm working, my depression is relatively minor and manageable; when I don't have a job, it swallows me up.

But what struck me about the article was the idea that she figured out (with her doctor's help) how to manage her own illness. I see this more and more, people researching their own (physical or mental) illnesses by themselves, suggesting ideas to their doctors, joining supportive communities on their own, etc. I have all kinds of skin problems myself that doctors haven't been able to help me with, and I manage them on my own. The idea of taking charge of your own health seems like a really new trend to me. When I was a child (I'm 47), the way you interacted with doctors is that you went, they did something, then if that didn't work you went back. I noticed the generational difference when my father was weakened by illness and the rest of the family tried to get him to exercise more; the idea of doing more than his doctor had told him to do was incomprehensible to him. It struck me because my sister and I couldn't imagine not doing something that clearly would help you get stronger, whether the doctor told you to do it or not.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 1:53 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell - did you see anything in that article which indicates Ms. Myrick acts like an asshole at her workplace

Umm ... page two?

It was 2006, and she was not at all O.K.: she had just lost a good position in the admissions office at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena. She had been working frantically, putting in long hours, paranoid that her co-workers were out to undermine her — and she finally blew up at someone in the personnel office.

Yes, it describes a past event that she has apparently gotten past. But if you think this doesn't play a day-to-day role that co-workers have to deal with under the aegis of being politically correct, I have a bridge to sell you.

We've long seen mental conditions being used to cover for bad behavior -- for example, true Asperger's is pretty rare and comes with definitive signifying traits, but how many times have you heard someone claiming to be "a little bit aspie" as the reason they just don't play well with others?

I see this line of thinking -- I'm crazy, which I why I need a corner office -- as having the same potential for abuse.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:14 PM on October 24, 2011


That seems like kind of a reach to me, and doesn't seem to be what's going on in this article.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:16 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell, she got fired for that, not rewarded.
posted by sweetkid at 2:21 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


CPB - that was a previous job that she lost because she didn't have her illness under control at that time. The whole point is that now she has found better coping mechanisms so that she doesn't end up behaving like that at her current job.
posted by tdismukes at 2:40 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The article isn't saying that she's better at her job bc she has a mental illness, but that her mental illness does not stop her doing a good job (given that she has a supportive environment) and that - more importantly - having a demanding job actually helps her cope better with her mental illness. She might be much worse off if she had a less demanding job.
posted by jb at 4:18 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell: Umm ... page two?

...

Yes, it describes a past event that she has apparently gotten past. But if you think this doesn't play a day-to-day role that co-workers have to deal with under the aegis of being politically correct, I have a bridge to sell you.


To be fair, if you persevere to the third page you'll find out that most of her co-workers are also dealing with diagnosed mental illness. It's not a bunch of long-suffering Cool Papa Bells being forced to indulge the crazy boss lady "under the aegis of being politically correct", as you seem to have imagined it, and whatever that means. It's presumably self-interest from people who have themselves probably had to deal with the problems of dealing with mental illness in environments that are not set up to deal with it, supporting a set of working practices in which being able to ask if everyone else hears something or taking a mental health day does not mean losing their job.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:45 PM on October 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Uh, yeah Cool Papa Bell? If I could work for her and she would keep me hired even though I can't keep track of paper work or remember what I'm doing without reminders, or be on time for anything... I would totally be down with offering her support for whatever state she's in.

Then again I've taken a lot of friends into the mental hospital, I've hung with people while they calm down from being a bit manic but not enough to need acute care, I'm extremely comfortable providing support to people in different sorts of states, and I would love a world where more people in the general public knew how to respond to someone needing help with mental health/emotional crisis/differently functioning issue; with knowledgable compassion. Rather than fear and rejection. And I would totally be down with specific environments, like the entire point of this article, where those who are willing to support each other in a work environment in this way could choose to work there... because they want the same kind of support.

I don't mind being segregated from the normals who hate differently functioning people and all the issues they cause to the world, but that EXACTLY how this is set up. What's your beef?

You hate mentally ill people who might need support on the job, so don't work there.

So why do you need to piss on an opportunity for people who otherwise couldn't work, or get the support they need in a work environment? I don't get it.
posted by xarnop at 6:06 PM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think everyone deserves meaningful work and accomodations, even if extreme, that if made would allow a worthwhile contribution. (I don't know how to make sure this happens within the limitations of this reality but I absolutely believe we should strive for it as a goal for humanity). Obviously if the accomodation is more costly/labor intensive than the work being given-- then it's not a worthwhile compromise. However I think among those of us who function differently, we might have a different vision of what "reasonable accomodation" might mean and if we could manage to do worth while labor with different parameters of structure and support than the normal work environment, then heck yeah I would love more differenly abled people to get "high power" positions of "privalege" and give an opportunity for meaningful work to the rest of us.

That would be freaking awesome.

That's the kind of privaledged people the world needs.

Oh noes she's putting the mentally ill people who otherwise struggle to hold jobs to work and allowing them to contribute to society despite their needs in the work place! She's horrible! Corporate greed and corruption AAAAHHHHHHHH

(I do get why the title seemingly claiming that mentally ill people are "more" benefitted by meaningful than mentally healthy people might have set this up for a weird reaction.)
posted by xarnop at 6:16 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know what? I'm glad this lady figured out what works for her to keep her sane. And like someone else said, I'd rather have a crazy boss who's aware of it, asks for sanity checks, and listens to them, than uh...the other option.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:40 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


A topic near and dear to my heart.

“Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.” Bill Clinton

In an industrial society wage labor is the basis for citizenship, and exclusion and marginalization in the work sphere often dictate exclusion and marginalization in other spheres of life (see Barnes and Mercer: Disability, work, and welfare: Challenging the social exclusion of disabled people). If you can't work then people freely assume you can't really do anything worth doing in society, and this assumption is implicitly supported by social policies that alienate the mentally ill.

There is a lot of public interest in helping disabled people to change themselves so they can attract employment, and very little aimed at removing social barriers to employment. Social programs set up under individualist, supply-side policies encourage the mentally ill individual to become more attractive to employers through resume enhancement and skills training, rather than targeting the workplace itself for reform.

Mental illness is taken to override everything else, including experience, skills, interests, level of ambition, and intellect. This is not to minimize the impact of mental illness on the individual or those around them. I have a close friend who has schizoaffective disorder and is highly intelligent and driven to help others. Her lifelong dream has been to found a school. A decade of hospitalizations and mental distress have certainly taken a huge toll on her and her goals. At the same time, watching this capable, motivated woman struggle in vain against the assumptions and outright barriers thrown at her even by the people who are supposed to help her has been extremely frustrating. She can do more.

Shoot, I don't have to look to someone else's example. I have bipolar disorder and I know I can do more and be more productive. For example, my psychiatrist actively discourages me from working to avoid the stress, as it was working erratically and being fired that contributed to my first big breakdown ten years ago. I get it, but I've come a heckuva long way since then. There is a lot of research demonstrating that for mentally ill individuals in the process of recovery, meaningful work should be a big part of the process, NOT something to avoid. The problem is trying to find something that works when the working world has up the "No Entry" sign.

Of course, when you don't work then you go on disability (leaving many afraid they will lose their benefits if they try to work). Many mentally ill people receive the same encouragement given Ms. Myrick: find some low-wage, presumably low-stress job so you can make a few bucks and feel better about yourself. Either way, it often means a lifetime of poverty. The thing about poverty is it makes you crazy. Poverty-related stresses, including insecure housing, increased tension in relationships, and class discrimination, can make mental illness more severe and more difficult to overcome. Persistent poverty combined with mental illness makes many people reluctant or unable to create and fulfill a purpose (see Perese: Stigma, poverty, and victimization: Roadblocks to recovery for individuals With severe mental illness).

In my case, I know that there are many times when my illnesses are not severe and I could be doing SOMETHING, but the energy to make goals and follow through has been sapped just by the situation I'm living in and the reduced options. I have to deal with the illness, deal with the poverty, and deal with the stigma and feeling of being outcast from the community. Of the three problems, the illness is the LEAST. Many times the sickness is alleviated due to many coping mechanisms and therapies or even in remission. Nothing alleviates the social barriers and few want to cure them.
posted by Danila at 9:27 PM on October 24, 2011 [16 favorites]


Well most people want out of their low wage jobs. People who tried and made it out/above the near minimum wage working world tend to assume everyone else can get out too.

You just, you know, work hard and try.

And if you keep on working hard and trying, you'll get a much better paying job!

Of course!

So let's NOT try to figure what keeps people trapped working in near minimum wage jobs their entire lives, or try to maximize use of humans potential to contribute to the labor market in ways that match their skill sets. Definately not.

It's very important that we let the poor suffer through it without any support because that's uh, how to respect them... or something. Or rather it's easier that way and it increases job security for the people who made it up who often vent about all those sucky people who would never deserve the job they worked into.

Any one who has more than others has to work it out in their head why they deserve to have more and those other people definately deserve to have less.

Even if it requires making things up.
posted by xarnop at 6:02 AM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


And just to say, the kids who have wealthy and supportive parents who try to help their children find and develop their skill sets whether or not they have some differently functioning traits, tend to do better.

Meaning this whole sticking people in shit labor for many many years tends to decrease mental reserves for calm centered creative thinking, the energy to devote to creating structure and study skills and time to school work. Not to mention if you're working minimum wage you're probably eating really unhealthy food because you work a lot just to pay bills and then are tired and have two bucks for dinner and everyone else is tired and using stress eating/stress drinking/stress drug use to deal with how shitty everything is and that hopeless despair quietly floating through the air that this is really it, where everyone is going to be stuck. But it's ok because you have each other, right? Only how do you prove you deserve to be on the in side of social interaction?

Among addicts/wage laborers etc (I combine them because the culture is in my experience entwined due to the suckiness of wage labor pushing people to methods of stress relief and also to people already into being addicts entry level jobs are more common)...

People like to differentiate functional vs dysfunctional addict. Losing your shit on drugs is totally not cool. Because everyone is on the verge of losing their shit but not actually losing it, so spending a lot of time on how much that shitty person who lost their shit is radically different than everyone else who would NEVER do something like that makes everyone feel better about that part of themselves they are fighting to keep from breaking down and expressing.

The functional vs dysfunctional wage worker tends to determine who will wind up with the dysfunctional addicts vs the functional addicts who hate the dysfunctional addicts.

Mean while who is in which group is often more a function of who acts like the biggest asshole to people who don't function as well and often not actually because of any real difference in functioning. After all, if they were really so great at functioning why not get a degree and really great job rather make 10 bucks and hour as a manager at a pizza place scowling and raging about the stupid fucks who don't scrub the pizza tins well enough? They know exactly why those fucks don't do a good job. They know EXACTLY the misery and hopelessness that drives people to really not give a crap about working and the reason they hate everyone is that the hatred for those who underperform is the last leg of motivation, it's the only way they can derive any sense of purpose in a job they themselves don't give a crap about, doesn't feel like has any meaningful purpose in the world and that they are really only doing well at out of spite for people who function less well than they do because making mediocre pizza for people who see your labor as nearly meaningless is not a job that most people want to get stuck in.

Basically anyone who can find any way to prove they are NOT one those sucky dysfunctional people will do it: and that means othering, rejecting, isolating and shaming anyone they can make below them on the totem pole. People do this because it's all so fucking hard that no one can afford to do otherwise. Because rather than see someone struggling with functioning and seeing them as a person who needs a specific kind of support we just give them whatever label we like and make them an example of someone who sucks more than us and feel relieved for the opportunity.

*This is obviously just observations of specific subcultures of local minimum wage service employees in my city.
posted by xarnop at 6:32 AM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


>>It was 2006, and she was not at all O.K.: she had just lost a good position in the admissions office at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena. She had been working frantically, putting in long hours, paranoid that her co-workers were out to undermine her — and she finally blew up at someone in the personnel office.

Yes, it describes a past event that she has apparently gotten past. But if you think this doesn't play a day-to-day role that co-workers have to deal with under the aegis of being politically correct, I have a bridge to sell you.


Would you find this incident such a defining aspect of her work life if you didn't know that she had been diagnosed with a mental illness?

Because if everyone who has ever irrationally lost their temper at another employee were forever marked as unsuitable for executive leadership, uh, I don't know who would be running a lot of the boardrooms in this country.
posted by desuetude at 8:53 AM on October 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


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