Crack that Whip

When I was a kid, I remember people talking about the guy down the street that was a workaholic. He never had time for his family because he was addicted to his work. Today these people are recognized as motivated employees. As a matter of fact these are the people who have risen to executive levels in the company. They have sold out their family souls in order to dedicate themselves to the corporate future.

Addictions are everywhere at the workplace. Some call them habits, but they are addictions for sure. We have all seen the marketing schlep going through the DTs because he has not yet imbibed in his morning caffeine fix.

We have all witnessed the incredibly determined people who will brave sub-zero temperatures and arctic level wind chill just to go outside to suck that much needed drag on their cigarette. Our smoking friends are more dedicated than cheeseheads at Lambeau field in a January blizzard. That must be one strong desire.

As addictive as smoking may be, there is a new addiction at work that appears to be even more powerful. It comes in the form of small flask-like containers usually concealed in one’s shirt or pants pocket or sometimes even worn proudly in a holster on their belt. Yes, it is the ultimate work addiction…the Research In Motion Blackberry device, more descriptively known as the CRACK-berry. This little device allows one to mainline email like a junkie with a hypodermic needle.

Recent investigative reports have uncovered emails between RIM executives clearly exposing their knowledge of just how addictive their product has become. Additionally, these same executives may be implicated in a scheme to actually increase addiction. Recently discovered emails expose talk of how to add mobility, faster service, and increased functionality, all in order to keep users hooked. It remains to be seen if a class action suit will be brought or if individuals will sue for damages.

Clearly this addiction has taken over family rooms, vacations, and weekend outings. The director of Families Forever says, “It is an epidemic that is destroying the very fabric of our families.”

It is an uncomfortable sight, but we have all seen parents slipping off at the amusement park to a hidden bench just to suck down a couple of email messages. In serious need of electronic detoxification, they spiral into deceit when caught red handed by their spouse with responses like “Yes, but I only read them, honest, I did not reply!”, “Really, this is the first time, I just had a weak moment” or “No, I wasn’t working, I was just clearing out some spam”.
This epidemic is not just targeting the middle aged. Young people that grew up with Gameboys in their hands are particularly vulnerable. These youngsters have a propensity to succumb to high dexterity thumb input.

Help is available. If you, or someone you know finds themselves making excuses to slip off by themselves, missing out on conversations, distracted in meetings, presentations or lectures, or are experiencing sore, crooked, or fatigue in the thumbs, please seek help now. Find an E-Tox center near you.

We must work together to stop this epidemic.