Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
BREAKING: Tech Executives Petition to Rename San Francisco Sanctimonious Francisco.
Surely it will happen soon.
As a Bay Area resident, I can't help observing the sheer fussy doofusery of quite a few tech types here.
Sample: I placed my already-read newspaper on top of a recycling can in my gym. Just in case someone else wanted to read it.
A man came up to me, holding my newspaper. He stared with the miffed eyes of someone who'd been morally wronged and said: "Could you fold it nicely next time?"
Which is why when I heard about WeWork--the New York-headquartered tech company that invites you to work and meet aspiring rich people like yourself--banning meat from its company functions, I failed to lose consciousness.
It doesn't stop there, however. Employees will no longer be able to expense any meals during which someone ordered a meat dish.
Because not only does WeWork want to tell its employees what to eat, it wants to tell, say, its landlords too.
The justification offered to employees by co-founder Miguel McKelvey in a memo forwarded to me by the company read, in part:
New research indicates that avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact, even more than switching to a hybrid car.
Are hybrid cars really so environmentally friendly? Some large minds tell me the best way to protect the environment with your car choices is simply not to buy a new one.
But back to WeWorkAndYouEatWhatWeTellYou.
McKelvey's memo insists that it's not all about him. He insists that "many people" have asked whether the company will be serving meat at its summer camp this year.
Would that mean more than a handful? Would it mean a group that regularly toadies up to McKelvey and hangs on his every strand of broccoli?
Or could it be most people? I fear it isn't most people. I fear this might be the minority taking over the government again.
Moreover, isn't it wise to educate people--if you feel so strongly about something--rather than go to a straight ban? Or is that a little pre-2016?
Here's another sentence that might give you pause:
If you require a medical or religious accommodation, please contact our Global Policy Team.
Does needing a psychological accommodation count as medical?
This does lurch toward bilge-filled blowhardery, I hear you mutter.
Here we are in a tech-dominated world, where the future is allegedly being created in a blast of digital glory, yet that future seems to revolve around your employer telling you what you can and can't eat on the company's dime.
And don't you imagine many of these people scorning Donald Trump and his authoritarian ways? I'm not aware that the president makes the whole government eat KFC.
I could have sworn I saw pictures of former EPA head Scott Pruitt in posh restaurants.
Here's a test for you. Which causes more environmental damage? The chicken or the egg?
In this policy, chickens are banned. Eggs aren't. Those who claim to know tell me chickens and eggs cause a rather similar amount of harm to the environment.
This policy isn't merely holier than thou. It's I'm ordering you to be as holy as me.
I fear that some will think that only in the emotionally vacant, world-unaware, humanity-optional trough of halfwittery that is the tech world would such a policy be even contemplated, never mind enacted.
I asked WeWork what penalties there might be for those who consistently flout the company's meaty diktat. I also asked whether the company could quantify the carbon footprint of its founders, as they fly around in--could it be private jets?
Sadly, WeWork wouldn't be drawn on these issues.
The company did tell me, however, that WeWork members and employees are welcome to bring meat into workspaces for meals, and members are welcome to provide meat at events they host.
But employees aren't.
For now, what might a meat-loving, tech-dwelling, brow-clutching WeWork employee do to protest this decision?
Walk into work clutching something from Burger King and letting a Whopping aroma drift across the cubicles? Or, perish the notion, post pictures of meat dishes to their Instagram accounts, glowing descriptions attached?
I can just imagine the company's policy team trawling social media to see which of their employees might be rebels on the company dime.
Or will WeWork call them Clucks?