So, in case you haven’t heard, a Google employee recently sent out an internal memo critiquing the company’s diversity policy, and was promptly fired. Google’s actions in this case have been both applauded and condemned by many people.
Now first let me say that, as someone with almost ten years of professional experience in software development, this concerns me. We’ve all had to become very careful about what we say at the office, or even on FaceBook, or Hell, even at a bar. And I’m probably just as good at this professional phoniness as anyone. The memo the Google engineer sent out is similar to some things I have posted on personal websites, but would I send that out to the whole company where I work? Probably not.
And yet many would argue that this man was doing Google a courtesy, by speaking truth to power, as opposed to going behind power’s back, and posting this to linger in the dark corners of the internet’s MRA community, for Google to internally speculate about who wrote it. Google said that they wanted to open a dialogue about this topic, and then punished a dissenting opinion. Which is bad on them, to me.
Now let me also say that I’ve worked with transgenders, females, blacks, Indians, Chicanos, Asians, Arabs, etc, and some of them were really good at their jobs, many even better than me! I’m not denying that any type of person can be a programmer. However, to say that anyone can be a programmer, is dangerously fantastical. Programming is not ‘perception is reality’… No amount of ‘good vibes’ will make bad code compile.
In fact, one of the biggest pains in my industry is how many pretentious people try to schmooze their way to the top of it, often without having any real understanding of it at all. This is a problem with straight white males, too. Some maverick hotshot wows the incompetent boss in an interview, is hired on, claims to be able to make everything more efficient or better somehow, and in the process, breaks everything. Seen it a million times.
And that’s why, I don’t claim to be any more bad-ass than I am, professionally. I work as a Quality Assurance Engineer, because, although I do possess basic programming and systems administration skills, I do not believe myself to be an expert at software development. My degree is in a completely unrelated field, and programming, for me, is really just a hobby that turned into a career. And that’s why I only apply for jobs I know I can do, as opposed to being the guy who says ‘Yeah, I can do that,’ while reading the ‘For Dummies’ book on it. You’d be surprised how often this actually happens, like the pretentious fraud piano teacher, who stays one lesson ahead of her kids.
Maybe at some point, I will get it together to take the 6 months of night classes I need to go full developer, but for now, I’m happy where I am: in an relatively easy, high-paying job that allows me plenty of free time for socializing and creative endeavors.
I will say this: as a QAE, I’ve watched codebases go to shit before, and the underlying organizational cause is always HR. You think the world is run by engineers and technical people, with degrees in hard science? Ha! It’s run by managers and advertisers, AKA ‘people persons’, who have degrees in social ‘science’, if anything at all. It’s the blind leading the one-eyed. I pray for a glorious and bloody revolution against these pretentious idiots.
I’ve yet to find and secure employment at a company that doesn’t have major HR issues, and when I say ‘HR issues’ I don’t mean ‘she said the n-word’ or ‘he told a raunchy joke in mixed company’. What I mean is that some people are underpaid, and some people are overpaid. The wrong people get hired and the right people get fired, or are allowed to walk away, when they get an offer their current employer doesn’t want to compete with (in which case the whole project suffers, and it’s a QA nightmare).
The fact that we’ve let ‘HR issues’ be redefined in terms of non-adherence to political correctness, to me, is just another sign that the corporate masters are dividing and conquering, by playing up these differences between races, genders, and cultures, but then refusing to talk about pay disputes, and the wrong people being put in (or more often, taking) charge.
One of the worst HR issues I’ve noticed recently is what I call ‘technical extortion’, which is to say, new developer gets job at reasonable salary, then he refactors the existing codebase in a way that only he understands, or implements some dependency, and then he basically holds the project for ransom, telling the boss ‘You are screwed without me, so give me a raise or I walk.’ I’ve had the opportunity to do this before, but I think it’s unethical. However, ethical people don’t get promoted, and I have seen this kind of behavior rewarded many times.
The people who pull this kind of shit are almost always schmoozers, who espouse all the corporate values as publicly as they can, though they are most certainly different animals behind closed doors. The person who doesn’t want to play these games, however capable he might be, gets fired. ‘Let’s fire the competent, moderately-paid guy with the controversial opinion. This Polynesian transgender will work cheaper anyway, and it makes the company look more ‘diverse’.’ And then the codebase goes to shit, users get pissed, and the brand loses market share. Seen it a million times. Got thrown under the same bus myself before.
I once got terminated because someone went behind my back to HR, and it was all over scene drama. Like, we were after the same girl, or I dissed one of his homeys, or something. HR didn’t even get my side of the story, but our territorial conflict had nothing to do with the job, and for HR to take his side be default was totally wrong.
This is why I don’t like working at hipster companies. I don’t want my co-workers to see me out on the town, being single. I’d rather co-workers be older and married, not a bunch of EDM dudebros blaring dubstep and coming into work hungover all the time.
I sued that company for funemployment, and won. That six-month paid vacation at their expense was sweet. I’m skilled, so I can always find another job. No biggie. Working at the same company your whole life just doesn’t happen anymore. I get sick of the same old office and the same old people, so I’m happy to hop around every few years. It’s an educational experience.
Some people say that I’m unprofessional to post shit like this, but it’s literally my job to criticize not just code, but human processes. Excuse the fuck out of me for doing my job. The unprofessionalism goes far and wide above my head, let me tell you.
Imagine if the egg inspector just gave all the eggs a pass, without even looking at them. Though his policy would be non-discriminatory, it would be negligent, and people would get sick from his inaction, and refusal to perform due diligence. You want to live in a society free of discrimination? Start by eating garbage. According to your ideology, it’s just as good as fresh food.
The worst part about corporatism is that every process falls victim to a Robocop 2-esque corporate groupthink that alienates the smartest people in the room, just so some popular cause can have its bullshit two cents. And if you haven’t seen Robocop 2, I highly recommend it. It’s a philosophical journey.
This is the thing about the contemporary left: they say they are all about ‘inclusion’ and creating a world where everyone is accommodated and provided for, but when you question their bullshit, they blacklist you, in an attempt to starve you out. They’ve actually combined the worst aspects of liberalism and conservatism, and they are leveling this hypocritical ideological gun at straight white males.
Everyone else gets a free pass, because it is assumed that this is what their kind historically deserves. Let the white man be a slave to progressivism, and if he bucks his reigns, put him down. Let the diversity hires run him into the ground and bleed him dry, for shit his hypothetical grandparents did to theirs. Apply a lax liberal standard to everyone but him, and apply conservative fascism to him. Then sit back and wonder why he thinks the way he does. It’s kinda like that time in high school, when the class bully turned in a paper full of errors, and you turned in passable paper, but the teacher gave you both a ‘B’, because ‘he tried his hardest, and you could have done better’.
And then some people say ‘I can’t wait until there are no more dinosaurs like that Google engineer left on Earth.’ But then who would they make a slave to progressivism? The day the last dinosaur is pumped out of the earth and burned is the same day their commie death machine runs out of gas.
And people say ‘If you don’t like it, boycott Google,’ but honestly, I don’t think I’ll have to… If they get rid of everyone like him, and replace them with incompetent liberals, the quality of their products will decline, and so will they. That’s what happens when you play fast and loose with your position, and try to use capital to circumvent reality.
Eventually, everyone excluded by policies like Google’s will form their own company, and dominate the market. This Culturally Marxist infiltration of corporate America is too incompetent to last forever. But while it does, we are all bound to suffer the consequences of pretentious software developer incompetence.
The regression of Android’s auto-correct, S3E2 of Rick and Morty, the ever-devolving WordPress interface, and many other R&D blunders represent the Fall of Western Civilization. It’s what happens when you hire for diversity, and let newbs push bad code. Expect more shit like that from these militantly naive software companies. Maybe even the one that writes your car’s automatic driving program.
‘Oh, you said you wanted to go to Wal-Mart? We thought you meant drive straight into a wall. We just put Cindy in charge of that algorithm. Isn’t she a cutie?’
At my last job, they hired a woman onto the development team. Only female on the team, and her performance was without issue. The manager was so self-conscious about not siloing her out, he silo’ed everyone else out by comparison! He spent six weeks one-on-one with her, every day, giving her the kind of training and ‘mainsplaining’ he never gave us. Ultimately, relative to her, we felt neglected and under-trained.
I guess the assumption is: You’re a fucking white male. You should already know, or be able to quickly figure out all this stuff. But this is a cut-throat business full of protectionists. People fall out of favor, they get left off of the email list, and then they get fired, for not knowing something that nobody ever told them.
At my current job, which will be ending very soon, as I have the ability to hop around quite a bit and this project will soon end, there is an old Indian man. I have to fight the urge to strangle this incompetent man daily (and if this corporate repression continues, someone, somewhere WILL get strangled, because they haven’t been allowed to peacefully express their frustrations). The old man was hired as a favor to the executive management team, which is all Indian. Today, he asked me how to generate an SSH key. He’s been on the project over 9 months! I have too much important shit to do to babysit this guy.
Mind you, there was a time when I didn’t know how to generate an SSH key either, but not 9 months into a LAMP stack project. That would be like if a mechanic’s assistant asked ‘What’s a wrench?’ halfway through an engine overhaul.
In fact, when I didn’t know how to make a key, the first time I was asked years ago, I was too ashamed of my own ignorance to ask how, so I went to Stack Overflow, and figured it out in 15 minutes. This guy is still struggling with this as we speak. Oh yeah, and he makes substantially more money than me.
I’m getting to the age where I sometimes interview for ‘senior’ level QAE positions. What that usually means, when they are trying to hire a Senior level employee, from outside the company, is that there is an existing team of lovable losers who aren’t qualified for the job. So my job would be to educate and inspire the unqualified people they have already hired. These people are often women and ethnic minorities, who have been given cushy jobs, where not much is expected of them, and coddled, often at the expense of other employees.
I’ve had female bosses before. Never had a good one. Much like my romantic life, I’m sure there are good ones out there, but I’ve never personally met one. Plenty of pretentious and insulated divas want to be project managers, trust me, and dealing with their neuroticism is never easy.
Even when I got a night job at a headshop, just to make friends, they put a woman in charge of me. I’d taken classes in glass blowing and worked at shops for years before her, but go ahead and put her in charge, because she’s networked in with the streets, and I’m so whitebread. Well, long story short, all her employees quit (including me), none of them are her friends anymore, and she got fired. The headshop then closed, after 30 years of business.
Considering that I live in a city where cost of living is skyrocketing, I really question the motives of companies who give women cushy jobs, like ‘Social Media Manager’, just so they can afford to live here. It’s almost like someone said, ‘This silo is a total sausage fest, bro. Let’s get some trim up in here.’ And just like that, a bunch of territorial, insecure men, who are unwilling to teach eachother what they do, become willing to foster and mentor some cute young girl, and then the little guy who’s just starting out gets shafted by chauvinist group politics.
Finally, I’ll relate this little anecdote:
I did a phone interview with RetailMeNot. The guy asked me some really basic questions, and my answers seemed to intimidate him. He thought that OWASP was a paid security audit service, displaying his ignorance of OWASP, which is actually a 501c3 dedicated to proliferating computer security knowledge, something EVERYONE in software-as-a-service testing should know about.
Ultimately, they came back and said I was over-qualified. The exact words they used were ‘We wouldn’t want to put an automated scripter in a manual tester role’. I actually do both manual and auto testing, but they said I was overqualified. For an $89k/yr job. I’ve never in my life made that much money. If I’m over-qualified, why can’t I find anyone willing to pay me more to do my job?
OK, so here’s where it gets juicy: A co-worker of mine, with the exact same job title as me, at my current employer, goes up for the same role at RetailMeNot. Not only do they invite him for an onsite interview, they offered him the job! Background on this guy: by most, if not all accounts, he is less skilled than me. I’m an automator and sysadmin, and he’s just a manual front-end black box tester. Ultimately, he was laid off from my current employer for being under-skilled and overpaid. He re-located to the DC area, and ended up not even wanting or taking the job that RetailMeNot offered him. But we were somewhat friendly co-workers, so I was kept informed of all this.
Not to be bitter or toot my own horn, but if you could get either of us for the same money, it makes sense, both on paper and in practice, to hire me!
The other difference between him and me: I’m white, and he’s Indian. I would not have thought anything of this, if I had not read this review of RetailMeNot on Glassdoor:
‘Very political environment where ‘diversity & inclusivity’ is a major priority as employees are divided by race & genitalia, then we’re told we need more of this group and less of this group. It’s rather sickening. You must think and march along with the obvious political party lines (which doesn’t even have anything to do with work) or you’re not in the clique.’
And there are other reviews that indicate that’s the way the wind blows at this company, too… Just read through all their reviews.
What’s so bad for them, is that my co-worker didn’t take the job, he actually took another job, and we are still on friendly terms… so if I were to sue RetailMeNot for discrimination, he would probably testify on my behalf. Maybe someone is going to have to sue, in order to convince them to address their internal biases, and change their policy to one that is legal.
So, what do I think of affirmative action? It’s a pain in the ass, it’s not fair, and it hurts morale! Hire for merit, not diversity, and PAY PEOPLE FAIRLY. If you are an applicant and you don’t have merit yet, work your way up from the bush leagues, like I did. There are companies who hire unskilled workers off the street, you just have to pound the pavement and find them.
And yes, there are people out there who will try to use your opinion, peacefully expressed in private company, to get you fired. Just the other day, I posted about being excited about a job interview I had with a company in Denver, because I’ve been toying with the idea of moving there. A frienemy on my profile, who happens to be an old lady from Colorado, innocently asked ‘What company?’
When I explained to her that I would never divulge that info, unless I had already worked there for at least a year, she then went on this rant about how people should stop moving to Denver, and it’s full. I’ve heard this about every popular city, so it doesn’t phase me. But if I had naively told this old bag the name of the company I was interviewing with, do you think she would have called them up, and told them I was part of a secret international ring of necrophiliacs, in a petty attempt to keep me from getting a better job? Bet your sweet ass.
In 1984, George Orwell wrote ‘Thoughtcrime does not entail death. Thoughtcrime IS death.’ And in many ways, terminating someone and making him a pariah over his opinion, which possibly could have been changed, is a death sentence. If this guy cannot get another job, if he can’t pay his rent, armed men will put him on the streets, and he will starve and die. And no matter what your sociopolitical views are, if you think that’s social justice, like some kind of Gandhi boycott, you have more in common with Stalin than Gandhi.
And so, without further adieu, I give you my favorite Myspace meme of the early 2000’s, which I have re-captioned for the sake of relevance: