I Want A New Drug

And like Huey Lewis, I want a new drug that won’t make me sick -- sick and tired of all those drug commercials on TV in which the announcer rattles off potential side-effects like the Micro Machines guy. As if the answer was so nebulous, I now have a clearer understanding of how the pharmaceutical industry can afford those plentiful advertising spots: just mix all the things I loathe: corporate buzz jargon, 70 hour work weeks, and enough money to fill Uncle Scrooge’s Money Bin.


If ever I felt my life was on a wayward path, it’s times like what I’m retelling in this blog entry that remind me I’m on course. It’s like that time you felt a little lost driving down an unknown stretch of highway until you find that one guidepost that confirms you are spot-on.

As part of the Career Services Council at my University, I was able to participate in a “field trip” to a pharmaceutical company in a northern Chicago suburb to learn about their Human Resources functions, hiring practices, what skills sets they look for in interns and new hires, etc. It’s a good excuse to get out of the office and learn a little. And did I learn, though not exactly the lessons I anticipated.

Pharmaceutical Industry = Major Money (or as I like to call it, casholene)

Again, this is really a no-brainer, but when you hear someone say they spend $1.5 million on their internship program for about 300 interns (which DOESN’T include their salaries), you know folks have silly money to blow and maybe that bottle of Dylozanex doesn’t need to cost beaucoup dollars. But good lord! What could our University do with that kind of money!? Maybe build us a new building so we don’t advise students in a previously condemned house that has paint peeling off the walls and recently had a sewage leak in the basement…ah, pipe dreams.

Moreover, it’s another example of how Corporate America likes to work people to death and then “reward” them with a company carnival. Gee, thanks. Sure you may make loads of cash, but it ain’t worth the 70 hour work week for me. I enjoy having a life after 5 p.m. every night. And like I always say, if you want to make a lot of money, you will pay for it.

It was nice to tour the plant, though. I felt like we were in Willy Wonka’s factory looking at all the fantastical machines. You wave your hand in front of these wall pads to open the metal sliding doors. Sadly, there were no fizzy lifting drinks or Oompa Loompas about, but we didn’t get to see the whole place, so who knows…

Our lunch was catered – it consisted of hand-made salads with sautéed shrimp, chicken, or beef. It was the best salad I ever had! And we got these nice shoulder bags and 3-ring binders…fairly standard for such events, but again, silly money with nothing to spend it on but flare. But this was all ancillary to the main event that made me have to blog about this experience…

Stepford Manager (a.k.a., Broadzilla, Chatty McBlabby)

Our presentation started with the head of HR talking about her “team.” My team and I like to have fun, she said. Which is the first clue that they don’t actually have fun, but she likes to think they do so they can continue their lives as indentured automatons in work-centric denial. Note the lack of bias in this report…

Anyway, she is the consummate phony manager – platinum blonde hair, perfect make-up, pressed gray suit, heels. She was sleek and sexy. And filled to her blonde roots with bullshit. She was all storefront and no showroom. This woman is the corporate nightmare I despise and the primary reason my affair with the business world was brief and best left in my past.

The kicker was that EVERY OTHER WORD FROM HER MOUTH WAS A BUSINESS BUZZWORD! I started writing them down because I HATE buzzwords yet I am fascinated how people can throw them around without knowing what they are saying. Well, she don’t know jack, apparently, because I have a list of about 150. No shit. Check it out in the picture. I could barely keep up with her sometimes. She managed to talk for 30 minutes and say nothing whatsoever. I can basically reconstruct her monologue by pasting some of her jargon together:

“Our goal is to create a talent pipeline of intellectual manpower that will allow us to leverage our core competencies and add value. When we look at the aggregate skyline, we have found a huge disconnect, primarily in our philanthropic strategy. This is where senior leadership is vital in sourcing strategies and articulating key messages to give us a competitive advantage in the marketplace. We can start with the onboarding process; fostering deep and robust partnerships, working in concert, and tapping into our primary feeder pool of top talent. This will prepare us for the global landscape and create job brand awareness. Does this resonate with you? I see some nodding out there. What this means is that a fundamental shift in the employee journey map will create touch points, extend the employment lifecycle, and allow us to proactively coach and share preemptively. With this global mindset, we’re starting to see that our moon and stars are aligning. Now I don’t want to get into too many details, but if you are interested, you can get with one of my team for a one-off meeting…”

Blah blah blah. This garbage went on for literally a half hour, and it basically sounded like what I put together here: verbal masturbation. I swear it was some kind of subliminal voodoo or mind sapping -- and the proof is in the gel-coated capsule. They talked about how they strive for conversion when acquiring talent. Yes, CONVERSION. Else said, they strive for converting interns into full-time employees. What is this, some wacky new religion guised as a corporation? They definitely put the cult in culture.

Why can’t people just say what they mean? This interaction actually took place:

Broadzilla: “We’d like to get your contact information so we can craft our individual messages accordingly.”

Gail: “We brought a roster with all of our names and office listed so you can contact any of us when you need to.”

Broadzilla: “Great.” (turns to her team member) “Karen, can you interface with them?”

Good god!! How about: “Karen, can you pick up the fucking piece of paper?” Freakin Betch!

I’ve decided that Chatty McBlabby the Stepford Manager should start her own phone service where people can call and she will talk corporate to them:

“Do you wanna leverage my synergies?”
“Oh yes!”
“Show me your bottom line. I’m hungry for an opportunity to engage.”
“Keep going!!”
“Are we gonna interface and create a growth plan? Are we??”

Wrap-Up: Getting to the Moral

It’s clear that Chris is not fit for the corporate lifestyle. I cannot stand these people who are promoted to their level of incompetence by sheer force of personality. But I have come to learn that sooner or later, you and your Karma will have to reconcile with one another, kinda like an IRS audit. And I believe that people who are truly competent, responsible, and sincere receive the recognition they deserve in the fullness of time. And despite my spiteful tone against Chatty, she really made my day. She reminded me that I am in the right place, doing what I enjoy, and having a balance that keeps me sane and in-touch with my sweet peeps. That means you, dearest reader(s)! But if you don’t believe me, we can have a one-off meeting and interface.


Allie D. said...

Oh... GOD!! I am so with you, Chris. The corporate lifestyle reminds me of the unpleasantness of chewing on thumbtacks, especially with all of the buzzwords and mission statements, etc. Intel gets more and more like that every year and I think it's driving Ken nuts as well.

I like to think Chatty McBlabby is a bit of a binge drinker who cries herself to sleep every night. That at least allows me to think that she is somewhat human. lol

Bryan said...

Hey Christo, that's quite a rant, one I quite agree with; it just sounds so rubbery and fake, those catch words buzz phrases. I guess when information is subplanting real, physical goods as the meat in the corporate world, you've got to keep coming up with more ways to package the same shit. What are you up to by the way?

Army said...

Thanks you guys, for leveraging your thoughts and time-shifting your ideas into point-of-sale rationality...wait a minute! I'm a sleeper agent! I've been mind sapped!!

Oh wait, no, I'm just a wise ass.

Bryan, you deserve a response via email, so keep an eye open.

Robert said...

How many games of Buzzword Bingo did you win?