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Now You See Me, Now You Don't

Mar 2, 2008
Selling life insurance is apparently not all it's cracked up to be.

An employee from one of the UK's top life insurance suppliers has been caught indulging his life-long ambition to be a magician while on paid sick leave. He had been caught performing magic tricks at a party once before while he was absent from his job as a life insurance salesman, bringing on a warning. This time the company felt obliged to dismiss him from their employ on the grounds of gross mis-conduct.

The man in question had been absent from his 'day' job for six months due to stress when he carried out his magic show at a christening party. Unfortunately for him, an employee from the human resources department of the same insurance firm was among the audience and recognised the magician.

The act of disappearing from his life insurance job and re-appearing in a different location has cost this former employee his 30,000 pounds per year salary, which just has to be painful! It is common practice for companies to insist their employees take no other paid employment while on sick leave.

In quite a pathetic excuse, the former employee claims he was only acting on his doctor's recommendation who believed performing his magic trick would help relieve stress. Only if it goes right, presumably.

He claims his dismissal from his life insurance sales job is unfair as he was only paid expenses and not the full amount he would normally charge. I think he may be missing the point here! He's paid to sell life insurance and, if he's genuinely sick, then he is paid to take time off to recover. The fact that he was then fit and well enough to perform in front of an audience, which even the most seasoned professionals will tell you, can be most stressful, underlines the fact that he should have been back in his normal job.

His excuse that the sick note had come to an end and he was ready to go back to work was thrown out at the tribunal. Again, back to the fact that he should have been at his real work and not playing hocus pocus comes to the fore. It seems a little strange that his magic act has now been put on hold while he searches for another full time job. Surely, if the vocational pull is that strong he should take it up professionally?

One of the most obvious forms of stress comes in depression and that will affect a great deal of workers, not just life insurance salesmen. Some people see depression as a weakness, or something to be fixed, but recent research shows that milder forms of depression are actually good for us.

It may not feel like it at the time, but bouts of feeling low are the times when we learn more about the world around us and how and why we react the way we do to certain influences. These are times we can take for personal growth, to kick back and give our minds and bodies chance to recover from the stress of life and grow mentally and emotionally into individuals better able to cope with difficult times.

It is estimated that depression costs the UK around 17 pounds billion a year through sick leave and loss of productivity so we would do well to learn from it, not forgetting that serious, or on-going depression needs medical intervention.
About the Author
Employment expert Catherine Harvey looks at the exploits of one life insurance salesman. To find out more please visit http://www.theidol.com/
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