The baby shower as office perk, eh?

Ted Bauer
3 min readJun 28, 2022

Saw this screenshot in an article about the erosion of workplace loyalty, a topic I’ve written about a gazillion times but never in an influential-ish place like Wharton’s website. The bottom of the screenshot I agree with — when trust is gone, people leave; that applies to marriages and relationships as well as work — but the top part is downright hysterical. This person wants to contextualize office unity around baby showers, which tend to drip and seethe with resentment and stale baked goods? Absolutely not. That’s actually a good reason to keep trying Zoom Happy Hours. You don’t want weird, awkward-silence-laden, contentious events as the “bedrock of unity” in an office.

This all speaks to a bigger point that has been made 1,582,381 times now by relatively smart and logical people: the office is a good or at least OK environment for managers, and it’s usually a pointless, pathetic environment for worker bees. Before we get deeper into this discourse, just remember I’m only talking about 47% max of the workforce. Some people have to be at jobs. It’s hard to do construction or work at Wendy’s on Skype.

In white-collar, though, the entire currency is:

  • Relevance
  • Being seen as busy
  • Meetings
  • Tasks

Those drive the currency and the ecosystem. If you have lots of meetings, you basically go into an office set-up, you participate in those meetings, you do a little bit of work between them, and then you leave. When, 1.5 years later, someone tells you “We haven’t made much progress on this initiative,” you simply respond “Oh, well, I’m inundated with meetings. It never stops.” That usually appeases the situation, so the busy vs. productive train rolls on, and you keep collecting paychecks.

Office jobs if you’re not called into a lot of meetings tend to be very boring. You have a few tasks to hit, and maybe some days or weeks are really intense. But a lot of days, you’re sitting around figuring out if it’s possible to leave the environment early.

In the course of all this, bosses love to hide behind “collaboration” or “I need the team together,” but as we know, most bosses are totally absentee and only really talk to you when you screw up, or when they need something…

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Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.