Had to spend some time in the car today, but fortunately didn’t have to drive. There was a copy of the the NY Times in the car, and one thing led to another…
So I read this piece, anyway, and it actually isn’t bad; certainly much better than the usual Times thinkpiece these days:
Imagine a frat house mixed with a kindergarten mixed with Scientology, and you have an idea of what it’s like.
That’s good, isn’t it? And on the right track, but there is so much more to be said.
It’s hard to capture the feel of the contemporary tech workplace. A sweatshop, sure, but a groovy sweatshop, with artisan coffee and so on, and the inevitable ping-pong table and Foosball apparatus.
The superhero theme is indeed much invoked, and there is a great deal else that tends to the attempted infantilization of millennials.
One invariant is breakfast cereal laid on for free in the refectory. Captain Crunch and the like.
A place where I worked for a while had a pajama/onesie day. A surprising number of the kids complied. Of course they all looked very fetching. A fit and shapely twentysomething in a onesie evokes in a dirty old man like me a clenching sensation of erotic vertigo, as if one had the hots for a strangely sexy Teletubby.
I got an unspoken dispensation by virtue of age. I would have looked like Bad Santa, and seriously impaired the overall effect. In any case — though this may be TMI — I do not own a pair of pajamas, and haven’t since I was about eleven years old. As for a onesie…. I’m not even tempted.
Where the Times piece erred a bit, I think, was the Scientology note. I don’t think the kids are buying it.
Of course I hope ‘The kids are all right’ will be my last words. One may be — certainly is — an old fart, but one doesn’t want to be that old fart, the guy who’s always kvetching about these kids today.
So maybe I’m reading too much in. But I think that sense of irony that the kids so notoriously exhibit is serving them well. The kids eat the breakfast cereal, but they eat it ironically, and on a deeper metaphorical level, I don’t think they’re drinking the Kool-Ade. They understand the game too well.