Category Archives: Ennui

The Chazz Bono Effect

Not too long ago, I was speaking with a fellow Drone about the sense of not belonging that I often feel when I’m sitting in meetings and people are discussing things that, though relevant to the business, I just can’t get myself to care about.  I likened it to that Sesame Street interlude, where “one of these things is not like the others.  One of these things doesn’t belong.”  My colleague said that she felt the same, and that this must be what it’s like to be transgendered and stuck in the wrong body.  Like Chastity/Chazz Bono.

Oh, how many times I’ve endured the torment of a Chazz Bono meeting!  Whether the topic being discussed was cost segregation models, tax structures, digital marketing, or client issues, my gut level reaction is always the same:  Oh my God, who gives a shit, can you please stop talking so I can be spared this torture.  

The Chazz Bono Effect is not limited to meetings, although that is where it is most prominent.  You will also notice the CBE at industry conferences, seminars, or when reading various pieces of “thought leadership,” such as white papers.  You might also feel the CBE at play when you’re at a social event, and a group of people is busy talking about Very Important Business Things. The CBE is ubiquitous and pervasive.  It has neither functional nor industry boundaries.

You can either pretend to be interested and fake adding something relevant to the discussion, or you can allow your mind to wander off to more pressing matters, such as your dog’s upcoming appointment for teeth cleaning.  Because a key part of being a successful Drone lies in your ability to fake it, the best course of action is to have something canned that you memorize and can add to the conversation.

I suspect that if you asked for candid responses, most people would be more genuinely interested in your dog’s oral hygiene than in the Strategic Initiatives That Will Help Move the Company Forward This Quarter.  But you need to play the game.

*Props to Drone PM, for coining the term “Chazz Bono Effect.” 


You’re not Working on a Cure

There is a fellow drone at my workplace who gets very upset over things like managerial and operational inefficiencies and ineptitude. This drone takes such things to heart. I’ve had to remind her, on several occasions, that what we do at Acme Widgets, Inc., has little inherent value in the universe. It’s not like we’re working on a cure.

You’re not working on a cure either. Sting isn’t calling you up, asking you to help him save the rainforest. You’re not spending your day being a fierce and fearless advocate for the poor, marginalized, or downtrodden.

You either work for a big company whose shareholders want increased profits (dubbed “shareholder value” by Management) and aren’t particularly concerned how the numbers on the bottom or top are achieved, just that they are achieved. Or, you work for a smaller company that helps big companies maximize their profits by saving time or money.

Neither has any impact on the world, humanity, or history. In fact, when I’m in my Existential Crisis Mode, I will assert that the very idea of corporations, business, and profit is false. It’s all papier mache. Even companies who purport to be working on the cure are not working on the cure. Those companies are working on treatments that prolong the disease so that consumers can continue to spend money on their treatments.

Why do we drones do it, if we know it’s all bullshit? Very simply, most drones desire to live a middle class lifestyle. Maybe we share a collective unconscious idea about the American Dream and the middle class existence is part of that. Drones don’t go off to cubicle land each morning feeling like they’re making the world a better place. Drones go off to cubicle farms because we need to pay the electricity bill, the orthodontist, and the mortgage.