Q: What could be worse than an endless, meandering, ultimately useless meeting with your manager?
A: An endless, meandering, ultimately useless meeting with your manager in an ice bath.
Guess what? It could happen.
If you haven’t grasped the desperation and insanity that is gripping the denizens of the C-suite today, you haven’t understood why any company would think that immersing their employees in 39-degree bathtubs would make management’s ideas work any better. You also haven’t read “The Hottest Place to Network is an Ice Bath,” a chilling Alyson Krueger article in The New York Times.
“Team brainstorming sessions are taking place in ice plunges and infrared saunas,” reports reporter Krueger. “Companies and entrepreneurs are conducting more business than ever in places designed for wellness — and cutting-edge treatments.”
Bleeding edge, I call them. Like IV transfusions, vitamin drips, lymphatic draining massages and cryotherapy. I’d hate to be the employee who has to put up with this nonsense. I’d also hate to be the HR professional who has to decide whether it is proper for a manager to invite their direct reports to join them in a cold tub for a lymphatic drainage session.
Of course, it is COVID-19 and all its viral co-stars in our never-ending pandemic drama that are making managers realize “it makes business sense to prioritize the health of their clients and employees.” What is new now is the focus on alternative therapies. Apparently, it is not enough for a company to give its people decent health insurance. To attract and retain employees today, employees must be soaked, poked, pinched, prodded, shaken, stirred and chilled.
Consider Ross Mackay, CEO of Daring Foods, a fast-growing manufacturer of “plant-based chicken” in Los Angeles (like, where else?) It was Mackay who woke up from his hyperbaric chamber one day with an answer to his company’s turnover problem.
His solution? “Jump into an ice bath together.” (Whether the chickens were invited is not revealed.)
“The executives spent six minutes in icy water, breathing through the pain,” writes Krueger. It doesn’t sound like fun to me, but according to the CEO, “after we all did an ice plunge and our endorphins were through the roof, we all felt great about ourselves.”
The results fixed the turnover problem. Unfortunately, it did not solve the problem of a CEO who makes their employees strip to their skivvies and dunk themselves in ice water.
Even though your present employer may be too square to employ such radical techniques, consider your next job. Meeting in a drip-spa and sharing IV transfusions is an interviewing technique increasingly utilized by a new breed of new-age recruiters. What is transfused can be vitamins, minerals or nutrients — basically, the same stuff you used to get in Flintstones Chewables.
While having a needle poked in a vein as part of a job interview sounds weird and painful, it’s certainly an improvement over the old-fashioned form of recruiting: getting together in a shady tavern and sharing a transfusion of 10-year-old Pappy Van Winkle. Or is it?
For those who want to avoid a blood-brother experience, be cautious when you are invited to a meeting at a “social wellness club,” like New York City’s “The Well.” And if you are roped into such a meeting at such a location, be sure to avoid “the most popular spot for meeting: the foot rub area.”
“I’ve seen dozens and dozens of meetings take place at foot baths each week,” says Kane Sarhan, a founder at The Well. “People have their computers out on their lap.”
Getting your tootsies tugged may not be conducive to your productivity, which is a good reason to avoid sending a resume to Hudson Bay Capital, where employees “had a meditation session and learned stress management techniques.” Whether the techniques were sufficient to solve the stress caused by being forced to attend a stress management session, the Times does not reveal.
You will probably also want to respond with a hard no to meeting requests from Deutsche Bank, which invited clients to a “Qigong session where participants meditated, stretched their bodies and practiced breathwork.”
The body stretching may be OK — all it would take to transform me from a widebody into a super-ripped supermodel is an extra 10 or 12 inches — but if a manager is going to make me start breathing, I’m out of there.
“I can’t deal with all this health stuff,” I’ll write in my resignation letter. “Frankly, it’s making me sick.”
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.