PC 5

The college I went to was really big on group assignments, under the logic that being able to function as part of a team is a critical skill for working professionals. On the few occasions where I found myself in a group made up entirely of male students, though, I couldn’t help but notice that hardly anybody would put in anything more than the minimum required effort at the very last possible second.

See, barring life-or-death responsibilities, guys tend to get sort of lazy without a female presence around, prioritizing personal comfort and instant gratification over more ambitious goals and projects (for an example, check out the levels of cleanliness and basic hygiene in an all-male dormitory). The opposite phenomena can occur too, though. Throw an attractive female or two into the group, and suddenly several dudes will have their alpha male instincts awakened as they try to show what energetic and capable dynamos they are, which is exactly the ploy some tech companies in China are betting on by employing young women as “programming cheerleaders.”

Despite the name, a programming cheerleader’s job doesn’t involve synchronized spell-outs of the company name or choreographed dance routines.

▼ Pompoms don’t appear to be a required part of their workplace attire, either, although short skirts seem to be common.

But similar to how cheerleaders pump up the crowd at sporting events, programming cheerleaders’ job is to create an energetic, upbeat office atmosphere, Trending in China reports.

A pleasant personality and pleasing-to-the-eye appearance are both, obviously, essential for the role. Actual programming skills don’t seem to be required, though, as the programming cheerleaders aren’t directly involved in the software development. Instead, their responsibilities include making light conversation, buying breakfast for the programmers, and, in one company, being an opponent for ping pong breaks.

One HR manager said that he hired a trio of programming cheerleaders for his firm, which is composed primarily of male employees he describes as “terrible at socializing.” Since adding the three young ladies to the staff, the programmers have become more motivated and work is progressing more smoothly, he reports.

Still, one has to wonder if it’s possible for programming cheerleaders to be too strong of a stimulus for male employees. Too much eye candy seems like it would pull their gaze away from their monitors and make them less likely to focus on their work. And while one can argue that competition, even among coworkers, improves the breed, is there a point at which guys looking for an edge will try to start showing up their officemates in ways that have no relation to doing their job well?

▼ As true in China as it is in the U.S.A.: Put enough women in a room, and some dude will start playing acoustic guitar.

There’s also the viable criticism that female programming cheerleaders don’t do anything to boost the productivity of women who work in the technology field. Take away the desire to impress the cheerleaders, and for women who work as programmers, the would-be-motivators are just perkily chatty and distracting coworkers.

▼ The female programmer sitting here couldn’t care less about Miss Red Skirt and her silky smooth thighs.

Some online commenters have suggested also having male cheerleaders to boost the spirits of the female programmers, but this solution seems like it would require clearing out a lot of desks to create enough floor space to hold everyone. At that point, you may as well put in some strobe lights, start pumping out EDM, and turn the place into a club. Sure, no one will get any programming done, but think of all the money to be made selling soul-salving booze to the newly out-of-work former tech workers as they watch all the good-looking cheerleaders of both sexes hook up with each other.

Source: Facebook/Trending in China (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) via Daily Mail via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Facebook/Trending in China