I work for an English teaching corporation. The company is large enough to span across multiple nations and to have numerous locations here in China. As with all companies of this size, they like to spread the idea that everyone who works there is a part of a big happy family.
And this fails miserably in a way that really shows why so many people accuse of capitalism of failing to work.
Everyone I know hates corporate HQ. Pre-prepared lessons trickle down from HQ, and although we are not obliged to use them, they often intrude into out lives in a way that is unavoidable. They introduce the term ‘Zumba’ into a beginner lesson. And when I say beginner, I mean to the extent that they can’t do much besides parrot what it is that you utter to them in English. But they want to know what ‘Zumba’ is, and you can’t tell them. Partially because you lack the communication skills, and partially because you really only have the slightest idea of what ‘Zumba’ is yourself. And even if you did, and you mimed it out right in front of the students, they wouldn’t have any idea what it was.
All of this begs the question, “why would the education team at headquarters do this? Why would they put a word into the lesson that no one would have a use for? Don’t they know that only pretentious douchebags know what ‘Zumba’ is?”
No, they god damn don’t. The employees of corporate headquarters are a bunch of morons who are out of touch with reality. “Of course,” the idiots at corporate headquarters will tell you “everyone knows what ‘Zumba’ is. I mean, we have free zumba lessons every Tuesday afternoon, which anyone can join.”
They don’t get what the problem with us hearing that is. There are, of course, no Zumba lessons out at my center. It’s something available only at corporate headquarters. Of course, I can’t go to those lessons, as I live in a different city. Corporate HQ also has brand new $50,000 coffee machines, soft serve Fridays, Taco Tuesdays, discounts at the local smoothie shop, yoga classes, and the free Mandarin lessons that, according to my contract, I am entitled to as well. I need to be in Shanghai to collect them, but I am entitled to them.
Much like William Gibson’s future, there are great benefits to my job, but they aren’t evenly distributed. And the people who work at HQ don’t get this, and thus expect us to chime into our classes with our own experiences of yoga class, as if we ever had any such experiences. Truly, not fucking getting it.