Tech Companies, The New Greek Life?
In college, many of us took on extracurricular activities. These activities ranged from sports to clubs to bible studies. For many of us though, interest lay within organizations built around the bonding of others, these were the fraternities and sororities that made up Greek Life. Greek Life came with its positives and its negatives. Many people did not understand it while others have used it to create friendships that have lasted a lifetime. I’d personally feel safe making the claim that it isn’t something you can understand until you have lived it. The single key theme behind each house is that there is a brotherhood or sisterhood built upon common pillars or principles. Once you have crossed over into the brotherhood or sisterhood, your letters are to be worn with pride and simply seeing someone else wearing the same letters was a good enough reason to welcome them in with open arms; even if you had never met them. On an external level, depending on your house’s rep, there is also an automatic perception of you once you are seen or affiliated with your letters. These views can vary depending on if whether you are being viewed through the lens of a certain sorority house or the nerdy, bookworm kid down the street.
Fast forward to modern times and the professional life. Walking around San Francisco, arguably the tech capital of the world, you see people in their respective tech apparel every where you go. These pieces of clothing are usually given to the employees for free and sort of turns them into a walking billboard. Aside from that, wearing your company’s logo places you into a larger group, telling everyone that you are working at a tech company and secondly, identifies which company you work at. In Greek life, this would be akin to telling everyone that you are A: Greek Life and B: what house you belong to. Each company has a different stigma or reputation behind them. When you see someone wearing a Facebook hoody, there is this sense that they are very bright as they made it into a company that is highly desirable and highly competitive. Conversely, when you see, say a Zynga hoodie, there’s more of a bottom of the food chain type of perception. And just as there was in college, you feel a sense of connectedness to another person wearing a tech hoody because you are also in tech, but at the same time you size them up and make judgement based on what company they are at. In the same respect, at larger companies, where there are multiple offices and faces that aren’t recognizable, simply having the same logo on is reason enough to strike up a conversation. If not, at least a simple nod of acknowledgement and a sense of “me too” is often given off. In a sense, a brotherhood or sisterhood.
To tie it all together, the tech culture, with all of it’s ego and controversy of elite status has turned it into a post college fraternity/sorority. Each company represents a different house and although there is a overarching umbrella, each house is constantly sizing each other up. This is the same cattiness that we saw in college. I am not arguing that this is a bad thing, in fact I was in a frat in college and currently work at a tech company. If anything I feel that it is pretty awesome. I’ve just noticed that for many of us, growing up hasn’t meant leaving everything behind.
What are your thoughts? Do you think my argument is completely BS? Have you yourself thought this? Maybe you’ve seen this taking place in your city? I’d love to hear what you have to say so please, leave a comment..