The company isn’t a family

DHH
DHH
Jul 20, 2017 · 2 min read

Whenever executives talk about how their company is really like a big ol’ family, beware. They’re usually not referring to how the company is going to protect you no matter what or love you unconditionally. You know, like healthy families would. The motive is rather more likely to be a unidirectional form of sacrifice: Yours.

Because by invoking the image of the family, the valor of doing whatever it takes naturally follows. You’re not just working long nights or skipping vacation to further the bottom line, no, no, you’re doing this for the family. Such a blunt emotional appeal is only needed if someone is trying to make you forget about your rational self interest.

You don’t have to pretend to be a family to be courteous. Or kind. Or protective. All those values can be expressed even better in principles, policies, and, most importantly, actions.

Besides, don’t you already have a family or group of friends who feel like blood relations? The modern company isn’t a street gang filled with orphans trying to make it in the tough, tough world. Trying to supplant the family you likely already have is just another way to attempt to put the needs of the company above the needs of your actual family. That’s a sick ploy.

The best companies aren’t families. They’re supporters of families. Allies of families. There to provide healthy, fulfilling work environments so when workers shut their laptops at a reasonable hour, they’re the best husbands, wives, parents, siblings, and children they can be.

Signal v. Noise

Strong opinions and shared thoughts on design, business…

Signal v. Noise

Strong opinions and shared thoughts on design, business, and technology. Since 1999. Work together the easy way with our all-new version 3 at https://basecamp.com

DHH

Written by

DHH

Creator of Ruby on Rails, Founder & CTO at Basecamp (formerly 37signals), NYT Best-selling author of REWORK and REMOTE, and Le Mans class-winning racing driver.

Signal v. Noise

Strong opinions and shared thoughts on design, business, and technology. Since 1999. Work together the easy way with our all-new version 3 at https://basecamp.com

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