You're going to lose me at the notion that I'm somehow exercising "white privilege" by consuming/offering alcohol at/around/near work functions or venues.
If the author is already making the reader concede an implicit agreement that there is an "inclusion/diversity" problem, then I'd argue the problem exists at a deeper, more fundamental level.
This reeks of selection bias and circular reasoning when you say that things that occur in a non-diverse environment are immediately perfect examples of non-diversity because "look at this non-diverse group of people partaking in $thing".
I'm even fine with saying it's non-inclusive, except that has to cut across all demographics, including white males. There are plenty of white males employed in tech who find the idea of socializing/drinking with co-workers absolutely contrary to what they feel is fun or engaging.
As a thought experiment: let's say all tech companies, from startup to FAANG, as of today, went completely "dry" for any and all work-hosted functions, as well the same policy for all corporate offices/locations.
Would diversity get any better? And if not, how can you say it was making it worse?
That wasn't the point of my statement re: privilege. It was more of an allegory to the fact that I didn't get thrown in jail for some of the really stupid shit I did in the past.
Let's also consider the social advantage of those who do imbibe with those who don't in regards to building relationships with superiors at your job.
Ok, but that "advantage", or lack thereof, is not exclusionary only to non-white, non-males, which was a fundamental premise of the article.
You're shifting gears between:
"alcohol is evidence of, and further exacerbates, a diversity/inclusion issue stemming from a heavy bias towards white males"
"alcohol is bad for the workplace, regardless of context, because it is exclusionary and leads to problems and implicit/explicit social and health consequences"
This post carries a similar theme to many before it: tech worker(who maybe or maybe not drank in a work-context in the past) gets "woke" about it and decrees that it's bad.
The line I quoted from your recent comment alludes to what I think is what most of these articles are truly railing against:
the implicit, unstated social hierarchies that are created in a given workplace, and the advantages they offer to their members in terms of choice project assignment, progression, recognition, and overall career satisfaction.
Guess what? Remove drinking from the workplace, and the exact same thing will happen anyways. It may not form around drinking. Or, in all likelihood, it still will, just unofficially after-hours, which is likely to be even more exclusionary, because there will be no impetuous for forced inclusion.
We as a species have been building complex social hierarchies for most of our history. That will always select for individuals who are more "social" versus ones who are not.
why not consider the social advantage of having other hobbies/interests in common with superiors? at one internship I had, one of the senior VPs would routinely come into our room to talk to my mentor about good places to go hiking over the weekend. as far as I could tell, they otherwise had no real reason to interact at work. does this unfairly exclude people like me who aren't outdoorsy types? do we need to do something about it?
1) I can't hear a damn thing or talk at a normal level to investors or mentors in a bar that is playing loud dance music. (Techstars often held events at local bars.) It is uncomfortable to sit in a barstool and literally yell about your business to someone. I can't imagine this is a gender thing. Most of us, especially introverts, wouldn't be comfortable in that situation.
2) Many people see bars as hookups or pickup spots. The environment is geared toward that. I was in a committed relationship at the time and I'm now married (I'm a woman.) I don't want hookups; I'm there to meet investors or mentors.
3) As in above, even at the office, alcohol blurs boundaries and encourages people to do things they otherwise wouldn't (like yell uncomfortable jokes or hit on other people.) It's not a good look for those of us who are there to work.
4) If you don't like alcohol or don't drink, you miss out on the opportunities to "meet and mingle." I can remember many events I declined because they were alcohol-focused (wine tastings, for instance.) I strongly feel I missed out on potential connections to investors and mentors because of this. I now go more often to these types of events because I feel they further my business, but I wish I didn't have to.
I am not as concerned with statistics as I am with alienation. It's not just women or minorities; I've met plenty of straight, white males who don't like drinking either, or feel pressure to drink more than they otherwise would thanks to these events. Removing alcohol from these events does us all good.
Instead of a bar or keg at the office, consider an exercise room with equipment that tracks, ranks, and encourages competition.
Ableism! Ageism! and a healthy serving of Hobbsean ruthlessness to boot. That'll clear up those pesky diversity issues in short order.
I also loled when I read that. Let's replace one extremely bro-ey activity with another. Brillant.
That's very representative of the country as a whole, wherein white, non-hispanic people make up approximately 61% of the population. Rather than supporting the author's point of view, that statistic seems a good apology for an opposing viewpoint.
> How many of you reading this hang out at crack houses or opium dens? I realize this is an extreme example, but I’m being serious...we don’t go to these places because we don’t use those substances...
I believe the author has it backwards. Alcohol use isn't contributing to bad work environments; bad work environments are contributing to alcohol abuse.
I guess I have to stop reading there. :/
I’m also not sure of the aim; if you have no desire to convince those who don’t initially agree, you’re preaching to the choir. Isn’t the diversity gang enough of an echo chamber already?
I'm a husband and father, and I respect my family, and I have friends outside of work, so one of the last things I would ever want to do is drink at work or after hours with my coworkers.
Feels like a non issue, a consequence of working with too many manchildren. If you don't like the brodrinking then don't be friends with them and find a better job.
Otherwise you get Twitter.
At least from my perspective, affirmative action is immoral, and any notion of power imbalance doesn’t seep into my understanding of the definition of discrimination.
People can have deeply considered all the nuances posed and still come up with a perspective that differs from the accepted social justice narrative.
I love it, too. It gets it out of the way upfront: if we can't agree on $THIS base assumption, then we can't have a healthy discussion about $THAT. In order for that to happen, we need to have another discussion first."
If, after discussing whether or not there is an inclusion and diversity problem, you are still at odds, there is little point in further refining the discussion by including alcohol.
The latter can exist without the former.
Well. That explains Reddit! /g
(Its the procedure of an argument by flooding you with half baked sources, and by the time you're through 5, you have 20 more.)
(Edit: I wasn't proposing DOING that. I was making note that these logical fallacies tend to stack and greatly compound each other. And they can be a nightmare to unravel if ONLY in a gish gallop. If both of these are executed, the gish is a insincere attempt at complete disruption; and anyone trying to stop it is accused of being really rude. And from a social media perspective, someone calling out a sealioning themselves looks rude.)
I'm more than happy to discuss how alcohol does impact diversity and inclusion in negative ways. I think it's fascinating subject I haven't thought about.
In all companies I have worked at - there has been diversity. I am also someone who doesn't drink and never felt like this is an issue, though I am from one of the best-known countries for their beer. Next to waffles and chocolates, that's pretty much our thing.
I've almost always had a team that existed of a mix of ethnicities and gender.
I do think that beer doesn't belong in the workplace, but we do have days when we drink _after_ work, and not necessarily in the workplace. No one ever complained about me getting a coke instead.
Admitted; on the workfloor after work with the team no one gives a crap although you might, again in my experience, get less invites for social gatherings as it is still considered ‘boring’ in many circles. That girl or guy who never meshes well at TGiF or the ‘after work pint at the local’.
As someone who sometimes drinks too much and often drinks nothing at all (I have no off switch so I prefer nothing), I know that feeling; you really need a lot of energy and patience to stick around at gatherings where everyone is plastered and having too much fun and you are sober.
I have seen the issue in UK, US, NL, DE, HK, AU and, ofcourse, CN. But anecdotal so your mileage definitely may vary.
Sometimes, if I am with people who I know longer, I tell them it is because of having an alcohol related death in the family.
I also continue with saying I don't mind that they drink.
I have done this for about 11 years without any issues.
The author probably thinks there is an injustice, because people who write on this topic usually think there is. Nothing that they say depends on the problem being one of injustice.
(1) Women and men tend to (when considering large numbers) choose different professions when they are choosing freely for themselves
(2) The more egalitarian and socially inclusive a society is, the more the differences between women and men are exaggerated, especially in career choices.
I want women and men to choose occupations that are easy for them to find long term meaning in. I don't want my girls choosing STEM because they feel like they're less-than if they don't.
Here's a reductio ad absurdum: is it a diversity and inclusion problem that there are almost no female bering sea crab fisherwomen or oil rig workers? Men are more willing to choose more lethal professions, it's part of what our hormones tell us to do.
I definitely see more women in construction, more men in nursing, and definitely in non-Western countries women in software development.
EDIT: To be clear, I wish you were right. I want you to be right. But you're just not, and it's slightly tragic, but mostly the data should cause us to reorient ourselves around how we interpret the data, because the social constructionists' theories are just wrong.
Personally witnessed a few extremely technical women (one of them an ex boss) who, in general could hold up a CS or specific data flow discussion with me that I came up with. She would be on the same page in less than a minute. No other male employee I have ever been in company was able to do what she did (you'd have to have met her). She was from China originally, is a very active CTO in a SV company. She has women friends in similar situations. I'm not saying that you have to be chinese, but the evidence of they way we bring up women in western societies is a much much stronger determiner of personal preferences than "hormones LOL". (And not that China doesn't have other problems either)
That's what I'm saying the data explicitly disproves.
Look, this might come as a shock, but let me lay out what everyone on both sides of this argument believes: Everyone who chooses the profession and performs well should be included. The contention is whether their genetics should matter, and those who reject the assertion that there's an inclusion problem answer "no".
Here's a more direct point: the fact that women tend not to choose STEM tells you nothing about each individual woman. The mere fact that someone got the job is explicit evidence that they're probably just as capable as everyone else that got the job. Membership in a social class as defined by the progressive left is just... meaningless. As it should be. #MLK
I merely found data which loosely supports (and you could successfully argue that it has no correlation) my hypothesis.
There's a very large body of universal, systemic evidence that women are (in large numbers) more interested in people than things, and vice versa for males. IT is a very thing-oriented industry. When women choose not to do IT freely of their own preferences, we should not react by suggesting that men are the problem.
I would think someone would at least want to look at the demographics of people applying vs people getting hired vs people qualified vs demographics of the general population.
Does nursing have a diversity problem? How about mining?
Is the gender ratio in prisons evidence of the matriarchy? Is the gender ratio in teaching because of systematic bias against men? What about the gender ratio in that more women graduate college than men?
As far as addressing drinking, I think the thing to tackle is being compassionate and empathetic to all sorts of issues, not just alcohol abuse in particular. Do you have members on the team that have a disability? Do people practice a religion that requires quiet space throughout the day? How will you accommodate those people?
Can you see how your own logic can be applied to this suggestion turning it into a "systemic inclusion problem" for people who don't want to hang out in the exercise room or publicly compare their physical abilities with their coworkers? It's nonsense. People will do what they choose to do and personal choices will _never_ be equally represented in any population.
Nonetheless, of course it could be. You could say that video games in an office isn't being inclusive.
I don't think this the culture of all of tech. Indeed tech is too big to have one culture. But it is in my experience the culture of part of it.
If your working environment has issues with people getting trashed and behaving unprofessionally at company functions where alcohol is served, I would posit that the problem will not disappear in the absence of alcohol.
I don't know what to make of this. Did it require 10 years to write this article? Or is it just "I know what I'm talking about, I've spent 10 years having this opinion"?
If I reflect upon this, it's perhaps to prepare the reader for the idea that it's going to take a very strong counter-argument for me to change my beliefs on this matter.
I'm really not bothered by people sharing a beer or two at the office or lunch though. Nobody gives me a hard time for saying no, as it just means more to go around for others.
As long as there are good options, with equal career opportunity growth, available to people who don't prefer cultures where social drinking is the norm, I think it's not a big deal so long as companies are up front with it. I do worry that some people may get a gig on a team at a big company that has that culture though and feel excluded or otherwise be seen as not a team player for not participating, but that can honestly happen with many different things (ie, vegans/vegetarians/religious people needing food options, parents needing kid-friendly schedules) so I don't think not drinking is especially unique - though it is perhaps very often ignored.
If not, then I think that, whilst you might have had the best intentions in mind, you really miss the mark for actually covering the whole industry.
In other words: How apt are your statistics, anecdotes, and points of view to be applicable in countries where the drinking age is far lower than in the states? What is the actual ratio of those countries having alcohol at company events versus after-work events, coordinated by workers at 'x' company? How much more or less-likely are those countries to have drinking problems (statistically, speaking) in their populace?
You seem to ignore this, whilst simultaneously stating that an entire industry has a problem - using a sample-set from a small portion of its total whole.
I'm not sure if you're being intentionally disingenuous or if this results from jingosim or if you just haven't considered any of this but it comes across as askewed American exceptionalism: We have this problem and so, by that logic, the whole world must.
Is this really the best angle that they could find? One would assume that a drinking problem - even when confined outside of actual "work" - would impact basic professionalism well before diversity. See, e.g. the way that a widespread "drinking culture" may have contributed to the recently-unearthed cases of harrassment at top "tech" firms.
I don't drink myself and haven't found it to be a problem (although I did drink in the past).
I fear that there will be a period, up ahead, where it all comes crashing down. Cybernauts may think they've got everything under control, but in my opinion this point of view requires a great deal of ignorance of the decades past, not to mention dire hubris.
My recent offices have been good about mixing the mandatory-fun-days between drinking and dry establishments.
We did have to chat to an enthusiastic social organiser about why a cocktail mixing class wasn't going to be a great team-building experience with half our team missing.
And, yes, I've been guilty of lazily organising pizza and beer dev events when I really should know better. I'd rather have it called out than have people feel uncomfortable.
That's because the diversity these people care about is only skin-deep.
This comes from a industry wide occupational burnout issue. Major names like Cisco, Twitch, or Nvidia have staff who are >50% burnt out.
The lack of diversity has absolutely nothing to do with anything here.
The first problem I noticed is that they seem to warrant that 4 or 5 drinks per week is "problem drinking." This is not true. First, the point at which drinking is a problem varies from person to person; taller and/or heavier people can drink more than shorter and/or lighter people. Second, the rate at which one drinks is a important factor that isn't considered in OP's opinion piece. Me drinking 4 or 5 beers over the course of a weekend will produce a much different outcome (and a much sadder weekend) than me drinking 4 or 5 beers within an hour (without drinking water in between or after) or even 1 beer per day for the entire work week (which is probably the most telling sign of problem drinking, though it is a very weak sign).
The next problem is the introduction itself. The author asserts that the reader is informed of some abstract "diversity and inclusion" problems within tech and automatically dismisses anyone who thinks differently. (How do you fix the fact that white males are much more likely to apply for a tech job than white females or people of color? Is this a symptom or a cause for our diversity problems? These discussions don't matter to the author, however, because the author is automatically right and doubts that they can convince you otherwise. BTW, I generally agree that tech has a diversity problem.)
The last problem that I'll call out here is that the author suggests that companies install workout facilities or do non-alcoholic activities every other week instead of installing kegs or going to bars. First, installing exercise rooms is MUCH MUCH MUCH more expensive than sourcing kegs from your local brewery. It also increases insurance costs and liabilities (because people can get seriously hurt if they use the treadmill wrong, for example). Second, why can't companies just host multiple events instead of banning drinks for a week (and alienating people who like bars or beers or whiskeys or whatever)? What's going to stop people from hitting the bar after doing $non_alcoholic_thing? Third, nobody is holding a gun to anyone's heads telling them that they have to drink. Bars have non-alcoholic options. Choosing to drink is a _choice_.