Totally normal behavior! Who hasn't spoken about their sex life the very first day of interactions?
"Welcome to the team, we use Git for source control, all of our company knowledgebase is on Confluence, and I'm in an open sex relationship! See you at lunch!"
I can't fathom what kind of weirdo does something like this, male or female.
Most women in Silicon Valley have had experiences similar to those mentioned in the article (HR disbelief, multiple women reporting same man to no effect, retaliation, legal threats, &c, &c).
The OP probably declined a severance package to write this.
Also differentiate between some colleague being interested in them and boss proposing sex on first day.
As for the latter, putting lines in the sand is a good way to be seen as not wanting to listen... I'm not saying that's what you're doing in this case, just how it comes across. Like, you've decided in advance what you want the result from the discussion to be, and no woman will be able to cross whatever standard you've chosen for inappropriate propositions (even when this is totally untrue).
Don't understand your comment about lines in the sand. What do you mean?
Apart from that, I wonder what evidence you are talking about? References? How often are claims waved away? Or is that just something you intuitively know?
And by the way, people coming out in response to such an article is also just classic confirmation bias. You need to put stories in relation to the total workforce before you claim almost everybody gets harassed.
If only you applied such rigorous quantitative standards of evidence to your own claims.
And btw I think it gives the impression they don't want to hire men, it doesn't prove that Google doesn't want to hire (white) men. But if they are interested in hiring white men, they might check the message they are sending out.
For sure their reputation is so good that white men will probably still apply in droves, so whatever (same probably goes for women and PoCs, anyway). But in my opinion they will also drive away some people. (edited to add "in my opinion")
And as I said - it is fine if you disagree, but at least there is something tangible to disagree on. That's different from simply playing into some stereotypes. Seriously, you are defending here the equivalent of "I have heard all blacks are criminals, and therefore it is true, no matter what you say". Wtf?
What evidence do you have for this?
If you really want to nitpick, quantify my sentence with "in my opinion".
I can't wait for your quantification of the life at google twitter.
Simply counting people yields 29% white women, 19% women of color, 21% men of color, 30% white men.
Not a very exact science, though - I left out groups above a certain size (for example picture from Anti-Trump demonstration or MLKday), and in some cases I couldn't recognize the people. Many white men come from office shots where they linger in the background, whereas there are many tweets explicitly featuring female or black engineers. It seems by only looking at their "media timeline" I also missed photos like this one: https://twitter.com/Every28HoursPla/status/83166688771703193... (which they retweeted).
I'll try to find time for a better "analysis", ideally including texts.
Compared to last time there seem to be now more posts boasting technology at Google. For example there were several about Tensor Flow, all featuring the same white guy (I counted him for every instance).
I couldn't find the time when I last posted about lifeatgoogle, would have liked to look at their tweets from around then.
For comparison employee stats from 2014: http://mashable.com/2014/05/28/google-employee-demographics/... - 70% male, 91% white or asian.
Yes, it reflects demographics of the US, but not demographics of tech or demographics of Google employees. So the account definitely doesn't reflect life at Google in an unbiased way.
Also, I tried to err on the side of counting too many whites. For example I counted this screenshot from an animation movie as two whites: https://twitter.com/lifeatgoogle/status/824649101069455361
I counted the blurry people in the background of this office: https://twitter.com/lifeatgoogle/status/817466019526610947 but I only counted 2 PoCs here despite the further pictures with more https://twitter.com/lifeatgoogle/status/822528000646381568
I also missed a lot of pictures because I didn't realize the retweets wouldn't be in the "media list".
I just made it up on the fly for a quick, simple metric. It would be better to decide beforehand what counts, for example if the person should be the item of a news story, should be presented as an engineer, stuff like that. And a longer time. I think I had 150 people, so the animation picture alone accounted for more than 1% of the final count of white people. As I said, some office shots greatly raised the white people count, counting only people who were subject of major stories would have lowered the percentage a lot.
Maybe you are jumping to conclusions because they confirm your beliefs?
Your original point was that you thought Google wasn't interested in hiring male engineers anymore. The current demographics of Google are irrelevant to Google's hiring strategy. Why would they be?
You're not only displaying confirmation bias in the way you are trying to undermine the clearest quantification you have access to, but you're also avoiding your original statement.
You initially presented the lifeatgoogle twitter feed as evidence, and you had no quantifiable evidence that it was biased. Now that you do have a quantification, you're walking back the importance of that evidence. Perhaps you're doing this so you can maintain your poorly quantified view?
If only you gave as much latitude to other people.
And again - I only used one simple metric, which already shows bias (it doesn't represent the actual demographics of Google employees). You assume now that metric is conclusive because it fits your conviction. By looking into more aspects the picture would be more clear.
And where do I not give latitude to other people?
No, you're now walking back your claims because the one metric you have quantified doesn't fit your conviction. At the time you claimed that by simply looking at the feed you could tell it was biased. You initially made the claim that the lifeatgoogle twitter was related evidence to your claim that google wasn't interested in hiring men anymore. I'm not silly enough to claim that a brief perusal of a twitter account can be extrapolated into a claim about a company's hiring strategy.
Thanks to your quantification, we have some evidence to suggest the lifeatgoogle twitter is fairly representative of population demographics along gender and racial lines, at least in the US. I don't see the data as conclusive of anything more than that.
It is still biased against white men (if it is supposed to reflect the actual distribution of Google employees), but not as extreme as last time. I really would like to find the date of my last comment about it. Also perhaps simply more data is needed - a single picture with several people could shift the results here, because I checked only pics from 2.5 months.
Also better methodology needed, this was just a quick shot looking into one simple metric.
Lets examine the data you've provided - 29% white women, 19% women of color, 21% men of color, 30% white men.
This data is entirely in line with the demographics of the US. About 50/50 on gender and 60% white. In fact, given google's global hiring reach, these figures are actually biased towards white people - while about spot on for gender. This entirely contradicts the point you were originally pointing to this twitter feed as confirmation of.
Women learn from a very young age to be very selective about who they trust, in a much more nuanced way than men do.
If you haven't heard such stories from women, it's quite probably because they're not comfortable telling you such things.
In any case, as I mentioned in another comment, a collection of stories is not a good way to gauge the problem. You need to put it into context - number of women in total, and also, what happens to men. Stories like this suggest that only women ever have bad experiences at companies. But you can find lots of male reports of being unhappy at a company, too. Why isn't that reason for men to quit in droves? Presumably the Uber-woman is happy with her new job at Stripe, too.
The issue is that because of bias against men, few people even realize that they are talking about completely fabricated assumptions in this thread.
And again: there are not even that many women who could tell such stories. I'd say 1 in 20 software developers at companies I worked for were female. So it is not a case of me not being told things by women on a significant scale. The women didn't tell me such stories because those women don't exist to begin with.
Until recently, I'd only ever read accounts of bad things like this happening at certain conferences, and not seen anything first hand. A few months back, one of the female staff on our team changed their github picture. When mentioning this in conversation, it turned out that random people (not physically at work, but github users who did not know any of us in person) were harassing/propositioning her solely due to that image. What sort of screwed up person does that?! People should be able to do their jobs without dealing with crap like that.
I don't doubt men are often attracted to women, even colleagues. Whether that alone should count as sexist harassment I consider debatable, but in any case it is not the same level as a boss proposing sex on the first work day, with threat of career disadvantages for rebuffing the offer.
And regarding the last paragraph, I'm not talking about anything in the workplace between colleagues or otherwise. I'm talking about creepy strangers propositioning people they have never ever met or communicated with, on github. github is not a dating or hookup site for strangers. It's for sharing and collaborating on code. There are other, more appropriate, sites for dating- and hookup-related activities with willing participants who opted into it. No one wants or needs to deal with strangers propositioning them through the tools they use for their professional work. You should not feel required to hide your appearance or identity to be comfortable doing your job without being harassed, unsolicited, by strangers.
Real harassment is already illegal. Conduct policies can only serve in the gray area where people do not want to get police involved, but still want to exact some form of retribution and punishment, often by playing the politics game. It empowers the wrong people for the wrong reasons. It also creates the illusion that tech is particularly nasty, when the exact opposite is true: despite what activists claim, it is far more meritocratic than most industries, and far more reliant on tools and methods that emphasize work over personality and identity.
The propositioning, this is a fact of life: men propose, women dispose, and it's creepy unless he's attractive. Fact is, people like to date people with similar interests, they meet in all sorts of contexts, and some are more tactful about it than others. That doesn't mean it's automatically harassment to be flirted with outside of a dating site or bar night, or that it's never welcome.
One asshole manager is just one asshole manager, and such crudeness is the exception, not the norm.
Some people would love to receive just an ounce of affection and appreciation just for merely showing up, so being able to complain about it is the luxury of the desirable. Especially when, as I've often seen, it's paired with exasperated stories of how so-and-so just won't take the endless "clear hints" that have been made, but a polite but firm "sorry, flattered but not interested" is never actually provided. We are told we must be more empathetic, but the empathy for the socially awkward or the lonely, those who are bad at reading social cues, that's never on the table. All this talk of "safe spaces" seems to vanish once it's the real nerds and geeks, the 'losers' who need consideration.
Just keep in mind, HR is mostly a female-staffed endeavour, and the passive aggressive and underhanded interaction described is certainly not typical of male interaction styles. If it's a poster child for how not to behave, I don't think those griping about techbros and misogyny are quite thinking through the implications here.
Also, if she reported you to hr, then you should consider it hint clearest possible. We are not even talking about subtle misunderstandings here, he invited new employee to have sex.
Stop blaming douchebaghery on geekiness or nerdiness, most geeks are not like that.
Also, there is little direct about male keeping business info away from competitor or
retroactively lowering her review scores to keep her. The politics there was ugly as fuck and had zero to do with merit.
I think if you organize an event, you should be allowed to assume your target group are good people. For people who nevertheless step over the line, the normal standards of decency apply and they can be dealt with, CoC or no.
If you want a source though, here is one: (https://hbr.org/2016/10/why-we-fail-to-report-sexual-harassm...)
In this case, the data is moot. It doesn't matter if 10% of women experience this, or 90%. Whether or not it is a problem is not in debate. It is a problem. Preventing sexual harassment is everyone's responsibility, even if you are not the one harassing.
As for the linked problem, I criticize that it doesn't properly define sexual harassment. The comparison here is to a guy who proposed sex on a first work day and threatened a stunted career. Is that really what women experience all the time. Or is it mostly that an unwanted colleague is attracted to them? The methodology is also not clear (very likely they only asked women, which seems rather one-sided. For "real" crime there is a reason for there being courts and judges).
There's a high karma threshold for voting. There's a lower karma threshold for flagging. Flagging (I think) should be reserved for serious violations. The flag button appears if you click the timestamp of the post.
I am also aware of a funded dev tools startup that has a single woman engineer: She happens to share a bed with the CEO every so often. Imagine how comfortable that must be for any other woman that might join the company, or anyone sharing a team with said woman engineer.
So I have seen the kind of weirdos that do something like this. I don't wish them on my worst enemy.
People who get off on violating other people's boundaries.
This is absolutely believable, Uber has pretty much made it their standard to break the laws where-ever they can, why should work place conduct be any different? In for a penny, in for a pound.
You'd never hear something even close to this from Stripe or some other company run by upstanding folks.
Fish rots from the head.
I don't feel like I read a lot admonishment (which would take forms like "by not suing you're complicit in harm to other women" or "if your story was really credible it would involve a lawyer"). I do feel like I read a lot of "you know, you could also..." or "this is a good example of why...".
Damned if you do, damned if you don't. "Aha, she's got a lawyer! She's making up this nonsense to try and get a fat cash payout from Uber!"
Admonishment was probably too strong on my part, but I read the lawyer comments as more, "You should..."
Those cases invoke skepticism because they twist otherwise innocuous situations and try to blow them up into witch hunts where people lose their livelihood. No one should lose their job because an accusatory party happened to overhear them making a stupid juvenile dongle joke.
Susan's case on the other hand has clear, well-defined accusations of people acting in what sounds like unprofessional and sexist behavior to anyone with common sense. People should get fired if they ask their subordinates for sex multiple times. No wonder it (rightly) gets a lot of support.
I don't consider the dongle situation to be a story of institutional sexism at all, but one of a positive feedback loop of poor judgment and/or overreaction, by many of the people involved.
I would caution you from believing that anything less than a serious of incidents this meticulously documented shouldn't be taken seriously (e.g. Horvath's report). Most people are firstly concerned with being good at their jobs, not identifying the thread of sexist or harassing behavior underlying a bunch of incidents separated in time. Often, only in retrospect can the trend be seen. And by that time, it's difficult to find all the hard evidence.
Institutional sexism is rarely someone deciding to treat another person poorly, because they are a woman. More often, it's someone making a judgment call in a complex situation that turns out (due to their biases or lack of empathy) to exclude or demean women. The pattern of such things is what creates an unwelcoming and taxing environment. How many mental cycles must it take to cope with all of that bullshit? Most people's performance would suffer, leading to the conclusion that women just can't hack it. It's pretty incredible that the author thrived professionally, in the meantime.
Note that an environment of baseline hostility toward women may or may not be garnished with openly sexist behavior, as it was in this case.
Hula-hoops? Oppression because men may ogle. No hula-hoops, only video games and ping-pong? Oppression because the management isn't sensitive to the feminine interest in softer recreational activities, like expression through movement and dance. Either of these are plausible complaints.
Open-plan office? Great, creativity-boosting boon for employees that ensures everyone will build strong working relationships, and shows the employer's interest in fostering an open, collaborative environment where there are literally no barriers, physical or metaphorical, between teammates.
Or, wait, is it open-plan offices: Degrading, dystopian wage slave farm that ensures one manager can see all 50 monitors in the room at once and pounce at the first moment that someone switches to a Facebook tab, and a disrespectful mockery of a professional's need to concentrate on their important and serious work which could literally stop the company's cashflow if a minor mistake gets made in the wrong spot?
The point here is not to trivialize or to necessarily equate sexual harassment with other types of uncomfortable working situations, but to demonstrate that when what you admit is a "complex judgment call" is presented, flaws can usually be found no matter what decision is made. Judgment calls become complex rather than simple because there are substantial tradeoffs involved in all available options.
That's a lot different than having timestamped messages and strong documentation backing up explicit and clearly inappropriate advances from your immediate superiors. There's a lot less gray area to defend there.
I too often see a tendency for people to treat claims of wrongdoing more skeptically than counterclaims of innocence, especially where gender is involved. That makes me very, very uneasy.
And I will point out that the course you advocate places those consequences on the party who, if truthful, has already suffered harm. That outcome is certainly not better than people assuming bad things, however tentatively, about the target of a false accusation would be.
If it dies, it will be via dependence on meat space. There's only so much of moving atoms that can be digitally replaced and the core business is a commodity: it could compete with taxis because rides between A and B are mostly fungible and being better than existing taxi service was not a very high bar and being better than standing in the rain waving your arm was not a high bar either.
I'm sure it's software engineering is really good. But over the long term, it can only provide marginal advantages to a business that boils down to personal services.
This one is not Uber, but you get the idea.
more like little over 1 year . Originally wanted to say 2 years, didn't know loss climbed to $3B last year.
Sometimes profit and social goals happen to align.
The brothers have something good going there and I'll bet that when the dust settles Uber will be part of that dust and Stripe will have IPO'd or similar (possibly even this year).
This is how it's done:
Uber will have to learn to play within existing frameworks.
Key Nordic proverb: "Pissing in your pants keeps you warm only for so long". In other words, using your funds raised to make up for shortcomings elsewhere in the organization will sooner or later come to and end.
Fowler is one. Julia Evans is another that comes to mind.
I wouldn't be surprised if they had amazing internal documentation for their engineers.
Also, the author repeatedly used the percentage of women engineers as an index of workplace quality/sanity. So we'd expect Stripe's to be much higher, right?
Is that the case?
It's not like she got a job working at the DMV or something.
I'd feel the same way if, say, s/women/conservatives/ or s/women/$minority/.
The same is true of some other dynamics. I've seen an exodus of young men from a team because a new boss came in who didn't think sexual harassment was acceptable workplace behavior. The excuse was "the workplace isn't fun anymore", but before that it wasn't fun for people who didn't enjoy spending all of lunch talking about how to pick up chicks. Or for technical quality, if a company is successful the engineer who didn't want to write tests or get code reviews is going to rage-quit at all the "extra process" that keeps them from breaking the build on a Saturday night like they used to.
Sometimes when conflict emerges, a company has to take a side and whichever side is alienated is going to end up leaving. The question then is which side did the company come down on.
Don't have the answer for you. But I would say the repeated lies by HR she stated in defending repeat offenders, and having the same reports of harassment by her female coworkers over the same managers speaks more to the quality/sanity of the place than percentage of women in the workplace.
What goes around comes around.
I still support our local taxi company and talk to the drivers who take me (typically to/from the airport). Many of them have had experiences with Uber and don't have good things to say. However their traditional business is struggling.
So, not sure what you're referring to but perhaps people are using unbelievable as a synonym for astonishing. ie. not literally.
At least from my anecdotal experience, I've never seen anything like this among the four companies and 20 years I've been in software development and engineering. Granted, the percentage of women who were in technical, non-management, positions hovered around 20%. In those cases, the skillsets of the women ranged as much as it did the men and all of the folks I worked with treated each other, regardless of gender, respectfully and professionally.
I wouldn't imagine seeking a date with co-worker. What happens when you break up? Do you want to bring that to work with you ever day? At the companies I've worked for, I know of one incident where a person was let go for "having a crap-ton of porn on his work PC" that someone from security noticed when the proxy logs flagged his workstation. This individual was a VP, a "high performer" and was very well like. He was also out on his hide a few hours after his laptop was seized and inspected. This was with no reports from women even hinting that he'd acted inappropriately on the job. And we had nobody inspecting proxy logs looking for this sort of thing -- that guy in security who happened upon his workstation ended up being there because he was investigating a malfunction, but because of corporate agreements we'd all signed, he was obligated to report what he found.
I hate to say it, but this is the kind of behavior I'd expect out of teenagers, not adult men. And it's one of those things you usually don't have to tell people not to do. Though I have no experience with this specific kind of behavior, I've noticed that when people fail on morally obvious things, they're often failing on many other things and I would be worried if I were an investor about having my money tied up in a company that had this kind of a reputation -- what other laws does this corporate culture find acceptable to break? I'd be twice as concerned if this were my employer -- not just out of fear of being harassed, but out of fear that a company with these kinds of ethical lapses is often quickest to screw those who work for them (or take them down with them). No way.
 Perhaps my experience is unusual, but for 17 years the VP level individuals in my teams have been women, I've reported to a Director level employee who was a woman and I've had a woman for a manager on more than one occasion.
 Thus far, I know only of this account, which without additional data is as anecdotal as my comment, here, but based on others piling on, I am inclined to believe that there's a real problem here.
 Paraphrased, we were basically required to report everything even if we were not directly involved, but if I saw something this inappropriate, I wouldn't need a signed agreement to persuade me -- I had full confidence in the HR teams at the places I was at and knew it would be handled appropriately.
Anecdotally, I have been organizationally close (same manager, adjacent team) to serious misconduct and was completely oblivious to it, finding out about the wrongdoing years later.
It is likely that Uber is alone with its scope of HR incompetence and wrongdoing. Although their SRE is supposed to have been lifted straight from Google and Facebook, the sexual harassment cases from those organizations didn't involve nearly as much dishonesty and apathy by their Human Resources sections.
Accusing individuals of turning a blind eye to discrimination is a pretty strong charge. An equally strong charge would be to state that some individuals go out of their way to look for discrimination where none exists and call those individuals something akin to "snowflakes". To be clear: I don't, personally, believe either of these things, but I think it's important to play Devil's Advocate from time to time.
Another possibility is that people saying "it's unbelievable" do so because they, themselves, wouldn't dream of acting in this manner or being part of a team where this kind of behavior went on. And I think some people disregard "bigotry and rampant unprofessionalism" because human nature tends toward avoiding confrontation (or risking one's job by causing a problem for an influential manager). That last bit is the worst case because it causes the problem to be sanctioned through inaction, it damages the company, its shareholders, its customers and its employees, which causes a feedback loop making it even harder to stand up when something unethical is witnessed.
 This was done because the managers thought it was the best option for everyone -- the two guys were with the company a long time, would receive a very big severance package (this company had a great severance offering) and they were preventing another few employees from being let go who were younger with families. Unfortunately, I know that in one case, the individual let go was both a high performer and had no desire to retire at retirement age. It was ugly and I nearly left the company after it happened (I only stayed because they were being bought out and the new company was taking us over -- it was as good as getting a new job as the two places didn't resemble each other on anything but paper).
 And I get it -- I was personally told on one occasion by my boss that he "had just spent an hour convincing our VP that I should keep my job" because I pointed out a large license violation I had discovered and wasn't aware that the person responsible for that (unintentional) licensing oversight was in the room. In the end, though, I would have done it regardless and my actions resulted in that manager being forced to work with the vendor, avoided an audit and negotiation got us pennies on the dollar to become compliant, again.
In lieu of anything else: Susan deserves to be commended for her bravery in writing this.
If you work at Uber, quit, and/or contact the board and tell them that this behavior is unacceptable and the people responsible need to be fired. If the culture won't change, the CEO needs to be fired.
If you work in tech, bring up this article with your manager or CEO and tell them that this behavior is unacceptable, opens the company up to ridiculous amounts of lawsuit risk, will hurt recruiting, depress morale, and that you will quit if harassment complaints aren't taken seriously.
This. Companies don't change until there's a huge price to be paid for not changing. When top recruits start turning down Uber because of their sexist policies/politics, then Uber will be forced to change.
If so, that would imply that the engineering culture is being distilled into an evermore toxic workplace, since those who stay are those who make the place toxic or are simply people who try to work around it.
It would take an extremely focused and persistent effort on the part of upper management to change this trajectory before the company implodes, as I suspect is inevitable in the long run should my assumptions prove accurate.
You've interviewed us all, have you?
I don't find the accusations surprising or outside the realm of possibility at all.
My evidence for this is every man in tech who is reacting with shock to this story
My evidence for this is that every man in tech is reacting with shock to this story
If not, I guess neither of us exist, because I (sadly) wasn't.
Edit: Originally said: So let's leave out the "every man" crap and focus on making the world a better place, please.
As grzm points out, I'm an idiot. Disregard the above sentence.
But still, people who wouldn't appreciate this crap definitely exist, and our quitting/refusing to be recruited would likely still make a point.
Edit: minor wording change.
I've seen a 100% male company (quite small, not 75-100 people) and seriously worried about how things would go when some women were hired. Bit rough at first but it worked out for them (luckily). In a small company a bad lawsuit or two could be a serious threat to the survival of the place.
A lot of what is in this article is not even exclusive to women.
Culture has a long inertia, it replicates and grows by itself. So yes, toxic workplace become ever more toxic and no a toxic culture cannot be improved.
Where do I send the bills for my groceries, then? Would you prefer email or snailmail?
Obviously, if you don't think you can easily get another job, stay.
I started reading the article with the view of "If it's really that bad, just quit. Burn that bridge with thermite, and never look back." I finished the article wishing there were more Susan J. Fowlers in the world.
And you know; 100% of the women engineers I know have similar stories. 100%. That's insane.
These stories need to come out so the guilty companies and their toxic environments are exposed for all to see.
I'd encourage everyone here to pick up a copy of her O'Reilly book -- it's very good. Hopefully she gets all the income and none of it goes to Uber...
I'm a college senior at a well-regarded engineering school. My CS classmates - especially women - simply do not apply to Uber, in large part because of its reputation for internal misogyny and general assholery. Four classmates interned there last summer, and as far as I know none are interested in returning. A friend of mine was actually warned off by her software engineer father. I've heard stories from friends who've worked there that corroborate Susan's tales of infighting teams and inexplicable reorganizations due to high-level backstabbing. The one woman I know who works there wants out. Susan is a high-profile and credible source; hopefully her post takes Uber's work culture issues from "open secret" to "problem that has public consequences for the company".
The CEO should crack down and take serious steps towards addressing this problem - not just for PR, but because his company is seriously suffering as a result of these issues. Unfortunately for Uber, from what I've heard, Travis is part of the problem as far as Game-of-Thrones internal politics and backstabbing goes. His "move fast and break things" persona sounds like a poor model for subordinates. Between that and the company's relative external success, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for anything internal to get better any time soon.
Until it does, I simply hope that my acquaintances at Uber find somewhere less shitty to work.
I started as an engineer in the spring of 2014 and this was definitely the case there.
Top engineers were being poached from Google/FB and these people were trying to carve out territory in a quickly growing engineering team.
The misogynistic culture, in my mind, comes from most of the early employees being former frat bros. Culture was extremely heavy on the drinking; see "Work-cations" where most of the team would go to an exotic location which was half-hackathon/half boozefest. There were happy hours every week with open bar because all new employees would be flown to SF (no matter where home office was) for orientation.
Crazy, most ex-employees (even the early ones) acknowledge that the culture is bad but they got their $$$ so they won't have to work again for a long time, if ever.
> Top engineers were being poached from Google/FB and these people
> were trying to carve out territory in a quickly growing engineering
I'm a bit surprised she doesn't have at least one law firm trying to get her to be the lead claimant in a class action lawsuit. Seems like she did everything right and has a pretty sold case. Of course she may have signed that option away when she left.
Also, in California at least, your employer has to give you your full personnel record if you request it. She might ask them to do that.
Why not talk about how wrong Uber was in every way and at every level - allowing a manager to attempt to proposition new direct reports for sex on their first day, not immediately firing them for this, trying to suppress this when taken to HR, rewarding the perpetrator, killing her career there for vague reasons, let alone all the other dysfunction she mentioned in passing? Even just one of those points means a really toxic culture. There are little bits of men's behaviour in every large organisation which resemble this, why not talk about that and ways to make this better? There are so many ways this story can inspire us to do better.
In this case, it would greatly benefit the public good to litigate. Unfortunately, the risk of lawsuits is the single greatest motivator for U.S. companies to combat sexism and harassment in the workplace. We would hope that companies would recognize the inherent value of encouraging the growth of a class of employees so they can be productive, but this isn't the case in most U.S. companies.
I think it's unlikely that Susan would choose to litigate. She is motivated to design systems, write books, and advance infrastructure engineering. Her personal gain from a lawsuit would be slim (what would the damages even be? She probably has no employment gap, considering her excellent reputation in engineering).
Not saying Susan should be the one to sue them, but someone certainly should. Along with the bad publicity one or more lawsuits would definitely get them to clean up their HR practices.
I'm uncomfortable with assigning responsibility to an individual to undertake a crusade when there is little upside and a large downside.
The discussion here really highlights how people combine what they are reading with what they are thinking into a combined message.
I was reading her account and the GP comment from the uber throwaway and making observational comments about people who spend time on political maneuver versus doing excellent work. I've known a number people over my career who got promoted often and achieved great "success" but did so by manipulating the organization and not by doing anything particular noteworthy.
In my experience, that sort of behavior can really only be stopped top->down. There isn't any way that I have found to help someone see that they are incorrectly evaluating employee contribution from a position below there grade level. And like the author found, if the bad behavior continues above your manager, then that is a level of brokenness you can't fix. And as you point out she got out and was moved on.
I also phrased it as an observation, but I am sure that on reading her account there may be lawyers looking for a big payday (Uber is vulnerable) who will approach her. It's what lawyers do. Generally more established companies have a tighter rein on their illegal management practices to make it harder on the lawyers :-)
Uber was wrong, on every level, and that was status quo. And the cost of naming that wrong and speaking of it is high. It is sad that they are not unique in that wrongness.
There is only one way to make this better, and that is to tie this sort of behavior to a loss of money. There are many things we might advocate which impact Uber financially; One is to sue them, One is to give witness to their wrongness so that others will not work there, One is to boycott them as a customer or driver.
Sadly, there is no way to "fix" them because this appears to be cultural. That is the worst part for me, knowing about the rottenness in a company, knowing it "could" be addressed by a strong leader providing incentives for good behavior and disincentives for bad behavior, and knowing that no fixing will happen. That said if their competitors have a stronger (and better) culture, then they will be able to attract top talent in the space and dominate the market. We'll see if that works in this case.
I appreciate you making the comment. I don't imagine it will go over well.
I think the true reason is a bit deeper: victim blaming means that bad events can be compartmentalized to be the victim's problem. So a person engaging in it doesn't have to emotionally deal with the potential problems of the bad event, or even how it could affect them, as they can just say that they would have dealt with it better. A rendition of the just-world hypothesis, really.
That being said, I don't know if I'd call "she should sue" victim-blaming, even though the reason is probably about the same.
This reminds me of some of the BS I have seen where people insist a woman should prosecute her rapist. One of the problems with this line of reasoning is that it makes it the victim's responsibility to try to right this wrong. What if she just wants to put the whole damn thing behind her and not let it eat any more of her life instead of dragging the pain out longer?
It still hangs something on her instead of other people stepping up to bat.
I thought victim blaming referred to specifically blaming the victim for the event itself as / before it happened. Not for what the victim did or didn't do afterwards. Unsolicited advice, in poor taste, but not victim blaming by the definition I'm aware of.
I think most people here asking to sue want to see Uber pay, and they don't really have any equivalent leverage against Uber. There's more victim blaming in the "you should have known how HR works / you should have left" comments.
I tend to frame the sentiment as "That's lawsuit worthy and if she desires to bring one I wish her good luck and good hunting" for clarity, but I find that often people use "should" conversationally to mean "thing I would love to see happen" rather than "thing I believe the object of the sentence is required to do".
Simply put, that's the system we have. It's designed with the assumption that having adversaries argue according to rules in front of a judge is a good way to figure out what really happened.
It's not necessarily the best way to solve the kind of things it's used for, but we don't have an alternative.
> What if she just wants to put the whole damn thing behind her and not let it eat any more of her life instead of dragging the pain out longer?
I can certainly sympathize with that decision.
I was under the impression that criminal cases were pressed by the state, not any given individual.
The only thing the state may ask is testimony from the victim. If the victim is unwilling or unable to give that, then the case may just fall apart due to lack of evidence.
Public support for the confrontation clause isn't popular these days, but I am very glad the courts have continued to uphold it. To quote Crawford v. Washington, "Dispensing with confrontation because testimony is obviously reliable is akin to dispensing with jury trial because the defendant is obviously guilty."
Not necessarily. If someone stabs or shoots you in a public place, in full view of 50 other witnesses and 4K recording devices, then your testimony is unnecessary.
That said... in the US most crimes don't go to court so I can't really say what a hypothetical 'open/shut' case will look like in a court trial, because in reality the offender will plea-bargin immediately.
Some of these things are actually violations of law in California, and the advice I would give Susan would be to pursue legal action.
I hope that helps; if it doesn't perhaps consider why she wrote the article (I doubt it was to solicit comments on what her actions could be).
A class action law suit may be the best way to make this better.
1 - did she ever want to work in X industry again / was she comfortable with being blacklisted, legal or not;
2 - was she comfortable with this being what she did with the next two years of her life
It's a harder decision to make than you think.
Not to mention the unrelenting wave of assholery that would be generated on sites like, well, HN towards any woman that dared do what you suggest.
In the world of grown-up business, as opposed to SV bro startups, that's just one new business opportunity arising to poach talent!
When Organization X consistently scoops up the top graduates from the top schools, they end up with a glut of very smart engineers, most of whom are probably overqualified for their day-to-day work. Since brains and talent aren't distinguishing qualities, political cunning becomes the key differentiator.
> I'm a bit surprised she doesn't have at least one law firm trying to get her to be the lead claimant in a class action lawsuit.
Who's to say she doesn't? She just posted the article.
How do you know she doesn't?
For me this is a red flag.
Booze + programming == pissed programming
We don't do it at lunchtime. We don't do it during the working day. 5:30pm on a Friday? Let's have a glass of whiskey together.
Somebody joining/leaving, or we haven't been out together for a while? Let's go to the pub after work one evening.
There is a #drinks channel in Slack where people who fancy a drink after work co-ordinate, and several of will grab each other once a week for a couple of pints.
That does not mean we are drunk when coding. As for team dynamics, it means we know each other better and bond more frequently. Not a problem, I think.
The downside is that for people who don't want to engage in this or can't (have to look after family, etc.), it can feel exclusionary, so we spend some time making sure we do things with those people too.
Except for the non-drinkers in your team. I suspect that they either
a) feel left out, because a non-drinker at a pub has a boring time, and has to keep justifying their empty glass
b) probably miss out on important decisions if a majority of the important people in a team are present, which is bad dynamics
c) maybe your team doesn't have any non-drinkers. What does that tell you in terms of diversity / inclusiveness?
I'm not pointing fingers at you specifically because you mention explicitly making plans around people who don't/won't drink, but i think there should be more awareness around this, especially since it can seep into the culture quite insidiously, and invisibly.
Every social activity will exclude people who don't like the activity by default. There's no real working around this.
Even if you just have a 'talking' club, you exclude people who aren't natural extroverts or find large group conversations to be maddening.
In essence, there's no way to be perfectly fair... so at best you can have different choices to try to be as inclusive as possible with limited time.
Is this seriously a thing in the US? Feeling like you have to drink if you're surrounded by people drinking? I keep hearing stories like that. Nobody is going to judge you for not consuming alcohol - if anyone does, they're certainly not people I'd want to hang out with regardless of whether drinks are involved.
It doesn't hurt not to give a fuck, once in a while.
Another boss I had any a different job told me he fired someone for not partying with everyone else. If you went to these parties and didn't drink, the boss would harass you all night.
I agree with you that many people are just self conscious, but it's not exclusively that way.
The tl;dr is that people who are insecure will attempt to rationalize their feelings, and this frequently includes feelings of judgement and persecution from others where none exists.
Unless being drunk is your idea of fun (in which case it seems doubtful you'd be a non-drinker), I cannot understand how drinking liquid A at a party is any more boring than liquid B.
In fact a graph of my enjoyment as a non-drinker (in my experience) would probably be inverse to a graph of the enjoyment of the people getting progressively more shit-faced.
I drink regularly; but every now and then I'll go a week or month without drinking. I'm currently in the middle of one of these periods; but I've still gone out to happy hour or events that involved drinking every day since it's started. I manage to have just as much fun sober drinking soda + bitters.
The best part of this drink is that they rarely charge me anything for it. I'll usually tip a couple bucks per drink, and everybody ends up happy!
If your culture is one where that's necessary then the entire management chain should be fired.
We do these things:
1) We don't make any decisions when team members are missing; they have to be done during work hours when everyone is able to participate
2) There's no obligation to drink (why would there be?); several of the team don't drink, and there is no pressure to do so, they get soft drinks/tea/coffee/whatever they like
As someone who is very shy and introverted, it's one of the few times I actually go out socially, and it's a time to unwind and have a chat with your coworkers and associated friends/partners/family. I don't think doing this has any negative impact upon the rest of the team, so long as you don't do any serious discussion and decision making which excludes others.
If you're pregnant, this basically means that you can't be a part of the team's social gatherings for at least 9 months straight.
You were offended by a gift? Just say thanks and give it away or throw it away.
The vast majority of company gifts are useless to many people. Most people can cloth themselves, buy drinks for themselves, buy bags for themselves, etc and have no need for whatever crap the company is getting them as a sign of appreciation.
Unless they demanded you chug the wine in front of them, you really should not have offended yourself this way.
If I give an observant Jew a kilo of bacon as a gift, why shouldn't they be offended by my being an arsehole?
And if the person knew I kept kosher but still offered the bacon, I would laugh it off and then donate it.
Being easily-offendable is not a virtue. Being gracious is.
Sounds like a more balanced view of what I've seen at some companies. Implies grown-ups are in charge.
Is drinking actually bonding though?
It also provides a shared experience that is an easy conversation starter when meeting sober later on "hey, thanks for last night! Where did you end up going after.." etc.
Obviously YMMW, in EU/Denmark it's a very common way to "crash course" people on each other when you suddenly find yourself in a new environment with nobody you know (university, new work). Then again, I'd say EU drinking is a lot more mature than the US one. We usually get introduced to it a lot earlier in life, and have a gentler intro curve rather than going from zero-100 real quick, when entering college or the likes.
"hours-long conversations over beers" sounds like getting wasted to me or at at very least tipsy.
It doesn't. But it can be, because - besides the "social grease" benefits it confers, which I mentioned before - why not?
This is a red herring, if anything.
I think there's a difference between a culture where people drink a lot vs a culture where people get black out drunk and irresponsible with it, though, and maybe Uber is more like the latter.
Are you a woman?
I am a good coder with a bad drinking habit who has worked at companies that were ok with drinking on site. While they handled it well and while I love an excuse to get together over beers and discuss coding, it's definitely a smell. Black out drunk has nothing to do with it. Hell, it would be preferable if people just passed out. The problem is all the folks who don't pass out but all of a sudden think this is a good time to declare their love for a coworker's body.
> The problem is all the folks who don't pass out but all of a sudden think this is a good time to declare their love for a coworker's body.
The problem is if they say something like that, the target is clearly uncomfortable, and then nobody else cares. Banning alcohol isn't going to fix something like that.
If drinking is done outside work/events this isn't what is being described in the article. What about the personal who a) don't drink or b) harassed by those who do? Drinking at work tells me the place isn't interested in performance or their customers.
Sure, but I'm not entirely sure what else you expect. Isn't your statement also anecdotal?
> If drinking is done outside work/events this isn't what is being described in the article.
Sorry, what article? It's not mentioned in the main OP, and the person a few parents up is talking about what sounds very much like events or after work happy hours. I can absolutely see how that can turn bad, I'm just saying it doesn't have to.
"talking about what sounds very much like events or after work happy hours"
The number of engineers bleeding from uber suggests, drinking isn't ^the problem^ but one part of a bigger culture problem. Do you work at Uber?
Yup. 100%. Because I'm an adult and I and my coworkers know how to drink responsibly and not make a fool of ourselves and keep things relatively professional.
It's not like I'm taking shots of vodka at the top of every hour - it's maybe having a beer or two at the end of Thursday and Friday, or having a boozy lunch every now and then to celebrate a success or birthday or someone leaving.
Their "maybe Uber is more like the latter" description of an unhealthy culture I think makes it obvious they don't work at Uber.
@mst fair enough point.
We have beer on tap at work. If I'm in the office late, having an occasional beer at 6pm or so seems perfectly reasonable.
Getting hammered is obviously way out of line but one beer is hardly the same thing.
Do tell what business this is, because unless the industry is alcohol production, I'm having a hard time believing this is an instrinc quality of an industry and not just a "boys will be boys" excuse.
The following excerpt is the first sentence of the conclusion.
"Attorneys experience problematic drinking that is hazardous, harmful, or otherwise consistent with alcohol use disorders at a higher rate than other professional populations."
what? what possible nature of business are you in that makes drinking more (or less) acceptable.
There is no such thing. at work, you work. if you want to get drunk, you aren't working.
Of course, all that is about social drinking, not getting completely shitfaced to the point one loses control. That is never good.
Works at a bar or brewery? Wine related startup? Sales?
you still have work to do, and you probably still have colleagues whose time is valuable that aren't as big on drinking as you think they are.
drinking and having fun is great. at my company, if i wanted us all to drink, everyone got the afternoon off and we went out.
The fermentation industries on the other hand are more legit.
I've worked at plenty of places with a social drinking culture and never could we be bothered to actually code and drink at the same time. Maybe we might have a boozy friday lunch every now and then, but usually retros and 'meetings' like that followed
Also, I think the statement "extremely heavy on the drinking" is so subjective and up to personal interpretation.
I just absolutely do not understand how that is even possible. If I have ONE beer, it throws off my ability to write good code, or hold all of the concepts in my head.
One of the weekly coworking meetups I go to always ends at a brewery (there is a brewery next door to the hackerspace where it is held), and while it is certainly a lot of fun being there brainstorming things, I don't understand how anybody gets actual code written after drinking.
Obviously, that's just my personal experience and while I'm quite confident in my sample size, I wouldn't generalize it to anyone else. YMMV.
This certainly isn't all the code I write (far from it) and it's not for everyone, but it's definitely true for me. That's why I don't think saying alcohol and code can never mix is right, but I agree that it shouldn't be a daily occurrence or the central aspect of company culture. I don't think an optional, after-work happy hour on occasion is such a bad thing though.
Personally, I find coding is hardest when you're blocked or stumped. Sometimes it helps to turn off the inner critic and experiment with code in a way that might feel unproductive during normal work hours. How I approach a problem outside of work is my business as long as the solution is solid.
This should go without saying, but everyone's physiology is different. While most people get drowsy from pseudoeffedrine, it makes me hyper. That's why even if one treatment works for most people, it might not work for you.
Wait, we're citing XKCD comics now as if they are peer-reviewed scientific journals?
i know a lot of people who say they drive better if they've been drinking too. Doesn't mean it's accurate.
This is exactly what happens to me, so I sometimes will code after a bottle of beer or a glass of whiskey. But it has to be little - more alcohol and I start losing focus.
Or I'll go to far, write it, and it'll be unusable.
Everyone has some skill they insist they are "better at" when drunk.
These are only weakly connected.
"What?! Are you crazy?!"
"Don't worry, I got this."
Goes on to write vanilla JS.
Anecdotally, I've noticed that I'm significantly more fluent in my third language when I've had a drink or two. I get many, many more compliments. When I'm totally sober, I tend to trip up more and overthink the grammar.
There are lots of ways to reduce a hyperactive prefrontal cortex, including training (practicing art, meditating, etc.), but alcohol is by far the cheapest, quickest, and easiest.
I do not in any way shape or form endorse doing the same thing with writing production code.
Also, if you think people can't get actual, working code written when shitfaced, then I guess you haven't met the demoscene crowd ;).
There are times when a problem is intractable and I get frustrated through thinking too much about an issue. Alcohol, like caffeine, has its place. I want to stress that I'm not talking about getting hammered at the office, or even mildly drunk, I'm talking about the fact that for some people, a single beer after many hours of work can be helpful in calming them down enough to focus on the whole problem again.
Alcohol can certainly have performance-enhancing effects: comically, the first Olympic disqualification for doping wasn't for steroid use or anything similar - it was for a man drinking "two beers" before his shooting match to calm himself down enough to operate at peak levels.
What is the union of work, drinking culture and SRE (the job the article refers)?
Drinking and programming surely don't mix well. However, a culture that involves, or even promotes, drinking and partying doesn't have to be misogynistic. I've worked in companies that held parties several times per week, with plenty of booze, and they were nothing like what was depicted in TFA.
Good point @metafunctor, didn't even think of that.
@luckeydude, it's a sort of reaction test for brogrammers who work in toxic environments. I can't think of any job (not after hours) where alcohol improves your performance and output.
That and a sound proof studio with piano on premise would be enough to make me quit my job.
That said Uber's been on my douchebag radar at least since their execs bragged about threatening journalists. Hopefully your acquaintances already sold their shares on secondary markets because losing ~3 billion a year would worry me if I was expecting to get rich from them.
seems like the person above you was speaking specifically about engineers.
Can you explain why they don't have to work again? How did they become wealthy? Those options aren't worth anything if the company doesn't IPO.
So far you've only identified that they like drinking, traveling and were part of the Greek social system in university.
What I'm looking for are instances of demeaning women, discounting their achievements, systemic disapproval for the words of women, favours being handed out on the basis of gender, solicitation of sexual favours in non-equal power relationships, or if no examples can be provided then at least people stating that they are 'in favour' of such, or are lax in enforcing rules against such.
I don't mean this as an attack of any sort (the article gives examples after all). I simply want to know more.
What do you have against talking to other witnesses 'of the crime' so to speak?
I just thought you were being a jerk and didn't read the article. Oops.
I find it laughable to hear Uber engineers cry about how unfairly Kalanick treats them.
It might be okay if all the talents that Uber hired could work together to build truly great software, but hell no, their management created this weird cut-throat culture by enforcing stack ranking with forced curve down to each team of first-line managers. It's hard to imagine that a team with fewer than 10 people had to name an engineer who "didn't meet expectation". Yet that was exactly what happened in Uber. They also doted out disproportional amount of bonus to a few top performers. Naturally, people's expectation was distorted, and chaos ensued.
I worked an early employee at a YC startup that was developing a hardware device and I think really ran into similar issues.
There were significant delays with shipping the device which meant that all the teams which had been built up to support its launch had _nothing_ to do for months. People in a "Customer Success" department with no customers. Developer evangelists with nothing to evangelize. Support departments twiddling their thumbs and the worst was the sales and marketing groups which devolved into a Lord of the Flies type environment where they tried latching onto any and every project they could just to justify their existence.
Timing really is everything.
So if you have enough traumatic brain damage to buy that line, stack ranking makes a ton of sense.
I didn't know how to respond to that.
The typical interaction between manager & engineer is that a manager tells an employee what to do, and the employee does it. From the manager's perspective, any employee that's reasonably competent will do: success is binary, either you did the assigned task satisfactorily or you didn't.
From the engineer's perspective, if you're good you considered a lot of alternative ways of solving the problem and finally settled on the best. It seems ridiculous that all employees could be interchangeable, because it's a pretty good bet that some engineers did not consider some of the alternative solutions you did. But remember that the whole reason the manager hired you was so that he didn't need to think about the details. All of those alternative solutions are outside of his conscious awareness; he's condensed his mental model of the problem to a binary "is this good enough to ship?", which frees up mental space for him to think about other stuff. Among those engineers that you think of as "not good enough", there are some who may not have thought of the brilliant solution that you came up with but still have code that is "good enough to ship" in the manager's estimation, and those are the irritating folks on your team who IYNSHO always produce shitty code but stay on the team because they have your manager's political favor. And then there are the folks who both you and your manager agree are too shitty to get the job done, and they're fired.
Who's right? Well, both of you, and neither of you. It's fairly likely that you're overestimating the quality requirements for the job, which is why a number of your shitty coworkers still have jobs. It's also fairly likely that your manager does not have complete visibility into all the long-term consequences of all the code being produced, which is why whole teams occasionally just catastrophically fail.
But it's worth remembering that every time you enter a transaction, you're having your work reduced to a pass/fail grade. It's the fundamental bargain you make when you take a job, and it also is the fundamental bargain you make when you sell a product (entrepreneurs are not exempt from this, and it's a major cause of startup failure among technical founders...including, quite possibly, mine). The advantage of producing better work is that it qualifies you for more different opportunities - which may or may not be relevant, depending on whether you take advantage of those opportunities.
This is true as an employee and as a contractor and as a business. The nice thing about transacting as one of the latter two is there is no pretention of the transaction being anything other than a binary one.
Now that you've brought it up, is a postmortem of your startup written up somewhere?
I'm still working on the 2nd (or 5th, or 11th, or ~50th, depending on how you count)...not exactly ready to declare it a failure, just, well, a whole lot of pivots.
In my experience most programming jobs don't really require deep domain expertise or share it by osmosis. Ideally a smart, dedicated person that gets a 40 hour a week crash course from experts in the field should get up to speed reasonably quickly.
In the absence of experts there exists a whole slew of technology that democratizes hard fields like game creation and machine learning. You can commit all sorts of sins and still end up with a well functioning product. Partly resting on technology developed as an enabler and partly resting on the sheer amount of available compute.
IMO people are far more easily replaced in terms of making an individual code contribution than they are as members of a team and it's the latter that is significantly more important. Good teams are multipliers for their members. Replacing a team member in a well functioning team is a super risky prospect. Yet we live in a world of frequent re-orgs, teams smooshed together haphazardly and overvaluing individual technical skill.
I don't see that changing anytime soon as it all sort of works and there is an endemic lack of interest.
I learned this lesson pretty early in my career when most senior engineer on the team left. I and everyone else freaked out because he was the only one on the team who fully understood how everything works. But you know who was not freaked out? My manager. And he was right, we did not even miss deadlines. In two month everything was back to normal with other people filling his shoes.
Obviously you can't replace Principal engineer with fresh grad and expect success but most of the work done is not that unique or hard.
That qualification at the end makes it false.
If I have to give someone 1 year to learn all of the minute details of the behavior of TCP across the various operating systems clients use, the behavior of packet re-ordering in LAG algorithms, convergence times of BGP, etc, then they are most definitely not interchangeable with someone who does know these things.
Any manager who thinks this way is incompetent and will impose massive opportunity costs on the company by not fighting for raises for existing good employees under the guise that they can be easily replaced.
Have you ever looked around the room and asked yourself "gee, why do we have so many coworkers on this project?" Or said "isn't it nuts that there are some weeks when I can measure my productive output in a handful of hours?"
The current vogue in management is cramming teams into an open floor office and micromanaging scrum points; these measures are introduced because they demoralize and _average_ output, thus introducing slack into the system. That's not a bug -- that's a feature! When someone important leaves the workers can be motivated or "motivated" to increase their output until the proper amount of slack is reintroduced from a hire.
"My experience differs significantly" might sound like "I can't pick up new technologies and work on them". What did you have in mind?
A lot of competent management practices seem counter-intuitive if you've never been exposed to them. Most managers I know have have never even read a book on the subject. Management is often the blind leading the blind. Most likely this kind of environment will scare away any good managers, so the cycle continues.
So, unfortunately, it shouldn't be surprising that these counter-productive practices continue.
That said, reports like this never cease to amaze me.
Microsoft were often cited. You'll note that their renaissance coincides with their elimination of stack ranking.
Which is funny because my experience at Uber was EXACTLY the same. 3 years ago one of the heads of their department emailed me and asked me to come in and give a talk to their managers as the team wasn't doing so well. After I did this, I asked the VP if they were hiring at my level (I was a director/senior manager at the time) and she said yes. When I came to interview it was clear that I was interviewing for the job of one of the people who were interviewing me. Everyone seemed to love me except for this person, who told me they don't hire managers and that I would have to report to him. He was very junior to me and seemed to only want to keep his title/piece of the kingdom. It was obvious I didn't want to be a part of that, so I declined the offer and not only was the person gone a few weeks later, they were gone from their next job a few months after that. There's some serious political stuff going on at Uber.
If by "the real problem" they meant "the root cause" then their theory does appear to fit the facts. I personally suspect it was "both" rather than "one caused the other" but have insufficient data to go beyond "suspect".
The response to other reports are standard. Whether it is a homosexual boss or a female boss, the company will seek to protect itself.
If you think that any of this is trivial, you are part of the problem.
I noted it solely because it's unusual.
It is true that if you are going to _attempt_ to change a culture, it must be motivated from top-down. However, placing that responsibility on the CEO alone is misunderstanding of how culture works.
It's a little akin to saying that culture is the President's responsibility. No, it's everyone's responsibility, and if you want to change it, the influential people in your org (country) must lead and reinforce that change.
The best you can say is that the founder(s) laid the groundwork for the culture. As with anything, changing the foundation later is extremely difficult.
That's what the research says, anyhow. I studied this briefly during my undergrad.
After a certain size the only way to make a change stick is get rid of people that disagree. Or, you can wait for pressure to wear those people down over... A period of years.
If Ubers culture is really this toxic the only way to fix it would be replacement of a fair amount of leadship in the company.
To a point, but when HR gets involved and does not help, that IMHO is often due to the upper leadership being a big part of the problem.
I've seen HR blow off inappropriate behavior when the CEO does or is okay with it.
clearly Stalin missed the memo
Edit: Management should be far more concerned that Uber is allegedly an environment that systematically enables sexual harassment and discrimination against women.
I have one friend who worked at Uber and had years of experience working at another tech company beforehand. Uber basically refused to promote her, even going to far as to hire people significantly junior to her into those senior positions. In one case one of the people who was hired blatantly lied on their resume about their past experience, got caught out for it, and was still hired above her.
Even outside of the bay area Uber has taken many reputation hits for their stupid behavior. The whole incident where they were planning on digging up dirt on a reporter to ruin her character shows a huge lack of ethics at the top of the company. The "god mode" application and research into "one night stands" shows they have no respect for privacy.
Something, it's worth noting, no less true of Lyft. And I think it's a little weird to be demanding owners of infrastructure lock out workers "in support of a strike". That whole reaction was absurd.
This article gives me substantially more pause.
Lyft did not negate surge pricing that day, AFAIK.
But that's actually immaterial: surge was turned off a half hour after the strike ended.
This was in my opinion a very appropriate way to respect the strike without forcing drivers to not make money unless they chose to do so themselves.
Lyft operating as normal: "Fuck this strike, making me pay tons of money bc of surge pricing"
Uber operating without surge: "OMG Uber my savior!!!!! / (can't actually find a cab bc of lack of availability) Whatever, not their fault, it's the stupid strike after all"
It was a calculated cynical ploy like literally everything else Uber does. I have no patience with them, particularly in a thread discussing sexual harassment within. Feel free to spin it as "a very appropriate way to respect the strike" or whatever.
The biggest concern is that this puts Uber in the position of determining what is and isn't "legitimately a strike".
I should note: my peer group isn't particularly tech oriented.
The perception is closely tied to what people hear from drivers, constant negative media coverage, and being recognized as the epitome of a douchey tech company. Those three things combine to make using Uber distinctly un-cool in the eyes of many users. (Note that folks will use it anyway, but not talk about it.)
The services are more or less identical, but I always feel like I'm in the minority when I tell friends I'm calling a lyft.
The sad thing is why do men want to apply there after what is know about it? I wouldn't want to be near any company that treats any of their employees like that.
Some students aren't privileged enough to graduate debt-free. Getting into any of these top compensating packages can mean being literally years less time being in debt.
> work a shit job
Right working as a developer at Uber with a high paying 6 figure job is now called a "shit job". I remember when collecting trash and mining was considered a "shit job", I guess we are from different generations...
I've lived a long time with very low T. So I don't posit: I experienced how my decision process changed when getting back to normal. I just have to stop some meds and go back down to enjoy less impulsivity and a lot more security based decision making.
> Right working as a developer at Uber with a high paying 6 figure job is now called a "shit job".
Shittier than a simple 9-5 job in some corporation where you can have a good work-life balance, less stress bu less money.
> I remember when collecting trash and mining was considered a "shit job"
They still are. And still have a high percentage of men.