Earlier this morning, my close personal friend and respected colleague P.C. Dettmann wrote an editorial about Google’s firing of James Damore.
Calling him Google’s “anti-diversity cretin,” which is awesome, Dettmann wasn’t exactly falling all over himself to defend the guy. He did, however, feel that Google may have been on a slippery slope with the firing. He also felt that their reasons for doing it were cynical at best.
“Make no mistake, this had everything to do with brand and money, and nothing to do with fighting sexist opinions,” he wrote. “Perhaps the fool… was finally fired because he dared to reiterate and defend his views later on. Claiming that he had received ‘many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude,’ he put himself in collision with Google’s head of diversity whom, we are relieved to report, is at least a woman.”
On this, we agree. The firing had nothing whatsoever to do with the eradication of sexist opinions from Google’s hallowed halls, or its holy email server. Why, the employee could probably have run a rape dungeon in the company’s basement, and as long as he kept quiet about it, no kerfuffle would have ensued.
Shit, Google has even dropped their ridiculous “don’t be evil” credo, so one assumes that even wearing a black cloak and bearing a scythe is now kosher within its open-plan, ergonomically-correct workspace. So let’s not pretend that this had anything to do with morality, because it didn’t, as Dettmann rightly points out.
No, where Damore fucked up was speaking out in the first place, and my personal belief, which puts me at odds with my friend and colleague, is that the company was right to fire him, because it made them look bad. That alone is enough of a reason, and in the real world, that happens all the time. It happens to McDonald’s burger flippers every day.
On your own time, if no one’s paying you, you can say whatever the fuck you want, no matter how stupid it makes you look and no matter how much of an affront to human decency it might be. But if a company’s paying you to sit there and do “X,” anything you do outside of “X” puts your job at risk.
This includes planning your wedding, finding out when T.J. Maxx is open or even writing long, thoughtful treatises about equality. If that’s not what they’re paying you to do, and you do it on their time, they have every right to get rid of you. It’s probably even in the employee manual they hand you when you get hired, which you never read and which is currently propping up a desk somewhere in your home.
“But Mr. Bukszpan,” you’re saying. “Don’t a lot of companies encourage employees to step up and take initiative, and speak up when the company’s culture is headed in the wrong direction?”
Yes, they do. And they don’t mean a word of it. You are being paid to sit there, be quiet and do your job. They don’t care what you have to say, and the illusion of a boss with an open door and open ears is just that, an illusion.
If this incident demonstrates anything, it demonstrates a failure on the part of previous generations to impart potentially job-saving wisdom to the younger generation. These young people are just getting their feet wet in an employment capacity, and they have no mentors to shepherd them through the difficult process of learning how to behave in the workplace. It is to those young people that I impart the following wisdom, in the hope that they may learn from it and make the world a better place.
Shut the fuck up. No one wants to hear it, and it could get you fired. Save it for your blog when you get home. No one gives a shit what you write in your blog either, but whatever stupidity you write there would at least get written on your personal time, not company time. So shut the fuck up. It will buy you a lot of Ramen noodles.