Suffering at Work: Consultations to Find Help

The first consultation "suffering and work" in the hospital was born in 1997. There are today 35 in France. Reportage at the hospital intercommunal center of Créteil, alongside Dr. Nicolas Sandret and his patients.

Laurence Lemoine

Nicole, 43

She sits facing the doctor, folds her raincoat on her lap, and instantly, her eyes are wet: "You will forgive me, I always hard to talk about it. " The facts go back a year, while she was executive assistant in a pharmaceutical company. In the meantime, she was hospitalized, "a real zombie," she confesses. Now she wants to get up. She decided they would not have her skin. Because she did nothing wrong. Nothing that justifies the sidelining and defamation of which she was the victim.

"On the contrary, I was recruited to replace two people and I was self-sufficient very quickly, and three months after my arrival, I even replaced my boss for several weeks. I was asked by the company to supervise a database software change and that's when it started. "

She sees a lot of anomalies in the files. The management of the company congratulates but is surprised: these problems should have been resolved a year ago. She then understands that, without wishing it, she has just put her boss in difficulty: she should have remedied it; his negligence was brought to light. Nicole will pay dearly.

When he returned, his boss changed. More smiles, more coffee in the morning to discuss files. A trainee is recruited, that the director will gradually put in the place of his assistant, by removing her files gradually, "to unload, because it works too much". The chief and his new colleague make collusion against the assistant, deprive her of the information necessary for the proper execution of her tasks, and accuse her of all the errors of the service. Until the company asks him to leave.

The interview is long, trying. Nicole relives the facts as if they were happening in the present. Her voice trembles, she offends, cries, pleads her cause. She details all she has tried to assert her innocence: all phone calls, all emails, all interlocutors. She says that today, after six months of rest, she is better: "I can take the RER without fear of throwing me underneath." But she doubts herself and no longer dares to apply anywhere.

"Slanders, unfavorable reports have reached my integrity deep down, I am very perfectionist, I have never had much confidence in myself.Being recognized for the quality of my work was important to me. "

" It's important for everyone, "says the doctor. All our life, we continue to build our identity. This construction is based on two major pillars: love and work. She goes through the eyes of the other, by her gratitude. If it is removed from us, we collapse. This is what happened with your hierarchical superior: you esteemed him, and, while you did your work conscientiously, she took away her gratitude. What is involved is not your job. It's an authority that did not protect you, that even betrayed you. In doing so, it has jostled your relationship to the world, the trust you place in the job well done, in justice. Nobody can resist that. You are not weak, you are not crazy. Anyone in your place would have unscrewed. "She cries with relief.

Ramesh, 62

The second patient is a small elderly man who enters Dr. Sandret's office with his And gives a paper to the doctor: a sheet of appointments for a x-ray of the lung.The doctor wonders if the man was not wrong to consult.The woman, a little annoyed, told her husband to The couple is of Sri Lankan descent and speak French badly, so she explains the situation: "My husband has been working in a workshop producing glasses since then. our arrival in France in the 1980s. With the former boss, everything was going well. But with the new, there is a lot of pressure. My husband does not sleep anymore. He can not stand his work or his colleagues anymore. I tell him to try to hold until retirement, in a year. But, for the first time, he accumulates the stops. "

The doctor prays the man to describe his work: he explains: the workshop, the noisy machines, the obligation to wear ear plugs and a mask to protect the airways. "And says, with a strong accent:" That's not the problem. The problem is boss. Before, there was only one boss. Now, there's a little boss, a big boss, lots of bosses. The little boss is afraid of the big boss, who is afraid of the boss above. And when something goes wrong, it's always the fault below it. "

The doctor asks," And for you, what is difficult? "" My boss is young. Do not know how to talk to me. Shout all the time. He says I do not know how to do my job when I've been here for thirty years. "He adds that his colleagues make fun of him because he does not understand anything and does not want to adapt to the new pace. if he is not happy, he has only to leave.

Dr. Sandret asks him if he has seen the doctor at work. " Yes, for the eyes and lungs, "the man replies. And you told him about your difficulties with your boss?"No, retorts the wife in her place. And now, in addition to problems at work, there are problems at home. He does not sleep anymore, he shouts all the time. My head is like that, "she lamented with an eloquent gesture.

Dr. Sandret explains:" The difficulties he experiences at work undermine his identity, his honor. It's normal that he does not go well, that he thinks about it at night and that he's angry. "She nods, understanding. Now you have to go back to the doctor, "he continues, addressing the old man. It does not just deal with the physical health of employees. If their mental health is threatened, it is also up to him to intervene to remind the boss of his obligation to ensure the safety of his teams ( Refer to Article L. 4121-1 of the Labor Code: "The employer takes the necessary measures to ensure the safety and to protect the physical and mental health of the workers. If you agree, I will call him, he will receive you and make an alert. still not going, you'll have to stop. "

The couple is leaving again." It's a classic story, Dr. Sandret comments, a change of organization, a man too old to accept the change. to jostle him, there is the barrier of the tongue, he does not have the heart to laugh, they did not need me, the doctor at work would have been enough, but obviously they did not know his role. I told them, that's it already. "

He recounts his daily life at the consultation:" When people arrive Here, they need to pour out all their suffering. In general, we do not understand anything because they are in great confusion. They must be invited to concretely portray their work. To understand what makes you suffer, you have to be able to clearly represent what they do, with whom, how. Once they have been able to describe their tasks in a positive way, they find support. And we can start to look at how the situation has deteriorated to skid. In general, it is related to a change. Hierarchy, organization, colleague. They were caught in a conflict of loyalty. And when they become aware of it, it gives meaning to what happened to them and that seemed to them all the more aberrant as they fought for quality work. And there they understand: it is not that they worked badly but that they carried strong values ​​and were at odds with them. "

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