Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


They call them bad apples.

They're the sorts of people who ruin an atmosphere and sour a cake.

In some organizations, though, people aren't always open about who is less holistic and more a-holistic.

So one company tried an experiment.

It analyzed the gaming behavior of employees on League Of Legends and wondered if those who behaved nastily as they gamed were those who behaved appallingly when they worked.

As Re:Work reports, the bosses at Riot Games looked specifically at game chatlogs.

Riot Games did have advantages. It's the company behind League of Legends.

However, it's also a company that ranks highly in Fortune's 100 Best Places To Work For.

Hey, wanna job? You can game all day!

When Riot's researchers -- the mere juxtaposition of the words riot and researcher in the same sentence makes my knees tingle -- examined those whom they had fired over the previous 12 months, they discovered that 25 percent enjoyed a very high level of in-game toxicity.

They defined this as snarkiness (this makes me unemployable), and use of intimidating, aggressive language.

It's not that these people were pains-in-the-assets all the time. They did, though, tend toward extremes when they were.

The next step was for Riot to look at its current employees and decide whether some could be saved and some were truly irredeemable.

You might enjoy this quote from Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar, Riot's head of Talent.

He said: "Pretty much everyone we spoke with was appalled at their own behavior. We actually received some essays from employees vowing to change their ways and become not just more considerate gamers but better people."

Clearly, Riot is pleased with its new way of identifying the bad sorts.

There are, though, surely dangers.

Have you ever met someone who's the nicest person in the world, until they're, say, screaming curses on the golf course, trying to break your leg at soccer or barreling you over at touch football?

They turn into something nastier than a sucker-punch, a raw burger or a Donald Trump tweet.

All of us have, to some extent, split personalities.

It's exacerbated at work because we're supposed to behave in the "professional" way that sometimes strips us of certain essential characteristics.

For Riot, truths emerge when employees game. Others try more timeworn experiments -- seeing how employees behave when they've had a couple of drinks.

Technology now insists that it can weed out bad employees and bad candidates just by looking at their online lives.

A chilling development is Score Assured, a startup that is hired by landlords and employers to scrape every one of your private social media activities. Then it analyzes your word choices to see whether you're a bad apple or a good egg.

The idea is, indeed, that you have to give Score Assured your password.

Some might swear by this sort of thing.

However, no matter how much "data" you might have in front of you, sometimes personal judgment is still what matters most. 

Look at your own lover. Or lovers. Are they consistent personalities? Or do some things turn them into someone less lovable?

But it's the chemistry that matters, right?