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硅谷实习生的奇特世界

所属教程:职场人生

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2017年08月24日

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I arrived at the Internapalooza in San Francisco last month with no idea what a “palooza” actually was. Wading into a throng of excited backpack-clad computer-science students all filming on their iPhones, I got my first taste: a cross between Black Friday and an X Factor audition.

上月,当我到达旧金山的Internapalooza活动现场时,心里对于一场“palooza”到底什么样没有丝毫概念。我艰难地挤进一群背着背包的兴奋的学生当中,他们是计算机科学专业的,都在用iPhone摄像。我得到了第一印象:这是黑色星期五(Black Friday)和《X Factor》节目试镜的混合体。

Tech-company interns attend this annual event, held in the city’s baseball stadium, ostensibly to hear esteemed speakers and make contacts. It is organised by Cory Levy, co-founder of teen social network After School, and attended by interns from Google, Facebook, Salesforce and more.

科技公司的实习生们参加在旧金山市棒球场举办的这次年度活动,号称是为了聆听令人尊敬的演讲者指教,并建立人脉。活动的组织者是青少年社交网络After School的联合创始人科里•利维(Cory Levy),参加者是来自谷歌(Google)、Facebook和Salesforce等公司的实习生。

The interns come for free, while companies pay, setting out their stalls in the hope of recruiting these bright young things when they graduate. “We bring together the smartest kids in Silicon Valley, who go to school across North America, and magical things happen,” Levy said.

实习生们免费参加活动,各公司负担费用,在活动场地搭建自己的展位,希望在这些聪明的年轻人毕业时把他们招进公司。“我们把在北美各地上学的最聪明的孩子们召集到硅谷来,让神奇的事情发生,”利维说。

But by the time artificial intelligence expert Andrew Ng came on stage, the audience had dwindled. Instead of listening, the 4,000 interns made a mad rush for branded trinkets. As soon as the area with the stalls was opened, they ran and pocketed anything with a tech company logo on it, jumping for Amazon T-shirts and grabbing at Dropbox tote bags. “Wow,” was all the woman at the Quicken Loans stand could say, as she watched a herd scoop up pens from the online mortgage lender.

但是,到人工智能专家吴恩达(Andrew Ng)登台演讲时,观众人数已减少了。4000名实习生不听发言,而是疯狂涌向品牌小饰品。展厅内发放这些东西的区域一开放,他们就跑了过去,拿走任何带有一家科技公司标识的东西,从亚马逊(Amazon) T恤衫到Dropbox大手提袋。“哇,”这是Quicken Loans展位的那位女士在看到一群人争相拿走这家在线抵押贷款机构提供的笔时所能说出的唯一的话。

The crowd giggled and shrieked at Tinder caps, Tinder sunglasses and Tinder bottle openers. Valiantly, the man behind the stall tried to be serious, impressing on them that the dating site has the fewest engineers per user in the industry, so each one has a bigger impact. Meanwhile, I wondered if anyone has taught Silicon Valley’s next generation that the ability to get excited over a branded fidget spinner is not going to impress potential employers.

实习生们朝着Tinder的帽子、墨镜和开瓶器又是咯咯笑,又是尖叫。在展位工作的男士勇敢地试图表现出严肃,向实习生们介绍说:这家约会网站的每一名用户对应的工程师人数是业内最少的,因此每名工程师能够发挥更大的作用。同时,我揣测是否有人告诉硅谷的下一代:对一个品牌指尖陀螺感到激动的本事,不会给潜在雇主留下深刻印象。

But there is a sense of entitlement that comes with earning the equivalent of up to $80,000 a year plus benefits for your summer internship. On the Blind app, an anonymous messaging board popular in Silicon Valley, interns share details of how much money they make: Facebook is apparently paying some software engineering students $8,000 a month, while companies such as Microsoft and Lyft add free housing or a housing allowance on top. I heard interns showing off about which companies had already offered them job interviews.

但是,伴随在暑期实习赚到相当于逾8万美元年薪外加福利而来的是一种权利意识。在一款受硅谷追捧的匿名留言板应用Blind上,实习生们相互介绍他们赚到多少钱的详细情况:据说Facebook向一些软件工程专业的学生支付8000美元的月薪,而微软(Microsoft)和Lyft等公司还另外提供免费住宿或发放住房津贴。我听到一些实习生在炫耀哪些公司已向他们发出了求职面试通知。

People used to come to Silicon Valley because they were geeks who couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Now, as one intern at cybersecurity company Symantec told me: “This is the place to go. It is not like 10 years ago. It is now recognised for being like NYC for investment banking or NYC and Chicago for consulting.” The number of new tech jobs in the Bay Area has risen between 4 and 7 per cent a year for the past five years.

过去人们到硅谷打拼,是因为他们是极客,想象不出自己会做其他任何事情。如今,正如网络安全公司赛门铁克(Symantec)的一名实习生告诉我的那样:“这是应该去的地方。现在不像10年前了。现在人们认为硅谷是投行业的纽约,或者咨询业的纽约或芝加哥。”过去5年里,湾区(Bay Area)每年以4%至7%的速度新增科技岗位数量。

Even recent scandals do not seem to have put off new recruits. I met three young male engineers who are spending the summer at Uber, where chief executive Travis Kalanick was recently pushed out amid allegations of sexism. “Uber 2.0 will work out, hopefully,” one of them said, as if the company simply needed a software update.

甚至不久前的丑闻似乎也没让新应聘者们反感。我遇到了三名正在优步(Uber)进行暑期实习的年轻男性工程师。最近,有关性别歧视的指控导致该公司首席执行官特拉维斯•卡兰尼克(Travis Kalanick)被赶下台。“希望优步2.0将会解决问题,”其中一人说,好像这家公司需要的仅仅是一次软件更新。

Not everyone enjoys this carnival of capitalism. On the other side of the Bay, in Oakland’s Jack London Square, stands the new Museum of Capitalism. Here, in a retail space that is otherwise empty despite its enviable waterfront location, 80 artists explore themes from immigration to land rights and police violence. Flags bearing the logos of banks that failed during the financial crisis hang from the ceiling; a podium displays a suitcase full of junk mail offering loans. There is even a display of corporate stash: a vast collection of pens given out by pharmaceutical companies to doctors to advertise their drugs.

并非每个人都喜欢这场资本主义嘉年华。位于湾区另一侧奥克兰的杰克伦敦广场(Jack London Square)有一座新的资本主义博物馆。这里,在这个尽管地处令人羡慕的水边位置、但原本空荡荡的零售空间,80名艺术家探索了从移民到土地权以及警察暴力执法的诸多主题。屋顶悬挂的旗子上印着那些在金融危机中倒闭的银行的标识;一个讲台上展示了一个手提箱,里面装满兜售贷款的垃圾邮件。馆里还展出了公司藏品:制药公司为推销他们的药品而赠送给医生的一大堆钢笔。

The museum is sombre, despite the ridiculousness of many of its exhibits. It misses the way in which capitalism has excited generation after generation of hopeful students, luring them to New York, then Chicago and now Silicon Valley. Perhaps they should add a video of the Internapalooza — but maybe with the sound off.

这间博物馆让人感到阴郁,尽管许多展品是荒唐的。它没有揭示出资本主义是如何激励一代又一代踌躇满志的学生,把他们吸引到纽约、再吸引到芝加哥,如今又吸引到硅谷的。也许他们应当增加一部有关Internapalooza的视频片——只是大概要关掉声音。
 


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