Friday, December 09, 2020

The 600-pound Gorilla

The new film of King Kong is opening soon. Since Fay Wray screamed her way through the original film, people have been mesmerized by the idea of an oversized ape destroying buildings and falling in love with a woman he can hold in one hand – especially if she's dressed in her underwear. Here's the other news. There's a 600-pound gorilla dominating the lives of people all around the world, and this one isn't susceptible to feminine beauty. It's called Work.

In 2004, IT Week reported that the Chartered Management Institute in Great Britain found only half of IT managers questioned used their full vacation entitlement, compared to two-thirds in 2003. When they went on vacation, 39% took a laptop or PDA to stay in contact with their work. Almost half expected to return to 100+ e-mails after a week away. 80% claimed work interfered in some way with their time off.

In December 2005, the Hindustani Times ran an article which claimed US studies show nearly a quarter of heart disease is now due to work stress; and that it could be prevented if work was "limited" to ... nine hours per day.

What do we know? Overwork and stress impacts the heart, the brain and the immune system. It increases the tendency to avoid exercise. It stops people sleeping properly. It fuels addiction to drinking too heavily. Too much work pressure is a leading contributor to rising divorce rates and soaring numbers of people suffering clinical depression. It's even lowering people's appetite for sex.

Stand back a moment. Suppose you read a newspaper report that some drug had been found to increase heart attacks, interfere with the immune system, cause obesity and liver problems, promote alcoholism, wreck family life, and ruin your sex drive. Oh, and by the way, it's addictive and available everywhere.

What would you think? Wouldn't there be a public outcry, demanding the drug be taken off the market at once? Wouldn't the manufacturer face more lawsuits than there are lawyers to bring them? Instead, it seems, people are quietly accepting it's alright to work 60-70 hour work weeks on a regular basis — even praiseworthy. Never mind that hypertension is an international epidemic on a par with the fears of Bird Flu. Forget that people — men and women — are having heart attacks at a younger and younger age.

"That's modern life," people say. "Crazy, isn't it?"

No. It's the people who live that way who are crazy. It's all of us who dumbly accept what's happening instead of howling for change…now.

Unless another Fay Wray happens along to stop it, that 600-pound gorilla is headed to destroy millions more people this time.

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Rabbit said...

That's very interesting. About a year ago I went to the doctor because my heart was beating as though I had just run a marathon.

The doctor said I was having heart palpatations.

I'm 23, I don't smoke, I'm not overweight and I drink only on occasion.

They also checked out my heart with some kind of scanner (I laid down on a bed and I was able to see my heart beating on a screen). They said everything looked fine.

But at the time I was working for the worst man I have ever met.

I wonder...

Thank you Carmine - your blog is a deep breath of fresh air and it fills me with hope. Keep doing what you're doing. :)

12:30 PM  
Carmine Coyote said...


I think you had a near miss with ruining your health for a boss you clearly despised. Not a wise thing for anyone to do.

Thanks for the encouragement. I'll be pressing on. :-)

7:54 AM  

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