Bob Goldman

Put down that jelly donut, friend.

Your Buddha-like figure might make you appear cute and cuddly to some folks, but to the management of your company, those extra ounces of adipose, gathering ominously at what used to be your waist, could get you in serious career trouble.

You knew that being overweight could result in higher cholesterol. Did you also realize that being fat could result in a lower paycheck?

Well, it's true. According to "How Your Bad Diet May Weigh On Your Job Review," a recent article by Jen Wieczner in the Wall Street Journal, that muffin top in your middle is a matter of top priority to your employers, who "are tracking what staffers eat, where they shop and how much weight they're putting on -- and taking action to keep them in line."

Are your bosses concerned about your weight because they care deeply about your well-being? Yes and no. Mostly no. Ask the HR department why they have sent spies to follow your progress through the supermarket, noting how much time you spend loading up on Mallomars and cheese doodles, and you will likely hear some malarkey about lowering "health care and insurance costs, while also helping workers."

This makes no sense at all. Cookies and ice cream may not be health foods, but after a grueling, frustrating, cosmically depressing day at work, the more sugary treats you can stuff down your pie hole, the better you will feel, especially when washed down with beer.

Chug-a-lugging chocolate brownies, whipped cream, five-pound bags of sugar -- they don't call them comfort foods for nothing. And with your management, you deserve a little comfort. Eat well and you might protect your health, but what's the sense of maintaining a perfect body, if your mind has rotted away?

It used to be that companies promoted good health with PowerPoint presentations on the 7 Building Blocks of a Healthy Breakfast. (bacon, more bacon, sausage, more sausage, left-over pizza, clotted cream and a impudent Gewurztraminer.) Now, employers are getting more invasive.

According to the Wieczner article, "1,600 employees at four U.S. workplaces, including the City of Houston, strapped on armbands that track their exercise habits, calories burned and vital signs." Other employers are issuing blood-pressure cuffs and mobile monitors "to track wearers 24/7."

Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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