Come From Away
January 13, 2020 7:29 AM   Subscribe

Away C.E.O. Is Back, Just Weeks After Stepping Down (NYT) "It quickly became clear that her plan to remain at Away — effectively in the same role but with a new title — was not understood inside or outside the company." Suggested soundtrack for this article: How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?

It's really hard to follow the thread from "I am sincerely sorry for what I said and how I said it. It was wrong, plain and simple" through "the company told the Wall Street Journal that the CEO search had been in progress since the spring, insinuating that the fallout from the article, published by The Verge, did not play a role in Korey’s resignation" to “frankly, we let some inaccurate reporting influence the timeline of a transition plan that we had.” But the part that really takes the cake now is that she seemed to want to continue doing the things a CEO does, only without the title.
“The way it became perceived it was like I stepped down and like I left the company,” she said. “I have a very external-facing role working with new vendors, working with new partners, recruiting new candidates. And without a change, it looks like they have a board director reaching out to them who doesn’t work at the company.”
Steph Korey and Away, previously. Near the end of that discussion there was a link to a collection of anonymous comments from VCs, founders, and startup employees. If you didn't read it then, you should take a look now.
posted by fedward (14 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So, the Away CEO went away, but now she's remaining not away at Away?

If you work at away and you're away, does your away message state "I'm currently away from my desk at Away"?
posted by selfnoise at 7:38 AM on January 13 [12 favorites]

ppl chose complaining over quitting. Every top startup is as or more intense. Journalists are jealous of how much money ppl at startups make so the reach for these narratives. Journalists need to be held accountable

These comments from defenders are all horrible but this one made me laugh out my coffee. It's always funny when some rich POS thinks people are jealous of them, but in this case they're basically trying to brag about being abused workers. It really makes me wonder whether the money has made them shitty people or if they would always be such shitty people. Take the person who said the quote I posted and put them in a factory in China and see if they still defend those labor practices. I'd wager they would, I think capitalism has us by the short hairs because some people are just wired for it.

VC: “I’m a VC... and embarrassed by almost all of the VC replies/takes. There’s a difference between hustle and being humiliating and abusive towards people. I can’t wait until we get to a point when people don’t excuse assholes or asshole behavior for business execution or ambition for a world leading business”

Only ray of hope there from the anonymous comments. AVCAB but you know there's a problem when even other bastards start noticing how wicked their peers are being.
posted by GoblinHoney at 7:53 AM on January 13 [5 favorites]

Person whose controlling tendencies got her in trouble can't stop controlling? Shocking.

That Verge article stayed with me to the point where a few days ago, when I saw a job listed at Away that I'd otherwise really be interested in, I wouldn't even think about applying. That the CEO is still there, only now in an even more bonkers way, only solidifies my opinion. Nice work, there.
posted by Mchelly at 8:45 AM on January 13 [4 favorites]

I've worked for several world-class assholes at companies in several different industries. None were venture-funded, though, to have a whole excusing/enabling structure like this...
posted by PhineasGage at 9:15 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]

If you work at away and you're away, does your away message state "I'm currently away from my desk at Away"?

Based on what the employees have said, "away" is the one place you can never be if you work there.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 9:20 AM on January 13 [11 favorites]

Hypothetically speaking, if one were to say "Fuck capitalism, let's burn this shit to the ground!" would the moderators delete it?

Asking for a friend.
posted by evilDoug at 9:55 AM on January 13 [6 favorites]

I have as many problems with capitalism as anyone but when I see appeals to ‘burn it to the ground!’ I get confused.

Lighting fires is relatively easy, and it’s something I’ve done hundreds of times.

Won’t someone tell me where to put my kindling so as to effectively conflagrate these folks at Away and their ilk?
posted by SaltySalticid at 11:20 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]

>Suggested soundtrack for this article: How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?

The judges would also have accepted Girl, Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
posted by mogget at 8:43 PM on January 13 [4 favorites]

This is slightly tangential but still notable from its prominence in the NYT piece:
Sitting in a windowless conference room at the company’s SoHo headquarters, Ms. Korey, at one point nearly breaking down in tears, said that the month since the article was published had been a tough lesson about management — and herself. She was bombarded by criticism on Twitter and other social media platforms that she thought would put the company’s future in jeopardy.

“It’s very upsetting if suddenly total strangers tell you that you should get an abortion,” said Ms. Korey, who is pregnant. One user on Twitter wrote: “Imagine how she’ll treat that baby.”
The problem is that one can assume everyone who attracts some degree of attention will receive abusive comments online, regardless of the worthiness of their position, so this idea that you should implicitly be judged as a good person with a good position because of the abuse you receive ("I have the right kind of enemies") seems wrong.

I can have sympathy with people receiving abusive comments on Twitter but then I’d have sympathy with pretty much everyone, including people who have done objectively bad things worthy of punishment. These comments are being treated as something exceptional to this particular case when they simply aren’t. And that’s a problem with a society that doesn’t recognise how widespread online abuse is, and with the NYT for choosing to highlight it.
posted by adrianhon at 2:52 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]

To be fair there was a noticeable sort of gendering to the responses, at least on Twitter, to the extent that I reread the previous comments here to make sure that by posting I wouldn't be extending a gendered pile-on. And it's a fair question to ask why a female bad boss might attract more coverage than any number of male bad bosses have and do (like the guy farting in people's faces, called out in the linked anonymous round-up). I think we can all agree that saying somebody should have an abortion or have their child taken away (because they're a bad boss or have had the temerity to sympathize with one on the internet) is not acceptable.

But it is also still newsworthy. "Bad boss apologizes, steps down, reconsiders" is a capsule for the horrible era we live in regardless of the boss' gender.
posted by fedward at 6:10 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

All good people get abused on social media. I got abused on social media. Therefore I am a good person.
It's the modern version of 'All men are Greeks. Socrates is a man. Therefore all Greeks are Socrates.'
posted by Cardinal Fang at 6:40 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

I've been tortured by bosses of both genders, but there was a particular cruelty from the female side that was unapologetic. I'm a VERY fair person in as many respects as I can measure, but whew, they seemed like they wanted to see me cry and squirm in a sadistic way sometimes. I'm working on a balanced team of awesome people now, and they literally have seen me flinch when I remember some of my past experiences. She abused people. Period.
posted by lextex at 9:38 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

Well this news certainly raises some eyebrows:
Erin Grau, the company’s vice president of people and culture, told her bosses on Monday that she planned to quit, Recode has learned. She’ll leave the company in the next month or two. In addition to human resources, Grau also oversaw internal communications and recruiting for the company.
She seems like the sort of person who'd be aware of the message sent by the timing of the announcement of her departure. I can't wait for the messaging about how this was an existing plan that just got accelerated, which the company can then walk back after a few more weeks.
posted by fedward at 7:23 PM on January 14

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