07 August 2017

Welfare For Overprivileged Caucasians

Here is a new phrase to me, "Rest and Vest".

It refers to a phenomenon where entitled dotcommers are allowed to do no works for months on end until their stock options vest.

The sense of entitlement is really staggering:
On a sunny summer morning, a Facebook engineer woke up to go to work but felt ill. She ran to her bathroom and threw up. "I thought I was getting sick," the engineer recalled.

It wasn't a virus or food poisoning. She was having a bad reaction to her job.

She was making $1 million a year, mostly in stock, and running a team of about three dozen people, she told Business Insider. And she had worked herself into a state of exhaustion in the three years since Facebook had acquired her previous company. The acquisition had been highly political, the integration wasn't going well, and she had been killing herself to make it more successful and protect her people from losing their jobs over it.

As tired as she was, she couldn't just quit this job. She owed a big chunk of money in taxes thanks to that stock and needed her salary to pay those taxes.

But after getting violently ill at the thought of going to work, she decided not to go in. Not that day. Not ever again. And she knew she wouldn't get fired.

Because not going to work was actually her manager's idea.

The previous day she had told him she would be leaving the company at the end of the year, six months away. She wanted to spend the rest of the year wrapping up her projects but not taking on any more, collecting on the stock that would vest by year end and making the money she needed to pay her taxes.

"My manager and I had lots of conversations. I teetered on leaving so many times," she said. "But this time was for real. I was going to see these projects to a healthy state and then I needed to go. I felt good about it. The next thing, he told me not to come in."

She panicked thinking he was firing her, but he explained she wasn't being terminated at all. "Just don't come to work," he told her. "You're burned out and need a break. Just don't talk about it, and everyone will assume you're on someone else's team."


And that's how this hardworking, conscientious engineer wound up joining the least secret secret club in the Valley, known as "rest and vest."

"Resting and vesting" is when an employee, typically an engineer, has an easy workload (if any job responsibilities at all) and hangs out on the company's payroll collecting full pay and stock. Stock is often the bigger chunk of total compensation for a senior engineer than salary.

Once she was in rest-and-vest mode, this engineer spent her time attending tech conferences, working on pet coding projects, networking with friends, and planning her next career move.

She realized that her manager let her rest and vest to keep her quiet about the problems with that acquisition, so she had time to find her next thing. Had he terminated her immediately, she would have been incensed. "Everyone knew I had a big mouth and would speak out," she said. "He figured, 'Hey, it costs us next to nothing keep her happy for six months.'"
This is nuts, and it is a sign of a bloated and dysfunctional industry.

The reason that this effects the rest of us is that these excesses indicate a misallocation of resources, and as such they are not available to more useful purposes than sharing cat pictures.

To paraphrase Ike, every redundant social media site that is made, every web 2.0 site that is launched, every IPO that is launched signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who actually do useful work.


Post a Comment