Integrity Matters
July 25, 2003

Shortsighted boss needs a clue

Question: (E-058)

Dear Jim:

My boss was approached by the Red Cross to have a blood drive. He refused to participate because he does not want to disrupt one day's work. Now he won't even give us time off to go on our own, using available "personal business time" that is part of our benefit package. What can we do, and what do you think of this?

A frustrated blood donor.


First, what do I think? Your boss is making a mistake.

Shortsightedness is a luxury our society cannot afford. Your boss is missing an important opportunity to safeguard against emergencies.

Regardless of what one chooses to support in areas of charitable giving, refusing to donate blood is risky and foolish. Statistical information underscores the universal need for blood. Emergencies affect a large segment of our population. As our nation continues to become older, it should be obvious that there is a growing need for adequate blood supplies.

Terrorism and those who carry out horrific societal sabotage must be taken seriously. Now, more than ever before, we are required, just as the Scouting oath demands, to always be prepared. Having enough "clean blood" is an imperative. We cannot wait until we are in the middle of such events as these to get ready: floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, plane crashes, and other catastrophes. Keeping the blood bank fully stocked is essential.

My thoughts are quite clear about a boss who is not interested in functioning proactively in areas related to adding to a community's blood supply. My reaction can be remembered with three letters of the alphabet: SOS. This type of thinking is simply Stuck On Shortsightedness!

If it were not such a serious lapse in judgment, it might warrant spending energy in teaching the individual about the services of the American Red Cross and its life-saving contributions. But, from your description of this "production-driving" supervisor, it might be a waste of energy, at least for the present.

However, yours is still the challenge of what to do about the blood drive. Here are some steps to keep the blood reserves strong for your community:

  • Reconnect with the Red Cross and donate your own blood, immediately.
  • Encourage your colleagues to do the same.

  • Contact the human resources department and learn your company's policy about utilizing personal business time.
  • Cut the boss a little slack. Assume that he really does support building up blood reserves and that he might have good reasons for not wanting to impact productivity at this time.
  • Circle back with the boss, in a less stressful business cycle, and ask when might be the best time of the year for supporting the blood drive and communicate the better schedule to the Red Cross or an appropriate agency.

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