I’m new to a rather large health agency. The other day a higher up in a meeting made comments about how he wants people to get cancer. That cancer makes money. That he wants to go on vacation with it.

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Say very quietly, “I’ve had cancer” and listen to a pin drop

@AD1 no one that high on their own power and arrogance is going to want to take a meeting with the new kid and listen to how they made them uncomfortable. Lol. OP would be marked and fired ASAP.

This business is full of assholes. That’s not even the worst I’ve heard.

I’ve actually had cancer. I’d use it against him. And if you haven’t you can always pretend. ;)

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I’ve worked for years at NYC healthcare agencies and have never heard something like that ever. How awful. Yes. Say something. To who? I don’t know. Him. Or if you can’t to someone senior in hr/talent who’d at least tell him to fake being human. How gross. Boo

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Sounds like the current resident of 1600 Penn "the rest of the world exists so I can make money." Callous and self-centered. Sad.

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That’s horrible karma. And honestly, just a pathetic view of what we, as an industry, are trying to do. I know it’s cliche to say “it’s all about the patients” and I’d be lying if I said that’s what gets me up in the morning, but I do take a step back every once in a while and marvel at how much our clients are actually doing to improve the health and lives of patients. Particularly in oncology.

It’s a privilege to be working in healthcare at this point in time given the huge strides being made in medicine. Those kinds of comments trivialize it and don’t represent the mindset of anyone I know (I hope, at least.) Did someone call this guy out on his remarks?

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This guy would instantly say he was just joking and turn it on you so fast it would make your head spin. Even if the whole room made it a point. I’ve seen this type.

Only advice I have is to get out. Whatever agency this is, I feel assured you can go to nearly any other healthcare shop and you’ll find leadership that cares about people.

Or at least don’t seek pleasure off others tragedy.

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I’ve heard some shitty things during my career but this takes the cake... even if it was a joke.

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OP, I don't think calling him out publicly would have been productive or appropriate but make no mistake, if you noticed and felt this way, so did others. If you're up for the challenge (someone somewhere has to be for change to ever happen), I suggest a coffee meeting with him a heart to heart that comes from a place of kindness/compassion. Ask him before you say anything if he's open to hearing some feedback from the meeting the other day. If he says yes, share how the comment made YOU feel and how it affected your morale, don't accuse or attack. Check out some of the basics of nonviolent communication in expressing thoughts and resolving conflict (Google it). Good luck and let us know what happens if you decide to pursue it. But know it can be very liberating and empowering to stand up for what's right as cliche as it sounds. It's a rush in a good way.

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Horrible. Sorry you had to hear that. It gives us a unfair bad rep. We have the unique privilege to help clinicians and patients alike. I’ve been in the industry for 15+ years and have never heard something so appalling from the top. Junior/mid level, yes. But not senior leadership. Part of me wants you to name names so he can be called out, and understand the magnitude of his mistake. Maybe that will facilitate change on his behalf.

Culture comes from the top down. If this is acceptable behavior from the top, it’s not a good sign. Watch for more to follow and don’t let yourself become entrapped with commentary. I’ve found these type of people like to get nods of agreement/chuckles to justify their sickness. But perhaps I’m wrong and it’s an isolated incident...I sure hope so.

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This man has made a lot of money for the company but it made me feel viscerally sick to my stomach. I don’t feel it’s what the agency wants to be. Do I say anything?

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Pretty common comedy device to say the worst possible thing. That’s what makes what he said arguably quite funny; it’s just so fucking depraved. As such, I doubt it represents his true feelings. However, he is a v senior leader in the agency, spinning a slightly uncomfortable truth about its work in the most extreme way, so as to make all who work there feel slightly like death-for-profit merchants.

I would not pillory him for the humor, which is arguably funny as hell, but for the v poor leadership by (unintentionally, we can hope) shaming everyone within the sound of his voice simply for working there.

U might want to tell his closest peer (not a political enemy) how that comment made u feel about working there, that u don’t normally feel that way, nor want to. If they r not asleep at the wheel, they will make him cut that bullshit out. (And that’s what this is: bullshit, not to b taken seriously, but also not to b encouraged.)

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I’m fairly certain I know who this is and saying anything to this individual would not have helped one bit. Neither would have reported him. And you probably would have ended up in the chopping block within the year if you spoke up about it at all. Long/short - there are assholes in this industry. He happens to be one of them. Ignore him to the best of your ability and do good work. This industry needs more of you and less of him. Stay positive. I agree with one of the comments above - it’s an amazing time to be in this business. IO is the closest thing we have today for a cure for cancer. Let’s celebrate that. Be brave. Be bold. Just don’t get fired from a great agency bc of the tool this guy is

uplifting

Ick, I think I know who you’re talking about. Makes a ton of money for the agency and is inappropriate in every way

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Yikes, are you guys HCP?

Yes and it’s an agency you’d all know. I’ve got mainly a consumer background but this experience is the worst. He’s made a ton of money though and met and exceeded all the yearly financial goals for the agency. I did my research. Millions.

No they didn’t Mike. He’s highest up at that particular office in the Health Network and he thought he was making a joke but come on... people are afraid of him and I’m new so... I just don’t know if an award-winning agency should be represented by people like this.

I don’t blame you for not wanting to make waves when you’re new - that’s tough. But *someone* should have said something, that’s outrageous. I agree with you about who should be representing the agency.

Yeah I’d be fired.

I disagree, especially on the fired part. Ultimately, it's up to you what your priorities are but if you were just seeking validation then yeah, we're all in agreement with you that this person's comment is despicable.

That’s very ugly behavior. And frankly not what I expect from most pharma agencies. There’s only one place I can think of where anyone would say anything like that...but it’s a dtc shop that doesn’t handle oncology.

Do you have a reliable mentor or anyone you can turn to?

He can go on vacation with it... just like a friend of mine did before she died of triple negative breast cancer last year. She ran out of options and booked a lovely trip to Germany to try an experimental treatment. He can even check out her IG feed if he wants to see what his stay will be like.



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