I decided to quit whilst standing there listening to him. As he spoke, he was thrilled, and was telling us how thrilled we should all be for what great news this was to the company. Distinctly remember thinking, oh! these guys are evil.
What don't you understand about it? The part where people need money to buy food and shelter or the part where not everyone is a tech worker that can have multiple, better job offers in a week or so.
Some parts of the country have very few jobs for anyone in any field, and the jobs that exist pay so shitty that its very difficult to move to a place with better prospect (which in most cases will have the added drawback of removing you from any kind of support system you might have had with family+friends).
You can adopt the modern, warped version of libertarian philosophy that says "its not my problem", but most people don't like living in a world where people lose their houses so a rich guy can make a few million dollars extra.
There are times where its necessary to lay people off. Hell, this might have been one of them. But even if it was, the guy didn't have to be such a douchebag about it.
If you value community, society and loyalty, then what they did is bad.
If you value profits?/money?/greed?, then perhaps you are right.
Many would feel that reducing the world to no more than the efficacy of fiscal transactions and it all becomes worth pretty much nothing. There is so much more to life.
Speaking of profits/money/greed, would you also despise a person who cancels their Spotify subscription? Because it's the same situation in reverse – someone stops paying for somebody else's services. Would you blame such person for being greedy? Would you moralise them that there is much more to life than the money they'll save?
I felt the same way until I became very ill and rely on my job for healthcare and remaining alive. Millions of Americans are in similar situations where being out of work for any amount of time is financially ruinous.
What full time jobs give is a sense of security, a community, a sense of belonging. It's not simply a trade of time for money, it's where people build friendships and identity.
It's also quite disrespectful to treat people as disposable. They built up the company, not the boss. To fire 95% of a company, the ones who got them there, that's... cruel.
I believe it would be more cruel to the rest of us if an employer was required to keep unnecessary employees just so that they can benefit from sense of security and community. It would be terribly inefficient and hurt the economy.
And it's unfair to discredit the success of employer only because employees did the majority of the jobs. The key here is that managers do the most important jobs and take more risks.
My dad was really tight with money, to the extent that after he died my mum couldn’t remember him taking her out for even a birthday meal. He was not poor.
If the social norms for a business environment make most labour casual service provision, I’m OK with attitudes like yours. On the other hand, if social norms say “jobs are for life” and blame those who lose their jobs for that loss, then I find it… selfish.
(I wouldn’t say “evil”, but that’s because of too long in philosophy lessons; it is where I imagine a neural net classifier would be bouncing around a lot).
2. Worked on a million+ dollar project. Very small team. Found out it was something undermining democracy. Not illegal, but let's say it violates privacy. Killer moment was talking to someone on the project who was brought in to destroy all evidence in case we failed.
3. Talked to a "consultant" who was giving us information on a certain project. He stopped contacting us after a while, saying that his iPhone broke. Told my boss. Boss said, "You're so naive. He wants an iPhone as a bribe."
And no, I don't think I've ever had such a crisis of conscious. So thanks OP for reminding me that on balance I've at least attempted to be a decent human being ;)
Go vegan, be cruelty-free. For the animals, for the planet, for yourself.
The videos you see are extremely one-sided and manipulative. You cannot do anything right by these people. I am personally against, for instance, debeaking, and the production of foie gras is horrible on a Holocaust level. But for example I saw one recently that criticized the use of nipple drinkers that guarantee clean water for the birds instead of letting them drink water from the ground that's contaminated by feces. Another campaign I was exposed to this year misrepresented a cattle crush as a device that actually crushes cows, instead of its actual purpose to immobilize an animal while it receives medical treatment. There are a lot of good points to be made about cruelty in industrialized farming, but they ruin it with these shock videos and ridiculous assertions.
These tactics and misrepresentative propaganda, while they may be effective at fundraising from young and gullible city people, have caused states to pass laws making it a crime to film undercover at farms, and I believe that this is a setback for the animal rights movement, on top of some of the proponents' general dishonesty.
Vegetable farming is not a great thing for the environment either, and sometimes "organic" production does more harm.
Battery cages bother me and eggs produced differently are ridiculously priced (a dozen normal eggs costs $1.10 at my walmart today, recently the price has been below $0.30.) So I started my own flock. Today I have nine happy birds and am not supporting the battery cage operation, which incidentally was the subject of a salmonella-related recall this year. I hope to be bringing home some turkeys from the farm fest in the next county in a couple weeks.
I guess from my point of view, whether or not some people are over the top crazies about one topic or another doesn’t really affect the underlying issues.
Personally, I do my best to take a measured and reasonable approach: im vegetarian (not vegan) and I just focus on doing what makes me feel that I am doing at least something to combat the well-documented and scientifically supported ill-effects of large scale agribusiness.
I think too often individuals fall into the trap of “all or nothing”. Am I concerned about climate change? Yes. Do I still drive a car? Yes. Does that make me a hypocrite? No.
It’s possible to do what you can with what you have to make a small impact in your own life. And for many, that’s about all we can ask for.
Could you explain these points more?
Switching to plant based agriculture would require even more fertilizer to be used as the land area needed limits super effective crop rotation.
Other problems are plants are much less tolerant of different environments than live stock, so you have to more aggressively farm the limited area. Many of the ideal areas for growing plants also lack nutrients or even water (CA is essentially a desert but grows most of the worlds cereals because the weather, soil are excellent for growing, even if you have to pump the water in from elsewhere...)
Of course this ignores harmful effects of livestock, and is just meant to illustrate “not livestock” does not mean “good”.
A few write-ups with accompanying audio transcripts/podcasts from science writer Brian Dunning of Skeptoid.
- Organic vs. Conventional Agriculture: https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4166
- Organic Food Myths: https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4019
- Environmental Working Group and the Dirty Dozen: https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4623
Bibliographic references and further reading at the end of each if interested.
As for traditional production, herbicides, pesticides, and genetic contamination are big issues.
So far we have only been doing the eggs but expect them to stop laying when they reach 3-4 years old. This is my first flock so I don't really know yet. I am not sure if I have the guts to prepare a bird for meat.
If you have kids, they're typically not as grossed out as adults and it's a really good biology lesson
I don't care how horrible it is, it's too good to pass up.
After randomly googling turns out thousands of African babies had previously died in the 70's/80's after formula was pushed instead of breast milk as mother's mixed polluted water with formula when their body would have protected the baby with breast-feeding.
UN passes laws preventing marketing in certain ways (ie. saying formula is better than breastmilk) so I decide to read the laws. Turns out big company's content they're sending us to include in the app (that only appears when clicked on in a certain way by a doctor) definitely contravenes those UN laws.
I speak to the boss (whose mother was from Africa) who says "every company is evil so what can you do" after I say that it's not just morally bad but also the negative PR to our own company could be catastrophic.
It was at that point I decided to make myself unavailable for further work.
I realized that I was having increasing concerns that a previous employer was on the gray side of US ethics, but more importantly was on the black side of my personal ethics. The feeling that I was actively enabling (and successfully making more efficient) something I personally considered wrong to do contributed additional anxiety and stress I didn't need to what was often already a high anxiety/stress workplace.
An anxiety attack over snowy weather lead to a lot of soul searching over all of my anxieties/stress with the job, and directly lead me to very actively seeking work elsewhere.
I don't entirely regret my time working there, as I worked with some good people, and made some useful connections, but I'm very glad for my self-care/mental health that I left just in time before I broke down in less "silly" ways than yelling about mistakes in snow plowing, and I do sometimes wonder if I should have left earlier than even that.
The first was while writing an application that would automate away internal and vendor provided positions. I never did get over the feeling that the work was destroying lives, but read on for why it didn’t matter.
A few years later, we were purchased by a much larger competitor who promptly laid off everyone except the IT department. One of their acts was to decommission the application and outsource the work to manual labor.
While working for the larger company, a behemoth in the industry, and having watched several companies purchased and dismantled, and working on projects that ingested the remnants of those companies, I had the realization that in fact, storm troopers DO have benefits. They are paid, they get vacation, health insurance, and maybe even retirement benefits And it explains why the hallways on the Death Star were so full of people.
I stayed long enough to learn the lesson above and then left to engage in entrepreneurial ventures since, ultimately, no matter how well you do your job, or because of how well you do your job, someone can come in and buy your company and leave you floating in space like so much debris.
Some would argue that it is a good thing even. But the amount of real jobs in the economy overall is just getting smaller. It isn't the company's fault though, as it has to do that in order to stay operationally viable.
I do not feel so bad, most of the people here in this thread have very terrible stories. I feel kind of blessed.
When the boss tried to sleazily get one of our clothing models to go out with him (he was married with kids).
When they always tried to not pay out on contracts if they could get away with it.
I didn't stay there long.
Tl;dr You are only a "baddie" if you know that your occupational role is complacently illegal, harmful to the consumer, and you choose to not doing anything about it (to quit or report, for instance). Otherwise, it is just a personal moral dilemma, with the ethical bar set by you, the individual employee.
Businesses often operate against the personal desires and ethics of their employees, but I have found this can be necessary for the success of the business. And it is fully in the right of that business to operate successfully, no matter how morally selfish it may seem.
1. I worked for a company that had a great consumer product that fulfilled a clever need. They mistreated employees and contractors alike, had a lot of turnover, but delivered the end product with great success and glowing consumer reviews. The company in this sense was the bad actor, but only toward those it relied upon to function. It replaced people that were unwilling to participate, and management never blinked an eye.
(Known equivalent: Amazon shipping centers. You love your 2-day prime shipping, and you won't boycott even considering the conditions of those that get you your plastic melon ballers. Amazon is doing fine). I eventually quit my position, told friends not to apply, and still watch the company succeed to this day.
2. I worked for a company that had great ideals, strong and morally devout leadership, and fulfilled a meaningful purpose. They accepted a government contract to which I was assigned that caused great moral turmoil among the other SV tech institutions it had contracted. The end product was effective, but also morally gray, in that the intended purpose protected American soldiers on the ground, but the eventual uses were undeniably dystopian. Employees revolted, but their objections were mostly bark and no bite.
(Known equivalent: Google and their recent attempts at government contracting. Google is doing fine, though not with government contracts. Likely, Google made a mistake in bowing to the complaints, considering the upset employees were focused mostly on "government" and not on the "advertising-surveillance" that funds their current paychecks. However, the success of Google is dependent on their ability to attract technical talent, which could have been impacted if they continued after the public backlash). The business may have succumbed to employees concerned about a certain aspect of their company, but likely maintained their "ethical" conscience, leading to a successful future through retention of talent.
3. I worked for a company that tricked consumers into investing in inferiority, but marketed itself in a way that investors, employees, and end users alike had no idea that they were participating in what was certainly a scam.
(Think Theranos, and their ability to promise a revolutionary product while delivering smoke. This is the most egregious case of being a "baddie," but it is likely that many employees truly believed the promises and their hard work would amount to something great). I left this company feeling the most like a "baddie," but mostly feeling embarrassed I had been tricked into drinking the kool-aid. While it was my most pronounced "baddie" moment, I can justify that once I learned I was the "baddie," I immediately responded with a letter of resignation.
The ultimate learnings for me, as an individual, from a perspective that others may not agree with, is that a business carries the ultimate right to operate for its own benefit. It does not have to consider the implications of "baddie" business so long as the practices and strategies lead to financial success. If the business succeeds, consumers are benefitting and proving those practices to be the means to the end.
The people creating the product should always have the right to not participate if the business practices confront their own moral stances, even if that means resignation (termination is also justified if an employee refuses to participate in an effort that would lead to financial success). Participating does not make someone a "baddie" as long as they do not sacrifice their moral threshold.
Many of my friends and colleagues have disagreed with me, deemed me a "baddie," and made excellent arguments for why this business-first attitude is detrimental. But I firmly believe that many of the technologies that are used globally are a result of companies looking past individualism, and building something that brings gains for that business.
At the end of the day, if a business succeeds, then it is benefitting someone somewhere, regardless of my personal opinions. I will always say no if I say something I cannot stomach, but I speak out knowing that my role in the company is expendable, and I am owed nothing beyond the paycheck I receive for my contributions.
"Baddie" is subjective. There is very little regulation around moral business practices (also subjective), and the boundary (again, subjective) is being pushed every day. I am passionate about this topic because I have questioned my work roles many times, and I feel that (besides obvious and necessary legal regulations) the morals of the individual and the ethics of the business should always have the right to remain free.
I don’t know how to say this un-offensively, so I’ll just say I think this is a morally bankrupt position that can be used to justify all kinds of fraud and crime because there was at least one benefactor. I think to make a utilitarian justification you need to take into account the negative impact on others too.
I don’t think you are morally bankrupt though, it sounds like you have another framework for determining what you personally will work on.
1. I am convinced that fraud and crime are directly related to exploitation, and are the result of decisions and actions of people in a position of control. Those in control know they are committing these bad acts, and continue to do so, making them "baddies." As someone who was never in a position of managing control, but who eventually gained insight and perspective into the underlying business practices, when I recognized the fraud and crime, I made the decision to quit and report to the legal governing bodies. My opinion is that it was in the right of the company (and management) to "go for gold," but they went too far, broke the law, and were appropriately punished. I don't believe I was bankrupt in that I severed my relationship immediately upon my discovery of their true nature.
2. This may be semantics, but my point on companies relying on "benefactors" was actually more of a capitalism argument, in that a company can succeed regardless of treatment of employees or practices of skirting the generally-applicable moral ideals, so long as the end user is benefitting and continues to patronize the business.
I do appreciate your feedback because I am always doubting myself on certain projects as to the setting of my threshold for revolt: is it when I feel someone, somewhere is being exploited, or when I know that the business practices are actively and knowingly conducted against the current law?
Historically, several cultures revered honey bees as examples to follow. The bees got fed by providing a service to the flowers. They are not predators. The pollinate plants and create nectar for themselves. They don't eat the plant per se.
This was a revolutionary mental model, one we don't emphasize enough. Trade can be a civilizing force, but is often viewed as an evil force. Many people see capitalism as pure evil, as a means to exploit people in pursuit of the almighty dollar.
Basically, I'm talking about business that genuinely adds more value to the world rather than business that enriches some at the expense of others. There are two ways to profit: one is to find ways to improve your own bottom line by reducing someone else's welfare. The other is dealmaking where all involved parties are better off for having come together.
It's a high bar to meet. I don't think it is unattainable.