OK, I have slammed many of the large corporations, members of the FAANG group, Microsoft (on the mere principle of joy), IBM, because we have to and a whole range of other technology providers. We could work on the conundrum that a UK comedian once gave us:
“How long must we bash Microsoft, not merely for the joy, but because it is our civic duty to do so?”
Apparently his equation also applies to UKIP, Nigel Farage, the LibDems and Nick Clegg. At times, I have hit out at Google decisions as well, because at times, in critical points of exposure we need to do that. Not merely because of a $340 million payout they would owe me for bringing them a patented solution worth $3.4 billion, but you get the package deal. If you cannot say where it is at when it matters, whatever happens will never matter, and I prefer not to work for anyone who does not matter, or whatever they bring matters to no one, it is a stage of work that is self-destructive in the end, and who wants that?
My bosses have always known that, they always knew where they stood with me, no exceptions. I hate bosses who are too scared to give me the bad news. You know those bosses who over the course of the week go from. ‘We would like this to get done’, then we get ‘It would be best if we can manage this to be completed, optionally at the end of the week’ and on the Friday afternoon we get ‘If we do not present it on Monday morning, jobs will be on the line’, so we work throughout the weekend, whilst the previous Monday we could have been given the reality of ‘This has to be presented next Monday morning, so we need to put in the hours to get it done’ There we would have known what we were in for. Not to overly stressed stage of a weekend to resolve issues (whether realistic or not).
These bosses are still around, they are the epiphany of cowardice, they cannot relay bad news, no matter what is ahead.
Why are we getting this?
The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/dec/11/google-tvc-full-time-employees-training-document) gave us less than 9 hours ago: ‘Revealed: Google’s ‘two-tier’ workforce training document‘, we get “Google staff are instructed not to reward certain workers with perks like T-shirts, invite them to all-hands meetings, or allow them to engage in professional development training, an internal training document seen by the Guardian reveals“, and my answer is: ‘So what?‘
I was one of those people, I was assigned exclusively to Google and I did not get that stuff, we got some of that stuff via our own office. I NEVER took offense, because I was hired and employed by someone else, I was merely exclusively assigned to Google. There was no lack of clarity; there was no lack of information and no lack of assistance. Google is a world by itself, it opens EVERY door within Google and those employed there have access to pretty much EVERYTHING. So it is in all kinds of manners an IP nightmare in the making, as such it is important to know what you can do, what you can access and where you can be. They never denied us food, coffee, snacks, or access to the materials we needed to do our jobs, we merely did not get everything and I get it, I always understood that this is a nightmare for the actual Googlers as well.
So there is an actual harsh truth in: “Working with TVCs and Googlers is different,” the training documentation, titled the The ABCs of TVCs, explains. “Our policies exist because TVC working arrangements can carry significant risks.” I do not believe I ever did anything inappropriate there, I never betrayed the trust of Google; I never short changed their customers on service. Apparently 2 years later there are still agencies that look back on my service very positive, that is my reward, I did a good job and that is what I always wanted to do, a good job. I also always wanted to be a Googler, because of the access to so many bright minds, it is intoxicating. For 20 years I was the only light in a company (because of my function), pushed into a cubicle with the books , manuals and data sets, the guru on a lonely mountain. To walk into the room with similar bright minds and knowing that I am not even close to the brightest mind is awesome, for me trying to keep up with them was a challenge, one anyone would miss. It is like training with Braden Holtby and Martin Jones for next week line-up as a goalie (in realistic terms, I would end up in 4th position there), but I will fight for it, no matter what, so Braden better bring his flaming A-game to that practice round.
I also did not take offense to: “According to a current employee with access to the figures, of approximately 170,000 people around the world who now work at Google, 50.05% are FTEs. The rest, 49.95%, are TVCs“, perhaps I should, or perhaps I should not. Well, I am no longer a TVC, so it does not matter, you see, that is corporate policy. It is what some would call: ‘Above my pay grade’. For the most I want to do a good job, have a decent place to live in and do it just like I did many decades, I am a workaholic at heart, I feel no denial or shame.
So when I see: “The letter detailed some of the material concerns that TVCs face due to Google’s differential treatment, including lower wages and “minimal benefits”“, I wonder what that is about, because I never had any income complaints and the lunches I had there were awesome (and a nice plus). The work was well staged, the equipment was there and working (they have an excellent IT department), which in light of some other places was a nice step forward. Perhaps it was lower wages, I do not know, I was hired on a clear premise and they fulfilled it 100% (110% is you consider one or two extras). Yes, I did notice that the Googlers had all kinds of extras. They have a job to do, a target to make and whether they did or not, I do not know. I did what I had to do and there was no negativity. Perhaps it is different in other nations, perhaps a place like Mountain View has other parts, I cannot tell. Yet when I personally see: “Google routinely denies TVCs access to information that is relevant to our jobs and our lives,” the letter states. “When the tragic shooting occurred at YouTube in April of this year, the company sent real-time security updates to full-time employees only, leaving TVCs defenseless in the line of fire. TVCs were then excluded from a town hall discussion the following day.” I see an issue, one that he article does not give.
- I never was denied information that was relevant to my job, I got at times a whole lot more information than I bargained for.
- ‘Leaving TVC’s defenseless in the line of fire‘, I cannot tell, I was not there, was that actually the case, or was that perception? That is an important distinction, and I feel certain (to a small degree) that the writer Julia Carrie Wong cannot tell that for certain either.
- Excluded from a town hall discussion, makes sense because as a TVC I would not be an employee of Google, my boss if I was exposed to that would inform me and then make sure I got all the support I needed, because my boss was great in that regard.
So we have one part with three elements where two parts could be wiped form the ledger immediately leaving one optional discussion.
Bloomberg gives an additional part. there we get: “One contractor, who works 50 to 60 hours a week in Google’s marketing division, said TVCs are treated as “collateral damage” who can be hired and fired on short notice to help the company achieve business goals quickly and cheaply.” that is the nature of the beast, that is the impact of being a temp, I have been a temp for many years and I preferred being an actual employee, but it was work and at some point I became an employee of a large software firm, sitting on the other side of that equation. And even today I would not shy away from being a Google TVC. I was never treated wrongly. For the most I was never treated wrongly at any firm hiring me as a temp, oh and on the side, those 50 hours were all paid for, as an employee I did not get that overtime. We all have moments that suck, we all feel a little down when we are the employee that is not invited to the corporate party, no free booze and food (mostly food mind you).
I understand that there are plenty of temps that feel unhappy about being a temp versus being an employee and that is to be expected, most of us have been there one day or another. Yet in this stage of so many people without a job, any job will do, that includes temps. As for the quote “Another TVC described full-time staff asking her to move from an office desk or cutting ahead of her in line for coffee because she was a contractor and therefore not as important“, I have NEVER experienced that or seen that in any of the three Google offices I have been in. In the end, we should realise that any company will hire its own variation of jerk, or douche bag, it happens, want to blame the company for that? Good luck trying to work for the CIA at some point.
Bu the way, I had to do some of those training modules and you should all see that this is done so that there is clarity, so that you do not accidentally set yourself up for a harsh fall, because someone will cry with the claim of false promises, or the statement that someone got bought (or hundreds of other dangers). Google is pretty good that way (likely merely for self-defence purposes), making sure that the person knows what they need to know.
And perhaps it is ‘all about saving money‘. Let’s face it google has a few hundred courses running, do you want to lose time and resources training 10,000 contractors on skills they do not even need? I always had access to all the trainings I needed and they made sure that there was work time available to do these courses, which in opposition from bosses making me go to some of them in a weekend setting is a great plus. I would happily walk up to Duncan Lewis requesting access to the long range training with the .338 Accuracy International AWM. You never know when a dingo comes for your baby, and that apparently happened for real (and in an Oscar setting), we must be ready and vigilant and it is not like Duncan has anything better to do with his time, but to approve for my needs, right?
We need to see what is required and what a person was hired to do, it is not kind or friendly or accommodating, but that is not why people get hired, hired as either temps or employees. We seem to forget that in places like Google, Microsoft and IBM, employees get for the most their full access as it is a return on investment for the firm to give them the knowledge, to keep staff versatile, that line does not apply to temp staff. We seemingly forget that part at times.
So when we see: “In 2000, Microsoft agreed to pay a $97m settlement over a massive class-action lawsuit brought by permatemps“, it is optionally not because Microsoft did anything wrong (I honestly do not know that part). There is an unwritten part and a clear part and sometimes that field is jurisprudentially too grey too fathom and settling would be much cheaper in the end. Yet when I was at Google, there was no non clarity; the actual Googlers were happy, friendly and kind all the time. That year was one of the best ones in my entire working career and that is saying something. So when I see: “We are legally in the clear to treat people like garbage.” I can tell you right now that I never experienced or perceived such treatment by anyone at Google ever, which leaves us with a lot more question regarding this article and as such I wonder how these sources were vetted. It might all be on the up and up and I will say sorry, accepting that my personal experience is merely one of 49.95% of 170,000 staff.
So I might be the positive outlier and I will happily admit to that is that is the case, yet I see here merely one view of an American side of a corporation that operates in 219 countries, and as far as I can tell 70 offices in 50 countries (3 in Sydney), from that point of view I wonder how accurate or acceptable this article actually is.