blog / subversive use of failure

2017-11-01 23:59:22.000000000 +0000

Given that:

  1. I loathe giant surveillance-capitalism companies like Google and Facebook and I would never consider working for them, and

  2. I often feel like I’m not performing as well as I could be at work, and feel bad and depressed about it,

I just had a brilliant idea. I could employ this strategy:

Get hired by a company that I utterly despise, and become an intentionally, subversively, plausible-deniably Bad Programmer, for as long as possible. Whittle and wear the organization down from the inside. (The way their antics in the tech news every week does to my faith in humanity, and the way their lawyers and lobbyists do to our rights over decades.)

Then, failure would feel good!

Or so my internal argument went.

But after a moment of consideration I think there’s no way I could ever be capable of it. As much as I believe that the destruction of Facebook and surveillance capitalism is a moral obligation, I still can’t make that feeling weigh heavier than the self-worth I associate with being a good, productive, trustworthy, hard-working person.

Should I try to convince myself otherwise?

I fully anticipate any replies of “no, that’s wrong!” to come from people who benefit from the status quo. And yet! If I tried this I’m sure I would get depressed and quit before wasting enough of Evil Corp’s resources to have made any noticable difference at all.

At the very least, I’d find the charade exhausting and end up giving away the game. And when I did get caught, I wouldn’t dance away singing “it was fun while it lasted,” instead I’d be ashamed that I engaged in such naughty behavior.

It feels so unethical to consider this idea–even in an “at-will employment” state, in a burgeoning industry, for the biggest and nastiest of powerful corporations–that I’d be afraid to admit on the public Internet that it even floated through my mind, lest future prospective employers get worried about my employability.

Huh. Some rebel I am.