Facts are not the Truth
Linkedin Fooforaw | Online Interviews | The Wing Folds | Rejected Internal Candidates
Quote of the Moment
Evidence is always partial. Facts are not truth, though they are part of it – information is not knowledge. And history is not the past – it is the method we have evolved of organising our ignorance of the past. It’s the record of what’s left on the record. It’s the plan of the positions taken, when we to stop the dance to note them down. It’s what’s left in the sieve when the centuries have run through it – a few stones, scraps of writing, scraps of cloth. It is no more “the past” than a birth certificate is a birth, or a script is a performance, or a map is a journey. It is the multiplication of the evidence of fallible and biased witnesses, combined with incomplete accounts of actions not fully understood by the people who performed them. It’s no more than the best we can do, and often it falls short of that.
| Hilary Mantel, the author of Wolf Hall and other works, died this week.
I will dismiss the controversy regarding LinkedIn’s use of what seems to be normal A/B testing of alternative approaches to implementing user experience, as manifested in the breathless coverage by Natasha Singer in LinkedIn Ran Social Experiments on 20 Million Users Over Five Years.
The thrust of the piece makes it seem to suggest LinkedIn was up to no good, but leading scientists, including Mark Granovetter, who wrote the original paper, The Strength of Weak Ties, said the study illuminated the theory he identified decades ago. The article’s subtitle is indicative:
A study that looked back at those tests found that relatively weak social connections were more helpful in finding jobs than stronger social ties.
[Granovetter] developed the distinction between the ‘strong ties’ between close friends or kin, and the ‘weak ties’ that exist between more casual acquaintances. Weak and strong are not only relational — referring to the strength of the tie, and the frequency of the individuals’ interactions — but also indicate a structural dimension. Weak ties connect strongly linked clusters — cliques of friends or tightly-knit families — and act as a mechanism for novel information to move from one cluster to another, and once that information reaches a cluster, it spreads to all the members. As a result, Grannoveter called this the ‘strength of weak ties’, and he credits them with being the most important means of information transfer. And information also includes disease, like passing around the newest flu bug, and other social phenomena, like happiness.
Or a work opportunity, as this five-year study concluded.
Nicholas Bloom, of Stanford and WFHResearch, shared this chart and his analysis of the transition to online job interviews.
I bet this trend is here to stay since it has been most widely adopted by large firms, the source of such policies trickling into the larger community.
Why not interview online when you’ll be working online? Why waste everyone’s time traveling to and fro? (Meanwhile, the CEOs of many of these companies are trying to get workers back into their headquarters. The dinosaurs don’t know what’s going on at the extremities.)
The Wing Folds
The women’s-only co-working and social club, The Wing, has shut its doors.
Katherine Rosman lays out the rise and fall of this casualty of the pandemic, and perhaps, a shift in sensibilities away from the #MeToo and Hilary Clinton years:
Led by its media savvy founders, Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan, the Wing opened its first space in the Flatiron district, in the historic stretch known as Ladies’ Mile where well-to-do women shopped in the 19th century. The Wing ushered in the era of millennial pink furniture, just as millions of women around the country were crushed by the defeat of Hillary Clinton.
Ms. Gelman seized the moment and cultivated a waiting list of thousands of applicants by producing and publicizing events at the Wing that captured the desire of women to channel their energy into political and cultural advocacy that managed to be glamorous and buzzy. At its height, the Wing was reported to have some 12,000 members, with another 9,000 on its wait list.
A time when Lean In and Girl Boss concepts were top of mind. And why not merchandise it? Pink everything.
In cities around the country, the Wing came to represent a Trump-era, heavily branded, for-profit feminism.
By the end of 2019, the Wing had 11 locations and had raised more than $100 million from venture capitalists and celebrity investors like the soccer star Megan Rapinoe.
But a series of controversies and the pandemic slammed the business:
But as the company’s narrative of economic success was on the rise, employees were starting to pierce its mystique, publicly revealing the schism between the company’s self-promotion and the realities of its working conditions.
The Wing as a nest for socially conscious capitalism was “a total facade,” one former employee told The New York Times Magazine in March 2020. “It’s just like any other company that wants to make their money.”
With the pandemic, the organization laid workers off, and offered a one-time stipend of $500 in the spring of 2020, which many said they never received. A marketing campaign that claimed the Wing was planning to donate $200,000 to BLM organizations led to a social media uproar and the departure of more Black and Brown staff members.
Of the founders, Ms. Gelman left the firm, while Ms. Kassan became CEO. IWG, the temp office space company, bought a majority of the company’s shares in February 2021 and has now shut it down.
“Whoa,” tweeted Jessica Blankenship, a writer, editor and Wing member, after receiving the email about the closure. She added: “Not to be insensitive, but what’s happening to all the furniture.”
Rejected Internal Candidates Often Leave
In Why Rejected Internal Candidates End Up Quitting, JR Keller and Kathryn Dlugos examine a cause of employee defection: interviewing and being turned down for internal jobs can lead to candidates leaving the company. While hiring from within has all sorts of arguments in its favor, it can cause problems:
Studies have shown that internal rejection leads to reduced job satisfaction and reduced commitment to the organization. Rejection can also engender feelings of envy toward the workers who “beat them out” for the job or lead employees to engage in counterproductive work behaviors, such as stealing from their companies.
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