I won't be writing my column today. I'm turning that privilege over to a 6-foot-tall, electric green chipmunk, whose name, according to his business card, is Chippy C. Chipmunk.
If you find it strange for a serious and respected guru of the workplace, like me, to partner up with a giant green chipmunk, like Chippy, I can quickly calm your concerns. Mr. Chipmunk is in the mix today because his resume is outstanding; his opinions are compelling; and I have just ingested a microdose of psilocybin, a key psychedelic ingredient in "magic mushrooms" and — get ready for it — a lot of successful careers.
What you once would find in the yurt of a stoned-out hippie is now to be found in the executive suite. Or so I learned when I read "Silicon Valley Is Micro-Dosing 'Magic Mushrooms' To Boost Their Careers," a recent article by Jack Kelly on the Forbes website.
If you think drugging is reserved for the young and the restless, it's time to expand your mind. According to Kelly, the prime proponents of microdosing mania are "those 35 years and older," who are "trying everything — including questionable fads — to appear younger than they are, and which may offer an edge for their career."
Why do successful businesspeople, many of whom are rolling in perks and stock options in America's leading technology companies, risk boiling their brains? Because even without the aid of psychedelics, these ancient men and women in their middle thirties have seen the writing on the wall. They know "the work world is obsessed with youth."
No argument here. Young workers don't know a lot, and they can be extremely demanding when it comes to receiving constant approval for everything they do, like breathing, but they have one advantage that overrides everything else: They work for cheap.
While munching magic mushrooms may be a risky way to prove you're young and dumb, it's not the only way worried middle-agers try to keep up with what they think is going down. To open the doors of perception to the perception that they are with it, these old fogies are "improving themselves" by adopting foolish fads like "intermittent fasting, cryotherapy, long-term meditation retreats in far off exotic locations, Botox and facelifts for men."
(Of all these knucklehead activities, the only one I can endorse wholeheartedly is intermittent fasting. I once went 15 minutes without a meal or a snack and felt positively childlike — and extremely hungry.)
The stated goal of the microdosers is to "boost their creativity and greatly enhance their work performance." It's the next level up from Adderall, a "prescribed drug that elevates their adrenaline, sharpens focus and helps people to work better and faster."
How a drug that diffuses focus and helps people work slower is an improvement is difficult to understand. Personally, I've just spent three hours trying to understand the inner torment of my computer mouse and anticipate another four hours of intense meditation on my place in the cosmos before I sign in to the company's Slack account.
Say what you will about ingesting magic mushrooms; it is not something to be done by the faint of heart. Nor is it to be attempted by the faint of wallet. According to Jack Kelly, you'll have to spend $2,000 a month to get your own "psychedelic-trip coach guru" to "guide you through your mind-altering journey."
That's $24k per year to peek into the void, a mind-altering amount, especially when all you come up with is a giant green chipmunk to share your cubical.
The hip new microdosing phenomena has even been noticed in stodgy old England. Colleen Hagerty, a writer for BBC, reports on psychedelic tour guide Paul Austin and his follower, Matt Gillespie, wandering lost in a redwood forest in Oakland, California. Or so they think. Considering they've already pounded down their microdoses, they could be sitting under the sink at a Chick-fil-A in Pacoima.
Gillespie is "confident that continuing to work with Austin — and psychedelics — will reveal his best path forward."
In fact, he is so stoked about the effect of microdosing on his career that he's taking a macrostep upward to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony. As Hagerty writes, "He'll try the potent psychedelic tea known to induce intense visions, and, often, physical sickness."
The expected outcome of this experience is not explained, but whatever the tour guide charges, it's too much. Intense visions? Physical sickness?"
You can get that for free simply by going to lunch with your supervisor.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: Kolibrik at Pixabay