Magazine article Management Review


Magazine article Management Review


Article excerpt

I have a cold. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal. This would be an enormous deal. I hate getting sick. The strange thing about this cold is that I caught it from an office building.

When I first heard about "sick buildings" I imagined a building where, for example, the elevator might not be safe, and might occasionally do something inconvenient, such as collapse. And the entire building would think this was funny. That would be a sick building.

But the problem with this building was dryness. One day I overheard a conversation at the water cooler about the one thing people never talk about while hanging around the watercooler-namely, water:

"I'm parched," said one.

"This place just robs you of your bodily fluids," said another.

At first I heard this as your usual office chitchat. We've all had jobs that take a lot out of us. Although perhaps not bodily fluids.

Then I read in the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter about the effects of dry air. It can "reabsorb moisture from any available source--your skin, your throat, and the interior of your nose, as well as your furniture and your houseplants." This scared me and I don't even own houseplants.

Anyway, a few days later I woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat. The minute I noticed it was sore, I kept wanting to swallow. I have no idea why. How many times do you really need to swallow at 3 a.m.?

I have a common cold, as opposed to a private one. "There's a lot of that going around," people say. People always say this when you're sick. They probably said it back in the Middle Ages:

Serf: I won't be coming to the Manor today.

Feudal Lord: What's the problem?

Serf: I think I'm coming down with something.

Feudal Lord: It's probably just the plague. There's a lot of that going around.

I don't usually catch colds. According to the Berkeley Wellness Letter, the most effective way to avoid catching, or spreading, a cold is washing your hands. And I believe this, unless we're talking about a bathroom situation involving a bar of soap instead of a dispenser. The bar of soap poses a dilemma: What do we know about it, really? We have no idea who touched it. The only thing we know for sure is that, whoever it was, their hands weren't dean. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.