Tuesday, December 5, 2023

It pays to love your boss

Today's learning is from an article I read in the Financial Times: "Are workplace romances a savvy investment?" There are a few interesting bits here:

A survey this year from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 27 per cent of US workers have had an office romance.

The authors point out that there is research being done to find out what the effect of workplace relationships is on the other half. We hear a lot about the effects on bosses, like Schlissel's firing, but not much about the inverse.

The real focus of the NBER research is on calculating the financial and career costs of an employee’s relationship with their boss. It’s common to hear about senior leaders such as BP’s Bernard Looney, or Jeff Zucker at CNN, who were ousted for failing to declare a relationship with a subordinate. But less so, the consequences for the other half.

Women could get a 9% income boost from a relationship with a superior. A smaller sample size of men shows a 14% income boost (!) from a relationship with a boss. It is fascinating how gender disparities show up even in bizarre things like this. However, what goes up, must come down. Breaking up with your manager has similar downsides: a 4.2% increase in unemployment, for women.

Cynically dating your boss seems like a weird tactic. I think that bosses should perhaps refrain from creepy, antisocial behavior like dating more junior employees. I understand if the relationship predates both parties' employment at a specific firm, but meeting someone at work who is a lower level than you then deciding that dating them is a good choice seems bizarre. It seems bad for business, too:

Love in the office impacts more people than just the couple. It can be demotivating to watch the boss’s crush receive opportunities not open to others. “There is a significant decline in retention of other workers, with firms where a manager dates a subordinate retaining six percentage points fewer workers,” the paper concludes.

I don't think I will be ending up in this situation at all. But there is something to be said about creating a positive working environment. It sort of relates to "work flirting." Ignoring that the work flirter's partner may not like it, work flirting may not even be consensual, and make employees uncomfortable at work. A company where you have to date your manager to get promoted is definitely not a company that welcomes everyone, and is certainly not operating efficiently.

Liberals that annoy me

There is this book that is popular amongst a specific type of holier-than-thou liberal that really drives me up the wall. I don't know how to define them, but they are all huge fans of this book "The Identity Trap" by Yascha Mounk. I don't know what is actually in the book, but here is part of the description:

In The Identity Trap, Mounk provides the most ambitious and comprehensive account to date of the origins, consequences, and limitations of so-called “wokeness.” He is the first to show how postmodernism, postcolonialism, and critical race theory forged the “identity synthesis” that conquered many college campuses by 2010. He lays out how a relatively marginal set of ideas came to gain tremendous influence in business, media, and government by 2020. He makes a nuanced philosophical case for why the application of these ideas to areas from education to public policy is proving to be so deeply counterproductive—and why universal, humanist values can best serve the vital goal of true equality. In explaining the huge political and cultural transformations of the past decade, The Identity Trap provides truth and clarity where they are needed most.

I am sure Mounk is an incredibly smart guy, and I bet his book is full of valuable insights. It is just that this specific brand of "oh, you're woke but you don't understand the full context here, you're actually making it worse please get a grip" really pisses me off. Of course Mounk is a favorite of two-state-solution supporting liberals who gripe about how Netanyahu is so bad, but never seem capable of realizing that the Israeli general public votes Netanyahu every time because they are people with bad views and bad beliefs that endorse the killing of Palestinians. 

Mounk also founded Persuasion, an online magazine "devoted to defending the values of free societies." Of course, whenever someone says "the values of free societies," this is a dog whistle to their fellow elites who are confused why there are people in the world who worship something other than themselves. I read an interesting and related article: "Western values are steadily diverging from the rest of the world’s." The article is interesting if you are interested in the data, but the viewpoint it takes is the most bizarre part. Of course it is from The Economist, chief instructor of annoying liberal opinions. Rich Westerners simply assumed that as the rest of the world became wealthier, they would follow the same hedonistic road they are on. The subtitle:

People’s principles were expected to align as countries got richer. What happened?

I only recently discovered this blog. I went to take a look at it, wondering if there may be something of value that I could learn. I quickly found this article, "Amanda Knox on the Harms of Public Shaming"

The long-simmering debates about cancel culture are flaring up once again as posters of kidnapped Israeli children are ripped down on street corners, and as students march with Palestinian flags, chanting “From the river to the sea!” while their Jewish peers cower behind locked doors. Do such actions merit cancellation? When does free speech cross over into hate speech? Should a person be stained for life by signing a statement that minimizes the atrocities of Oct 7th? I know a thing or two about such questions; I was canceled before it was cool.

Debates around cancel culture are perpetually cursed, but the angle that this article starts out with is simply bizarre. I am sure their Jewish peers cower behind locked doors. Perhaps they are cowering behind the door of the banner plane flying over campus. I do not mean to minimize the feelings of different populations, but surely even a modicum of critical thinking would lead Mrs. Knox to rethink the angle she is coming here from. Unfortunately, Knox and people like her drink straight from the hands of the ADL. Fortunately for Mounk, I did like one article I read on the page. Please forgive the vulgar title: "All COPs are Bastards." Climate change discourse is also another thing that is basically doomed.