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Work/Life: Work, Life…Meet Big Brother

Ceo Dad’s Tuesday Tirade

Ceo Dad’s Tuesday Tirade

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Man, there are times when being a comic strip character has its advantages. Sure, I have to put up with all you voyeurs who get a glimpse into my dysfunctional life every day of the week, but at least my creator, Tom Stern, carefully chooses what to tell you about me, my wife and my children. But for you real people, it’s getting tougher and tougher to escape the watchful eye of your maker. In case you haven’t heard, Google, that ubiquitous company who got everybody excited with their “Earth” program, which could zero in on any street address, now goes a step further with “Street View,” a camera that lets Internet users zoom in on the daily activity in a variety of public places in several major cities.

It goes without saying that this poses problems for the unfortunate few who choose to take the person with whom they’re having an affair out for a stroll in Times Square, or those of us who would prefer the world not accidentally discover our propensity toward blowing our noses directly onto the pavement. But, work/life balance violators could also be in real trouble here. Say the person you love is at home wondering why you have not shown up for dinner. With nothing else to do to kill time, they begin surfing the Net. But now, rather than wasting their time on the Drudge Report story about the latest person to be called a derogatory name for homosexual by Anne Coulter, they decide to start zooming in on various public areas of the city. And there you are, narrowly avoiding getting hit by taxis as you negotiate a deal on your cell phone, and then head into the corner bar to talk business with a bunch of your fellow workaholic cronies. You, my friend, have been well and truly “Googled.”

Or, perhaps you have made a commitment to a weekly meditation session, to deal with your work addiction. You claim you are attending these sessions faithfully, yet Google’s Street View program tells a different story, showing your pained face as it deals with stomach acid as you chomp on a messy bacon double-cheeseburger while reading “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” for the twentieth time. And all because not only do you hate meditation, but you are lashing out at your instructor, whose lack of ambition and vegan lifestyle offends your overachieving sensibilities. Of course, you wouldn’t have had to explain any of this, if your nine year old hadn’t found about this wicked new program from Google and decided to stop playing maze games on the Nick, Jr. Website.

So, tread lightly, denizens of the three-dimensional world. Your foibles are no longer safe with you. The other question, though, is…what public place would you like to be able to zoom in on?

Tom Stern is the founder of Stern Executive Search, creator of CEO Dad, the syndicated comic strip about executive dysfuntion, and author of and author of CEO Dad: How to Avoid Getting Fired by Your Family.

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