If you haven’t already read it, do go find Emi Nietfeld’s New York Times piece, “After Working at Google, I’ll Never Let Myself Love a Job Again.” It’s very thoughtful reflection on how companies create a gloss of friendliness over a structure that’s fundamentally transactional, and the damage it can do:
I bought into the Google dream completely. In high school, I spent time homeless and in foster care, and was often ostracized for being nerdy. I longed for the prestige of a blue-chip job, the security it would bring and a collegial environment where I would work alongside people as driven as I was.
What I found was a surrogate family. During the week, I ate all my meals at the office. I went to the Google doctor and the Google gym.
However, once she has a problem with her technical manager that she reports to HR, things go bad, and ultimately she leaves.
After I quit, I promised myself to never love a job again. Not in the way I loved Google. Not with the devotion businesses wish to inspire when they provide for employees’ most basic needs like food and health care and belonging. No publicly traded company is a family. I fell for the fantasy that it could be.
So I took a role at a firm to which I felt no emotional attachment. I like my colleagues, but I’ve never met them in person. I found my own doctor; I cook my own food. My manager is 26 — too young for me to expect any parental warmth from him. When people ask me how I feel about my new position, I shrug: It’s a job.
Her book Acceptance is coming out later this year, and it looks like one of a growing number of books pushing back on the idea that you must love what you do— Sarah Jaffe’s Work Won’t Love You Back is another great one— or at least, making the argument that you need to choose how to direct that love.
By the way: Her new job? It’s at Facebook.