Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I want everyone to be happy. Well, most people.
So I firmly believe that, if it works, you should do you and everyone should do them. Occasionally, though, I want to take hints from others, ones I hope might work for me.
I was moved to paroxysms of fascination, therefore, when my fine Inc.com editor enlightened me about a new trend in staying happily married.
It seems, according to the Wall Street Journal, that some couples are introducing business titles into their married lives. In order to make divisions of labor official, you understand.
A sample from Barbara Saxberg of Oshawa, Ontario:
I'm Chief Executive, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Laundry Officer.
Fine business consultants might sniff that being CEO, COO and CFO is an invitation to nefarious activity. I'd be entirely suspicious of anyone who claimed to have all three titles as well as Chief Laundry Officer.
Laundering what, exactly, boss?
What, I hear you cry, does her spouse do? Saxberg revealed:
Dan is Chief Entertainment Officer, Chief Culinary Officer and Chief Well-Being Officer in charge of keeping me sane.
I fear he may need a union to help him attain true fairness. It seems, though, that such fine couples simply adore this melding of office and home. Naturally, when my wife and I had sipped on a glass of fine Portuguese Síria, I broached the subject:
This is what the cool people are doing. Why don't we try it?
She thought for several sips, and then replied:
OK. I'll start. I'll take Chief Planning Officer, Chief Research Officer and definitely Chief People Officer.
My wife, you see, harbors more hope for humanity than I do. Oddly, she's a scientist.
I noted that the big titles were still up for grabs. Yet did I really want to designate myself CEO? Or CFO? That would have been a touch presumptive, wouldn't it? Frightfully clinical, too.
My wife and I often make decisions together. We even do (some) household chores together. Why should only one person be responsible for a specific thing all the time? Perhaps I could make up a few titles.
Well, we do live in the Bay Area, where companies are always inventing utterly ridiculous nomenclatures for extremely boring jobs.
Weekend Happiness Concierge, for example. Or Dream Alchemist.
I could be Time Ninja. You could be Retail Jedi.
My wife suffers from a deep commitment to Star Wars. Surely she'd want this. Instead, she replied:
Retail Jedi? You do far more online shopping than I do.
The truth can get in the way of this title business. My wife often believes she's the Chief Planning Officer, but that's not quite the case.
Do we have a CEO? I don't think so. Who wants to be a CEO in a marriage? It's not like you get more stock options. I wanted this retitling of our life to work.
You could be Chief Heart Officer and I could be Wizard of Light Bulb Moments.
These are real existing titles. My wife wasn't impressed, retorting:
Or why don't I be Wizard of Heart Moments and you be Chief Light Bulb?
I sensed she wasn't taking this seriously. I sensed she was right. She said:
This isn't how we live. Sometimes I put the garbage out, sometimes you do. Sometimes, you cook, sometimes I do. Sometimes you drive when we go out, sometimes I do. And I'd never trust you to do my laundry.
She had a point. Our relationship may not be ideal for businessification. We make things up as we go along and many things get done without too much articulation.
Sometimes, we do chores to surprise each other. It seems to work quite well. Then my wife hit on the crux of the matter:
In any case, since when has business ever made relationships better? I can't stand it when we get our phones out after dinner to check whether there are any work emails. And doesn't business often take the fun out of things?
She had a point. There was a time when work and life enjoyed a separation of powers. Technology has driven a very ugly truck through that concept.
Perhaps, instead of bringing business concepts into our personal lives, we should do the opposite -- bring a little humanity back into business.