This showed up today.
Not wanting to say anything because having those social relationships were helpful to me, my visibility, my career. It's such a boys' club.-- Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) March 7, 2015
I get that. The little white lie that it's all right, I wasn't offended. The lying silence where the, "check that bullshit," should have been. The desire to belong to the in-group (or an in-group, even if it's an in-group of one) is probably baked into our genetics. Those that arbitrate membership in the in-group set the standards by which membership is granted. So long as there is power there, the little internal betrayals needed to achieve membership, or if that isn't possible, satellite membership, can be justified.
I remember before hangouts launched, feeling super privileged to be in after-hours video hangouts with Vic and his team. I WAS IN!-- Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) March 7, 2015
For a while. Until the price starts getting too high.
Know what was fun? My harasser's best buddy at work was my director I reported to for awhile.-- Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) March 7, 2015
If the in-group is in all of the positions of both power and employee redress? That's a lot of incentive to shut the fuck up and laugh like you mean it.
Women working for big corps: HR is NOT ON YOUR SIDE. Learn and know this fact.-- Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) March 7, 2015
"He feels like you humiliated him in front of his reports." Something HR actually fucking said to me.-- Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) March 7, 2015
And if you keep poking at it, because shuting the fuck up and laughing already is becoming very hard, you lose in-group status.
FYI I haven't worked at Google since July. This was the primary reason I left.-- Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) March 7, 2015
This is a very human progression, we've been doing it since pre-history. The modern workplace is supposed to be set up to deal with toxic managers and hostile work environments, but cronyism is incredibly corrosive. It takes active push-back to fend off, and of the corruption is deep enough that just costs you your job.
Most corporate severance agreements include something called a non-disparagement clause, which means, in effect:
The severed employee agrees to not say bad things about the Company, or cause material harm to the Company's business through their actions.
And accusing a manager of being a harassing asshole is the kind of thing that could trigger that clause. By telling the world about her experience with this manager, naming names, and calling out the toxic culture of that particular work-unit, she can be considered to be causing 'material harm' and could face serious legal consequences. If Google wants to be assholes about it, of course. But the language is there in the agreement specifically to scare ex-employees out of doing things like this.
The internal system was stacked against her, and the court of public opinion was also stacked against her by the very company that had the bad culture.
I'm guilty of making the same kind of calculations. I didn't seek in-group status as firmly as Kelly did, and it got me fired in the end. It turned out well for me, but was pretty traumatic at the time.
While I was there I did consciously choose to not call out jokes, behavior, or other things that offended me, specifically because I needed to stay on good terms with the in-group. I never got to crying, but the little niggling things did add up. It meant I didn't stay long at company events, didn't follow on after-work outings to bars, and generally stayed quiet a lot of the time. It was noticed.