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In 2018, I accepted a job at WeWork. The job was actually at a subsidiary of WeWork—Flatiron School, a tech bootcamp—one of the many companies that ex-CEO Adam Neumann bought as he ran the company into the ground. Subsidiaries were subject to WeWork’s culture, though, so it was mandatory that I attended the company’s major meetings and all-hands staff events.
Those mandatory events included something called a Global Summit, where the company flew thousands of employees from around the world to Los Angeles. They also included the infamous Summer Camp—a days-long frat party, or as an event-planning company put it, a place “where attendees mix with like-minded souls, immerse themselves in community, and leave feeling refreshed and inspired.” (WeWork has since canceled its Summer Camps.)
Celebrities like Issa Rae and Jaden Smith were panelists at the Global Summit. Lorde performed at Summer Camp. Alcohol at Summer Camp was excessive. And despite the incessant talk of “elevating the world’s consciousness,” I knew WeWork was an awful place.
I grew up in a cultlike environment. I know one when I see one.