“Hello, I’m Uriel and I’m Ex-Pineapple,” I said. Is that really how I should introduce myself? All the other Ex-Pineapples seem to. At some point, I wanted to be a Pineapple. I mean the guy who started Pineapple was my ‘business idol’. I’d read about him in school and watched his interviews. All this was before I had to actually work at Pineapple. My parents were so proud when I started working for Pineapple. Even my friends thought I was cool. I was officially a Pineapple!
There’s a trending trend I’ve noticed; except that it’s been trending for a while. Have you noticed the number of CVs that say, “Ex-Pineapple, Ex-Guava, Ex-Rambutan etc.” It seems that these large (and you could even say traditional institutions) are trying to recruit people who are entrepreneurial—or at the very least possess the potential for entrepreneurship—and then indoctrinating them into an ethos or corporate culture.
By selling the story of their founders to the masses, they’ve perhaps succeeded in attracting the sort of employee who would like to think and believe that they possess the entrepreneurial spirit while at the same time, just continue to be salaried employees. They’re essentially getting the thrill and the high of the experience; without actually having to take any real risk.
Most of the people I know who work (or who continue to work) for such institutions have already had startups that didn’t work out. Somehow the allure of a high-salary while playing pretend as an entrepreneur has created a trend of, “Ex-blah blah blah.” I used to work at this swanky institution where everyone would like to get a job; and I left it to DIY. And so many are convinced that they’re going to be the next great Pineapple, Guava, Jackfruit and so on.
Even when they leave, it is like that corporate culture has been ingrained into the fabric of their being. I’ve lost track of the number of ‘wow’ stories I’ve heard from former employees of big tech. I’ve also heard horror stories—but who is listening to those? First, you’re made to feel really special that you actually got in. Then, when you’re in, you’re told, “Oh this is not how you behave when you’re at … Pineapple or whatever.”
The indoctrination begins. And even when these individuals branch off and start their independent businesses; you can still see that they’ve already been indoctrinated into a corporate culture. That indoctrination, in itself, is very difficult to let go off.
It encourages group think and forges a very strong and resilient sense of belonging that is very hard to shake off. I know that if I were to meet my old colleagues at Pineapple, we would all sort of know how the corporate machinery worked. Some greetings, clapping and so on. But how would I describe my time there? It was abusive. Not enough to get into trouble with the law; but it definitely skirted pretty close to the gate of crazy.
Don’t you want to belong, don’t you want to be a part of us?
From the clothing, to the way that they speak, to the ideas they possess about how business is done or not done—it is indoctrination at its most potent; because it is channeling that commercial impetus. Even when these former ex-Pineapples go forth on their own path, they realise the journey isn’t easy as they’ve been coaxed and brainwashed into a set way of doing things.
Even when they’ve become disillusioned with big business; the mental scars or memories remain.
Long live the Guava!