Politics and the Personal Have Invaded Google. A Cautionary Tale.

Google wants you to bring your whole self to work. That sounds good, in theory, but they are learning that sometimes it’s best to bring your work-self to work and leave your home-self home. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Activists at Google” helped organize a rally critical of President Donald Trump’s policies. “Militia at Google” members discussed their desire to overturn a prohibition on guns in the office. “Conservatives at Google” allege discrimination against right-leaning job candidates. “Sex Positive at Google” group members are concerned that explicit content is being unfairly removed from Google Drive file-sharing software.”

“Googlers For Animals” invited the PETA president, only to be undercut by members of the “Black Googler Network.”

Question: Just what does Google do these days? It sounds more like a conglomeration of social groups that occasionally does something with the internet. That’s not really a good position to be in.

To keep reading, click here: Politics and the Personal Have Invaded Google. A Cautionary Tale.

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14 thoughts on “Politics and the Personal Have Invaded Google. A Cautionary Tale.

  1. It’s the very definition of irony that the Wall Street Journal would criticize any other entity for being too “political!” 🙂 That being said, trying to enforce ideological conformity likely wouldn’t work, especially at an organization like Google, whose mission is to be an honest broker in the marketplace of ideas. I’m retired from the judiciary, and a common joke among judges was that if all the litigants were unhappy at the end of the case, you had probably been fair and delivered justice. Under that rationale, if every demographic group at Google is claiming that management favors opposing groups, what is likely happening is that management is trying to steer a neutral course and is not, in fact, granting preferential treatment to the complainers’ factions. Society is engaged in heated culture wars — aggravated by bad actors who are intentionally sowing and inflaming divisiveness — and it’s affecting most arenas, including workplaces. Attempting to “wish away” this phenomenon, by attempting to turn back the clock and abandoning diversity efforts, for example, is not the solution. Perhaps a better one would be to adopt the “No A**-Hole Rule,” insisting that everyone observe at least minimal standards of civility, cooperation, helpfulness and professionalism in their workplace relationships, while also emphasizing the mission of the group and holding people accountable for performing their actual jobs at an acceptable level.

    1. I’m all for a No A**hole Rule. This code of conduct would help mitigate bullying too (hopefully).

      Politics at work is a no-no as far as I’m concerned. I’m at work to work, not protest or rally. I do that on my own time; same with religion or anything else. Diversity helps workplaces thrive and grow, but groups are unnecessary. Just make sure you have strong anti-discrimination policies and you’re following the law.

      1. The usual name for it is “Wheaton’s Law,” named after Wil Wheaton of Star Trek fame:

        “Don’t be a dick.”

        Mr. Wheaton has grown in wisdom over the years.

    2. an organization like Google, whose mission is to be an honest broker in the marketplace of ideas.

      I am not so sure that is their mission. 🙂

      1. I’m pretty sure it’s not – now. I’m not at all sure it ever was.

      2. They are a data broker and advertising platform. Neither one of those lend themselves to a particular political persuasion.

    3. It’s hard to “do no evil” when obviously everyone who disagrees with you is EVIL. Bummer. I wonder how many “show trials” will happen in order to ‘signal virtue’…

    4. The Wall Street Journal is generally regarded to be pretty even handed when it comes to the news, their editorial content leans heavily pro-business conservative but not populist. Most papers editorials have a bent but as long as the news and the editorial are separate, many people don’t see that as a problem.

  2. Unfortunately most of the types of people who bully and threaten online won’t follow the Wheaton rule or the A**hole rule because they make the rules of not following structural procedures. Freedom of speech doesn’t include insulting others deliberately and causing bodily harm.

    1. If freedom of speech doesn’t including deliberately insulting others, it’s not freedom of speech. It’s “freedom of *my* speech, and anyone who disagrees should shut up or else.”

      (No arguments on bodily harm, but equating insulting people with physical attacks, frankly, offends me.)

      1. @Goober,
        Freedom of speech may include insulting anyone you choose, but your employer is also free to restrict that freedom.

  3. Your advice is right on — but it’s a shame we are losing the sense of community we used to have at the office, merely because some soreheads insist on purging everybody who disagrees with their politics.

    I see one workable solution, and that is for large companies to break up and be replaced by smaller ones. And I see it happening in ever larger numbers, not least because being smaller than 20 or sometimes 10 employees exempts you from some of the more senseless regulations.

    I also expect to see states begin to limit the working hours at large firms. Because not being allowed normal social interaction at the office will be unbearable for people who don’t have time to have a separate social life.

    1. “but it’s a shame we are losing the sense of community we used to have at the office, merely because some soreheads insist on purging everybody who disagrees with their politics.”

      What sense of community? The only shared purpose of the company is to earn the company money and get a salary. A company will gladly shove you out if it’s in their best interest and you should be just as willing to leave for a better offer.

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