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Can definitely relate. Also worked for a tech startup, and experienced similar things. I built an award-winning blog for them and they didn’t care. When I didn’t add the first sexual harassment lawsuit to the company’s Facebook timeline, the CEO, my boss, stopped talking to me. Never mind there wasn’t such a lawsuit (no one will call them out publicly for various reasons, but much is said privately, and the longer I’ve been away from the company, the more I hear from lots of different people) or that I didn’t think it was an appropriate thing to add to a company FB page. I only heard from the CEO when he thought I did something wrong, or a user didn’t like something “the company had written, which once resulted in an “accidental firing, which is a great example of poor communication.

That’s not even the best story. That’s reserved for the Snuff Film incident where a picture I posted of a kitten licking its chops in anticipation of fresh fish in the general company chat prompted my new boss to respond, also publicly, that I’m not supposed to watch snuff films at the office and that we had already talked about this. Never mind A) I don’t watch snuff films, and B) we never had such a discussion. We didn’t have discussions at all, only random admonishments for things I supposedly did. I got a flurry of private chats from coworkers telling me my boss was an asshole, and then pointing me to a different chat room where someone had copy/pasted and said if we had a HR department, this would be an incident. There was no HR, my recourse was the CEO who treated me like I didn’t exist so I had no recourse.

The “I must get the fuck out of here” moment came when I got a private message from a dev that said “Whenever I’m having a shit day, I think of you and who you report to, and then my day is amazing.”

The work environment was passive aggressive, condescending and insulting. They added me to a list of speakers once. I found out I was on the speaker list from a bunch of DMs from people telling me congratulations. My boss didn’t have the courtesy to tell me until late afternoon the following day, and then told me not to worry about the topic, they just needed to show they had a (yes read that as one) female speaker.

I left for a better position, with better pay, soon after.

The thing is, they don’t care, and they have no incentive to change. BODs won’t do anything, and sometimes when change is forced it’s only cosmetic. It’s not like that everywhere. There are companies that cultivate an open and accepting culture, and appreciate what every employee has to offer. Seems the exception, though, and no one has yet figured out how to make it the rule. I wonder if that’s by design, or due to blindness, or perceived social norms, or any number of things.

There is no quick solution, no easy answer, but I know myself and others find it useful to hear of shared experience. Sometimes knowing it hasn’t happened just to you makes a difference. I hope you and others continue to share your stories.