It was a rare chance for managers to get away from a tense work environment in order to bond.
Yeah, those things are always awful. But I was the New Guy, so there was no way I was getting out of it.
It was on a Friday night. We bowled. We went out for burgers and beer. We talked about our lives. It was almost fun.
Fast forward to Monday.
My leader (the manager of all the mangers at Friday's event) called me into a conference room, closed the blinds, and told me to be careful of what I talk about on and off the clock.
Because, you know, some people won't appreciate it.
Was this about me talking about the garden variety plans Caanan and I had for the weekend and – most important to this little story – that Caanan is also a guy? Sadly, it was.
That's the day I learned that I had signed on to work at the wrong place.
I didn't stick around too much longer, and my experience there is really what prompted me to shift my career focus to work in the field of new-school Human Resources.
It was the best nudge that could have ever happened.
The truth is, I didn't like the culture I was working in. (You can imagine the other awful things that were going on culturally if that was my experience as a gay guy.)
And it turns out I didn't like the work I was really doing. (What – on paper – was sold as leading a team of 25 to "create better experiences for customers" was anything but.)
I'm sharing this story as a real life example – my real life example – of addressing the dilemma I proposed in the post about Uber. It's about the importance of each of us doing our part to make smart employment decisions that keep:
- Evil corporations from thriving.
- Us (in the role of employees) from having to sell our souls.
This theme was prevalent at the professional conference we attended in San Francisco, so we found ourselves fixated on the topic during "off time" when we were exploring one of our favorite cities.
The circumstances I faced over a decade ago were not new then, and they are not new now. Rather, the conditions simply take on new faces as the landscape of the world changes. My story occurred at the world's 7th largest bank (remember all the focus on banking before the big crash?). Now, the same challenges exist within companies that represent the current version of what's "hot" out in the world.
Mostly tech companies. Like Uber.
So, in addition to examining the questions posed in that last post, I'll ask you to take a look at three relationships that we'll dive deeper into in future posts.
1. Your relationship with technology in general, especially being on the web.
2. Your relationship with the gig economy.
3. Your relationship with social media.
While the thought-starters from the last post were aimed at people pondering new employment, these are aimed at you, whether or not employment decisions are on your horizon. Our relationships with those three entities are shaping the world we live in (as citizens, employees, and freelancers) and the one we're leaving behind for future generations to deal with.
Why? Because the lines are blurred. As work and life become one thing for more and more people, we all have a stake.
Such. Heavy. Stuff.
So let me close with a couple more pictures from San Francisco to lighten the mood. We had a great time!