Amanda over at Mad Genius Cub Ran into another of those things that legal genius’s are putting into contracts for employment or creative work. In this case it is a morality clause. Well at leas that is what the legal genius’s are calling it. What it amounts to is yet another method of the people at the top of heap to avoid having to deal with “controversy.”
This has been making the rounds lately and I thought that I would take a crack at it. Now I’m not a marketing professional, so it’s not likely that I would apply for a job at that place unless they were crazy, which considering the questions, they just might be. If they are, it’s my kind of lunacy.
Apparently the snowflake test controversy started here.
The Snowflake Test
- “Outside of standard benefits, what benefits should a company offer employees?” Room to grow and access to the tools that will let them grow. That might mean education, but it also may mean being available for mentoring and access to company materials for their own projects. A company does not lose because they encourage the employees to become better than they are.
- “What should the national minimum wage be?” Two black economists that I have admired very much for a long time now, Walter E Williams and Tom Sowell both say that the minimum wage is discriminatory. They make the argument that having a minimum wage discriminates against people who need to prove themselves. Sometimes a small job is a big start and being paid something is better than no job at all.
- “How many sick days should be given to employees?” As many as they need, not want. People’s lives don’t come in neat little packages that can be planned beforehand. Ideally an employee should require no sick days. But life is not an ideal thing and quite frankly do you want somebody really sick with the flu showing up because they ran out of sick days? If you treat employees like the adults they are you will get adult employees.
- “How often should employees get raises?” How often do they take on bigger tasks and grow? How often have they exceeded what was expected of them? Raises should come from achievement, not as a participation trophy.
- “How do you feel about guns?” Lock and load. Seriously that’s like asking how I feel about milling machines or screwdrivers.
- “What are your feelings about employees or clients carrying guns?” I hope that I’m in the kind of workplace where people don’t feel that they have to go around armed. I do understand though that it’s not necessarily a safe world and that sometimes that you are better off being safe by being armed.
- “What are your feelings about safe spaces in challenging work environments?” A safe space is something that you have to have between your ears. I’ve managed to get good work done in workplaces where the hostility was palpable. A nice little space where I can not have to worry about being abused is a nice thing to have, but the line between abuse and work conflict is sometimes hard to work out and sometimes you just have to keep moving.
- “In a creative environment like The Silent Partner Marketing, what do you envision work attire looking like?” What does the customer expect? Seriously how you dress should be related to the customer, not yourself. Sometimes outlandish and creative attire helps the customer experience, especially when they have certain expectations. Most of the time though, wild clothing doesn’t build confidence that you can give the customer what they want.
- “Should “trigger warnings” be issued before we release content for clients or the company that might be considered “controversial”?” That’s up to the client. If you screw up the client takes the hit, not you. Generally I would say no, but it’s not the person supplying the service’s call, it’s the client’s.
- “How do you feel about police?” It’s a rough job, and when I can I try to make it as easy as possible for them. They make mistakes, but most of the time it’s just that, a mistake and officers I have known in the past have been as troubled as anyone would be by the mistakes. The police do not make the bad laws, they only have to enforce them.
- “If you owned the company and were to find out that a client is operating unethically but was a high paying client…how would you handle it?” Depends on the whether the unethical behavior was an individual, or company. If it’s likely an individual, I would inform the client of the unethical behavior. If the unethical behavior seems to be company policy I would finish the job I was contacted for and them let them know that I would no quoting further business from them. Crap spreads around and the backlash can spill on you as well as the client. If the behavior is illegal as well as unethical, then I would break off immediately and probably inform the proper authorities.
- “When was the last time you cried and why?” Probably 9/11. Or in frustration over what’s happened to the country since.
- “You arrive at an event for work and there’s a major celebrity you’ve always wanted to meet. What happens next?” I do my job while looking for an appropriate time, probably after the event to introduce myself. As much as I would like to meet the person, they and I are there for a reason, not to suit ourselves.
- “What’s your favorite kind of adult beverage?” A good craft beer.
- “What’s the best way to communicate with clients?” Face to face if you can, then phone and then email.
- “What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?” Trying new things. Read or shoot photographs, take a short trip in my kayak. Then there’s always making something.
- “What are your thoughts on the current college environment as it pertains to a future workforce?” Short answer is that more than likely there is real trouble coming as the current college environment is not preparing people for the real world and work.
- “What’s your typical breakfast?” Right now a sausage biscuit and cider. That can change though.
- “What’s your favorite drink when you go to a coffeehouse?” Iced tea, but coffee houses screw it up by using the same pot for coffee and tea.
- “How do you handle bullies?” Not as well as I should. I’m adverse to conflict and fairly good at aversion. That being said I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes the only thing you can do is confront the problem and make the problem the other guys and not yours.
- “How do you handle it when your ideas are shot down?” Reevaluate and start over. I’ve learned to have multiple approaches and backups for things so that when things get shot down.
- “What do you do if a coworker comes to the table with an idea and it sucks?” Sit down with the coworker and try to go over the idea and see the real issues. Just because I think that an idea suck doesn’t meant that it actually does. The worst thing you can do is shoot down a fresh idea without examining it.
- “What does the first amendment mean to you?” The First Amendment is part of what the founders did to limit the government’s potential infringement of the rights of the people. Rights derive from the people, not the state.
- “What does faith mean to you?” Faith is how you frame your life and your character. For many, they believe in an overwhelming authority that will call them to justice of they misbehave. For others it’s an understanding of the responsibilities they have just living in their daily life. In any case, faith is a personal thing that cannot be imposed.
- “Who is your role model and why?” I’ve had a bunch of role models over the years. The two black economists for instance because of their ability to overcome the obstacles in their lives and their ability to reason outside the box. Some great engineers for what they accomplished. Former bosses and coworkers because even when they had warts their true worth showed through. Authors I’ve read because they had such great ability to inspire. People who faced great challenges that they overcame simply because they were inspirational. And Mike Rowe for the work he does getting people to work.
- “You’re in Starbucks with two friends. Someone runs in and says someone is coming in with a gun in 15 seconds to shoot patrons. They offer you a gun. Do you take it? What do you do next?” Check to see that the gun is actually loaded and keep the safety on and barrel pointed toward the ground. Ideally not take the gun in the first place as the whole thing sounds like one of those setups that the Libs like so much. On the other hand, controlling the gun means that I’m not going to be in the way of somebody doing something stupid.
- “What does America mean to you?” America is an ideal. It’s the country that the founders imagined where they worked to guarantee the greatest liberty for the greatest number possible. It means a people that govern themselves rather than a people that are governed. We’ve fallen far from that ideal.
- “You see someone stepping on an American flag. What do you do?” Depends on the circumstances. Is it deliberate or accident? If it’s an obvious accident I might point it out that the flag should be respected. If it’s deliberate then somebody’s making a statement. If I can remove the flag without assault then that may be the best course. If I’m confront a group, then there maybe nothing I can do other than voice my opinion. Unfortunately Liberty means that people are entitled to stomp on the symbol of the very country that ensures their Liberty.
- “What does “privilege” mean to you?” Having the respect of others. Sometimes it’s earned, or is because of respect for the position one holds.
- “What’s more important? Book smarts or street smarts?” Why? Street smarts. The book is always there when you need it, but real “smarts” comes from things that you have learn by doing. A book can’t tell you those things.
Mr. Reyes has caught a lot of flak for talking about the “snowflake test.” From the same kind of people who will not hesitate to tell all and sundry that people shouldn’t say the wrong thing or support the wrong causes or they will be blacklisted. Along with all too frequently blacklisting or damage people’s employment and lives simply because they have a point of view that they disagree with. These are the times where people’s businesses have been ruined by legal and government actions because those businesses have actually attempted to not perform services that violate their faith. This is the time when careers are ruined because of accusations of being anti PC or racism without proof or even trials. These are the times where the wrong kinds of jokes in a private conversation can get you fired if somebody happens to overhear the joke and doesn’t approve. This is time that workplaces can get shutdown for being “hostile” simply because literature in the breakroom offends a government inspector. All of these events add up to the need for business to have some sort of snowflake test.
I’ve been in the room where we had a mandatory seminar back in the days when sexual harassment was the evil de jure. The presentation was given by a government bureaucrat who you would think was some kind of accountant. Most of the presentation consisted of his war stories. The frightening thing was happy he was to ruin lives over what often seemed to be the typical office banter. This from a man who could be typecast as Layer Daggitt from True Grit.
The fact is that the whole thing about snowflakes is power. The question you have to ask is if you want to give the snowflakes power, because that is what they want. Probably, from an early age they have been indulged by parents to compensate for the lack of attention that parents have been able to give them and how guilty the parents feel about that. Having used that guilt to achieve power over their parents and being indulged in their behavior by everybody who didn’t want to deal the immaturity that the snowflakes have, the typical snowflake is addicted to the power they gain by manipulating those around them with their immature behaviors.
It’s power that the snowflakes want power over you, power over the other employees and power over how the business operates. Vox Day calls it convergence and the consequences are not good for business. The snowflakes will be more concerned with “culture” than work. Potential employees will be chosen for “fit” which means that they are more likely to be sociopathic snowflakes themselves. Of course the snowflake demand ever more rules in the name of creating a “safe workspace.” This “safe workspace” ends up being hell for everybody else, afraid of being written up by HR and given the old boot. The workplace becomes hell by HR.
Small businesses have enough issues just avoiding the death of a million paper cuts. In these days something like the snowflake test becomes almost mandatory in a small business wanting to avoid the kind of stress that can kill a business. The only fear is that somehow, the snowflakes in government will make the snowflake test illegal, which I am sure that they will try.
If you run a small business I recommend that you read the book linked below, Death By HR and consider how to avoid hiring those whose main goal will not be the success of your business, but the fulfillment of themselves by destroying everything around them, just like they did as children.
They all represent hope, hope that somehow, some way they will get a chance to talk and maybe even have a working relationship. That’s because people are not machines or “assets.”
A Friend posted this on my timeline. When customers start to sue you, things have really gone wrong.
Back in the 1930’s and through the 1960’s GM. Fisher Body ran a program and a competition to get young, mostly boys but I don’t think girls were excluded, inspired into making and creativity. This was the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild.
Death By HR is a book that every CEO should read. As should the rest of us. Anybody’s who has been looking for work, or working for an American corporation currently or in the last few years has experienced the lunacy and extreme dysfunction in just about every function related to Human Resources. Death By HR examines why the dysfunction came about and provides the start of a road map to escape the tyranny being imposed on us.
Liz Ryan has another great piece.
I became an HR person in 1984. I managed Customer Service and Operations before I was put into my first HR job by my awesome boss, John Brady, who told me when I came back from vacation, “You’re the HR Manager now.” I was like “What?” I was sad to leave my team in the Order Processing department.
We had a fantastic crew and we had fun. I was sad because I thought that being an HR person meant that I wouldn’t be able to talk to our customers or sales reps any more. I loved our customers and our salespeople. We laughed and joked on the phone all day.
John said, “Go ahead and talk to whoever you want.” He got me to see a bigger vision for HR, before I had spent 10 minutes in the HR department. John said, “The purpose of HR is to make this organization an awesome place to work and to make sure we don’t do anything stupid.” I liked that vision. I dug right in.
At the least place I worked, a senior VP posted on the company intranet, “Lets talk quality.” Now I came into Big Co, when small Co owned by jackass that I had made the mistake of working for had been purchased by Big Co. Now from what I saw in Big Co’s products, employee meetings and just in the grape vine, quality was a big issue. When an engineering team get a technology award for increasing the yield to 85%, quality is a huge issue. From what I could see, that one laboratory instrument was not an outlier. The general attitude seemed to be that as long as production targets were met and profits looked good, quality was a manufacturing issue and not that important anyway. Sort of the same attitude that all too many companies had in the 1970’s and the same attitude the Japanese Zaibatsu had per WW2. Of course one would think that getting your butt kicked one way or another would change things, but while the Japanese did change, Big Co USA is still stuck on stupid.
I’m not sure what the logic of the set piece job interview is. If you read between the line it looks more and more like a sick sadistic game intended to put the candidate in his place with very little to do with the actual job. The thinking seems to that the candidate must be strained to the breaking point because that’s the only way to see if they are a “fit.” Being a fit is now more important than the actual job. This is a system that rates conformity above performance and socialization above talent.
The poor job seeker has to go through this thing with no real way to prep and no real way to gauge how well they did. Interview after interview, the same questions, the questions that never have any relationship to the actual work. Always with the grading sheet. Which the poor job seeker never sees. What do they do with them all. No matter how good you are at the job, no matter how hard you work, it always comes down to the grading sheet.