Last week, Basecamp became the latest tech company to effectively ban employees from talking about politics at work.
“Every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant,” Jason Fried, Basecamp’s chief executive, wrote in a blog post. “You shouldn’t have to wonder if staying out of it means you’re complicit, or wading into it means you’re a target.”
“We make project management, team communication, and email software,” Fried wrote. “We don’t have to solve deep social problems, chime in publicly whenever the world requests our opinion on the major issues of the day, or get behind one movement or another with time or treasure. These are all important topics, but they’re not our topics at work.”
According to reports, one-third of Basecamp’s 57 employees have since resigned, with some celebrating those who decided to leave the company.
John Breen, whose bio describes him as “He/Him. ADHD. Software developer. Queer. High Maintenance,” tweeted, “Let’s keep track of the folks who are leaving @Basecamp and do what we can to find them a new home where they’re allowed to exist without being told they’re divisive:”
Let's keep track of the folks who are leaving @Basecamp and do what we can to find them a new home where they're allowed to exist without being told they're divisive:
— John Breen (@_breeeeen_) April 30, 2021
In the replies were multiple apparently disgruntled former employees of Basecamp, such as Zach Waugh who responded, “After 7 years, today is my last day at Basecamp. I plan on taking a little time off, but if anyone is looking for an iOS engineer, I would love to chat, my DMs are open.”
After 7 years, today is my last day at Basecamp. I plan on taking a little time off, but if anyone is looking for an iOS engineer, I would love to chat, my DMs are open.
— Zach Waugh (@zachwaugh) April 30, 2021
Now, before looking at the issue at hand, many would view resigning in response to supposedly controversial policies by one’s employer as an example of “putting your money where your mouth is.” Resigning due to deeply held beliefs is principled, right?
However, it’s worth noting that “Basecamp had offered severance of up to six months of salary to employees” who decided they wanted to leave following the founders’ decisions.
These “principled” employees who resigned are presumably happy to continue cashing a paycheck for up to six months. Wokeness does have its limits, after all.
Whether or not you agree with Basecamp’s decision — each company is perfectly capable of determining the best internal policies for their business goals — the response of their employees is deeply indicative of the childish sense of entitlement and self-importance that exists in much of the tech world.
As The New York Times reported, “Surveys suggest that a large portion of employees believe that the companies they work for should speak up on social issues.” The response to this? So what? Why has it become the norm that employees run the company, even if that means risking straying from the company’s central purpose to achieve irrelevant political aims?
For many tech workers, their career transition has involved several years of college education, followed immediately by the embrace of coddling software companies. Blinded by the benefits rained down upon them, employees soon lose sight of their purpose — to contribute to the company’s business objectives — and the hierarchy in which they exist.
Basecamp’s actions reminded their employees of these obvious realities, and — like the children many software workers are — some of them are throwing a tantrum.
And why are they throwing a tantrum? Because that’s how spoiled children get their way. Let’s hope that companies like Basecamp hold their ground.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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