NPR: Planet Money Podcast: #647: Hard Work Is Irrelevant
September 2, 2015 7:14 PM - Subscribe

Patty McCord helped create a workplace at Netflix that runs more like a professional sports team than a family. If you're not up to scratch, you're off the team. Is this the future of work?
posted by schmod (8 comments total)
Let's just say that if I wanted to discredit my former employers, I'd have a tough time doing it more effectively than Patty McCord did (intentionally or not) here.

And now I find myself with surprisingly little to say, because hey... somebody could be reading this, and that's just horrible and crazy in its own right.
posted by schmod at 7:15 PM on September 2, 2015

That woman came off like such a hypocrite! She can't possibly understand why employees were emotional about being "moved on," but she's clearly pissed that the company "moved her on."
posted by radioamy at 8:48 PM on September 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

This was utterly maddening to listen to. I don't really think there was enough indictment of the fact that they fired someone for taking medical leave--that's not being efficient, it's just cruel.
posted by chaiminda at 5:44 AM on September 3, 2015

This made Netflix sound like a terrible place to work, to me. It sounds great to run your business like a sports team, until you sit back and think about actual sports teams: what happens to all those athletes who don't make the cut? Not everyone retires to a spot on ESPN providing colour commentary.

I also wonder how you maintain institutional knowledge. At least at the offices whre I have worked people often end up wearing multiple hats, so if they were all let go whenever their primary purpose ended the company overall would suffer in a more nebulous way that would be difficult to put your finger on. Suddenly things aren't getting done, people have to keep reinventing how to do things, etc. There is a value in an employee having been around a while and knowing where things are and who does what (who really does what, the stuff not in anyone's job description specifically)
posted by selenized at 9:08 AM on September 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

That bit where she said she didn't like the word "fired", I nearly sprained my eyes from rolling them.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 1:32 PM on September 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

If you want to hire a team for a project, then you have to pay for a team: higher hourly/daily pay, possibly royalties too.
posted by applesurf at 7:06 PM on September 3, 2015

I work for a company that is trying to do work like a pro sports team. And they have the reputation of hiring well, prior to getting this job, I had a hard time getting interviews in this industry, a change from my past industry. But now that I have this company on my resume, I have recruiters calling.

It feels naive to me to think that any job you have is anything more than a sports team, or that you aren't a free agent and you should be looking out to see which team is a better fit for you based on their salaries and goals.
posted by garlic at 10:17 AM on September 10, 2015

That's really true. We are all free agents in the labour market and our boss is not your mom, work is not your family.

However I think there's some value in the lie, in the belief that the company is looking out for you or that your loyalty will be rewarded. For one people like to believe that the world is fair and just, that if you do your part (work hard) you will be justly rewarded (keep your job), even though this is demonstrably not true and our lives are governed by happenstance to a much greater degree than we want to believe.

For another employee loyalty is useful, once the idea that employees are just meat percolates down and really gets into our heads (we, the meat) then management becomes that much more difficult. Your best employees will make constant demands and continuously jump ship for better opportunities, managing all that turn-over will be both a hassle and be corrosive to ongoing projects (as working knowledge of the project keeps walking out the door).
posted by selenized at 7:19 AM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

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