More Hype: OT Magazine; Drinking the Kool-Aid

Mini-hype here–a profile of former NFL All-Pro Chris Hinton, who’s gone into the wine business and now runs a damn fine wine store right down the road from me. This was done for OverTime magazine, which focuses on retired pro athletes trying to make the transition from playing field to real world. (Hint to athletes: the bling and shorties ain’t nearly as sweet on this side.) Check it out by makin’ with the clicky here. Not interested? How’s this–it’s got the worst pun ever put on an article of mine–without my knowledge, I assure you.

Say, the whole retired-athlete thing reminds me of one of the most pathetic things I’ve ever seen in business life. A few years back, I was asked to come write a book-length bio of a certain mortgage company here in Atlanta. Now, how one could fill a book with stories about a freakin’ mortgage company is beyond me; as it turned out, the project rightfully went nowhere. But I attended a Monday-morning staff pep rally/revival/indoctrination session, where the entire company–probably 300 people–all gathered in a boardroom to hear the company’s CEO evangelize on how offering your customers a 4/1 adjustable-rate mortgage is not just a duty, it’s a moral calling. (When he entered, he shouted, “Hello, everybody!” When everybody replied in kind, he actually shouted back, “Is anybody awake in here? I’ll say it again–HELLO, EVERYBODY!” And boy, all those well-scrubbed and chipper lil’ brokers just about lifted the roof off the place greeting this cheery egomaniac.)

But that’s nothing special–that kind of corporate indoctrination goes on everywhere, and if you don’t “play ball” you’re not a “team player” and you’re not “down in the trenches” and all those other pathetic sports and war metaphors that lace corporatespeak. (That’s a whole topic for another day.) But–speaking of sports–here’s the point of this long tale. It seems one of the purposes of this meeting was to introduce the latest crop of bright-faced young brokers, and when they posted the names on a PowerPoint slide, one of them seemed vaguely familiar. And when they got around to him, I realized why–this guy had been a kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, and a couple times had gone deep into the playoffs. Can’t remember his name or how far his teams went, and I don’t really feel like looking it up, but the point is this–the guy actually had to stand up and say, “I was excited to play in the NFL, but I’m even more thrilled to have the opportunity to be here working for [the mortgage company].” Everyone applauded like seals, even though this guy had a look in his eyes like he would have thrown himself right out the window and onto the highway outside if he could’ve jimmied the glass open.

Moral of the story? Either enjoy the good times while they last…or just drink the damn Kool-Aid, stop questioning so much, and be a good right-thinking American. We’ll all be happier if we just go along to get along, won’t we?

(Holy crap, did that wander from the original subject. God bless these blogs, baby.)

Jay

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