Worksite Wellness A New Word Introduced That Identifies A Great Need for Reform

The following quote from Sam Harris, An Atheist Manifesto, TruthDig, May 26, 2009 introduces the need for the new word I have to offer. "Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious." Sam explains that "we live in a world in which the obvious is overlooked as a matter of principle. The obvious must be observed and re-observed and argued for. This is a thankless job. It carries with it an aura of petulance and insensitivity." He noted that this is a job that the atheist does not want and yet, "it is worth noting that no one ever needs to identify himself as a non-astrologer or a non-alchemist.

My new word is "aworksitewellnessism." It is no more a philosophy than is atheism.  Nor is it a view of the world.  It is, however, a neologism that can be applied to one aspect of the wellness movement - worksite programming.  In my opinion, a rather obvious reality about this activity has been largely overlooked.  I am not sure this is done as a matter of principle.  The time has come, I believe, to observe, re-observe and urge the adoption of REAL wellness, not the imposter, phantom imitation version that does not justify belief.  Here is the bare, unfettered fact: the companies staging such efforts are not being honest. Stating the obvious might be a thankless job and carry with it an aura of petulance and insensitivity.  It is not a job that I, an aworksitewellnessist, want. But, though I have no need to identify myself as a non-astrologer or non-alchemist, I do feel it is my duty to come out as an aworksitewellnessist.

My purpose in this essay is to explain why I do so and, far more important, to urge you to become an aworksitewellnessist, too.  Perhaps together and with many others we can, in time, persuade company leaders to evolve these programs.  Our goal might be to support the expansion of worksite wellness in order that no one else will ever have to become an aworksitewellnessist.

As a non-believer in the existence of worksite wellness (i.e., an aworksitewellnessist), I have to explain my position to believers all the time.  Advocates for existing programming have grown up as career professionals immersed in the dogmas, rituals and ceremonies of this cult.  They believe deeply in sacred truths of worksite wellness.  They have been acculturated to believe what their colleagues all believe - that the mythologies are true.  When they encounter folks who do not believe, who claim that reason, free inquiry, common sense, science and rational thinking all cast doubt on their program claims, heresy is suspected.  If such apostasy comes from those who themselves promote supportive environments for quality of life at the worksite, well, that's bewildering, at best but more likely blasphemy.  It's enough to flummox an ox.

So, without further ado, here is the basis for my aworksitewellnessism.  Worksite wellness in the U.S. is, in my opinion:

Mainly about risk reduction, testing, prevention and medical management.

Dominated by health/medical professionals at every level.

Oriented to reducing the costs of health insurance.

Not organized or predisposed to offer any programming that might generate controversy.

I recommend unnatural (human guided) evolution of programming.  What is being offered today should be called something else - health promotion at the workplace, maybe, but the terms used matter less than expanding the content and purposes of the programs.


No surprise - I'd like to see REAL wellness skill areas incorporated into the mix.  Keep the existing programs and the current staffs - highly motivated, skilled and capable of managing prevention and related activities.  Bring in guest lecturers, mostly from local resource centers such as universities, to guide employees in explorations of new, REAL wellness skills.  This means channeling these endeavors toward reason, exuberance and liberty - a REAL quality of life orientation. Company participants are likely to welcome skill building in such dimensions as happiness, meaning, ethics, effective decision-making and environmental awareness.