Here's a classic scenario from a toxic work environment. A snowflake triggered by the use of an every-day normal word in a work meeting.It reminds me of the wonderful scene from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams.
A Google executive sparked a fierce backlash from employees by using the word "family" in a weekly, company-wide presentation, according to internal documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.What does that look like in real life?
Many Google employees became angry that the term was used while discussing a product aimed at children, because it implied that families have children, the documents show. The backlash grew large enough that a Google vice president addressed the controversy and solicited feedback on how the company could become more inclusive.
One employee stormed out of the March 2017 presentation after a presenter "continued to show (awesome) Unicorn product features which continually use the word 'family' as a synonym for 'household with children,'" he explained in an internal thread. That employee posted an extended rant, which was well-received by his colleagues, on why linking families to children is "offensive, inappropriate, homophobic, and wrong."
One guy posts a snowflake rage-fit on the internal communication network, a bunch of other people have themselves a little ShirtStorm agreeing with him, to the point where upper management has to do a groveling ritual to calm the storm.
So why is the end nigh for Google? Because they are encouraging and rewarding mobbing behavior among their employees. Using a word in the culturally normal way in a technical presentation generated a couple of days worth of uproar on the company network.
All that activity occurred during work hours. Those people were not doing any revenue generating work while they were raging on about pronouns. But worse, now every guy who has a presentation to make is worried about what harmless word is going to be the next one to cause a mob. Will it be "team?" How about "shoe" or "badminton?"
Net result, the smart people who get all the work done are going to see that and leave the company. You can't work in an environment where snowflakery is more important than a major product presentation. The ones who are left behind, such as the idiot who objected to using the word "family" in a sentence, are the ones who DON'T ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING. They are a cost, not an asset.
“He wondered if it was safe to grin. Very slowly and carefully, he grinned. It was safe.
“Er …” he said to the Captain.
“Yes?” said the Captain.
“I wonder,” said Ford, “could I ask you actually what your job is in fact?”
A hand tapped him on the shoulder. He spun around.
It was the first officer. “Your drinks,” he said.
“Ah, thank you,” said Ford. He and Arthur took their jynnan tonnyx. Arthur sipped his, and was surprised to discover it tasted very like a whisky and soda.
“I mean, I couldn’t help noticing,” said Ford, also taking a sip, “the bodies. In the hold.”
“Bodies?” said the Captain in surprise.
Ford paused and thought to himself. Never take anything for granted, he thought. Could it be that the Captain doesn’t know he’s got fifteen million dead bodies on his ship?
The Captain was nodding cheerfully at him. He also appeared to be playing with a rubber duck.
Ford looked around. Number Two was staring at him in the mirror, but only for an instant: his eyes were constantly on the move. The first officer was just standing there holding the drinks tray and smiling benignly.
“Bodies?” said the Captain again.
Ford licked his lips.
“Yes,” he said, “all those dead telephone sanitizers and account executives, you know, down in the hold.”
The Captain stared at him. Suddenly he threw back his head and laughed.
“Oh, they’re not dead,” he said. “Good Lord, no, no, they’re frozen. They’re going to be revived.”
Ford did something he very rarely did. He blinked.
Arthur seemed to come out of a trance.
“You mean you’ve got a hold full of frozen hairdressers?” he said.
“Oh yes,” said the Captain. “Millions of them. Hairdressers, tired TV producers, insurance salesmen, personnel officers, security guards, public relations executives, management consultants, you name it. We’re going to colonize another planet.”
Ford wobbled very slightly.
“Exciting, isn’t it?” said the Captain.
“What, with that lot?” said Arthur.
“Ah, now don’t misunderstand me,” said the Captain. “We’re just one of the ships in the Ark Fleet. We’re the ‘B’ Ark, you see. Sorry, could I just ask you to run a bit more hot water for me?”
Arthur obliged, and a cascade of pink frothy water swirled around the bath. The Captain let out a sigh of pleasure.
“Thank you so much, my dear fellow. Do help yourselves to more drinks of course.”
Ford tossed down his drink, took the bottle from the first officer’s tray and refilled his glass to the top.
“What,” he said, “is a ‘B’ Ark?”
“This is,” said the Captain, and swished the foamy water around joyfully with the duck.
“Yes,” said Ford, “but—”
“Well, what happened you see was,” said the Captain, “our planet, the world from which we have come, was, so to speak, doomed.”
“Oh yes. So what everyone thought was, let’s pack the whole population into some giant spaceships and go and settle on another planet.”
Having told this much of his story, he settled back with a satisfied grunt.
“You mean a less doomed one?” prompted Arthur.
“What did you say dear fellow?”
“A less doomed planet. You were going to settle on."
“Are going to settle on, yes. So it was decided to build three ships, you see, three Arks in Space, and … I’m not boring you, am I?”
“No, no,” said Ford firmly, “it’s fascinating.”
“You know it’s delightful,” reflected the Captain, “to have someone else to talk to for a change.”
Number Two’s eyes darted feverishly about the room again and then settled back on the mirror, like a pair of flies briefly distracted from their favorite piece of month-old meat.
“Trouble with a long journey like this,” continued the Captain, “is that you end up just talking to yourself a lot, which gets terribly boring because half the time you know what you’re going to say next.”
“Only half the time?” asked Arthur in surprise.
The Captain thought for a moment.
“Yes, about half, I’d say. Anyway—where’s the soap?” He fished around and found it.
“Yes, so anyway,” he resumed, “the idea was that into the first ship, the ‘A’ ship, would go all the brilliant leaders, the scientists, the great artists, you know, all the achievers; and then into the third, or ‘C’ ship, would go all the people who did the actual work, who made things and did things; and then into the ‘B’ ship—that’s us—would go everyone else, the middlemen, you see.”
He smiled happily at them.
“And we were sent off first,” he concluded, and hummed a little bathing tune.
The little bathing tune, which had been composed for him by one of his world’s most exciting and prolific jingle writers (who was currently asleep in hold thirty-six some nine hundred yards behind them) covered what would otherwise have been an awkward moment of silence. Ford and Arthur shuffled their feet and furiously avoided each other’s eyes.
“Er …” said Arthur after a moment, “what exactly was it that was wrong with your planet then?”
“Oh, it was doomed, as I said,” said the Captain. “Apparently it was going to crash into the sun or something. Or maybe it was that the moon was going to crash into us. Something of the kind. Absolutely terrifying prospect whatever it was."
“Oh,” said the first officer suddenly, “I thought it was that the planet was going to be invaded by a gigantic swarm of twelve-foot piranha bees. Wasn’t that it?”
Number Two spun around, eyes ablaze with a cold hard light that only comes with the amount of practice he was prepared to put in.
“That’s not what I was told!” he hissed. “My commanding officer told me that the entire planet was in imminent danger of being eaten by an enormous mutant star goat!”
“Oh really …” said Ford Prefect.
“Yes! A monstrous creature from the pit of hell with scything teeth ten thousand miles long, breath that would boil oceans, claws that could tear continents from their roots, a thousand eyes that burned like the sun, slavering jaws a million miles across, a monster such as you have never … never … ever …”
“And they made sure they sent you lot off first, did they?” inquired Arthur.
“Oh yes,” said the Captain, “well, everyone said, very nicely I thought, that it was very important for morale to feel that they would be arriving on a planet where they could be sure of a good haircut and where the phones were clean."
“Oh yes,” agreed Ford, “I can see that would be very important. And the other ships, er … they followed on after you, did they?”
For a moment the Captain did not answer. He twisted round in his bath and gazed backward over the huge bulk of the ship toward the bright galactic center. He squinted into the inconceivable distance.
“Ah. Well, it’s funny you should say that,” he said and allowed himself a slight frown at Ford Prefect, “because curiously enough we haven’t heard a peep out of them since we left five years ago.… But they must be behind us somewhere.”
He peered off into the distance again.
Ford peered with him and gave a thoughtful frown.
“Unless of course,” he said softly, “they were eaten by the goat.…”
“Ah yes …” said the Captain with a slight hesitancy creeping into his voice, “the goat.…” His eyes passed over the solid shapes of the instruments and “computers that lined the bridge. They winked away innocently at him. He stared out at the stars, but none of them said a word. He glanced at his first and second officers, but they seemed lost in their own thoughts for a moment. He glanced at Ford Prefect who raised his eyebrows at him.
“It’s a funny thing, you know,” said the Captain at last, “but now that I actually come to tell the story to someone else … I mean does it strike you as odd, Number One?”
“Errrrrrrrrrrr …” said Number One.