One thing that really pains me in some cases is when I hear from people that work at places I have worked previously is that they chose to work there because I was or had.
The reason it pains me is because those individuals I’ve spoken to have always said “oh, she worked there, it must have been a good place from an inclusion and diversity perspective”.
Some of the places I have left, though, have not been. Which is why I left in the first place. NDAs normally prevent me from telling someone this, which irks me. I realize I could say “no, it’s a crap place, stay away”, but I’m fair. It was a crap place for me. Someone else may have a different experience.
For me, tough, a place like The Former Company, not to be confused with That Company, capitalizing on my reputation really hurts, since it often is my desire to improve the working conditions, including diversity and inclusion, that I suspect is why I was pushed out. 1
This may seem conceited. “Who does she think she is, does she think she’s got that much impact?”. Not necessarily, but even the handful of people that have contacted me through various means to say that my reputation built the reputation of The Former Company is bitter for me. Not being able to stand up and say “Hey, The Former Company actually treated me like crap” when told “oh I work there because you did” is painful. It’s painful because I can’t warn them away, and it’s painful because I can’t openly say what happened. NDAs.
Marginalized groups are being treated worse in the industry than Ye Olde Default White Man. But so is Ye Olde Default White Man who actually wants to change it.
My feeling – yes, anecdata – is that as long as you go along with the industry’s lack of desire to update, upgrade or change itself you’re fine. You don’t even have to agree with it in order for you to float to the top. But god forbid you oppose it.
So to all of you out there looking at my past work history as a guide to places to work, talk to me first. It might not be as good as you think. My point with this post is however not to bash my former employers. A lot of the things I have learned has been awesome. The work is always interesting, the circumstances vary. I think what I’m trying to say is that we can’t keep sweeping the dirt under the carpet anymore. The industry suffers greatly from various issues, and most of those issues are cultural. But we’re also living with a blackout culture. Don’t you dare say anything bad about the places you have been because that will get you blacklisted.
This is one of those posts that I’m not sure I should be posting, for that specific reason. I must seem like a very disruptive person, too many questions, too many opinions. And maybe when you read this you’ll think “oh she brought it on herself”. It’s possible. But I am not the only one with this kind of story. I am not the only one this has happened to. There are whisper networks all around the industry, and they say very much of the same thing. But since we never discuss it, it never has a chance to heal.