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Everything Is Fucked Up. And We Love It

Published: March 18, 2017

When it comes to our work, organizations, and teams…

Do we get attached to drama? Are we addicted to the rush? Does functional feel boring? Is the refrain “all companies are fucked up in some way” a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Drama causes the pituitary gland and hypothalamus to secrete endorphins, which are the pain-suppressing and pleasure-inducing compounds, which heroin and other opiates mimic. (source)What is your personal work mindset optimized for? How about your team and department? How about your company leaders? Are organizations, as Craig Larmen points out:

…implicitly optimized to avoid changing the status quo middle- and first-level manager and “specialist” positions & power structures.Consider the following hits of adrenaline. Do they benefit the system as a whole?

  • High stakes horse trading and the rush of getting a big project “funded” 1 w1Ldv Z4uMgEs4P9IKl3nQ * Heroic firefighting and thwarting impending disaster
  • Being right. Having the “best idea”
  • Getting the headcount during the annual planning process
  • Closing the deal. Winning the bakeoff
  • Confirming our belief that “all companies are fucked up”
  • Shipping the silver bullet, and the success theater that follows
  • Being the first person to use sexy new technology in production
  • Saving the day with your genius commit
  • Having a problem to fix. Being a “critical part” of the solution
  • Fixing the problem you identified (regardless of whether it was the actual problem)
  • Reply all
  • The “crazy startup life” … things are “literally breaking apart before our eyes”
  • Having everything under control. Knowing exactly what is going on
  • Rocking the boat. Shaking things up. Gutting it. Starting it over
  • Rewriting someone’s “crappy code”
  • Saying no, because you can
  • Beating the odds. Making the risky bet
  • Exposing the flaw in someone’s reasoning
  • Watching something implode, saying “I told you so”, and then fixing it
  • Letting someone fail, and then taking their job
  • Always being in the loop
  • Navigating political intrigue, and amassing political capital
  • Taking credit for a change initiative. Doing it your way
  • “Crazy hours”
  • Crazy output, flying, moving fast
  • Nailing the deadline on the nose. “It came down to the final hour …”
  • Making yourself indispensable in the new process
  • Raising the profile of your effort/team/domain
  • Forming a bond around mutual discontent. Complaining about ineptitude. Plotting