Tom Purcell, 12/22/2014 [Archive]

Healthy Job Performance Review

By Tom Purcell

"You've worked for us for 10 years, Johnson, but I'm not sure how to grade you during this year's performance review."

"What are you talking about, boss? I doubled sales over the year before."

"Impressive, Johnson. But how often do you go to the gym?"

"The gym?"

"Yeah — work out, pump iron, run on the treadmill."

"Not as much as I'd like. Look, not only did I double sales, I improved customer satisfaction by 25 percent!"

"Nice going, Johnson, but you're looking a little chubby these days. Let me ask: If someone set a Twinkie on a plate next to a low-fat Snackum, which would you choose?"

"The Twinkie. Don't you see that every employee who reports to me has seen an increase in job satisfaction, which is up 32 percent?"

"Not bad, Johnson, but what is of greater concern is this: Do you prefer trans-fatty margarine or butter on your toast?"

"Margarine. Look, boss, I don't mean to toot my own horn, but did you see some of the customer-survey information my staff has gathered that has helped our company improve product designs, a key driver of increased sales?"

"If you say so, Johnson. Tell me: Would you be interested in using a wearable fitness monitor to track your blood pressure and how far you walk every day?"

"Oh, I see where you are going with this, boss. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that more companies are persuading their employees to participate in getting more fit due to the rising costs of health insurance."

"Not a bad idea, Johnson. Would you be interested in joining our wellness program? We'll pay all of your costs!"

"More companies are offering exercise classes, nutrition coaching and emotional counseling that employees can participate in during paid work hours."

"All right, I admit it, Johnson. Health-care costs are killing us. We have little control over rising premiums — ObamaCare was supposed to fix that problem, but our premiums are soaring — but we can make our employees healthier, which will result in fewer health claims."

"So that's why you got rid of the soda pop and snack vending machines!"

"According to an economist at Yale University, reports The Wall Street Journal, getting obese employees to normal weight, or even to just being overweight, would save us, on average, about 9 percent of the money we spend on health-care costs and lost productivity from employee sick time."

"So that's why you're more worried about my chubbiness than you are about my job performance!"

"Our company is not alone, Johnson. About a third of employers are offering new health and wellness programs to help employees. We could save a bundle on our insurance premium costs."

"I don't know, boss. I was hoping we could keep my review focused on my business accomplishments and not something as personal as my weight-gain failures."

"Johnson, with health costs soaring, your weight gain is our business. The Affordable Care Act gives us more leeway to persuade employees to join wellness programs."

"But it's like you are targeting the chubbier employees, boss. Isn't that why the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has brought several lawsuits against various company wellness programs?"

"Sorry, Johnson, but we can make a strong case that, as your employer, we have the right to persuade you to eat a healthful diet and forsake any bad habits that will add to our premiums."

"Well, boss, what's most important is this: How did I do on this year's performance review?"

"That depends, Johnson. If you had to choose between chicken wings and tofu, which would it be?"


© 2014 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of "Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood" and "Comical Sense: A Lone Humorist Takes on a World Gone Nutty!" is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. For info on using this column in your publication or website, contact or call (805) 969-2829. Send comments to Tom at

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