Drugs: the workplace new high

Me having a chat with a friend on BBM.

Friend: Hey, I have some bad news. I left that sales job
Me: Why did you do that? Did you get another job?
Friend: No I didn’t
Me: Are you sensible at all? Why would you leave certainty for uncertainty?! (I was feeling super irritated and couldn’t hide it)
Friend: They take drugs men. They actually offered me cocaine.
Me: (shocked and speechless for a few seconds). Are you kidding me? Are you sure it’s cocaine
Friend: Not joking babe. Even the managers take it. It is crazy down there. I can’t work in such an environment. The atmosphere is just crazy.
Me: (Me still in shock but finally back to my right senses) It is a good thing you left before you get used to seeing it and get yourself involved in their mess. But why are they doing that though?
Friend: It’s to keep up. The Work is demanding. There is lots of competition.
Me: hmmm…… (Speechless still)

Well this is a true story and I actually had this conversation last week. I am still surprised (more shocked than surprised) about the use of hard drugs in the workplace especially when management seem to be in support of it and are willingly offering it to their staff. Unbelievable! I have heard of employees being on drugs and trying really hard to hide it from their employers. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the joyful sharing and giving of drugs in this manner. When I told my friend I was going write about it on my blog, he was too happy. His response was “please write away!”

The main reason why they were using drugs was to keep up and meet the demands of the job. This drug infested workplace is actually a really nice posh work environment in central London. The training they give is top notch – I remember my friend talking all business-like, giving me tips on how to sell my business ideas, telling what should and shouldn’t be in my proposals and feeling really excited just after 2 weeks of training. Then he starts the job fully and gets the shock of his life. For the sake of my life 😉 I won’t say much about the company (especially their name) just know that it is a sales and marketing company and many of the employees earn more from the sales they make than the actual meagre pay – so there is the urge to do well and make as much money as possible. The commission on each sale is huge so making a sale a day leaves you with so much on payday that it even makes you earn better than an investment banker so yes they can actually afford cocaine. I am glad my friend left this job and never experimented with drugs but how many would do the same? It is hard enough staying home not earning…

Drug use or abuse by anyone can cause serious problems for business, the user/abuser and his family. Drugs affects your ability to think straight which will be reflected in your work. The quality of your work will be inconsistent and there is the risk of loss in productivity, absenteeism and even presenteeism, accidents and injuries, low self esteem, reduced job performance, and psychological problems. How? You would lose focus and make mistakes due to your inability to make the right decisions and judgements. You would being to take needless risk and have no regard for the safety of yourself and others so of course there will be accidents.

Are you taking drugs like cocaine, ecstacy etc? Then you need to stop.
You cocaine taking workers in central London and anywhere else, incase you didn’t know, let me share what that cocaine you are taking does to you. According to NHS Choices (your very own healthcare provider), taking cocaine has short term and long term effects. The short term effects of cocaine is that as a stimulant, cocaine makes you feel high, confident and full of energy but this can quickly turn into feelings of anxiety, panic and paranoia and subsequently fatigue and depressed. The long term effect is that if you do decide to give up cocaine (which is a good thing), it would be mentally distressing and physically difficult so ideally you need to seek professional help if not you will keep going back you your cocaine. Continuous use of cocaine can worsen any existing mental health problems and lead to depression, anxiety and paranoia.

Good employers know the signs.
I am sure you must have noticed the signs but never attributed them to drugs. Still, let me share them – they just might ring a bell.
– Have you noticed erratic work patterns among some of your employees? I remember a job I had when I lived in London. One of my colleagues would just decide not to come to work or would come really late. My boss was really nice and each time she asked him what the problem was, without any fear he would say he had a hangover. He was shocked the day he got the sack.
– Have you noticed any employee taking extra-long lunch breaks or leaving work on time for no apparent reason? Now this is not to say for sure that the employee is on drugs – he/she could be spending those long lunch breaks having a secret nap in the bathroom or nursing mothers room 😉 (a friend of mine takes secret naps so I know this could be a reason). However, be sure to check what’s going on.
– Have you noticed an employee no longer cares about his personal appearance? He/she now looks like they haven’t had a shower in years. They now stink up the place when they come into work. Now is the time to act.
– Have you noticed that once effective staff now blames everyone for mistakes and shortcomings? They now complain about anything and everything and give excuses for everything. He now makes requests for salary advance? This has been going on for months now.

The list is endless but please don’t turn a blind eye. Ask your employees questions. Ask about their families, that course they started, how they are getting on with the job etc. Showing you care, asking those questions and getting answers might help reveal alot about what your employees are going through. A little word of encouragement and support can go a long way in stopping someone from seeking solace in drugs.

If you feel an employee is already on drugs, then to safeguard your business and workplace, it is best to get them tested. You might need to give them time off work to recover. In places like Nigeria, employers will terminate your employment if they find out so it is best to seek help fast!

For more info on drugs of all kinds, Please visit NHS Choices