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Nouveaux riches

In France, and most ‘old’ countries, we call people who turned turned rich over night ‘nouveaux riches’.

From Wikipedia:

The term can also be used in a derogatory fashion, for the purposes of social class distinction, to describe persons with newfound wealth and who are viewed as lacking the experience, finesse, or taste to use wealth in the same manner as old money – persons from families who have been wealthy for multiple generations. The implication is that, despite their wealth, they are still of lower- or middle-class origin, and therefore culturally inferior. A stereotypical example would be persons with new wealth who spend money conspicuously, aspire to the tastes of their betters, or fail to disguise lower class preference.

Coming from the middle class myself, I find this despicable, but I think it’s a perfect description for the Google new office in Zurich. Tons of cash but no style or substance and trying way too hard to be cool. I actually find it risible.

  1. gen
    April 7, 2008 at 10:23 am

    yeah, smacks of trying a little too hard to be whacky too.

    nice cringey promo video here: –

  2. Rob
    April 8, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Don’t you think work environment can play a massive part in employee morale?

    OK so this is abit over-the-top but I bet if you ask most cubicle workers around the World what they would rather work in, you’d get an overwhelming response that this Google environment represents everything they could want and would contribute to a happier and more productive workplace and employee.

    Mind you I could be saying this because of my/our Google alliance 😉

    Hope you feel better soon matey …

  3. gen
    April 8, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    I totally agree that a good working environment tends to lead to happier and more productive employees but this as Jerome is saying seems a little over the top.

    i think a good working environment is not just wacky furniture etc. but the culture and people, a mate of mine who used to work at Google and he said the culture wasnt good at all and he hated his time there; having a meeting room shaped like a beehive wont solve cultural issues like this.

    i have to admit having a slide looks quite good fun though 🙂

  4. April 9, 2008 at 12:08 am

    I’m not suggesting a good environment is all you need to make a happy and productive workplace – of course culture is vital – I am just saying that I think it’s a bit rich we all slag it off when [1] we work in an industry that has embraced ‘office wank’ for many years [Lipstick Meeting Rooms, Battleship, Caravans, Slides, Inside Basketball Courts – I’ve worked/experienced them all] and [2] we work in an industry that is forever claiming clients don’t show enough imagination and bravery.

    Do I think it’s over-the-top?


    Do I think anyone who works there will give a shit? [as long as they are happy with Google’s culture]


  5. Digicynic
    April 10, 2008 at 10:06 am

    I do think a nice working environment makes a lot of difference. I’m all for a bit of ‘office wank’ (i really like that expression, it’s mine now).
    I applaude Google for trying to create a great working environment for its people.
    I was just laughing at what they delivered. The style / design, what they spent their money on. I’m not actually sure I’d like to work in such a place, that’s all, it would drive me mad very quickly.
    Personal opinion here, everyone’s different.

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