After reading the blog prompt, the first company I immediately thought of was Google. The reason why I chose Google is because after working in New York City this past summer I met numerous individuals working for a variety of companies such as Goldman Sachs, SumZero, Contrarian Capital and last but not least, Google. Of all these firms, everyone told me how they were working extremely long hours, how their bosses were jerks and how their offices were nothing special. All mentioned similar things about their working environments, except for my friend’s roommate, Adam, who had recently began working at Google. Let me start by saying that no one in our friend group called Adam, Adam. We called him The Googler. This is because when he initially joined Google, he not only joined the company of Google, but most importantly, he joined the culture of Google. On Adam’s first day he was welcomed by a colleague greeting him, “Hey!!! You’re a Googler now!” This was the beginning of his incredible job experience. Adam was the only one in our friend group who raved about his work and how amazing everything at Google was. He had constant energy, but most importantly, he did not consider work as work. He sincerely told us how it was his responsibility to provide the best he could for his clients. This is because of Google’s work culture, which all starts with one of their mottos: “It’s really the people that make Google the kind of company it is.” Google’s culture not only embodies everything of a utopian work environment, but most importantly, demonstrates that a good employer leads to good outcomes. Incase you have never seen any of Google’s complexes, next time you’re bored and on the Internet, go ahead and search Google offices. Or take a look at Some of Google’s office spaces here. These offices are insane! Some have bowling allies, nap-pods, rock climbing walls and even hair salons. Oh, and did I mention the free food that the employees also get? It is evident that Google believes in providing the best working environment for their employees in order to get the best quality of work out of their stakeholders in return. Due to theses incredible, facilities and benefits, Adam was truly producing his best quality of work in return and most likely so are other Googlers. Today, Adam, or the Googler continues to work at Google as an account manager for retail clients. He not only loves his job, but truly believes that Google extremely values their employees because it will lead to better outcomes. In addition to constant donations for renewable energy projects and creating their own energy-efficient projects, the efforts of Google exemplify their social responsibility as a major corporation. By providing their internal structure of the company with the best possible aid, Google stakeholders are propelled to externally provide the best for others.
The overwhelming feelings of sadness, guilt, helplessness, and ignorance will almost certainly follow a story like the one told by Mr. Daisey regarding his visit to FOXCONN. How can Apple executives (and many other companies) let these conditions persist while maintaining consistently high profit margins? Perhaps, like Kathy, they have convinced themselves that the workers’ experience is an experience that too far disconnected from their own as to be compared to that of someone who is mentally ill. It is impossible for many to judge how it feels to be in a workers’ position, and so it is similarly impossible to empathize. To be able to trully understand transcends the ability to conduct everyday business, and is in many ways counterproductive. Also saddening, is the realization that we too are trapped in a society where it is no longer possible to be detached from our “machines” while maintaining a standard of living. Go ahead. Stop buying phones and computers.
So, It seems that we are all guilty of being complacent. While these conditions continue, we collectively nurture a social pressure to buy and use Apple products. Meanwhile, any story of the horrors that we have helped cause must be repressed. This is not the first time I have heard that FOXCONN employees attempt to commit suicide, yet I have largely just repressed any thought of it. It is too harsh, too ugly, and too foreign for many of us to ponder often. It is horrible, yet true, and we are all guilty.
Despite this knowledge, it seems that we have no choice. Similar to the dystopian society in 1984, most of us would suffer immensely if we tried to give up all of the bits and pieces of technology that we have acquired. It is a part of us, and we are a part of it. In this way we are slowly becoming the machine; an economic machine that encourages blind purchasing, complete with physical devices that break down real connection.
At this very moment, I am typing thoughts into a computer, instead of embracing the life that Socrates believed dialogue possessed. Ironically, I am contradicting the message that I may have been eluding to. Should I stop writing now? Should a passionate Apple fan refrain from buying the next big thing? I’d say probably yes to both, but we will ignore these things and continue on. More likely than not, we are preparing the future for a dystopian society in more ways than we can count, and this is a sad truth. If a radical solution were to exist, it would probably be ignored; repressed because incompatible with current society.