Bob Goldman
For years, your managers have been asking the same question. They observe your erratic behavior. They monitor your sluggish performance. They measure your puny level of productive output. Then they scratch their heads and look you in your heavy-lidded eyes, and ask the same question:

"What is wrong with you?"

Well, now you can tell them. After centuries of working on trivial scientific endeavors, like mapping the genome of the fruit fly and eradicating bubonic plague, medical researchers have come up with a whole new disease that not only perfectly fits your condition, but may even explain it. So the next time you are asked The Question, you will have The Answer.

"What's wrong with me?" you can ask. "It's SCT."

Of course, this raises a further question: What the heck is SCT? Fortunately, I have this answer, as well.

According to a recent article in The New York Times by Alan Schwarz, SCT stands for "Sluggish Cognitive Tempo," an exciting new companion to the ever-popular attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD to its friends).

As Schwarz reports, "the condition is said to be characterized by lethargy, daydreaming and slow mental processing." And if that isn't a perfect description of that individual you see every morning in your mirror, and your manager sees every afternoon, dozing at your desk, I don't know what is.

While there is no reason to think SCT will reduce your life span, being able to explain your poor performance with a bad disease, instead of a bad attitude, could dramatically extend your longevity at your job.

"You wouldn't fire someone because they have a broken leg," you could say when human resources calls you in to review the 0 degrees of positive comments in your 360-degree review. "I'm not saying I will file a lawsuit and drag the company through the courts for a multimiIlion-dollar settlement, but I do suffer from a serious medical disease, and I'm doing all I can do with my disability."

Trust me: When HR hears you talk about lawsuits, you'll see some changes at work. Instead of putting you on probation, they'll put you on a nice couch in your cubicle so you can recover from the stress of trying to overcome your biological need to daydream. Instead of hammering you for missing countless deadlines, they'll build in extra time for any project in which you must play a part. The better to sympathize with your slow mental processing.


Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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