Goin’ Vanilla… (Satire)


Sorry Charlie. You’re not a fit.

.. is a term I use for going mainstream, being and acting like everyone else. Fitting in. When someone reads something I’ve written on social media, they’ll usually say something like “you know no one’s going to hire you when they see stuff like that, don’t you?” Or, “tone it down a bit, it’s a little much.”

So I guess I should look and sound like everyone else, right? There’s only one problem: I can’t. Well, at least I don’t want to. I don’t feel good about myself when I dress up as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Baahh?

Used to be, if you were a biker, a punk rocker or a rapper, you were different, not so anymore. Now you all look alike and folks can make a judgement on your world view just by looking at you. It may or may not be true but that’s what they’ll do. It’s easier and more convenient to categorize you than to have an in-depth conversation with you. Who has time, right? Everyone says they don’t like vanilla but it’s always the safe bet in a corporate environment.

Folks who want to be “team players” will usually win out in the end. I have nothing against teams but “original thought” shouldn’t be penalized. And in my opinion, it is.

So, as I’m writing this, and by the way, I never, ever write anything unless I’m emotionally committed, which is where I usually fall off the beaten path, an e-mail just came into my in-box from Harvard Business Review. It’s being touted as HBR’s first new “Big Idea”. Coincidence? Synchronicity?, you be the judge. Regardless, this is what I’m talkin’ ’bout.


Now, I’ve been around since Hector was a pup and I’ve seen these “outside the box” revelations before. I’ve watched companies say one thing and revert to the same old, same old, time and time again. Looks good on paper, though. But as I read the piece on “Rebel Talent” deeper, I’m heartened by what HBR is attempting and even tempted to believe that a leader in the business world could be creating an opening for a desperado like me.


When I was a territory manager for Dupont Radiopharmaceutical then Bristol-Myers Squibb, I ran a website, created multiple newsletters for my internal audience “We Ourselves” and “News from the Left.” and “Hot Spot” for the Kaiser Permanente system. Kaiser was a wonderful experience but having a vendor become part of your organization in that fashion would never happen today, I dare say.

When I became proficient at video, I created “Taking The Test” a six minute branded DVD which was a combination marketing and educational tool. I mention these efforts because at the time, these concepts were so new, no one had any idea how to stop me. Which, by the way, none of these skills were included in my job description. I remember the new V.P. of Sales saying “we have some clown out there running around the desert with a camera, we have to stop him.”

Eventually, they transferred me in-house to keep an eye on me. I found even more opportunities to become “Rebel talent.” I had to find them because they still had no idea what to do with me.


Early blogging: Circa, 2000

“Rebel Talent.” Yeah, that’s the ticket. It feels good when you roll it off your tongue, eh? Let’s see what happens. This isn’t my first rodeo and I’m leery of what looks good on a mission statement. But here’s hoping.



Please note: I welcome comments that are offensive, illogical or off-topic from readers in all states of consciousness.

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