You Don't Have To Like Your Company
I had a weird experience working at Facebook. For one, my account was deactivated before I got the job. Facebook's emotional contagion study where they actively tried to make people with depression and anxiety react with depression and anxiety was/is fucking gross. When I finally got the job offer I didn't even read the email, I just deleted it. It wasn't an easy choice. Ultimately, I still took the job. While working at Facebook, I kept track of all the controversial things they did in the news and would question them to my coworkers. Some were sympathetic to my concerns, others were super upset I would dare challenge The Company we worked at.
I'm very critical of things. I'm especially critical of things I like. From the day I set foot in San Francisco I have been critical of tech companies. It's where I live, it's what provides for me, and it's what I rely on to live here. It is important to me that the places I work and the people I work with are not actively hurting people.
It's also important for me not to forget the crimes, the mistakes, and the sins these companies commit. I keep track. I won't forgive, and I won't forget. With companies, like celebrities, you do not have to forgive them. A company doesn't care about you, so why would they care for forgiveness?
Living in San Francisco for as long as I have means I will often be critical of companies my friends work at. They are good people who work at companies that do real harm and really problematic things. I think it's important for me to be outspoken against these companies, none the less. My friends should know I am never judging them. I am not making a statement about their job. I genuinely hope they love their job.
You should love your job.
When I first came out to San Francisco I was really wanting to get a job at a consumer app company, and when I took a job at a business to business company I learned that I could do what I wanted there too, even if the product was not something I or my family could use. Your job is different than your company. Hell, when I worked at Facebook I worked on a video ad platform for publishers. It didn't matter to my team that I didn't like what other parts of Facebook were doing. It mattered that I enjoyed working on the video ad publisher stuff. And by finding a place inside of Facebook, it meant I could try to influence the other cogs in this machine.
You see this a lot with Apple. People love Apple The Company but then they go to work at Apple and they hate their job and leave after a short period of time. Even myself, growing up I would have loved to work at Apple or Google, but that would be a really hard sell for me today, having worked at a big company and knowing how the actual job at those companies go.
Sorry, friends who work at Apple. People are not their jobs and their job is not the same thing as their company.
I think it’s important we talk about the problematic things companies we work for do. It keeps the higher-ups aware that we are concerned. It keeps the media aware that these issues are not small and will not go away.
Think about it, we knew for years that Uber was harming women: passengers were getting raped every month. The women employees were being abused. The CEO boasted on the record about his mishandling of women. Sarah Lacy at Pando Daily got harassed by just writing about it. It wasn’t until Susan Fowler wrote about her first-hand experience and people sharing her post that it gained traction with people like The New York Times. Exposing Uber helped get that gross CEO out of his job.
I hate Uber and I think Uber’s crimes specifically should call for any well-meaning employees to quit out of a moral obligation, but it is a great example of why you should always listen to criticism of your company. Uber ignored it for years, and it ultimately made the entire place a mess.
While Uber is not fixable, your company hopefully is. I hope the articles about Apple’s toxic men’s club rape joking engineers ultimately lead to fixes. Maybe they should start with hiring women? Maybe Facebook’s new reputation for fucking with its user's emotions to get a reaction will lead to less growth hacking unethical experimentation.
Maybe. But only when there is external pressure to do so. A lot of company’s toxic internal situation comes from living in an echo chamber cut off from the outside world. You should listen to those outside of that echo chamber and never ever silence victims.
You don't have to like your company, but you should like your job.