Social Justice Warriors
There are a lot of angry people in the world. Some people are perpetually angry. They’re usually called social justice warriors, or the woke. Even Cambridge dictionary doesn’t seem to realise that wokeness is not a compliment.
Tech / software firms are generally biased in this direction, chiming in and signalling their virtue whenever they can. The problem is, not everyone agrees with the woke agenda. Not everyone thinks that tearing everything down will create anything better. Not everyone is so narcissistic to think they have all the answers. Not everyone believes in the existence of “The Patriachy” or “Systemic Racism.”
I’ve been aware of 37signals, now Basecamp since about 2005 when Rails got big. I drifted away from Ruby and toward Python over the years. I’ve never used any of their software but they’ve written some interesting books and software, without doubt.
Reading between the lines, I think they let their employees drift away from doing what they were paid to do, and instead “fix the world” starting with Basecamp. I don’t think this went well for the owners.
And now, they’ve had enough. They don’t want any political or social commentary through company accounts. They’ve also retracted some employee benefits after realising that it’s none of their business what employees do in their own time.
About a third of Basecamp staff (twenty or so out of sixty) have decided they can’t work at a company that won’t let them comment on whatever they want, whenever they want.
Good. Let them go and be more careful who you employ in the future, Basecamp.
Boundaries are good
Here on my blog, I can write whatever I want. I set my own boundaries. But if I worked for a company, I wouldn’t expect to use their reach for my interests and goals.
I think we can expect to see a lot more companies realising that what might be obvious to you or me, needs putting in the employment contract for others.
I’ll put money on Basecamp adjusting their interview techniques towards detecting these activists from now on.
And for anyone thinking that they would have a load of new job openings: nope not one on 2021-05-03.
Jason and David are clever guys who run a very successful business. They may have been surprised that a third of their staff can’t handle being told to pipe down and focus on doing what they’re paid for, but now they know that the two thirds that remain are happy with some sensible rules.
Plus, they’ve got a load of free publicity (again)!
Finally, the exiting staff who signalled their virtue by publicly stating their decision to leave, may have received some twitter likes, but they’ve also let potential employers know that first and foremost, they’re an activist.