HT to Marcus Gilroy-Ware for telling me about this disturbing concept. This description by Arlie Hochschild is quoted in Bauman’s Consuming Life on pg 9:
Since 1997, a new term – ‘zero drag’ – has begun quietly circulating in Silicon Valley, the heartland of the computer revolution in America. Originally it meant the frictionless movement of a physical object like a skate or bicycle. Then it was applied to employees who, regardless of financial incentives, easily gave up one job for another. More recently, it has come to mean ‘unattached’ or ‘unobligated’. A dot.com employer might comment approvingly of an employee, ‘He’s zero drag’, meaning that he’s available to take on extra assignments, respond to emergency calls, or relocate any time. According to Po Bronson, a researcher of Silicon Valley culture, ‘Zero drag is optimal. For a while, new applicants would jokingly be asked about their ‘drag coefficient’.
I guess one’s drag coefficient is a way of making sense of constraints upon ‘discretionary effort’.