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Role: Software Sales

Location: Toronto

Salary: $100,000

Size of company: 15 people

Total Years Working: 4

Age: 24

Industry: Tech

It wasn’t even a question of if I would take mushrooms at work, I just did. I loved my team, but the work sucked, and my manager was draining. I decided this would be my silent protest. I would get high on the job.

I’ve always been interested in exploring the limits of my body and mind. Back in university, I had been taking nootropics; cognition-improving substances—Ashwagandha and L-theanine—stuff like that. At a certain point, I had a whole stack of them. I wasn’t sure what was actually improving my cognition (or if anything was at all), but I could have sworn I was levelling up. Placebo or not, I could crank out a 14-hour study session like it was nothing.

After university, that fascination didn’t leave. I started tracking all my meals and three years later, I’m still doing it. What started as a weight-loss strategy eventually turned into an ongoing experiment to understand how food impacted my body and mind. While I would prefer not to talk like a douchey tech-bro, or whatever, I guess you could say that I’m into optimizing my performance

All that being said, I cannot honestly say that dreams of optimization pushed me into microdosing. I was just bored. It was March of 2020 and I itched against the paradoxical boundaries of remote work. The world was my oyster, and yet the world was also my 300sq ft apartment. My news feed was full of calls for a “paradigm shift”, but I felt stagnant. I yearned for change but there’s only so much transcendence a home office can handle.

It was around this time that a friend who trained in jiu-jitsu with me mentioned that some martial artists microdose mushrooms to improve their ability. Even though the jiu-jitsu gym was closed, I was curious what mushrooms could do for me. Would I feel more social? Less distracted? Could I unlock a permanent Flow State? I banished the university memories of bad weed brownies to the back of my mind, and my friend and I charged ahead. 

We found a random store and my friend ordered the mushrooms online. I thought that was wild. Like, wow, you can Canada Post illicit drugs from the middle of Canada right to your door? Anyways, my naiveté aside, within a few days our direct-to-consumer bottles of millennial-branded mushroom pills arrived in the mail. 

I started off with one pill a day, which was a bit more than 200 milligrams, and I didn’t feel anything at all. Then I went to two, still nothing. In hindsight, I acknowledge that the whole point of micro-dosing is that it’s an imperceptibly small difference and if you feel something you’ve probably done too much, but those semantics didn’t really occur to me at the time. After a week or two of building my tolerance, I went to three pills in a day, which was nearly 900 milligrams. I was craving transformation and hoping to find it. 

At three pills, I was giggly and a bit paranoid. I would be in the middle of a meeting and find myself worried if I had been smiling for too long. My one confidante at work would try to make me laugh in Zoom meetings. I felt more social and confident, emboldened by the psychoactive properties—or just the idea of taking them. It had been a little over a month of popping them daily like vitamins and when I started to push it. I took a couple with drinks before going out as Toronto started opening up. I accidentally brought the bottle in my bag on an international flight. I started wondering if I was taking this too casually. Was this a slippery slope? What would people think if they found out?

Perhaps as a testament to how checked out I was, I took three pills the day I had scheduled to tell my boss that I was quitting. Maybe it was just the nerves but I was giggling non-stop. I angled myself halfway out of the camera frame and leaned into the dark lighting, trying to hide the weird shit I thought my face was doing. It would have been an awkward call regardless, but I only made it worse by messily trying to hide my secret. I felt hyper-vigilant and off-kilter, more focused on performing professionalism than embracing the slippery confidence my new habit may have given me in that moment. I don’t know if my boss actually suspected anything. I finished the call relieved that I had made a concrete step toward changing my life after several weeks of hoping the mushrooms would do it for me. 

In hindsight, I don’t think I can actually tell what impact microdosing had on me. I second-guess my memories. I think I felt more talkative, funnier, maybe a bit more “free”. My creative writing seemed to flow more easily. I played pike l with friends and wasn’t the absolute worst player on the field. But this could all have been in my head. While I can’t prove any tangible benefits, I do think I would recommend people try microdosing at work if they can. Sure, it’s fun to give a middle finger to your job, but more broadly I think there is value in the process of trying discover the best version of yourself. All that being said, I still wonder if the thought of being someone who microdosed at work inspired me more than the actual physiological side effects did. Like, if I could be the type of person to take drugs from a stranger online, could I also be the type of person to quit this job that I hate? To move across the world? To radically alter the course of my existence? I didn’t have some ayahuasca-level moment of clarity, but I do think microdosing was a slow burn that increased my risk tolerance, warming me up for a big life change. I live in Puerto Rico now, working full-time remote for a new company. I actually like this job, so I don’t think I’m going to get high during work hours—at least not yet. I’ve still never microdosed during jiu-jitsu. Perhaps I’ll finally give that a try.