Overworked HSBC Manager Shares Near-Death Experience in Viral Post: 'This Is Not How I Planned My Sunday'
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Last week, Jonny Frostick, a 45-year-old contractor in the United Kingdom who manages over 20 employees working on regulatory data projects, detailed a heart attack he suffered one Sunday afternoon.
"This is not how I planned my Sunday," he recalled in a LinkedIn post that has received more than 203,000 likes as of this writing. "It was pretty standard up to 4pm. Morning coffee, a trip to the local country park, a shopping trip and late lunch."
Related: How to Recognize and Beat Burnout
Yet, when Frostick sat down at his desk to prepare for the week's work, he had difficulty breathing, felt surges in his left arm and his neck and felt his ears pop, he said.
"I didn't get a flash of light, my life race through my mind," he wrote. "Instead I had: 1. Fuck I needed to meet with my manager [tomorrow], this isn't convenient; 2. How do I secure the funding for X (work stuff); 3. Shit I haven't updated my will; 4. I hope my wife doesn't find me dead."
The HSBC manager said his wife later contacted emergency personnel. Though he is still currently recovering, he added that he wanted to share some takeaways from the episode.
"I’ve since made the following decisions whilst I’ve laid here, on the basis I don’t die," he wrote. "1. I'm not spending all day on zoom anymore; 2. I'm restructuring my approach to work; 3. I'm really not going to be putting up with any s#%t at work ever again — life literally is too short; 4. I'm losing 15 kg; 5. I want every day to count for something at work else I'm changing my role; 6. I want to spend more time with my family."
Frostick's post was subsequently flooded with an overwhelming amount of support from fellow LinkedIn users.
"So glad you spoke out," one person wrote. "I know countless people in the last few years who have suffered life threatening illnesses just simply because there is no downtime — always on-call. It's absolutely detrimental to our health, but we're built on the existence that we always have to keep pushing."
"So sorry that you had to have such a tough awakening — there's so much to life and we don't all get second chances," another added. "You are so right it is not about work or even money although both in good measure are useful."
In an interview with Bloomberg, Frostick made clear that he did not blame HSBC for his health problems but that he only wanted to drive conversation about the post-pandemic work culture.
"I don’t think this should reflect badly on the place where I work, I think it’s fairly consistent across the industry, and I think that’s why it’s resonated with so many people," he said. "If an organization didn’t want to employ me because I’d actually taken a moment to reflect, and capture this, then that’s probably not the right place for me to be working."
The HSBC manager, who has three children, previously worked at Accenture Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG and U.K. government ministries. In the wake of Frostick's viral post, an HSBC spokesperson told Bloomberg that the firm wishes "Jonathan a full and speedy recovery."
"The response to this topic shows how much this is on people's minds and we are encouraging everyone to make their health and wellbeing a top priority," HSBC spokeswoman Heidi Ashley said.