TLDR 6 Silicon: Dimly Visible, Barely There
The MoreCorp campus in Silicon is spectacular, a sprawling concrete amusement park dotted with eco-pods and enviro-clones. Winding paths lead to oddly-shaped structures in bright colors, especially green. The air rings with electronic jingles, a pinging medley accompanying the rushing youth dressed in relaxed tektites.
Wolf and I also walk quickly, avoiding extended eye contact. He points to an electronic sign that indicates the direction of the GoGo Center, where we are headed. We are silent, stunned, perhaps embarrassed by the spectacle.
From the giant candy statues on artificial grass carpets to the drones flying overhead misting the air with hypoallergenic forest scents (I swear!) to the auto-piloted go-bots delivering drinks to people in pods, everything is designed, conscious, and happy. Or is it garish? Caffeine and consciousness are clearly the buzzes — the air smells of caf+ (as well as fake forest). And everyone looks totally jazzed, carrying clear travel cups of colored elixirs, hurrying purposefully while energetically tapping skulls and wrists.
There’s also a lot of hand signaling — wordless high-fives and thumbs-ups, which seems weird for first thing on a 1-day morning. But maybe not. People say that everything is awesome here, that workers haven’t a care besides that of being awesome too. So we’ll see.
We’re about to find out all about it even though we kind of already know how great this place is — gyms, pools, free food of every variety, laundry rooms, playrooms, game rooms, simulation slots and sleep pods. NowsCorp covers this story all the time, how MoreCorp is the best place in the world to work. It set the standard for great workplaces way back, according to all the reports. And this is HQ, so you can imagine.
Yet, the fact that it is MoreCorp seems to impose a certain gravity, despite the gleeful design. The giant bright statues are fun but it is a heavy and heady job being the world’s friendliest corporation. Shit is super serious too.
At the entrance to the building where Wolf and I are to start orientation, two cute kids halt us and demand to see thumbs-ups at the doors. Their squeaky clean good looks are impressive, as is the authoritative way they talk, like cops. Are they in uniform? Certainly, their jeans and hoodies are identically bright and childlike. “Stop,” says one. “Thumbs up or hustle off,” orders the other.
“Umm, what? We’re new here. We’re just getting our sensors cleared.”
“First day,” adds Wolf. “Super psyched.”
“Oh! You’re new, of course!” The boys giggle. “Thought you seemed, umm, weird. We’re just screening! Gotta do it!” They’re on the lookout for spies and accompany us to a bot-slot outside the GoGo Center. Both wait and watch as we scan our thumbs, ensuring our physical pass-codes work. They do. We are let in the building. The boys wish us well. “You’re gonna love it here! Everything is awesome!”
“Totes,” Wolf tells them.
“Yeah, totally,” I repeat stupidly. They have already rushed off.
We make our way through a large open area, the GoGo Show it’s called, a tribute to MoreCorp’s transport contributions in an expansive entryway. The massive lobby is a museum, decorated with models of vehicles imagined and manufactured, old-timey original autopilots plus super futuristic go-gos for Martian roadways of someday, the tomorrow that the corporation works to make now.
Some of the cars hang in the air, which looks a little scary but is probably safe. Still, I try to avoid walking under them as I am eager to attend our first MoreCorp orientation, one of many today based on a message from MidCorp.
The meeting is being held in a large circular room with an electronic tube screen in the center, like a theater on the round. Once seated, I see that on the central tube dance a dozen fonts spelling out welcoming phrases in eliminated tongues, the native languages we no longer really speak. Indeed, the room is filled with people of every color whose races are all now one, united in the Single System System. We are the triple-post-mod-ists, connected by the interwebs of things.
It’s a pretty picture of a positive world but don’t get too cozy too quick. There are conditions. A MidCorp rep in MoreCorp gear is already delivering threats with requisite cheer. This amazing opportunity comes with strings, terms, limits, liabilities, legal consequences.
Now the fine-print of an indecipherable contract dances on the screen before us — designed legalese — as the rep speaks. This is no joke and it can be yanked at any moment. MoreCorp and MidCorp reserve that right. This is small fry getting a chance at the big time and there’s a lot to cover –- everything from transport use (many different cycles for you and groups!) to SecOps (Security Operations for the uninitiated).
And, of course, there are the concepts of good and evil. MoreCorp is an authority and will illuminate. “All this and more will be taken on after these short messages from our founders,” we are instructed by the MidCorp rep. “First, relax. You’ll love this vid!”
The lights dim in the hall. On the central tube screen a film about the fabled founders begins to play. The audience is rapt from the moment it starts, although everyone knows this story already. It’s been the international standard for awesome since the millennium’s start. No child in the connected world can escape hearing this universally instructive and inspirational tale of geeks in a rented Silicon garage, who with a dream and an investor strategy changed the world.
The female voice narrating the vid intones smoothly — the childhood of geniuses, historic events, the glories of corp, the vision of two teks who define suxess itself. We all watch breathlessly, appropriately reverent. We believe in Ergo Sum and Page Turner, their algorithmic perfect and their perfect corporation, and also, perhaps no less so, we believe it is right to be reverent about our presence here.
Why not? This is a moment people dream of in every land. Parents leave their parents so that children will have these opportunities. This makes good on home abandoned for immigrants, a million indignities ignored for the native born. Who wouldn’t do anything for more, MoreCorp, to become part of this, the story of suxess in the SSS?
I feel some type of way. As does Wolf, surely. Already, this is a victory. We’ve traveled far, physically, socially, and each of us in our way can claim a win, even if only we know all the caveats.
When we tell other people about working at moreCorp, they don’t know about our lowly status as contractors, the very short term, the tentative nature, and don’t understand even when we do explain why it is not really the grand prize. They don’t want to hear for some reason. It’s like we won the lottery, the stuff of mythology. We seem blessed by the invisible and glorious hand of the market. Our protests sound like false modesty, or worse, ingratitude.
This goes for friends, family, strangers, pretty much anyone, including the old landlord in Metropolis who was so impressed with our accomplishment she returned our deposit despite an abrupt departure, and even this new one, out in the forest. Yes, even mister-off-the-grid with the glazed eyes, who shirks the webs and seems indifferent to almost everything society expects, is wowed by our MoreCorp affiliation. It sounds super kool … and it is, even if it is not what people think.
That MoreCorp introduced the reduction of texts, for example, is a grave factor that I have yet to completely assimilate into my calculation of the place and myself in it. But I can’t afford to be too critical for many reasons, and who am I to say? So for now let’s be open — isn’t that always the idea anyway?
Leaning back, luxuriating, I stare ahead at the tube screen before me. It somehow plays images to everyone at the angle they need, all 360 degrees around. Maybe it’s true that everything is awesome.
I contemplate the popular nowpow slogan. Is it awesome? Not yet. Not quite. We’re new. There’s a lot to learn and beginnings are tough. But there’s enough free caf+ to keep fueled day and night and an army of temps dedicated to frothing exotic lacto-subs. And it is all fancy and free, an opportunity.
It does occur to me immediately — even before the amenities and associated limitations for my ilk are spelled out — that Wolf and I might not be the types who most benefit from working at a playground. Free food is not a major motivation. Also, we’re stoics, so massages, manicures, services generally, make us anxious. Frankly, all the talk of play sounds a little stressful already. How does the work get done if everyone just comes whenever and does whatever in between boxing and meditation?
Still, whatever is happening, it is not mine to q. I am tiny, and this is … huge. This must be right because it is. It’s big and bright and all around me. Here. Silicon. The center of the Single System System, the interwebs, the everything. The logic of the market has dictated it, and billions of greenies are proof. Whatever MoreCorp is up to, it is the truth.