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The Insidious Cubicle-Emptying Pandemic

Updated on June 30, 2010

It's taking over the entire population like some alien germ in a 1950s B Movie. One by one, your fellow co-workers suddenly disappear from their cubicles, never to be seen in the office again. Yet there is no funeral to accompany this sudden career termination and mark the passing of yet another qualified and valuable peer to the Dark Side, although in a few cases, there is a "#$%& The Boss" beer bash down at the local Sports Pub.

No, it's not a disease, nor a pandemic, nor a sudden onset of psychological trauma (although the last factor is sometimes questionable). It is the attack of the evil, dreaded "Be Your Own Boss Work At Home For Fun And Profit" (BYOBWAHFFAP) juggernaut which threatens to decimate office staffs from New York to Shanghai.

What would make any rational human being want to turn their back on a pleasant and relaxing two hour each way freeway commute at an average speed of 7 mph; restriction to a five by five foot fluorescent-lit cubicle for upwards of ten hours a day; the amiable personal interaction with scheming co-workers and screaming managers who humiliate you on a daily basis; the soggy egg salad sandwiches and watered down cup of jo from the gut wagon for $10; and the necessity to spend 50% of your gross income on businesswear... just to BYOBWAHFFAP?

The infected victims always claim the same defense like a broken record: no wasting hours a day and precious fuel stuck in traffic; the freedom to work in the comfort of their own home; being closer to the spouse and kids; preparing their own delicious fresh lunch; and the businesswear budget being slashed to underwear, slippers and the occasional T-shirt.

Like the parasite worm that forces the host cricket to drown itself just so it can escape and thrive in the water, the alien implants in their brains force them to make these irrational statements. It isn't their fault. They give up rewarding, constructive and rational work like inputting numbers into 500,000 cell Excel spreadsheets for outrageous and preposterous wastes of time as: listing baseball cards on eBay; doing bookkeeping for clients in other states; SEO link building, which is a mysterious alien-parasite-motivated process incomprehensible by sane humans; or something called Blogging which seems to be the process of writing stuff that no one wants to read on web sites that no one ever finds.

Their shallow claims of happiness and profit have to be pitied, as you would pity anyone in such dire personal and professional straits. They insist that they're making more money than they were slaving away at the office but of course that is only an unconvincing rationalization. As if anyone could generate money out of thin air by clicking a mouse all day in their spare bedroom!

These pandemic casualties always point to the same set of abstract and intangible cipherings to justify their imaginary success. They got 100,000 hits on their Google Bombed site, or their planted Flog got Slashdotted. As is evident to anyone, let alone psychiatric professionals, there is a subconscious element of desperate self-harm which is betrayed by their own violent terms: Hit, Bomb, Flog, Slash. These are cries for help by our own former co-workers! They not only deserve our pity but our assistance and understanding!

What can be done? First we must realize that they are suffering from a severe psychological ailment from which there may be no cure. We owe it to them as our peers, friends and fellow human beings to help them seek immediate professional assistance. There are chapters of the twelve-step Webaholics Anonymous program popping up in all major cities to fight this irrational and self-destructive E-commerce addiction, and facilitate the patient's return to a constructive life back in their cubicle. Failing that, we need to intercede personally. We must try to show them through compassion and altruism that they are suffering from irrational delusions caused by the insidious BYOBWAHFFAP virus. We must make them understand that they cannot possibly be squeezing money just out of a broadband connection, and that the new Plasma TV, the Mercedes in the driveway, and the paid-off mortgage were all funded by the virus' perfidious influence which forces them to sleepwalk and break into banks in the middle of the night.

They are our friends, our one-time fellow co-workers, and formerly upstanding members of our community. We owe it to them and to our own consciences to bring them back for the sake of sanity to the straight and narrow: Back to the cubicle!


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      8 years ago

      Hal, this Hub is a real hoot! And very true ...

      I don't care what type of intervention you may run, I don't do straight-and-narrow very well. I'll stick with the insanity and high-level thrills of a BYOBWAHFFAP lifestyle over a safe & sane cubicle any day.


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