a particular day

October 02, 2003

Working with idiots can kill you

Stress caused by dim-witted co-workers may give you a fatal heart attack

STOCKHOLM -- Idiots in the office are just as hazardous to your health as cigarettes, caffeine or greasy food, an eye-opening new study reveals. In fact, those dopes can kill you!

Stress is one of the top causes of heart attacks -- and working with stupid people on a daily basis is one of the deadliest forms of stress, according to researchers at Sweden's Lindbergh University Medical Center.

The author of the study, Dr. Dagmar Andersson, says her team studied 500 heart attack patients, and were puzzled to find 62 percent had relatively few of the physical risk factors commonly blamed for heart attacks.

"Then we questioned them about lifestyle habits, and almost all of these low-risk patients told us they worked with people so stupid they can barely find their way from the parking lot to their office. And their heart attack came less than 12 hours after having a major confrontation with one of these oafs.

"One woman had to be rushed to the hospital after her assistant shredded important company tax documents instead of copying them. A man told us he collapsed right at his desk because the woman at the next cubicle kept asking him for correction fluid -- for her computer monitor.

"You can cut back on smoking or improve your diet," Dr. Andersson says, "but most people have very poor coping skills when it comes to stupidity -- they feel there's nothing they can do about it, so they just internalize their frustration until they finally explode."

Stupid co-workers can also double or triple someone's work load, she explains. "Many of our subjects feel sorry for the drooling idiots they work with, so they try to cover for them by fixing their mistakes. One poor woman spent a week rebuilding client records because a clerk put them all in the 'recycle bin' of her computer and then emptied it -- she thought it meant the records would be recycled and used again."

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