The Causey Consulting Podcast

"We 'set the vibes'" 😆

November 30, 2023
The Causey Consulting Podcast
"We 'set the vibes'" 😆
Show Notes Transcript

I think by "vibes" you mean "exploitation."

Key topics:

✔️ You're there as long as you lick the corporate boots and entice others to do the same. Encouraging the presence of a toxic environment to your peers doesn't make you a hero.
✔️ If your environment is so bad that you need to hire someone to play the role of clown or hypebeast, mightn't it not be a better idea to determine WHY the place is so bad?
✔️ The day will come where you need skills to pay the bills.
✔️ So much boils down to: are you gonna go along to get along or are you gonna be a problem, pal?

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Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here's your host, Sara Causey. 

Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. In today's episode, I want to talk about a concept that's not new. Periodically, it seems to pop up in the news media and have a flash in the pan and it's back again. And that is the concept of a personality hire. Recently, there was an article on the New York Post titled Gen Z workers say they should be hired for their personality, not productivity, we set the vibes. And I thought, yeah, I think by vibes maybe you mean exploitation. I'm not gonna bury my thesis on this one. And as you well know, I'm no stranger to contrarian ism, to controversial opinions to having a different take on things than what you hear in most other podcasts are for most other HR professionals. I think by vibes you mean exploitation. Let's be clear, someone is there because they are licking the boots of corporate America. And they are enticing or encouraging others to do the same. And the minute that they cease to fulfill that function, they're out the door. Have you ever been to a taping of a television show? I have more than once. Before I started farming before I really became entrenched in the land, and I had animals to take care of I traveled and went all over the place frequently. I went to a taping of the tonight show back when Linda was still the host, I went to a taping for one of the early seasons of America's Got Talent and went to a taping of The X Factor. I went to the BBC when I went to London, and that was really cool, learned a lot of fun behind the scenes things by going there. It was really a neat experience. And it shows you the artifice that can happen on television, because one of the things that they showed us that the BBC is that they had actually designed a particular set with a lot of things from like $1 store. But it looked really opulent on camera. So it was cool for us to see, here's here's what it looks like. Here's what it feels like. Here's what it is like when you're standing there on the sound stage. But then when you look at it on the camera, it reads as being really lush and expensive. It was mind blowing, you really don't appreciate it until you've had the experience firsthand. We also did one of those tours at Universal Studios. And a friend of mine who was on the trip was really bummed out when we got there because it just like it took the magic away for her. She really had a little bit of a Blanche DuBois personality anyway to Blanche was like I don't want realism. I want magic, she could be that way about certain things. And she had an in her mind. I don't know why. But she had it in her mind that in particular, the Bates Motel from the movie psycho was going to be a real motel. And that we were going to get out on this tour and be able to go inside the Bates Motel it was like Well, here's where Janet Lee got stabbed in the shower. And here's the office where Tony Perkins was. And then up the hill is the creepy house where mother was in the root cellar, she thought all of that was going to be real and built to scale. And so when we saw that, and it's just this, it really is like a Potemkin village. It was just these tiny little facades that were made to look real on camera. Her mind was blown. I mean, she she was legit depressed after that discovery, where you go to these TV shows, and they always have a Hypebeast. They have somebody that comes out before the taping, and then on breaks, to make sure that you're pumped up. Because they the camera doesn't want to do a pan and scan on an audience of people looking like corpses. They want that energy to be there. They want like at a talent show, for example. They want people to be like, Oh my God, what a beautiful voice and standing and clapping. And then on a show like America's Got Talent. If something's really terrible, they want you to stand up and Boo, they want you to make the X symbol. I mean, they want a particular reaction. So they send the Hypebeast out. And that's what I think about when I see anything about a personality hire. It's like, Well, you're the Hypebeast whether you know it or not, that is your function. So let's get into this article. Again from the New York Post. I'll drop a link to it. Forget the resume. Gen Z thinks you should hire them for their personalities, according to the youngest generation in the workforce, their humor and wit provides a certain vibrance older employees apparently lack okay, I'm just gonna stop right there obvious generational clickbait right because you're you're trying to pull people into this debate and if you go down to the comments section you'll see a lot of people taking that generational clickbait well don't rule the boomers out. I like Gen X is a badass. Millennials are not exactly old fogies, we bring fun to the workplace too. And I feel like what happens is people stay on the surface of the discussion. They don't ever go any further. I mean, who the hell else is out here saying it's called exploitation. Okay, there are other terms I could use to I'm not going to on the air. But, you know, there are certain terms that are out there. When you are someone who promotes exploitation when you promote the subjugation of your peers, and it's super not cool. I'll continue to read. They've even invented a term personality hire to describe their self perceived function in a corporate setting to provide all the jokes, banter and playfulness needed in order to set the vibes tick talker and corporate America employee Bella rose mortel, a 22 year old self proclaimed chief vibes officer told Business Insider that her previous managers have appreciated her energy, calling it the nicest compliment she's received. I'm gonna button again and say she's 22 and she says managers so how many jobs is this person already had? 22? I don't know. I'm asking I don't know. After her series of TiC TOCs calling for an unserious workplace and the integration of Gen Z lingo into Office parlance went viral. mortel said her manager at software company bee hive found the video hilarious in a team call yesterday he was like before we get started Belrose Do you want to set the vibes today for our call? The social media strategist told Business Insider mortals videos have sparked realization among fellow so called personality hires who feel their mission is to lighten things up, not lighten someone else's workload in quote on a team's call. Can you just picture it? For those of us especially that are introverted? Can you just picture it? Oh, God, having all of those postage stamps on your screen, you're on a video call. Before we get started. We want the Hypebeast to come out here and make all of you go rah rah rah and sing the company song. Yeah, those are some vibes. I don't mean No, thank you. I have accepted that I am hired to bring the energy being the personality hires really fun. I love lightening the mood, wrote one viewer being a personality hire is tough work, but somebody's got to do it. The anonymous face behind the official Microsoft 365 account common? Mm hmm. Yeah, so that's interesting. I recently dropped a blog post about how I think reports of so called job jugglers are greatly exaggerated. It For Me if you're going to have this movement along the lines of Fight Club, the number one rule is you don't talk about fight club. The number one rule of being a job juggler is you shut the EFF up and you don't ever tell anybody what you're doing. Why in the hell are people publishing books publishing websites and going to corporate controlled mass media in order to advertise what they're doing? Who does that? Who does that? Okay, and then here, right here in this New York Post article we find being a personality hire is tough work, but somebody's got to do it. The anonymous face behind the official Microsoft 365 account commented. You can't tell me that this isn't some corporate controlled mess right here. You can't tell me you can. I can't nobody tell me that it's not. Okay. Think about the revelations of dieticians, being paid shills to tell people it's okay or artificial sweeteners, sugar, candy, cookies, treat yourself. The more that you try to resist temptation, the more you're going to give into it. So just treat yourself who's to say that you don't need that cookie? Who's to say that you don't need those candy bars. Just do it. Just do it. And here we are, again, be a personality hire. lighten the load of your team, not by being a consummate professional and you know working your ass off but do it by lightening the vibes lightening the mood. Okay. Another content creator, who goes only by Vienna also posted a comedic skit about the so called personality hire a chatty co worker whose only job seems to be delivering compliments, and boosting the mood while seemingly not doing any work. In the video, which scored six and a half million views, the personality higher place with her colleagues. Hey, here and despite having no idea what a certain project is about, fearlessly volunteers to call a terrifying boss and sweet talk him into an extension. The personality hire is also the client whisperer common in one viewer. The personality hire is critical to the social equilibrium of the workplace voiced another not me finding out I'm a personality hire from tick tock one shocked user wrote, I'm definitely the personality hire. I never know what's going on. But I for sure can make everyone laugh declared someone else in quote, plays with colleagues hair. Yeah, you know, call me stick in the mud. If you want to an old fart, that's fine. I'll answer to it. I don't care. If somebody came up, unbidden, and without my consent, if regardless of gender, I don't care about that. If someone comes up unbidden, and without my consent, and starts playing with my hair and rubbing my back, we're gonna have a problem. Are you married to me? No, the hell you're not What are you doing? What are you doing? That's crazy. There's sexual harassment laws about this kind of thing. And walking around sweet talking people paying compliments. You. Okay, you go ahead, you go right ahead. While the exaggerated skit is merely a caricature of the personality higher, the unspoken office role has become more commonplace as Gen Z has entered the workforce. For anyone eager to take on the burden of what of the of the personality hire and stay playful at work. mortel recommends slowly integrating Gen Z slang terms into the office to transform your boss into a girly this is what you got to do. She instructed advising viewers to call their managers King every time they're like, hey, great job. You say slay. When they begin to say it back. That's when you know you've met your performance goals or brought the vibes to the workplace in quote. Yeah, all right. So as I said, when you go in the comment section is largely a lot of people just responding to generational clickbait. It's not people saying, hey, you know, does it does it not seem like maybe these people are being exploited, and I'm sure I'll get hate mail for this. Somebody will will send me hate mail and say, well, if we're being exploited, we're exploiting that. Because we're just using this job for a paycheck anyway, and we don't really care if breezing through the office and smiling and kissing the right behinds gets a paycheck. Oh, well, whatever. It's what we'll do. That reminds me of a passage in Sheldon cops book, if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him just a very interesting book. I revisit it from time to time because there's there's a lot there. There's a lot to digest. But one of the things he talks about in that book, is how when he was working as a counselor, he would have patients that were both prostitutes and their John's, and one of the things he noticed is that each person thought that they were the exploiter, and not the exploit T. Nobody ever thought that they were the one being exploited. So in other words, the prostitutes believe that they were in the power position and they were exploiting the John's because they wanted to get the money. The John's thought that they were exploiting the prostitutes because they were saying sweet things and paying money in order to get the sexual contact. Neither one wanted to say I was the victim. I was the one that was being exploited. When they would come to therapy. They would say I am the one exploiting these people. These these prostitutes are idiots. They believe what I tell them when I just want sex. And the prostitutes would say the John's are idiots because they believe what I tell them. And I just want their money. Think about going to a gentlemen's club, if you will. As long as that guy is sitting there handing out money. Oh, you're so handsome. Oh, you're so sweet. Oh, you're so funny. Oh, you're so charming. And then once the money train dries up, it's time to go and run the hustle on some other guy. But nobody wants to admit to being the one that's actually being exploited in the situation. And so it is here. Let's get on a team's call. And you have to be the hype beast, get everybody laughing get everybody in a good mood. So that nobody stops to ask the question. Why are we having this meeting? Why are we here? What is the point of all this? Why could this not have been an email? What what is even going on here? What's the necessity of this? You're not asking any questions. We learned about this too, in that documentary about Ranieri and the Nexium cult, how they would do the high arousal techniques, get everybody tired, people are hungry, they're tired, they've been kept up late at night. They're not questioning what's going on because they're in that very much survival space. You're worn out, you're hungry, you're exhausted. So you're not thinking about the more philosophical questions of what what, why are we doing this? Why Why do we have something called the Vanguard week? Anyway, this is nuts. You're just in that basic survival that root chakra space and so you're not questioning at a higher level, what in the absolute Holy hell are we doing? I also suspect, as I quite often do that these types of articles along with the social media content, have a corporate sponsor behind them. It's not even very thinly veiled in this particular article. Being a personality hire is tough work, but someone's got to do it the anonymous face behind the official Microsoft 365 account common Oh, I'm sure. In the same way that you can pay dieticians to get on social media and talk about eating sugar and it's okay to have artificial sweeteners. I'm sure they're totally fine. Just do it. Just do it. Treat yourself. You only live once, just go ahead and do it. Go ahead and do it. Health in any size, go ahead and do it. Just do it. Just do it. Do you not think that these corporations could hire paid shills to get on social media and talk about here's what I bring to the workplace? Here's what people should do. Here's how I act? Of course they could. And I'm not saying that anybody mentioned in this article is a paid shill or is doing the explicit bidding of some corporate sponsor? I don't know. So I can't make that accusation and wouldn't try. talking strictly in the realm of hypotheticals and theoretical is Could somebody buy a paid shill to do those things for them, of course, corporate American can do anything. We saw a similar article going all the way back to summer of 2022. Over on HuffPost young people on Tik Tok are launching a big debate about personality hires. The byline reads, The videos are funny. But there is truth that your personality can get you ahead in your career, your personality can get you ahead in your career. Absolutely. I think back to the number of times that I was told, You're a great worker, you produce you're making money for the company, you don't have to stand around at the watercooler and jib job with your co workers. But it would really look good if you did. No, you don't have to go to Billy Bob's barbecue on Saturday and give up your day off, but it would really look good. If you did. Yeah, absolutely. Your personality can get you ahead. It can. There's a difference, in my opinion, between having the skills to pay the bills, and then using personality and schmoozing as the icing on the cake, versus saying, Well, my personality is going to have to be the cake and the icing too, because I don't have the skills to pay the bills. You're putting yourself at a really perilous position there. What if you're having a bad day? What if you burn out on being the personality higher? What if you've had a death in the family and you're trying to deal with that grief? Do you really want to be on a team call with somebody saying I need you to set the vibe today? I need you to be the height beast. I need you to be the person that goes out on stage and gets the crowd all ready to be on camera. I mean, think about that. In this article from HuffPost. We find it's an open secret that in many workplaces qualifications and skills alone are not enough to get someone a job, let alone to keep them in it. But on tick tock people are being open about the charisma it takes to get a jump on their careers. Young users are calling themselves personality hires who shine more for their good vibes and creative energy than for traditional skills in their fields. But there is not one shared definition of what a personality hire means. On the one hand, it seems to be a way for someone to poke fun at their own insecurities around feeling unqualified for a role they were hired for. And many tick tock commenters agree with this assessment. Talk comments include me talking my way through all my job interviews and shout out to the girlies hanging on by their personality. But as such, I also I mean, as a woman, I feel like this is a bit sexist. A girlies hanging on by their personality. Why? Because grown ass women can't show up and do a job. And I'm not a little girl. I'm a grown ass adult with three college degrees. I don't want somebody walking up calling me girly. Just like I don't want somebody walking up that I'm not married to stroking my hair and rubbing my bag. Not at work, man. No. But as some other tick talkers explained, it can also be a way to discuss the team building and collaborative skills that make people want to work with them. Okay, in my mind, we're talking about two different things here, team building and collaborative skills. Now those things do fall into the corporate pantomime. They do fall into the cult like nature of corporate America, groupthink Are you going to go along to get along or are you going to be a problem pal? Are you one of us? Are you going to collaborate? Are you They're just like, RTO Are you going to come back to the office so we can have the collaboration and then together knows I'm gonna enjoy being down there a little? Are you going to do that? Or are you going to be a stick in the mud who stays in the house? There's a difference between saying, if we need to work together as a group on this, let's just do it. Like in football, nobody, no one person is more important than the whole team. You can't say that the quarterback is the whole team. Because if there's not a good defense, and the rest of the offense sucks, if the only thing you've got going for you on a football team, as a good quarterback, you're going nowhere. If the team is great, and the coach sucks, you're going nowhere. If the coach is great, and the team sucks, you're going nowhere. Everything has to work together appropriately. So yes, team building and collaboration is something that matters. It's just unfortunate that in a lot of companies, it becomes toxic because it becomes cult like it becomes groupthink. It's less about collaborating, and really bringing your own diversity and your own diversity of thought into a project and it's more about sit down, shut up and do what corporate wants you to do anyway. Just in case Barish, a 23 year old producer for an ad agency who made it tick tock about being a personality hire said that to him, it means a professional who keeps work fun and fresh. I think a personality hire brings something different to the work environment. Someone who brings the fun someone who people want to collaborate with someone who is easy to work with. He said, I'm also going to button and say that I feel like this kind of goes back to what I've been saying about cult like tactics using corporate America groupthink. Are you going to go along to get along? Or are you going to be a problem pal? Corporate America, when we're talking about? I'm going to try to be careful here, but I just don't think I can. They they really want cogs in the machine. They want people who are compliant. It's all about compliance, obedience, conformity. It's not about being a maverick. And I get it, this is something else I'll get hate mail on somebody will be like, Well, I'm a people manager. And if everybody on the team were a maverick, then nothing would get done. At some point. There has to be consensus. Yeah. Yeah, there does, there does have to be consensus in order for the team to move forward, I get it. I think about this more as an entrepreneur, as somebody who said, Oh my god, I'm so done with this, I won't live in this anymore. I'm gonna go out on my own. I think sometimes what happens is people who are really driven and ambitious and money motivated, but who don't want to lick the boots, Just get the hell out. I mean, it becomes unbearable to us to have to sit in a cube and be monitored and and to have managers who know less about what you're doing than you do. You know, and then you have a personality higher, apparently, now you're gonna have somebody is going to come by your desk and molest you and tell you that it's time to raise the vibes? No, thanks. I feel like maybe I got out at the right time. There's a difference, though, okay. There's a difference in my mind between just saying, Look, when I when I go to work, I'm going to not rock the boat too much. I'm not going to insult people, I'm not going to be hateful, I'm not going to go out of my way to be a butthole to somebody. Versus I'm going to willingly lick the boots of corporate America and my function in this job is going to be to hype other people up so that everyone is more compliant. Everyone is more docile. It's just like the Hypebeast of the television show. We want you happy, we want you applauding we want we want these reactions that will come through on the television. There was an article or a blog post, I should say, written on TTI success insights. And and it's really what I would say, appears to be a fairly standard HR or recruiting based response to this whole idea of a personality hire. Its title is debunking personality hires how to recruit the right way. In this we read you've likely heard about personality hires the co worker who makes everyone laugh and improves the group mood, but might not have a lot of practical experience relevant to their role. Are workplaces actually doing this is a personality hire a burden to their teammates? How does self identifying as a personality higher affect your reputation in the workplace? We're here to answer these questions and shed light on the importance of competence in the recruitment process. How does personality affect the recruitment process? This company reports that 70% of employers consider a candidate's personality to be among the top three factors in deciding whether to extend a job offer it's substantially more important than education or appearance and quote. So that certainly tells you that having some type of charisma some type of likability during the interview process says is important. Again, I'll throw myself up. I'll fall on the sword. I'm fine with that. I was told many times, no, you don't have to go to Billy Bob's barbecue. You don't have to go to Sally Sue Sue's pool party. You don't have to join the company softball team, but it would really be good if you did. We love the fact that we're making a shitload of money off of you, but we really just don't like your introversion. We really just don't like your neurodiversity. We really don't like that you don't think like us? It's just like, okay, but when it's my time to be alone, or to be with my family and friends. That's what I want to do. I'm not married any of y'all up here. none of y'all are my kids beta. I'm already here 40 hours a week or more. Why do I need to to be here longer? Why do I Why do I need to go to somebody's Pool Party in order to swear fealty to this company? That's what it's about. Now, in this blog post, they also talk about some some possible pitfalls. Again, it sounds very sort of standard HR standard recruiting blog post personality hires might be insincere. Someone might have great interview skills that don't translate to their everyday behavior. People tend to put on an act while interviewing even if they don't intend to, since the high pressure environment can lead to exaggerated characteristics, and a higher emphasis on speaking and selling skills. You don't know a person during the interview process, you know, a very specific version of them. Basing crucial hiring decision on that alone isn't wise for long term success, I would actually agree with most event, personality hires might cause issues on teams. If you hire someone with a great personality and less developed skills, you are putting a burden on their team and the organization at large. They also write someone who considers themselves a personality hire can cause strain on their teams relying on their self perceived charm and influence to advance their positions and complete work. If current team members perceive favoritism toward a less skilled New Hire conflict and dissension are likely to build up. I would also add that someone's self perceived charm, something that they might find funny, or they might find clever and cute, might really be off putting two other people on their team. As I'm, you know, saying about somebody, a strange person touching me, you know, inappropriate touches in the workplace are freaking illegal. You're not supposed to be doing that. Not Not everybody is going to want that not everybody is gonna want I mean, what like what, again, okay, like, when I said about the personality hire What if somebody has died in their family? And they're, they're not bringing the vibes that day? What if somebody else on the team is really going through something going through a divorce a death in the family, one of the kids is having trouble in school, and they don't feel like having somebody walk by their desk and try to Geek them up about being at work. Like why can you not just leave that person alone. And then they also add personally, hires can slow down the onboarding process, adding a team member should ideally lighten the workload of your existing team. If a new hire is playing catch up, when it comes to learning and skill development, your team might be worse off than they were before the position was filled. The onboarding process should support new employees and settling into their roles and help them become a part of company culture, it should not place it should not be a place for learning skills that are fundamentally important to the role in quote, I would also agree with most of that as well. If you are hiring somebody who is completely green, maybe they're fresh out of school, or they're making a big career change, and you know, going into it that they're going to need more learning and development, then you don't want to foist them on a more experienced team without the consent of that more experienced team. In other words, you don't take the more experienced team members and say I expect you to do your job. And then also train this person simultaneously, not going to give you any extra hours not going to give you any extra pay or any kind of bonus for doing it. We just expect you to sit down and shut up and do it. That's going to breed a lot of contempt and a lot of resentment. So I think what they're talking about here, for the most part, makes sense to me. As I said, early on, I wasn't going to bury my thesis. I think a lot of this boils down to being exploited. I do. And unfortunately by extension to exploit others. Think about like the show Hogan's Heroes. We're in a prison camp, but we're going to try to bring the jokes. I mean, if the environment is so piss poor, that you need to hire somebody to Geek everybody up. Mind it not be a better idea to assess why your culture is so poor and people are unhappy, instead of hiring somebody to play the clown. Just some food for thought. Stay safe, stay sane, and I will see you in the next episode.


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