Occupational hazards of todayApril 20, 2009: 2:00 PM ET
With new times come new job-related ailments. As the Federal government looks at a wide variety of new regulatory initiatives, it's possible that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration should be investigating the real dangers that afflict us as we go about our daily duties. A partial list of contemporary disorders would have to include the following:
Bluetooth Ache: Occurs when the subject's aural cavity grows completely around the electronic earpiece. May result in erroneous involuntary incarceration or institutionalization when subject is apprehended while seemingly talking to him or herself.
Personal Zoning Outage: With decline in available headcount, individual travel -- sometimes in Coach class! -- has led to a group of business people whose time away from the office in strange locations and indifferent lodging now exceeds 100 days per year. Individuals have complained of cramping, dizziness after only three cocktails, and complete and utter confusion upon waking in darkened hotel rooms. Athlete's Foot acquired in alien exercise facilities has also been reported.
The Shorts: Most intelligent money now having left the Market, the field has been ceded to those whose entire economic world view is based on wagering against things. Entire companies are now suffering from the condition, as perfectly good operations are devalued and their operating atmosphere poisoned by negative ions. The only existing treatment right now seems to be the elapsing of time until the effects have worn off; many entities will die before the air clears.
Plasticosis: A painful condition in which an executive's formerly robust and reliable expense account first molders and then withers altogether, producing hunger, sadness and, in some cases, career death. In severe cases, this may lead to the associated disorder known as...
Oenophile Dysfunction: Very common in Northern California, this debilitating disease afflicts those whose minds were previously occupied with incessant thoughts of wine and, to a lesser extent, single malt scotch. With corporate largesse at at all time low, sufferers are now condemned to order mid-shelf wines by the glass.
Water on the Options: Also knows as Black-Scholes Disease. Once mighty stock options have now been under water for so long that they are in danger of being soaked beyond recognition. Affected employees are still dragging them around as if they were worth something.
Earning Disabilities: Flat is the new up. Up is the new flat. Earnings Per Share have been reported, but not found. When the situation will be ameliorated is anybody's guess.
Titular Stenosis: Until recently, titles automatically grew and ripened as a matter of course, turning associates into managers, managers into directors, directors into vice presidents and so on. That process is no longer assured, and titles often remain in pupal stage for years at a time.
TARPal Funnel Syndrome: This tragic condition affects mostly financial institutions. It is characterized by a severe backup of accreted Federal funding, which finds its way through the front door and then is never seen again except in the form of retention bonuses for senior officers who are not actually retained.
Penal Implants: A growing number of formerly respected business people are now headed for incarceration. This leads to a host of related complaints that range from the acute to the chronic, depending on the nature of the scheme for which they are being punished since people started enforcing the laws that pertain to rich people.
The China Syndrome: Suddenly, Americans are forced to operate on a playing field that is no longer tilted in their favor. Unable to market poisonous toys and toothpastes, laboring under onerous clean-air and clean-water regulations, trembling in the shadow of a free press, those who rely on our economic system are beginning to feel a certain malaise, attended by significant anxiety and feelings of insecurity and depression.
Sources at OSHA refuse to confirm reports that they are reviewing these and other maladies. Until some action is taken, however, the prognosis for all of us who work in this polluted environment is not particularly good. Insurance companies, quite naturally, are taking a dim view of these developments and plan to be unavailable for comment until the recession is over or the world comes to an end, whichever comes first.