Every creation myth needs a devil ~ Marylin Delpy, The Social Network
I took advantage of a rainy Saturday afternoon to go see The Social Network. This film hadn’t even been on my radar before its release; I’d heard of it, of course, usually referred to as “the Facebook movie.” How uninteresting, I thought. Who’d want to go see a movie about the history of a website? But it was released to glowing reviews and strong word of mouth, and suddenly, my curiosity was piqued. I don’t necessarily think movie critics are always to be trusted, but when so many of them said such positive things, the accolades became impossible to ignore. Plus, I really like Facebook. So I decided to check it out.
And boy, am I glad I did. The Social Network is nothing short of incredible. The plot is full of drama and suspense and humor. The acting is great. It’s fun to learn the background behind what is arguably the biggest website in the world (sorry, Google). I learned some things. And I was wildly entertained the entire time.
Most importantly of all, though? I was inspired. Mark Zuckerberg may have been an asshole (or, as one character in the movie states toward the end, not an asshole per se, but somebody who spends a lot of time trying to look like an asshole. There are glimmers of humanity here and there, despite his attempts to hide them), but he was also a real go-getter, and look at the result. He is the world’s youngest billionaire. Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admire his chutzpah, if you will. Rebellion is glamorous (just ask Holden Caulfield). The opening quote sums it up well. Every creation myth needs a devil, and who better to serve as the symbolic Satan than the founder of Facebook himself, a person who clearly twisted the moral code of ethics to suit his own lofty ambitions? Be that as it may, Mark had a vision, and he stopped at nothing to ensure that he achieved success. That I admire.
Being immersed in that world for two hours made me crave it. I am at a crossroads in my life, and as such, am in a unique and rare position to seriously self-assess my life and decide what I want to do about it. Where I want to go next. This isn’t the first time I’ve been laid off. It happened once before, in 2002. I was shown the door after putting in ten years with a company that manufactured pneumatics. I was eight years younger then, and I viewed what happened to me as a minor setback, a brief hiccup in my career, but no reason to stray from the path I’d set out on. I focused my energy on finding as similar a job as possible, and wound up eventually with a company that manufactured pressure washers. Now, a little more than six years later, I find myself in the same boat. This time, that hiccup feels bigger and noisier. Harder to deny. Do I want to end up in yet another similar job in yet another similar corporation and find myself once again in this position three or five or twelve years down the road?
Hence the career reassessment. The dreaming big. The anything-goes-and-the-world-is-my-oyster philosophy. I have some ideas of things I’d like to do, and I’ll talk about them in future posts. But you know which company I’d love to work for?
None other than Facebook.
Curious after the movie, I brought up my Facebook page. Satisfied (yet disappointed) that I hadn’t been poked, or asked to water anybody’s crops or to like some asinine cause such as Save the ostriches (My head must be stuck in the sand, because I didn’t realize they’re even endangered?) or Give a serviceman a hug (How about extra ammunition or, better yet, a ticket home?), I scrolled to the bottom of the page. There’s an About section. I clicked on Careers. And then, just for fun, Benefits & Perks. By all accounts, Facebook the corporation is a pretty generous employer. They offer a great healthcare plan. 4 months of paid parental leave if you have a baby – plus $4000 cash. Holy crap, let me get this straight: you do the deed, knock up your partner…and get paid for that? In addition to gobs of time off? Sex never sounded like such a good investment before. But there’s more. They reimburse you $3000 a year for daycare or babysitting expenses. 21 days of paid vacation. Unlimited sick days. Plus 11 paid holidays. Their most awesome perk, though? Food. Their website says, Facebook provides microkitchens and lots of great, free snacks at just about all its major worldwide locations. At our Palo Alto headquarters, we also offer free breakfast, lunch and dinner at our Cafe. Whether you’re looking for healthy salads, hearty world cuisine from countries such as Belize and India, or just a couple slices of pizza, Chef Josef and his team of culinary geniuses make it happen every day.
International cuisine? Chef Josef? Culinary geniuses?? I’m just thankful for free coffee where I work. And there’s more. A free laundry service. Drop your dirty clothes off at the start of your shift, and they are delivered back to your desk, clean and pressed. Famous guest speakers, discounts with big companies like Apple and Dell, complimentary shuttle service.
There’s a company I could see myself working for! Too bad their headquarters are in Palo Alto. Been there, done that (the Bay Area), thanks but no thanks. They do have offices around the world, though. New York and Chicago and Seattle (hey, that’s close!). London and Paris. Dublin. Hamburg. To name but a few.
The world may indeed be my oyster. And I think I just found my pearl. My shiny, gleaming, white-letters-on-blue-background logo of a pearl.
Hey, Mr. Zuckerberg, you listening?