Death and the Workplace

 2015-09-13 14.45.55

Last week, I opened my email box at work and saw an email from our new CEO. I was anticipating an announcement of some organizational changes because with new leadership, the CEO has tried to keep us well-informed on changes that he is taking action on.

Over the past several weeks, we have had announcements of key people who are taking on new roles. There have been some announcements of people moving on to new opportunities outside of the organization… none which is unusual during organizational leadership changes.

When I opened up the email from our CEO on Monday, I assumed it was advising us of a new leadership or organizational change… little did I know that this was a change that would cause me to gasp and say out loud “Oh my God”!

Our Chief Legal Counsel had died unexpectedly that morning…

I was in shock! This wasn’t about someone leaving the company because of new leadership… this wasn’t about someone leaving the company because he  wanted a change. This was about a human being who woke up one morning, went into work and within a few hours was taken to a hospital and died…

My thoughts Immediately went to his family… how devastating to have no forewarning… no time to say good-bye. I realized how many times I leave my house in the morning before Ken gets up and I do not want to wake him to say good-bye. How many times do I go to bed at night and forget to say those three little words, I Love You to my family?

Then my thoughts went to the co-workers, many who were good friends. Those that were with him that morning in a meeting where he had to get up and leave because he didn’t feel well. He was taken to a local hospital and a few hours later, his co-workers and friends were standing in a place of utter shock… one minute he is sitting in a meeting and a few hours later… gone…

I realized how many times I have failed to say Thank You to the people I work with. I realized how many times I have gotten so absorbed inside my office, that I forget to get out and say hello to my co-workers. I realized that if one of my co-workers died tomorrow, there would be many things left unsaid… how important they are to me… how they have made my life better by spending time with them each day… how much I appreciate each and every one of them.

I urge all of you to make an effort each day to:

  1. Tell your loved ones that you love them.
  2. Tell your co-workers how much you appreciate them.
  3. Work in a job that you love, with co-workers that you love being around.
  4. Play full-out in life… live with no regrets…

My prayers and condolences to all of Jay Yano’s family, his friends and our organization… that all are surrounded with Peace, Comfort and Love…


If you are interested in how coaching can help you as you transition through grief, go to my Contact page or call me at 952-210-3767.

Leave a Reply