The Indignities of the Modern Business World

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Add another point of misery to the life of the modern business executive. As pointed out yesterday, gone are the three martini lunches. And the sex life at the office now centers on harassment training.

Another indignity? A greater chance you'll die in an airplane. We're serious about this one. Considering the amount of time business people are stuck flying (or waiting to fly), it's amazing it doesn't happen more often.

This was sadly brought home to two of the top executives at Wieden & Kennedy, who shared a flight recently with one of the unlucky. Dave Luhr, who heads Wieden's global network and is opening an office in New Delhi, and Tom Blessington, head of the Portland office, were flying back to Portland when somewhere over the Cascades an business man on the plane had a heart attack. Air traffic cleared the way so the plane could high tail it to Portland. The victim was pulled to the galley where a doctor on board tried to revive the man using the defibrillator. Blessington stepped into the restroom to get out of the way and stood inside while the doctor pounded on the man's chest. It was too late.

After the man's body was wheeled off the plane, a flight attendant came back for his briefcase. "His briefcase!" said Mr. Luhr. "And someone had to call his wife. I can't imagine," he said.