Onboarding: or ‘Joining a cult’

I don’t think I joined a cult, but I think I have come very close to it.

There is now-a-days a lot of really interesting research on what exactly a cult is and is not. I don’t think I am looking at anything that rigorous here. I’m mostly playing around with the pop culture understanding of the word.

I got a new job. There were a whole lot of red flags before going into this job (particularly at the four interviews I had to do), and so my expectations were pretty damn low. But no matter how low they got, I wasn’t ready for the shit I witnessed when I had to do Onboarding.

The job I got is at a hotel. It is a very large corporate hotel chain with locations all across the USA, and it is famous for being a rather high end chain of luxury hotels. However, the property I work at is apparently the runt of the litter, and constantly threatened with amputation for mother corporation.

I pretty much shuddered when I heard the word ‘onboarding’. For those not in the know, onboarding is the process by which you are welcomed to a company, and given an idea of company culture. It’s a weird little ceremony, part informational and part enthusiasm building. I learned a long time ago that this doesn’t work for me. I went to exactly one pep rally in high school, and only because I didn’t know that’s what I was being lead to. Being instructed to cheer for something (often for the sake of cheering) doesn’t do much for me. If you want to get my enthusiastic, give me good fucking news.

That’s what people try for in onboarding sessions. The problem is that all corporate structures have ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, but what you get shown at onboarding sessions is all the things that the ‘haves’ should get enthusiastic about. I tend to be in the latter category. In china, you do two weeks in super nice buildings around Shanghai before you get shipped off to a rundown mall in the rectum of third tier provincial capital.

All that kind of applied to this new job I got. I was shown a cafeteria that is closed on the hours I work, I was told about an insurance program not available to me and informed me about company events that would involve me having to come to work on my time off.

No thanks.

But any actual relevant information to the job I was going to do was absent.

And none of all that was even the creepy part. You see, they didn’t have any actual information with which they could generate that blessed enthusiasm. So for some dumb fucking reason they decided to instead talk about the owner of the property. But what was weird was the heroic language they used to speak about him. They kept on harping on about his accomplishments, and I kept on wondering why they are bothering to tell me this. Apparently, this guy struck oil in Texas and decided to use his vast fortune to buy hotels. I don’t see this as much of a fucking accomplishment, and I am pretty sure I would make the same choice if I were suddenly an oil tycoon. But again, what was werid was the tone with which they did this, and it conjured mental images of people praising ‘The Leader’.

“Being deeply Christian, when he took over the hotels he insisted we stop selling pornography. He replaced the pornography with Nintendo 64’s and made twice as much money.”

“Glory onto his name!”

Yea, not impressed.

“When Hurricane Katrina hit he kept the employees affected by the hurricane on the books for one year, and moved those who could to other locations”

“Praise him!”

Jesus. Do these dumb assholes expect me to credit this guy with basic fucking decency?

Kim Jung Un would be fucking proud.


There was one really unintentionally great moment at the onboarding session. Company higher-ups were introducing themselves to us, and it was this woman’s turn. She looked like the most popular high school cheerleading blonde, who was now desperately trying to escape the look look of a middle-aged middle class American woman.

“My name is such-and-such, and I’m from ‘Food and beverages’, or as we like to call it, ‘Fun and Beverages’.”

Crickets. Glorious crickets.

I’ve never cringed so hard in my fucking life.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. happyfreeconfusedlonelyatthesametime says:

    Is there going to be another part? I wanna know what happens next 😀


    1. M. says:

      I talk about this terrible job a little more, but not about the on boarding. There were a couple more things to say about it, so maybe I will pidgeon hole them somewhere. Stay tuned!


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