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Death In A Cubicle (And How To Avoid It)

This might not be how you want your life to turn out.

A Los Angeles County Department of Internal Services employee, a compliance auditor, died while working in her cubicle at some point on Friday. This fact was not discovered until sometime on Saturday:

Yes, she died in her cubicle. It’s like “Office Space” directed by Ingmar Bergman.

They don’t know why she died, and for all they say in the report, she may have been quite content in her work. But with the office cubicle being synonymous with soul-crushing ennui, dying surrounded by those fabric-covered half-walls ranks pretty high on the list of depressing exits.

If you’re looking to avoid that fate, cubicle denizens, you’d best get moving on some exercise. LiveScience reports that a study — you know, you can get funding for a study on pretty much anything these days — of people who work in offices suggests that all companies need to do to turn sedentary employees slumped in their cubicles into exercising juggernauts is to stick one of those pedal machines under their desks.

Seriously. Those little bike pedal things. In the test, people clamored to be part of it, and they pedaled from one to 73 minutes per day, with the average at 23 minutes a day. One subject burned an extra 500 calorie per day just by pedaling, although the average was more like 180. Everyone liked them, although usage declined over time.

And no wonder. It seems like a good idea, but it gets tiring, and I’d have a hard time staying in pedaling rhythm while trying to type and read and talk on the phone. But if you have to sit on your butt for 8 or 9 hours a day, I guess it couldn’t hurt. Perhaps, though, they could set up work stations where you could use those jiggle belt massagers like you’d see large women using in 1930’s comedies. You might not be able to do much work, but the entertainment value would be off the charts.

HT: KTLA/Los Angeles; LiveScience

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  1. Page says:

    Wouldn’t surprise me if they find she died of a DVT (deep vein thrombosis)–a clot that broke off from a vein & ends up traveling to the lungs or heart & killing you. People have become very aware of this condition in relation to air travel because stories about this have made the news, but it’s not being in a plane that is the greatest risk. It’s being sedentary. You increase your risk of a DVT after being seated for only 45 minutes (per another study). Your focus also starts to go because of decreased circulation to the brain. (There’s something you can throw at the boss when you’re given the goldbricking look!) So get off your butt every hour, even if for just a couple of minutes. Same goes for being in the car! I’m a massage therapist & always trying to get my clients to get out of the chair for a few seconds. Who knew it would be so hard to get people to stop working?! 😉 I guess sitting on their butts is more appealing than the effort of moving for 60 seconds.

  2. Double R says:

    Edit: Depending on your personality, watching other people enjoy an afternoon more than you might not relieve stress. You stroll through a local park and watch some oblivious hacky-sack kickers having fun, and you might be tempted to point to them and laugh saying, “enjoy it now, slackers! It only gets worse!”

  3. Double R says:

    I’ve had jobs where I didn’t have a cubicle, but the soul-crushing ennui made up for that. It’s too easy to become sedentary at sit-down jobs. (the term ‘office ass’ comes to mind.) And when you’re older, burning off the calories becomes more difficult.

    My Occam’s Razor-like suggestion: take a short walk after work or during lunch. Although tending to your personality, watching other people enjoy an afternoon more than you might not relieve stress.

    Oh the hell with it. FIRSTIES!!!