What is Care Factor Equals Zero?
(Also known as "Care Factor: Zero", CareFactor = 0, etc.)
It is a mantra which has amazing powers to enable you to work through conditions which would otherwise cause you to quit or go mad. It is especially useful when there is nothing else you can do about the conditions you find yourself working under. It doesn't have magical properties - it doesn't prevent you from getting fired, or reduce your work load. What it does do is ease the pain, reduce your stress, and most importantly, focus your mind on the inconsequentiality of your job.
This is for use only when you are working under particular conditions:
- When you are working for a monolithic company where your actions have no impact on the outcomes of your project, but you are pressured as though they do.
- When inappropriate statistical analysis is being used to judge the quality of your work. Example - a brain surgeon being reviewed on the number of operations he performs a week, and not the success rate of each one.
- When your job description precisely details what you are meant to be doing, but you are given a host of additional tasks, and this fact is not considered when your performance is reviewed.
- When you and your department is deliberately kept in an artificial state of fear and stress in order to increase your efficiency and induce you to perform unpaid overtime. Such as, a rumour is being spread by management that the staff will soon be reduced based on performance.
- When you are expected to work with a high degree of autonomy, and successfully perform your tasks, but receive no acknowledgement except criticism, even for things which were unavoidable and don't effect the eventual outcome in any way.
- When you are forced to use blunt or inappropriate tools which slow you down and hamper your performance.
- When you are made to do things in a roundabout, inefficient, maddeningly complicated way, and there is an obviously better way to do them, but standardised work practices are being enforced and you have to follow them.
- When you are tantalised by an idea, a way to dramatically increase your companies efficiency or profit, but you know from bitter experience that if you reveal your idea to your superiors they will steal the credit, and then blame you for any difficulty implementing it.
- When you are a galley slave on a Phoenician trader rowing through the Mediterranean sea. You aren't steering the boat, you get whipped if you row, thrown overboard if you don't, you will never see your village again and you are doomed.
If you find yourself in any of these situations, use this mantra:
"Care factor equals zero. Care factor equals zero. Care factor equals zero. Care factor equals zero..."
With constant repetition the hypnotic suggestion begins to take effect. You start to truly understand the meaning of the words. None of the problems you have can really touch you if you don't care about your job. The only real problem you have is that you are allowing yourself to care. You are owning your job, devoting thought to your customers, your users, your co-workers. It's not doing any good, is it? Your caring isn't helping get the job done, it isn't increasing your job security, it isn't bringing you any kind of reward. In fact, you are being punished for caring.
It's not enough just to repeat the words, though, you need to really believe them, internalise them, and act upon them. You have to *be* the mantra, *be* "Care factor equals zero".
Then you will notice a remarkable change. You will start to enter meetings perky and cheeky, with a mad sparkle in your eye. You will meet the eyes of your managers and bosses as you tell them exactly how badly you have failed to meet their expectations. And, when they ask why not, you will reply without a trace of shame or disappointment that their expectations are too high and it's their fault. You will shrug your shoulders and smile when a crash deletes a document you were working on for hours, and patiently log a call with technical support to see if it can be recovered, instead of gritting your teeth and trying to recover it yourself. You will take every minute of your lunch and break time, and leave on the bell every day.
Are you worried about getting fired? They're not going to fire you for not doing your job as well as you can. If that were so, they would have fired the ones who already obviously don't care about the job, those freeloaders and slackers who are such a burden on you. If they're still around, why should they fire you? I mean, if they were going to fire someone, and the place is such a madhouse, they would obviously fire the only one who still gives a damn about the job, which is you. So, start chanting right now!
In summary, this mantra has the power to turn you into one of those other guys, those ones who cruise through the worst jobs. They don't seem to put a foot wrong. They goof off and spend entire weeks surfing baseball stat sights and downloading porn without a thought for the contents of their browser cache, and they laugh at deadlines. They come in late and leave early, and somehow they seem to advance in their roles with the full approval of their superiors. Why don't they get fired? Because, know it or not, they are already chanting. They have this mantra built into their minds. They do naturally what you need to learn to do - switch off and have some perspective.