What Exactly Is It That You Do?
Yes, we know you're called a senior vp cultural social connections strategist. We know you've worked on five continents. We know you wear cologne that only you can properly pronounce. And we know you're second to none in the art of spewing office meeting minutia. The kind of pseudo-sensical small talk that makes us forget you brought absolutely nothing of value to the table.
For years, your office dance hypnotized us, and in the process, fooled us. But it can't fool Zoom. You've been relegated to a two-inch square on our computer screens. Even if we could make out your designer shirt, gauged earlobes and fashionable (becoming less so by the day) haircut, we wouldn't so much care. Your overly accented British accent has become simply words through our muddled computer speakers. Your gloriously distracting veneer can no longer distract us from the reality of your contributions. That once innocuous cocktail party icebreaker, "What is it you do?", has become a befuddling riddle amongst your co-workers. Because in this new world of isolation, showing up with the goods, indeed, is what it is we do.
I don't say this to be insensitive to the offenders. As our industry implodes, I say it as a tip of my cap to the offended. To those whose daily efforts have never revolved around fitting into the office mold, dazzling us with hipster office hijinks or jovially lending your voice to woke water cooler chat, this is your time to rejoice. The work from home meritocracy has arrived—a happy, healthy byproduct of our new normal. A system that rewards those who bring the goods, and only the goods. Creative, strategy, account, production. We're all equally accountable. Because unlike absolutely everything else in this business, the goods can't be faked. Especially not in expanded "share your screen" mode.
It's possible the madness of working from home has made me invent all of this. Or possibly these happy thoughts are a peculiar side effect of eating scrambled eggs three times a day. Maybe none of this exists or matters. Or if it does, our short attention span industry will likely bury it into the soon to be forgotten, WFH philosophical archives, anyway. Of course, I can't say that with certainty. Like the man on TV says, these are uncertain times. But if you're uncertain as to who the empty-handed person in your next Zoom meeting is, it's most certainly you.