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Note that this topic can get quite problematic. I’ll try not to encourage this, but you’ve got to admit that these TikTok’s have Paul Bateman vibes.
The other day, I watched American Psycho about an yuppie serial killer. The point of the film was to criticize yuppie culture where people are so shallow and self-absorbed you could murder lots of people and nobody would care. I was 5 when this movie came out1 but I think it’s more relevant to today than it was then.
What does this have to do with big tech employees and TikTok? Well, There’s a bunch of discourse around these tech worker influencers. Composed of mostly non-white women, they’re mostly show off either their lifestyle or a company’s perks. The way these are made is rather reminiscent of the yuppie culture being satirized in the book/movie given how materialistic it comes off as.
The annoying thing about these videos is that it seems as if they’re being paid six figures to flaunt their lifestyles and showcase their company’s perks. In fairness, they typically have non-disclosure agreements preventing them from discussing much, if any, of their work so it’s as much as we can see. Maybe it’s just me, but I would like to see them talk about what they actually do. Even if they aren’t programmers2, there should be a way to show some insight into their work3. After all, it’s not adult daycare, you need to provide value.
Much has been said about the shallowness of social media and this subgenre is no different. I’ll lightly touch on the gender aspect. One the one hand, some see this as a sign that women were thrown into bullshit jobs that have no value to society, but men have those as well. On the other hand, these TikTok’s can get some misogynistic heat, but there’s a time where “techbros” were constantly roasted so it’s not unique to women. Heck, my interview recaps were mostly about being flown out for an interview rather than specifics on the interview itself.
Another thing is that there’s nothing wrong with making an attractive workplace. You spend a lot of your life there so it should be enjoyable. I get that these things tacitly force you stay around but it beats being miserable. At the same time, wouldn’t it be better to just take the benefits as cash instead?
This post links to a Verge article talking about some of these influencers and the friction that comes from vlogging. Just 2 comments I have to make:
If you leave with one thing it’s this, please talk about your actual fucking job so these underrepresented groups you’re encouraging know what they’re signing up for.
A mere thought if we go by the book’s release date. ↩︎
Not coding isn’t a bad thing, businesses need a lot in order to survive, especially sales. ↩︎
It’s pretty hard to do this even without an NDA. I don’t know how you’d make something like Megastructures for programming where the development process can be a bit haphazard. You’d either be too detailed that you confuse people or too shallow that you miss out crucial aspects of the job. ↩︎
Then again, I’m thinking of this Motswana lady who worked on a ship I sailed on. She discovered the job from a TikTok so I guess it can be a good recruiting tool after all? ↩︎