Sex, drugs, and rock & roll

PillsI recently found myself in the position of defending the behavior of some rock acts, as if I'm condoning it. (Sigh.)

But my point was not that substance abuse and related activities are success habits of highly effective people but that they are no more common in the world of rock & roll than in mainstream business, including the C-Suite.

I don’t need to go into the details here of the cases of drug or alcohol abuse, sexual misconduct, or rampant adultery that I’ve encountered as a consultant in corporate America (though I’m tempted to, in order to boost readership). But if you think this is not a feature of 21st century business—including, perhaps, YOUR company—you’re living in Disney World. (And it’s probably happening there too.)

Several years ago a video company was going to partner with me to promote my business-lessons-from-rock approach, but they backed out because they felt rock bands have "drug issues" and didn't want to be associated with it. My response: as opposed to whom? Business organizations? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Some day I’ll post about the real drug problem in society—the abuse of over-the-counter drugs (especially opioids), even by "successful people"—that dwarfs any drug abuse I witnessed in bands in the bad old days. But it’s SO easy to blame drug abuse—or any unseemly behavior, including sexual misconduct—on the underclass, and on rock bands who often speak for the underclass.

As usual, the over-the-counter culture condemns the under-the-counter culture.

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  1. Perhaps one of the challenges in modern business is the Victorian concept of "cover it up and it doesn't exist." Table cloths so we don't see table legs, think "leg" and get all hot and bothered about human legs. Er, "limbs" because the other word might, y'know.

    Amazing choice of blindness if people can't see the same madness in modern politics, business, and religion.

    I see more commercials for Viagra and antidepressants than anything else. Because, y'know, those are societies greatest needs.

  2. Yes, I could just as easily—or MORE easily—be taking about political or religious organizations. Hmm. If I let loose on that one I'd really get a spike in readers. :-)

  3. i wish you would go into the details of the abuse, harassment, adultery, etc.

    you owe it to your readers.

    1. Gary: many of my readers are, of course, too young for that.

      I should correct myself on one thing: I haven't literally encountered adultery in the workplace. (If I did, that would be yet another way to boost readership. "Hey, guess what I interrupted in the corner office today?") But I have encountered the rumors and gossip that inevitably ensue when there are suspicions of funny business.

      That's really the problem: perceptions of any of the above create a whole set of possible problems—e.g., reduced productivity due to distractions, waste of HR resources, loss of respect for management, etc.

  4. A company I work with demands that all its employees pitch up to work sober, straight and untainted by any kind of substance, fluid etc. I don't have too much of a problem with that, except...

    The guy in the warehouse who has even a minor accident and does £50 of damage to something will be given an immediate drug and alcohol test. If he fails this, he's fired on the spot. If he passes it, he'll be suspended pending a re-test on his fork truck, disciplined and put onto a monitoring process.

    Meantime, a few guys in the office who went out and spent the company's dollar on some good food and fine wine last night (and were, of course, totally responsible about it by getting taxis on the company dollar to ferry them about) turn up late for work. They've got stinking hangovers so they close themselves away in their offices for most of the day, duck out of a meeting they should have been at (which I suppose is less worse than attending it and making an *rse of themselves) and issue a few ill-judged emails during the day to suggest they're still alive and compost mentis.

    The meeting they ducked off decided that there was no need to expand the drug and alcohol testing regime to white collar workers because it doesn't really affect them.

    1. Yes, of course these unseemly behaviors aren't practiced by WHITE COLLAR workers. In fact, it would be disrespectful to require testing of THEM. Great illustration.

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