Friday, September 3, 2010

Obsidian's Comments

Fellow blogger Obsidian has offered some interesting comments to some of my recent posts. Since many people do not read through all of the comments, I have decided to give them their own post.

Regarding the importance of fitting into a company culture, the topic of a post this morning, Obsidian writes about how this factor influences the African American community, especially the young people who have been brought up with hip hop culture. Link here.

Different people have different opinions about hip hop culture, and whether or not it is corrupting the youth of America. I think that it is more important to recognize that the customs and mores that young people learn from hip hop-- and this is not exclusive to African Americans-- have no real place in the corporate world.

Thus, a young person who has been brought up on hip hop will have difficulty adjusting to a world that will to him feel alien.

Beyond the fact that he must be encouraged to adapt, I would follow Obsidian and the article he quotes, and agree that companies also have a responsibility. Not so much to modify their cultures, as to be clear to all new hires what the culture is, and what they need to do to become part of it.

In another excellent post Obsidian comments on my recent post about why it happened that civil rights increased the happiness quotient of African American females, but not that of African American males or white females.

My post is linked here. Obsidian's response is here.

Finally, Obsidian also includes a link to some of his comments about Barack Obama. His viewpoint differs from mine. I hope that everyone will be able to find some merit in both. His is linked here.


Alternajobs said...

Why are you so eager to get young people into the "corporate world"?

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Actually, I am eager to help people to do their best on their job. And I am certainly eager to see them keeping their jobs, getting ahead at their jobs, and succeeding.

I have nothing against the corporate world. Many people have had great careers working for corporations. I am against the outright dismissal of corporate jobs because that limits the prospects of too many people.

I have nothing against entrepreneurial jobs, creative jobs, and government jobs.

But I do believe that most jobs require the same level of devotion and dedication, the same participation in group rituals that corporate jobs make more formal.

I would add that I know lots of people who work free lance, who have creative careers. While I always encourage and support them, it is surely a very difficult path.

I hope that that clarifies things. Thanks for the question.

Alternajobs said...

What would you say to a vegetarian and non-drinker about participating in the food and drink social culture of their work environment.

I'm not talking a "vegetarian for health reasons" but a religious vegetarian, for whom even ordering a salad in a restaurant where the pots, plates and utensils touching meat goes against the food and cleanliness taboos of their religion such as Orthodox South Asian Brahmins, many of whom you must be aware are working in the IT sector here in the States?

Both alcohol and eating in places where meat is dealt with are highly taboo amongst the ones that take their religion and traditions seriously.

Would you suggest that they go to the restaurant/bar with their work collegues and not order anything? Perhaps lie and say they are "fasting"?

What would you suggest?

Stuart Schneiderman said...

People who, for religious reasons, have very strict proscriptions against eating and drinking in certain establishments are most often totally interested in anything resembling corporate jobs.

You cannot live out your religious beliefs to that extent and at the same time expect to be, or want to be, a corporate executive.

Obviously, people who do not drink or eat meat can usually partake of these rituals and simply not order alcohol or steaks.

I doubt that it will be held against them, but if the company culture is such that it is, they would do well, as I suggested, to look for work in a more congenial corporate environment.

In the end companies, corporations, teams, and other social groups all have their rules and rituals. Unfortunately, they are not arranged to promote fairness, but to promote inclusion.

Alternajobs said...

"People who, for religious reasons, have very strict proscriptions against eating and drinking in certain establishments are most often totally interested in anything resembling corporate jobs."

Did you mean "totally UN-interested?"

Anyway, many are indeed interested. I know several very strict South Asian Muslims and Hindus who are neck-deep in the Corporate IT World.

Some say they are carrying it.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you for correcting my error.

I've known a few people who do not drink alcohol or eat meat, for religious reasons, and yet who have no problem going to restaurants where alcohol and meat are served.

Of course, you are aiming at a larger and more important issue. People from different cultures and religions do at times have great difficulty adapting to alien customs.

In many ways it is the story of New York City. Generally, the culture should be open to almost everyone, though it cannot realistically be open to everyone.

In the past groups of people who have not wanted to assimilate into the corporate or business cultures have formed their own businesses with members of their own communities.

Over time many of these people have assimilated and joined the larger community, but they are not obliged to do so.

Let's keep in mind that we tend to worry about whether everyone will be welcome everywhere. In truth, some members of some groups do not want to fit in. That is their prerogative, of course.

Alternajobs said...

The Hasidim seem to have done very well for themselves in New York by sticking to themselves and not "assimilating". Of course, I was recently informed that there are many of them on welfare and foodstamps. Some of them also abandon their spouses and children, etc. There's some ongoing jokes in the NY sex worker community about them. Appearantly many Hasid men are frequenting prostitutes because certain types of sexual activity are forbidden to them but they still want it so rather than debase their wives they pay hookers. Not how you would normally think of them, but, in a community which puts a high value on gene reproduction, large families, etc, and if they only want to work in family owned businesses either of their own family or other Hasid families, well, I'd imagine there would be a tipping point at some point where there were more Hasids to employ than could be feasibly employed.