Empathy Fail! Heather Duff's Story About Her Manger's Awkward Attempt to Understand

Published on by Matthew Mewhorter.

I love this story by Heather Duff about how her line manager attempts to relate to her pain in incredibly awkward ways. Check it out:

I was 27 when the doctors diagnosed me with a rare and aggressive form of cervical cancer. At the time I had recently completed my first marathon and was playing national league hockey. Being a non smoker, who rarely drank with an exemplary diet I thought I was immune to cancer. I was wrong!

The lasting effects of treatment has catapulted me into early menopause and left me infertile. A bitter pill to swallow but it could be worse. When I returned to work I chose to confide in my line manager. The conversation went like this...

Manager: How are you?
Me: Honestly? The life I know has gone - I think it'll take a while for things to settle.
Manager: It must be awful. I imagine it's like when you find out Santa's not real.

After an awkward silence I continued the conversation and assumed her response was a nervous one. We got onto the topic of colleagues, several of whom were pregnant at the time:

Me: I find it a little difficult. I'm still coming to terms with infertility and I can't help but feel that is something I'll never have.
Manager: I know what you mean. I can't take a tan. It's like when people come back from their holidays all bronzed showing off their tans. It's so tough!

I stopped talking to my line manager from then on!

Check out Heather's awesome blog, FU Cancer at http://fucancer.co.uk/