Can We Encourage Facebook Employees to Go Elsewhere?

I was walking to work this morning past a group of Facebook employees waiting for their bus. I wanted to say something to them. While I didn’t, it got me thinking, what if?

What if I actually stopped to say something? Would it turn confrontational? Would they ignore me? What if I had an encouraging, positive, standardized statement that said “Hey, you’re really fucking good at your job. You have options. You can do what you do anywhere”. What if it were printed on a little card that I could just give people so they don’t try and hit me. What if the card had statements from people smarter, and more influential than I encouraging these talented people to put their skills to use elsewhere?

The thoughts started to balloon. What if there were a recruiter attached who’s specializing in trying to get these Facebook employees to interview elsewhere? Or employers who’s willing to fast-track Facebook employees to an on-site interview? While these are real, tangible things, they wouldn’t really help here. Facebook employees, in theory, get reached out to by hiring representatives every day so they don’t need special treatment. They already have options. But I don’t know what kind of tangible things you could offer somebody working there that would make them feel like it’s worthwhile to go a different direction. Is money, truly, all that matters to Facebook employees?

Everyone has worked somewhere they’re not 100% proud of, but with an organization such as Facebook I think we’re seeing employees doubling down on their choice because the alternative is that they work for somewhere truly evil, and that’s a hard pill to swallow. Every Facebook employee is part of the problem, but they don’t have to be. They can leave and do amazing things. Things that don’t require waiting for a bus to Menlo Park or enabling the demise of democracy.

If you worked somewhere that you knew at your core was not positive for humanity what are some things that people could say to you to make you feel like it’s ok to move on and do something else? How do you support them in stopping what they’re doing without coming off as judging them?

I don’t know if this is just a thought experiment, or if it’s something that’s actually ethically possible to pursue. But if you have ideas on how we can encourage Facebook employees to go do something else, let me know by pinging me on the Fediverse.


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Gabe Kangas

Feb 1, 2019