Interesting article in the NYT today by Emi Netfield, a software engineer, about growing up at Google. Ostensibly, the article is about the sexual harassment she faced at work which ended her fantasy relationship with the company; In actual fact, it is an ode to entitlement.
The ogre in the tale was her “technical lead” — an awful man who called her “beautiful” and “gorgeous” — but who also stopped doing so when asked. For some reason, Netfield waited until he was about to get promoted before sprinting to HR.
When Google didn’t immediately wrap Emi up in a big warm hug and set her harasser on fire, she decided this was evidence of Google “protecting itself“. Or maybe Google following the same ‘misogynistic’ complaint protocols that hundreds of corporations follow worldwide.
Anyway, Emi was shocked that the investigation “stretched out” for nearly three months, signalling a horrifying truth: She was not the precious snowflake she believed to be, she was just another employee.
Because the company did not immediately sack, demote, or relocate the harasser on her say-so, poor Emi was forced to endure his presence, although admittedly the tyrants at Google did offer her options (leave, work from home, etc) which would have fixed this. But Emi refused, it being tantamount to victim-blaming.
She tells us that “eventually” (I can picture the sigh and eye-roll) the complaint was resolved in Emi’s favour. While the punishment was officially described as “severe“, it wasn’t nearly harsh enough for Emi’s liking, who complained that she had got “nothing solid in return“.
I’m not sure how many bundles of ‘solid’ Emi expected, but she reports feeling betrayed, vulnerable, on-edge and was losing sleep. So she took three-months paid leave to recover from her trauma and when she returned to work was shocked to find people treated her differently.
Things came to a head when she tried to leverage offers from other companies to negotiate a better salary. She tells how Google’s “meagre” counteroffer (i.e. what they believed she was actually worth to Google) was further proof of their perfidy.
The honeymoon being over, of course Emi’s now writing a book, hoping to shame Google and make back some of the $$$ she believes is owed to her for the anguish and suffering she endured at the hands of their corporate women-hating.
While it must be yuck to be called ‘beautiful’, at least he didn’t grab her on the tit. He didn’t turkey-slap or teabag her. He didn’t ask for a rusty trombone for his birthday, or comb his pubes with her toothbrush, or add a warm dollop of his extra-salty, home-made mayonnaise onto her sandwich.
I’m not saying “Hey beautiful” isn’t bad, it’s just not as bad as those things: as bad as being groped or raped.
But do we live in a world where such distinctions can still be made? We do not. Because this is the New World Order. We now live in a world where the justice system is under siege because it asks women who claim sexual assault to submit to the same rules of evidence and standard of proof as bank robbers and murderers.
Which is apparently not good enough.
Dressed-up anyway you look at it, mark this as the moment when the paradigm shifted, transferring power from men to women. And to think, only a minute ago you were shrieking “Let me breathe!” The new revolutionaries, drawing a deep breath, are shouting ‘Carpe diem!’ from the rooftops and “Omnia sume!” from the streets.
More power to you, ladies. Just remember: if you want to kick a man to the head, don’t expect him to kneel first.
Me? I’m happy for the buck to stop with you. Go take the blame for everything that goes wrong. Just don’t expect me to stand idly by when you fuck up. Because you will, we all do. Go seize the day and snatch power from all the evil men, and don’t mind little ole me.
I’m just sharpening a stack of pencils.