A quick preamble to this article: Hi there, I’m Emily, the content marketing manager at ChurnZero. We’re taking a break from our usual blog content of Customer Success expertise to bring you a lighthearted read on the ChurnZero team’s shameless hobby fails during quarantine. Because who doesn’t enjoy bonding over the relatable downfall of others? By sharing our flops, flunks, and fumbles, we hope to give you a little bit of comfort and joy as we try our best to keep on keepin’ on together – and of course, taking time to celebrate the fails made along the way.
“You and I will always be unfinished business.”
I whisper in cool defiance to my incinerated banana bread, which now mimicked both in look and feel that of a concrete brick.
Yes, I too, had succumbed to jumping on the baking bandwagon that would no sooner go down in a literal blaze of – not glory – but shame, disgrace, and most palpably, burnt aftertastes.
Those of us who have suffered from an unrequited interest during quarantine – loving a hobby that doesn’t love us back – know firsthand the visceral aches of this one-sided heartbreak (and in my case heartburn after gnawing off a piece of my blackened log in a regrettable show of doggedness).
Absolutely no one:
Me writing this article: “Oh, you’d like me to describe this scene further? I thought so! I’ll now take your tastebuds on a tantalizing tour of what it was like savoring the first (and only) bite of my brick, I mean bread. Hm, so I’m picking up some bitter hints of…is that coal? With smoky undertones of ash? And wow, as the charred aroma wafts into, or should I say assaults, the nostrils, it’s instantly reminiscent of curling up next to a toasty fire with a good book – and then throwing said book into the fire. Its complexity and nuance surely make it an acquired taste that’s befitting of bread contrarians who prefer their baked goods cremated, not crisp.”
I’ll add this ‘nanner dud to my hall of shame, including other baking one-hit blunders:
- Another crust bites the dust
- How can you mend a broken tart
- I keep kneading, I keep, keep kneading love
- Cry me a croissant, cry me, cry me
- Because of fondant, I am afraid
- This is my last torte
- It’s too late, baby now, it’s too baked
- Gotta let it burn
- Ooh, it falls apart, down to its crumbs
If Gordon Ramsey were in my kitchen, I know he’d be so proud.
They say it’s our failures that shape us, which would explain why my figure has begun to resemble that of a 9×5 loaf pan – and not because my twice-used ab roller has taken up a permanent residence on my book shelf. Casting judgment from its pretentious perch, it now serves as an everlasting emblem of an amateur ab-roller’s arrogance and sweet, sweet naivety. And as someone who prefers to keep their lower back intact for decades to come, an at-home gym collector’s item (quarantine edition) it shall forever remain.
But my criticisms aren’t only reserved for bestowal by inanimate objects. Oh no, disapproval also comes from beyond the dead – in my forsaken flowerbed. Just ask my recently fallen geraniums whose shriveled remains reflect my utter incompetence at keeping a stationary organism alive, despite our new living and working arrangement that keeps us together all hours of the day.
Get a plant they said. It’ll be fun codependent they said. No, thanks.
Now I’ve started to lean into more of a minimal-effort desert aesthetic with succulents, small cacti, and tumbleweeds (what I’m calling the anarchic dust balls that now roam around my apartment due to my unrelenting presence here).
Okay, I’ll start to wrap this up so we can get to the team’s quarantine fails as promised by the title of this article. But not before I draw an unasked for parallel between quarantine hobbies and a classic holiday movie.
As a kid, you might be familiar with the tale of the island of misfit toys (from 1964’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”) whose captive residents were shunned and condemned to a life in exile for being endearingly abnormal.
Left to right: An airplane that can’t fly, a train with square wheels on its caboose, a dolly for Sue, a spotted elephant.
Now as an adult, I can’t help but imagine a similar fate for society’s abandoned pastimes during the pandemic. Upon arriving to the isle, you’re eagerly greeted by an eclectic collection of deserted hobbies: big-shot, out-of-tune guitars who refuse to play “Smoke on the Water” ever again, half drawn-in adult coloring books who were defaced with clashing color schemes and now suffer from self-image issues and a tendency to always cross the line, meta pelotons who took on the literal meaning of “stationary bike,” leftover puzzle pieces who were suspiciously declared missing following no formal investigation or search party, vacant journals who won’t stop belting out “white, open spaces,” balls of chunky yarn who gave up their big-knit dreams of becoming another garish decorative throw no one needed, stand mixers who needlessly insist that they’re more than just a “trophy” appliance, pensive pots who are in search of life’s meaning as they take on a new identity as empty planters, and made-from-scratch abominations who incessantly preach that what matters is on the inside.
In all seriousness, many of us had admirable ambitions at the start of all this. We thought we’d be well on our way to speaking a new language, auditioning for Top Chef, or starting that long overdue passion project (speaking of which, inspiration should be striking, um, any day now).
If you were able to find or rediscover your perfect pastime during this pandemic, then you’ll continue to serve as #hobbygoals for those of us who are still finding our way.
But don’t lose hope. As they say, every mediocre banana bread starts with the decision to try.
ChurnZero’s Shameless Hobby Fails
Like most of the world, our ChurnZero team tried their hand at new activities and projects over the last few months. Despite being an impressive bunch, our team is not failure averse (shocking, I know). So, here’s a list of our most relatable attempts at trying to make the best of it.
- “At the beginning of quarantine, we tried to make masks. Outside of getting the pattern upside down and backwards multiple times, we also used way too thick of fabric which made them impossible to wear for long periods of time. We decided to leave it to the experts, and we all bought new ones.”
- “Embraced the old-guy cliché and started learning the guitar starting six weeks ago. I’m sticking with it but I’m mangling perfectly good tunes every day.”
- “Thinking I would exercise more now that I don’t have a commute…awk.”
- “Decided to rearrange multiple rooms in the house to have more room for exercise equipment…its only use since has been as a table to hold the trash from changing the air filters…”
- “I thought getting a puppy during quarantine would be super easy… it’s definitely not easy.”
Note: We know the decision to get a furry four-legged friend is a serious one and don’t presume it to be a pastime or hobby. But, for our fellow puppy parents currently going through the struggles, this was too good not to include.
- “Attempted to help cut my boyfriend’s hair twice in quarantine, and even though we are using guided clippers, both times it has come out looking kind of botched with weird lines. We always just say, ‘Eh, it’ll grow out.'”
- “Paint-by-numbers. I started this 4 months ago. I swear I’ll finish it.”
- “I decided I wanted to pick up drawing back in April. I got a sketchbook and some nice pencils. I only have 2 pages filled out. And the drawings are…frightening to say the least.”
- “I’ve been flexing my gardening muscles. Mostly herbs. Let’s just be glad I’m better at fighting churn…”
- “This 1,000-piece puzzle of an ocean scene, which remains in a state of indefinite progress, now serves as a poster-sized coaster for my glass coffee table.”
- “I was just about to sign up for BIG RYG, ChurnZero’s first annual Customer Success conference, when I suddenly got sucked into the infinite-scroll vortex of social media. Two days go by and I’m still scrolling. My thumb is on autopilot. My eyes have glazed over. My mind isn’t even rendering text or images at this point. But I can’t stop. The scroll is too strong. But then by the saving grace of Netflix, I was jolted out. Thanks to a fleeting memory that they were releasing a new series that, despite looking like a dumpster fire of a plot, was trending at the #4 spot, so I couldn’t not watch it. And by this point, the dream of free Customer Success professional development was sorrowfully out of sight and out of mind.”
Wow, that last one sounds like an epic fail – and in no way seems like it was written as a compelling hypothetical by our team to save CS pros from the FOMO of not attending BIG RYG on Thursday, October 8.
With 30-minute sessions taught by the CS industry’s top leaders on topics ranging from how to implement CS Ops and who should own the renewal to building a lasting relationship with Product and the secrets to scaling your team, not registering for BIG RYG is the only real failure listed in this article.
A lot of Zoom, sweat, and tears went into making this virtual conference happen, and just because it’s online, doesn’t mean we skimped on the content. In fact, it’s the exact opposite as we know we’re in a fierce battle against other (wimpy) webinars for your attention. These to-the-point sessions are packed with pragmatic advice that’s equal parts strategy and tactics.
We’re not pointing any fingers here *you there, reading this in your finest business sweater and sweats* but there’s still time for CS practitioners to redeem themselves by registering right now.
And also because if you’ve made it this far, you deserve to treat yourself to some substantive educational content.
Trust me, your future self will thank you for taking a break from the quarantine chaos to spend time gaining practical knowledge and skills. That’s something you’ll never regret.
So, start now and make CS learning a hobby you stick with.
I promise the banana bread and work emails will still be waiting for you.
Customer Success Around the Web
- Scaling Customer Success Part 1 – Understand the case for change and why scaling CS is necessary.
- Building Healthy Competition into your Customer Success Team – Check out these tips for motivating your CS team.
- Why CS & Sales Should be Friends, not Enemies – See six reasons why CS and Sales need to work together.
Fighting Churn is a newsletter of inspiration, ideas and news on customer success, churn, renewal and other stuff and is curated by ChurnZero.