Last week, Twitter installed bedrooms for employees. They’re expected to be “hardcore” and being hardcore means working too late to go home. And then waking up and working some more. The rooms look like an answer to the alternative history question, “What if IKEA showrooms existed behind a 2022 Iron Curtain?” But they’re really just a reaction to the relative freedom of remote work and an empowered labor force. It’s just another lever to pull when seeking maximum extraction for maximum profit.
They steal our lives too.
My husband works in tech and in 2019 spent two months basically living in the office for a product launch. He’d already been working 60-80 hour weeks remotely, but then he had to add a commute — the opposite direction from my work. We only have one car so often I’d have to walk home — only 45 minutes but sometimes you’re wiped at the end of the day and just want to fucking sit down, not climb a giant hill.
But suddenly making his partner responsible for *everything* to keep our household going was a cost his work could extract from my body, though I wasn’t the one working for them.
His boss said he’d pay for us to go out to dinner when it was done. As if one meal makes up for months of missed dinners. There’s a photo of me with the fancy drink I got — I look exhausted, can barely smile. My husband was so wiped he forgot to expense it. And we don’t even have kids.
I have multiple friends who have nearly been driven to quit by the tech sector’s on-call schedule.
Because it’s a good-paying job, it’s hard to complain about the expectation to work long hours, knowing how many others have it so much worse. But even though we’re not in Silicon Valley, Seattle has a price bubble of its own. With shitty ramblers from the seventies starting at a million bucks, even tech workers can’t afford a home now without two salaries.
I wish white collar workers could recognize that while they’re rich compared to the poor, they’re not rich compared to the *rich*. If you have to work, you’re not really rich. Workers of all classes could build some solidarity together. There’s a lot of manipulative class warfare turning people who should be allies against each other, when workers are not the root of the exploitation problem: owners are.