Occupy Google (and lose)

by Black Captain

First, this: Breaking Up With Occupy

Justine Tunney works for Google. Every day that she feels like it, Tunney goes to a playgroundlike office in Chelsea in Manhattan and eats her meals from the free gourmet rooftop cafeteria. She does her job and little else. On the beach in Puerto Rico this summer, at the wedding of two fellow Occupy veterans, she was working so hard on an algorithm designed to improve cloud computing that she lost track of time and got a sunburn.

“They basically bought my soul,” she says. But Tunney doesn’t seem to mind. “Google is the one company I don’t hate. I think Google is actually doing things that are making the world a better place.”

With Google, 28-year-old Tunney has a hand in building the groundwork for the future Internet. Her main task involves a system for managing the vast array of top-level domains Google has bought. As the creator and administrator of Occupy Wall Street’s most public-facing website, OccupyWallSt.org—known by insiders as “Storg”—she’s the one who put the slogan “The only solution is WorldRevolution” on the main page. But Google lets her be part of a revolution that’s not so far off. She can only hope it will come before the now publicly traded company succumbs entirely to the whims of Wall Street—or, for that matter, the National Security Agency.

But then, this: I was a Google contract worker

The youth and fun of everything left a great deal of wiggle room for the kinds of problems more regimented human resources departments are put in place to prevent. On the occasions when there was an accusation of something un-ignorable, like sexual harassment, people contacted vendors and were essentially ignored. They were told they could move their seats away from the offending parties, but no one was formally fired for those accusations. There’s a difference between fun and unsafe, and the vendors in charge of the office in Bothell erred in the wrong direction.

It wasn’t until I was a few weeks into my position as a contract worker for not-quite-Google, where our paychecks came from a staffing agency and were about $400 per week short of what an actual Google employee makes, that I began to understand another crucial element of the youthful atmosphere: a young workforce is an uninformed workforce.