The reverse coffee cull

I can’t drink more than three caffeinated drinks a day. I can’t handle the paranoia that comes with a fourth cup of coffee. Drinking lots of caffeine didn’t make me a faster or harder worker. It made me worry about what everyone was saying about me.

Obsession and tolerance

A lot of websites for creative/digital/marketing agencies include a small quip about a love for tea or coffee in their offices. When I worked in a creative office, I discovered it’s much more than a gag. Creatives drink coffee like it’s the only water in a really hot place.

How do these people engulf so much caffeine and not become paranoid? One manager told me that you just build a tolerance to it over time. I thought I’d give this a go, ignoring the fact that more than one cup of coffee before midday is insanity.

I lasted on the extra caffeine diet for one week. I spent those seven days fidgeting and obsessing over my work’s quality, and worried that every time a group of co-workers left their chairs to have a meeting, it was about how bad I was doing.

I had to cut down my coffee consumption. When I did, all the anxieties that came with it went away, too.

Creative control?

Caffeine binges are associated with insomnia and anxiety. I suffered both of these things during that intense week, but I’ve never seen these traits in other coffee addicts. Have they really built a tolerance over time, or have they gotten good at hiding their agitation?

If it’s the latter, then guys, you don’t have to hide it from me. Shout at me with all the voices you’ve been hearing for the last several years. I bet you’ve got a lot of interesting things to say.

If you genuinely have built a tolerance to caffeine, than fair enough. But if you haven’t, we can sit by the river drinking small quantities of tea together, and talk about our fears. Then stop drinking tea, because it’s making those fears worse.


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