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Ex-Googler says she exposed company-wide pay inequality with spreadsheet

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When thousands of Google employees organized to share their salaries internally — allegedly highlighting troubling patterns in the way people were paid — Google got angry, according to a former Google engineer who wrote about the incident on Twitter on Friday.

The employee, Erica Baker, who is now an engineer at the workplace messaging company Slack, said on Twitter that “one Sunday” at her previous company, she and some coworkers “were bored” and decided to put their salaries in a spreadsheet.

“It got reshared all over the place,” she tweeted. As it spread through the company, thousands of employees added their salaries and it allegedly revealed “not great things regarding pay.” (See her full tweet stream here.)

Before she left the company in March, “about 5 percent” of employees shared their salary on the sheet, she tweeted. Because of it, “people asked for and got equitable pay,” she added.

So-called transparent salary policies are an increasingly trendy theory for how to level the pay playing-field in industries like tech, where often one demographic group, like men, winds up making radically more than another group, like women. With everyone’s salary out in the open, it makes it harder to pay one person much more than another who is doing the same job, just because, for example, one employee negotiated harder than the other. A few startups, like Buffer and SumAll, have embraced this ideology.

At Google, though, Baker tweeted, her managers were none too pleased.

As the spreadsheet kept growing, Baker’s co-workers began giving her “peer bonuses” —a $150 award Googlers can dole out to colleagues they think have done good work — for her work opening up the discussion about wages at Google. Baker said that her employers reprimanded her by repeatedly not approving the bonuses co-workers were sending to her. Some co-workers were surprised to discover that the bonuses could be revoked by one’s manager, Baker tweeted.

A male colleague who had also worked on the spreadsheet, though, was still receiving bonuses, said Baker, which she saw as yet another sign of discrimination.

But Baker said the spreadsheet still kept growing, resulting in more equitable pay for some employees.

Baker, who declined an interview with Fusion, said she was sharing the incident now because of positive reaction Google got to featuring the African-American suffragist Ida B. Wells in a Google Doodle this week.

Google did not respond to requests for comment from Fusion.


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blakev
1239 days ago
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Candyland and the Nature of the Absurd

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Sartre and Camus told everyone that their falling out was over politics, but really it was mostly over Sartre evoking
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blakev
1462 days ago
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popular
1462 days ago
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Dugstar2020
1462 days ago
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LOLZ
toddgrotenhuis
1462 days ago
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Now you understand Camus.
Indianapolis
mwclarkson
1462 days ago
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Camus' actual ideal game is the videogame version of Candyland, in which Sartre would be unable to disregard the rules.
Providence RI USA
tante
1463 days ago
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Become the hero of the absurd
Oldenburg/Germany

Another Empty, Lifeless Planet Found

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planet

Scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered yet another dead and lifeless planet drifting around a silent, pulsing sun-like star over 100 light-years away.

Members of the research team were able to muster enough false excitement and strained smiles to call a press conference. A representative from the team described the new planet as “startlingly similar to Earth in appearance, with a “deep blue” color and similar orbital pattern. “But,” he added, “the daytime temperatures on RS-47 generally reach 2500 degrees Fahrenheit, and every night it rains glass, sideways, in vast, shrieking storms that tear up the surface of the planet.”

“These winds,” he continued, looking visibly shaken, “often reach speeds up to 4000 miles per hour.”

There was silence as everyone in the room struggled with the same mental image.

“It’s not even blue because of the oceans,” another member of the team announced. “It’s from massive cloud systems that are laced with silicate particles. It’s — it’s tiny shards of glass suspended in the atmosphere that reflect blue light, in an obscene parody of our own Earth.”

One of the scientists who had not yet spoken began to sing quietly, almost to himself:

Ground control to Major Tom 
Commencing countdown, engines on
Check ignition and may God’s love be with you…

“It will probably give us some insight into how other dead and barren planets have been created,” lead scientist Kim Travers said with an audible quaver in her voice, “so that’s something, at least.”

“Yes,” a colleague to her right said. “That’s something, that is. That isn’t nothing. We’re not–what we’re doing isn’t nothing.” He closed his hands into fists, then opened them again.

“There may be some dust on the surface of the planet that we can study,” Travers continued. “It might be–it might be red dust, or pinkish-red, or brown. We can study the dust. The dead dust. We can study it. We can study the dead dust.”

“We can study the dead dust,” the team chanted dully in unison.

“In some ways,” Travers said, trying to light a cigarette with stained and trembling fingers, “it’s more of a punch in the gut than ever, finding a sun so much like our own, and a planet that exists well within the conditions to produce life but doesn’t. Like it’s a blind and gleeful mockery of our own existence. Like looking at your own empty grave and seeing your name erased from the headstone.”

She lit a new cigarette from the dying embers of the old one.

“There might be ice, though,” she added hopefully, seeming to perk up for a minute. “Or rather, there might have been ice there at one point. So maybe there was a time in this planet’s history when life almost clawed and stumbled its way out of non-being. Maybe a few proto-bacteria pooled themselves into a scrabbling, twitching pile of almost-sentience before collapsing back into darkness. Maybe the outlines of their remains are etched in the ice. If they are, we could study them.”

“We could study the outlines of their remains,” the team whispered as one.

A reporter raised his hand tentatively. Travers stabbed her cigarette in his direction. “Wouldn’t you say,” he asked, “or rather couldn’t you say the fact that the universe is so massive and so unique and we’re learning so many new things every day is as fascinating and thrilling and scientifically significant as discovering life on planets other than our own?”

“Every day, I look at graves through a telescope,” Travers said. “Every day I study the stillbirths of the universe. We are a tiny pinprick of life in a sea of death, and it will swallow us all.”

“It will swallow us all,” the team chanted together.

At this point, Anthony Spirino, one of the team’s visiting astronomers, burst into tears. “I found four new planets last year,” he wept. “One of them was on fire. I watched it burn. It’s still on fire, even now. It’s been on fire for ten thousand thousand years, and it will burn for ten thousand thousand more. Then it will stop burning, and go out.”

“The rest of the planets were the same,” he continued. “Rocks and dust, dust and rocks. Nothing moves across the surface, nothing swims under the surface of the seas, nothing takes to the skies and feels the sun on its skin. Nothing wakes. Nothing opens its eyes. Nothing feels pain or knows contentment or stretches its legs. Do you know how many goddamn times I’ve had to tell some asshole from the Huffington Post that a new planet ‘may very well have once been in a position to have supported life’ because some other asshole thought she saw riverbeds on the planet’s surface? Too fucking many times. Too many goddamned fucking times.”

“‘Theoretically, this planet could support life,’ one of the scientists behind him recited tonelessly. ‘Theoretically, the oceans we believe may exist on this planet could potentially support aquatic life.’”

“Theoretically,” the group said.

“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered,” Travers said quietly.

When asked to clarify her comment, she did not look up, but waved her hand out in front of her face. “Nothing. No, it’s nothing. It’s nothing. I have nothing more to say. Leave. This press conference is over. Please.”

After the door was shut, no sounds came from the room.

The post Another Empty, Lifeless Planet Found appeared first on The Toast.

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blakev
1924 days ago
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grammargirl
1924 days ago
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'“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered,” Travers said quietly.' DAMN. Mallory Ortberg is scary good.
Brooklyn, NY

How I Fell Victim for an Educational Fad

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I went through a period after I served in the Bush administration of being very involved in some very conservative think tanks where I shared their enthusiasm for testing, for accountability, for choice.   I don't think I gave up my critical faculties, but I think I was hopeful, because I was ...

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blakev
1925 days ago
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PRSM

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"Share to your heart's content."  
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blakev
1936 days ago
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pfctdayelise
1937 days ago
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The best part is when you try to sign up for an account.
Melbourne, Australia

BreweryMap plans your next beer road trip

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Brewery road trip

BreweryMap, a Google Maps mashup and mobile app, provides two main functions. The first is that it tells you where the nearest brewery is so that you'll never go thirsty again. The second and far more important function is that you can punch in two addresses, and BreweryMap tells you all the breweries that are on the way from point A to point B.

Let your fantasy become a reality. Just make sure to spread out your trips.

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blakev
1955 days ago
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cinebot
1956 days ago
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YES!
toronto.
schrierc
1955 days ago
Something about a cross country drive to breweries seems so... right.
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