linkedin Jonathan Frostick
A British IT worker is shedding light on the culture of overwork in a viral LinkedIn post that revealed why he is changing his approach to work-life balance.
Jonathan Frostick, a 45-year-old Regulatory IT Delivery lead based in London, shared his story in a post last week, revealing that when he suffered a heart attack, work was the first thing on his mind.
"So I had a heart attack..." Frostick began his post, explaining that he had sat down to prepare for the work week ahead one recent Sunday when he felt a sudden constraint in his chest, and had "what I can only describe as surges in my left arm, my neck, my ears were popping."
"I didn't get a flash of light, my life race through my mind," he wrote, "Instead I had: 1. F— I needed to meet with my manager tomorrow, this isn't convenient 2. How do I secure the funding for X (work stuff) 3. Shit I haven't updated my will 4. I hope my wife doesn't find me dead."
After making it to the hospital, Frostick shared that he made a new list detailing how he is going to shift his priorities away from work.
"I've since made the following decisions whilst I've laid here, on the basis I don't die," he continued. "1. I'm not spending all day on zoom anymore 2. I'm restructuring my approach to work 3. I'm really not going to be putting up with any s#%t at work ever again - life literally is too short 4. I'm losing 15kg 5. I want every day to count for something at work else I'm changing my role 6. I want to spend more time with my family."
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"And that, so far, is what near death has taught me," Frostick concluded, sharing a photo of himself from his hospital bed.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Frostick said that working from home during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made the boundary between work and the rest of life blurry.
"Whereas before I would finish sensibly anywhere between five and half six, I'd be finding myself there on a Friday at 8 o'clock at night exhausted, thinking I need to prep up something for Monday and I haven't got time, and I started then to actually work weekends," he told the outlet Wednesday. "That's my responsibility. I think that was probably for me where it was those blurring of boundaries."
Frostick said that day-to-day work life is much more difficult from home as well: "We're not able to have those other conversations off the side of a desk or by the coffee machine, or take a walk and go and have that chat. That has been quite profound, not just in my work, but across the professional services industry."
The father of three added that he doesn't blame his employer, HSBC, for his heart attack, saying that long hours and high-stress atmospheres are "fairly consistent across the industry."
Still, he said he shared his story to help others who might resonate.
"I owe a responsibility to myself and other people," he said. "This happened to me, this could happen to you. You need to change that."
A spokesperson for HSBC tells PEOPLE in a statement, "We all wish Jonathan a full and speed recovery."
"Over the last year we have redoubled our efforts on health and wellbeing - through support and tools for working healthily as well as internal communications campaigns to raise awareness," they added.
The spokesperson continued, "The response to this topic shows how much this is on people's minds and we are encouraging everyone to make their health and well-being a top priority."