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Pay, Stock & Benefits: The right stuff when stuff doesn’t go right

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As some of you know, I’ve recently been spending quite a lot of time with doctors and books and cancer-related web pages. And I’ve been working from a lot of different places; in fact, today I’m writing you from my wife’s hospital room here in Folsom, California. They have a good wireless network, more electrical outlets than my cubicle, and this “office” has a door. That said, our café is waaaaay better.

What comes to mind as I’ve watched my wife go through surgery and recovery is the degree to which it really helps you to take ownership of your health care. I did the research and knew exactly how much the hospital stay was going to cost me before she was admitted. We both ask the nurses about each procedure and drug to be sure we understand what is being done and why. They don’t seem to mind at all that we not only take an interest but also take responsibility for my wife’s care.

I had a chat with a co-worker last week and she told me a remarkable story. After a serious bout with strep throat, her son began to experience some behaviors that were uncharacteristic. She began to research, visit doctors, get second opinions, provide her son the recommended drugs and give feedback to the doctors about their effectiveness. The answers she was being given didn’t resonate. She knew they’d not found the problem yet or the right answer. Her son’s condition and behaviors worsened. So, she kept going, kept trying, kept learning.

You see, her son was eventually correctly diagnosed as bipolar, but the medical standards used by insurance companies and the medical community don’t recognize juvenile bipolar disorder. Services and facilities for an unrecognized condition tend to be rather hard to come by. She contacted her health insurance company and not only became familiar with her coverage, but she learned about some special services and referrals that eventually were a key to her son’s getting back on his feet. Her research and intuition pointed to the bipolar diagnosis, but only with great persistence and a high degree of ownership of her son’s care did she get the right results: the drug therapy and counseling that has led to his stabilization. He’s doing fine now.

The empathy I felt listening to this co-worker’s experience shifted to a smile as she talked about the terrific support and flexibility that her manager and co-workers demonstrated. I’d seen the same in my case; though as I’ve said, not every job can allow schedule and location flexibility. But in every case, there is big time support for employees to understand their benefits and pursue a healthy life for themselves and their families. One of these times, I’ll list off all the health-related benefits and perks at Intel to prove the point.

Anyway, what I see at Intel are great people with big hearts who work really hard to bring some amazing products to the world. Yeah, okay, not everyone. I mean, let’s be real – no place is all fluffy bunnies and double rainbows. But I gotta tell ya, I have met some amazing people at Intel and have heard many stories of managers looking out for their employees as people. And when it comes down to it, isn’t it the people really what you remember about a job?