Blog: Renault's suicide cluster
Dave Leggett | 22 February 2007
Suicides are thankfully rare. I have never really understood why people who are finding something unbearable can't find a way of looking at it that eases the stress or - and I know I am being simplistic here - simply walk away from it. I like my job but if it was making me seriously miserable on a long-term basis I would jack it in. There are always alternatives and, these days, the family won't starve and you won't be kicked out of your house tomorrow.
What has been going on in Renault's technical design centre where there have been three apparently unrelated suicides in a short period of time? If stress levels have been suddenly raised generally, responsible and caring managers have a duty to look at how they can help the situation, of course. The suicides might signal a generally unhappy workplace and that's not a good thing at all.
But people taking their lives surely has more to it than deadlines and pressures at work. Maybe these tragic cases each have a tragic story and the fact that they all worked in the Renault technical design centre is more a coincidence than anything else. But what would the statistical probability of that be - three in six months?
It's an unusual and slightly unsettling story. Can people really be tipped over the edge by conditions in the office? (Maybe now is the time to slowly look up from your screen and pan the office...)
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