On the NYC sub-Reddit today, a user who goes by the handle “onmach” submitted a sincere inquiry about startup culture in New York. Onmach and a friend were considering a move out East, but the friend had a bad experience at a startup interview that devolved into what sounds like your standard brogramming nightmare.
“When [onmach's friend] got there he did good at the technical interview, but then they took him to a bar and proceeded to get wasted, talk about getting wasted, talk about getting high all day, and that’s about it.
Unfortunately my friend is not that kind of guy. He’s just a nerd who loves to code and doesn’t drink or do drugs. When he asked an aquaintance if this is what it is like up here, she told him that everyone is like that and it is expected to attend these types of functions. How could he not know that, she asked. Certainly this particular company would not hire him if he didn’t fit in, so now he doesn’t want to go to NYC at all anymore.”
Later on in the thread, onmach elaborated on the post-interview binge. It was a Monday night and the entire company of 10 showed up. “Conversation was like, yeah we should bring a hookah into the office, and yeah I was supposed to do that project, but I got high all weekend,” he wrote. After recounting the sloppy details, onmach asked, “So, what’s the deal? Is this just how it is in manhattan at tech companies?”
Admittedly, generalizing an entire industry’s culture based on a “sinking ship full of douchebags,” as one Redditor put it, is ill-advised. And this kind of rowdy boy’s club is exactly how you keep that ratio in tact. But from the comments, consensus seems to be that is not the norm. Regardless, responses offer some interesting insights into infrequently-discussed recreational habits of startups.
“At my small company, we are partially owned by a much larger, much more conservative company. I hang out with my friend and coworker, talk about recreational activities (…) and do some of that stuff.” [Ed note: Reddit is that you??]
“Smaller companies are run based on however the CEO wants them run. Most tech companies are pretty laid back about drinking, but not to the point where they are going to do the interview at a bar. Maybe if you are doing a late interview (5-10pm or something) they will get you a beer or two. I think this was a one off experience.”
“I mean… yeah…. lots of people smoke marijuana here, lol. On the plus side he’s avoiding working for a company clearly not heading anywhere.”
Of course, there’s always the other extreme:
“A more common situation in NYC is ending up in a place that expects you to work your ass off 12+ hours a day.”