Is there a real RSI problem in the Higher Education sector?

Question: We seem to have a lot of people from Universities having problems. Is this just me noticing things or is there a real problem in the Higher Education sector?  I went back to work today – I couldn’t get to my desk for the work piled on and around it. I’m afraid I started to cry (which is not like me at all – I am usually very composed and calm at work) and my boss sent me home again.

The occupational nurse is coming tomorrow afternoon (at work) to assess my work station and offer advice. She last did an assessment a year ago before the new computers were installed and the work practices changed.  At least something is being done. My boss was very nice – a real change as I thought him very unkind and unfeeling before – he has asked the powers that be for extra help and we await the reply.

Answer 1: Sorry and sympathetic to hear about your situation (I’ve been quiet these last few weeks, but reading avidly as usual). Sometimes it takes a shock for bosses to realize just how affected their employees are, both emotionally and physically. It riles me that the work just gets piled up on your desk like that – as if no one realizes how daunting that is, even for someone fit and healthy.  Anyway, at least you were sent home.

Sometimes you have no option but to break down, and then it can be such a relief that you are no longer having to put on a brave face and be stoic. Screw stoicism! Long live weepiness and fragility!

Answer 2: I quite agree – I too very rarely kick up a fuss at work which is probably why I got so overloaded and ended up with good old RSI in the first place!  The other week though I did just as you did Helen – I couldn’t help it and I would normally die before doing so in front of my colleagues – but I was so overloaded with work and deadlines that I just burst into tears! They’ve just made redundant the girl that they employed to take on the workload from me when I first got RSI. And guess who has been asked to take on her workload!

And because they’ve made her redundant they can’t/won’t replace her for another five months.  I’m afraid I have to now develop the attitude that they’ll just have to wait and I’ll fit their work in when I can but unfortunately I hate letting people down and not making deadlines. And the overall ‘boss’, who in his wisdom made the decision, keeps hassling as to why I’m not giving this new set of engineers enough of my time.  I don’t know – managers eh?! It quite worries me that I’ll return to the days of Ibuprofen and splints!

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