Tech 'n Savvy

6' Solidarity and Reimagining the Tech Workplace with Andrew Carr

July 16, 2021 Tech & Savvy Episode 6
Tech 'n Savvy
6' Solidarity and Reimagining the Tech Workplace with Andrew Carr
Show Notes Transcript

It's the season finale! In this episode, April and Emily talk with Andrew Carr, a community organizer in the Northside of Chicago who also happens to code. They discuss their experiences in tech, solidarity, and how we can reimagine the workplace to be better for all tech workers. 

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Hi everyone. You're listening to tech savvy. I'm Emily and I'm April. In
today's episode, we're going to talk with Andrew Carr, a community
organizer in the north side of Chicago, who also happens to code. He's
interested in understanding how workplaces specifically tech reinforce
identity and what that means for minorities. So, Hey Andrew, so glad to
have you.
Hello, great to be here. My name is Andrew Carr. He/Him pronouns. For
those of you that just want the visual description, black male light-skin,
with slightly curly hair, and with a black t-shirt on with the logo of a
community organizing group that I'm with the Afro socialist and socialist
of color caucus.
Welcome to our podcast, Andrew. For anyone who doesn't know, me
Andrew, well now use to work together,
Left me, left me. Oh my gosh.
The wound is still it's still open. We both used to work together at blue
cross as developers, definitely had a lot of fun, lots of banter between the
boat, really fun person. We're really excited to talk to you today. I think
this is going to be a really great discussion. Just to give our audience like
an intro, can you talk to us how you got into tech?
Yes. I got into tech through a program called dev bootcamp, which is one
of those, a part of like that massive growth. I feel like in starting like
2013, just like anybody can code and just like thrusting as many people as
possible into these like haphazard like eight to like 12 week programs.
That's how I learned how to like, write really messy code. Now whether or
not like telling me how to like, create like anywhere close to production
level, probably not. That's how I got into tech in 2015 is when I did the
program. It's like a very long job search afterwards. I don't know if we're
going to talk about that now, because I don't know if you want to see me
cry, but job searches are the worst. But that's how I got into tech. Oh.
My goodness. Well, I mean, we're glad you're here. Yeah, it's definitely
bootcamps have been really popular over the past couple of years,
especially for people who want to go the non-traditional route and don't
want to spend like $200,000 on a bachelor's degree at a private school, or
even like $50,000 for a bachelor's degree at a public school, has become a
really accessible option to a lot of people. We know that community
organizing is really important to you also, can you tell us about your
journey into that?
Yes. What happened is like I was doing this, doing the jobs and they
definitely say like expect like a five month job search, which like LOL to
like a quasi three months, less than three month program and then a five
month job search. Just even being able to job search is like a privilege
thing to do. Like, and I was very fortunate to have like parents who like
will help me cover rent if I wasn't able to for that month. That was one
way, like my own privilege got into it. Still the job search was left me just
like very depleted, and just going and the continuous just like sending out
resumes like really like being like, oh my gosh, you're the only company
that I want to work for. Not that I haven't also sent out this letter to 49
other places. During that time, that's when the, this also when, the
election happens, and, 45 was like to Trump.
That was just like, for like many millennial caused like a whole like, oh my
God, like what's happening. As somebody who was like really enthusiastic
about Sanders and was really enthusiastic about canvassing, about access
to healthcare, about just like income inequality, that's what in a moment
of just like not being employed and then like seeing this like absolute like
maelstrom of politics, like descend upon the United States. That's when I
got active in democratic socialists of America, as well as the people's
lobby, which is another community organizing group here in Chicago, both
of which I very much indebted to, in terms of like getting to know people,
getting to understand what is like self-interests within community
organizing, and was really able to get a footing into a footage and like,
what is like, what does Chicago need from its community organizers?
Because at the end of the day, like you do community organizing, it's like,
there's a problem.
Like there's a problem with either violence is a problem with, of your
housing was a problem with schools. That's what really put me into, like
me organizing was just like, frankly, this just like a paucity of any other
opportunity. When you feel like you can't get a job easily, it's like, I do
believe that like having work can be a very like allows you to like, explore
certain parts of yourself. Like, it pushes your mind in ways. I wasn't able
to get that through the traditional that the bootcamp was allegedly going
to give me. So that's what community organizing gave me.
Do you think that's like a larger portion of your like identity nowadays?
Cause I do notice, like in your bile, you're a community organizer who
happens to code, so you think that's like the more important part of
So, I mean all praise that people that are like super enthusiastic about
tech, but the question that always like when you're at a bar and somebody
says like, so what do you do? Like my always response is like, I work as a
web developer, but hopefully like, that's the least interesting thing about
me. And so Kimmy organizing. Like the way that I see tech is really, I think
like the idea of like a vocation, it's just like it, I very much am working
towards the idea that like, it is just like, it allows me to live where I live
and I am very fortunate in the fact that it does pay very adequately. To
your question of just like, how do I, I, I definitely think that like organizing
is where I find a lot of potential. That's what gives me exposure to like
much my mind, like much more challenging ideas.
Just like, is this like a city that like, I really want to be on? And like, why is
it like, is it because of like legislation that's like getting passed or not
getting passed? Is it for the fact that I've got a very terrible alderman who
is like cutting back on affordable housing and it's causing our schools to
receive less funding? Is it talking about how like, there's like constant
amount of like police cars, but like, does that actually respond to, like,
what does violence look like? and I don't think those questions are going
to be offered in tech. And, but even the ability to organize is still part of
like my privilege. To do, I think it was like Alice Walker, who said that like
my activism is the rent that I pay for having an opportunity to live on this
earth. That's like a line I not the, like whatever people can problematize
that line and be like, no, you shouldn't have to do stuff just because you're
I do really believe that like, having that being in discussion with these
larger ideas of like accessibility, like oppression, are the things that really
make me feel enthusiastic and vibrant in tech is like, great. Like every two
weeks, like my bank account gets money. Like, whoa, that's like wild. I'm
also curious about like your, cause I, I know April that you have a
computer science degree. I am curious like how you like have enjoyed or
like what has been like your like on-ramp into this world.
Yeah. Yeah, I have a computer science degree, which I got by the skin of
my teeth. I was not a good student in college. My, my mom will tell you
that I gave her heartburn all the time. Like I, I remember she tells me all
the time that she thinks I graduated and like, didn't know how to code.
Like, honestly I got extreme, like extremely lucky. I went to, the Grace
Hopper conference, my, like coming into my senior year of college. While I
was at Grace Hopper, I interviewed with Allstate and they decided to offer
me a job. I, I didn't know what I was going to do. They decided to offer me
a job. I had the choice between Charlotte and Chicago and I didn't want
to live in the south. I decided to come to Chicago and came to Allstate.
And honestly, my mom was right.
I was not a great coder at all, but, working at Arity, which is like, was like
a tech startup through Allstate. I really got exposed to like a lot of
technology, a lot of responsibility. It was like either you're going to sink or
swim. Like you said, I was getting paid a lot more than, a lot of people
coming right out of college. I was like, I'm going to keep this money no
matter. So I, you know, I worked hard. I made email and made a lot of
connections that some people made my way over to blue cross. Obviously
now I'm leaving blue cross to go to a new job,
I used a new job kin and Carta, which is like, yes,
Yeah. Still, still in Chicago. That's kind of in my journey into it. I've only
been, I've been out of college for just four years now. I do find myself very
lucky and very privileged to like actually have gotten to where I am within
the four years. I am hyper aware of that all the time. What about you,
Emily? Yeah, I think my, how I got into tech was similar to April's as well. I
do feel like tech is my whole world in a sense. It, it really has like
consumed me in a bit, but for me, it's also in a good way, like April and I
both run this nonprofit and it's a cybersecurity nonprofit that is all about
making cybersecurity more accessible, more inclusive. In a way, like our
organizing is also in tech. It really is like a big part of my world.
I think April a big part of your world, but I agree. It's very important that
you also look outside of the tech realm too.
The one question, if I may ask, the idea of like tech is sold as a, because I
think tech has this idea of just like, oh, it's like ones and zeros. It's like
this, like very, like, it doesn't matter. Who's like touching the keyboard as
long as the code is good or the idea of like bootcamps that say that like
anybody can learn the code. Tech has like really offered this idea of just
like this hyper transparent, hyper accessible, just like as long as like,
you're like good with your brain. I think that's worth more of like a
interrogation of just like these workplaces, especially looking at like what
these companies like, just even as like how we're formed. I'm wondering,
like, what does exhaustion look like for you in the workplace? Or maybe
there's like a lack of exhaustion, if so, like, please tell me how you're doing
Like, I do think I'm wondering like how you see like both forms of
exhaustion and also restoration in like in these like workplaces.
Yeah. I think, like always like a primary form of exhaustion is also like, it's
like number one, being black in the workspace and then like double
whammy being a black woman and the workspace, like, whether I worked
at Allstate or whether I worked at blue cross, it was like guaranteed that I
was like the only black woman developer, like on that entire engineering
team. Even if there are other black people, even if there are other women,
like, there was no, there was almost guaranteed like nobody else or if
there was like, they weren't there for long. Number one, it's always
exhausting being like in that intersection because you don't really have
anybody there that like fully understands what you're talking about. Also
like what you touched on Andrew in tech. Although we know tech is not
just coding, there's other facets of it, a large part of it is the code.
Like you, and you had said like, the way they brought, they talked about
code is that, well, as long as you can use your brain, anyone can code, but
then you're really only being valued for your brain. A lot of that
exhaustion comes from the fact that, you have to be on all the time.
Something goes down, you're, you have to wake up and we have to wake
up in the middle of the night. You, you're con you constantly have to be on
24 7. Like I stare at the computer so much that just like started developing
migraines. I know that I I've started like grinding my teeth at night
because I'm always, so not necessarily because of my job, but when you're
focused on something all day long, you end up developing a lot of like
stress and tension. On that aspect for me, that's how it gets really.
It gets very exhausting when you're only being valued for like what your
brain can bring. I feel like in a lot of, companies and a lot of industries,
developers aren't valued as much like their mental health. Isn't valued as
much, we're just expected to produce all the time. When we're not
producing, they want to ask us, why are you not producing? Like me? I'm
just tired.
Yeah. I mean, there is, I feel like this, like Hollywood myth of like, what
does a developer, like the social networking would be the Facebook movie.
They're just like the hackathon, like the, always the like the hackathon, it's
just like, you just like, are coding for like 16 hours straight. And there's
like 10 diet. Pepsi's like right next to the, like your computer and like you,
and just like a whole bunch of people that you have no respect for hygiene.
It's a like, weird, like, and even I feel like there's this idea, like going to
your point April of like characterizing it as like the sign of like an
authentic programmer is one that's like, so selfless that they just like,
would like, that's like a sign of like, almost being good at programming is
like, you show up like, very like, almost like degraded looking though.
I bring that up as, cause that's also then gets into like a gender thing
where like, if a male like shows up like looking to shovel, they're just like,
oh, he's such a good programmer. Like literally he can't be bothered to
look at anything beyond the code. Just like, if a woman were looked like,
or like, just like a non, like non-male to show up looking like very
disheveled to be like, oh, wow, like you don't really take this seriously. Do
you? Like, you should be like, athletic really presented it if you want to do
this. I think that's like a little, so, yeah. I, I definitely agree that point of
like the idea of like valuation on just the brain is like, it's a weird toxic and
it doesn't like incorporate the other aspects, like make, play, work
Yeah. I definitely agree. I think it is kind of glorified that like idea of the
program or just, not caring about anything else and just digging in. I also
thought your point about like the workplace and the tech workplace,
environment, how do think that's changed with everything being remote?
Because you talked about, it's not necessarily a comfortable place for a lot
of people, but do you think that it being all remote has made that better or
worse? Or what are your thoughts?
I think the best part about remote, it's just showing that like, people can
do work from the home so differently. Abled people are just like, people
who like use wheelchairs or if like, I think that's probably been the biggest
like managers, like, do you actually need to make people go into the
office? Like if like productivity can be done sufficiently at home? I do
think though that part of what like how, like a lot of managers make,
they're like prove their worth is like managing people and to a degree, like
if you can be productive and like, it might show to like some of these
managers, like aren't actually that useful. Like, I think that there's going
to be of like I do. I do think that there's probably some conversations
happen. Just like, why do we have like such overhead, with like corporate
overhead when there should be a focus.
I, I do think with like the transition to work from home is probably been
like a really good thing. I do well the same time. Yeah. Yeah. I guess like, it
could be a really great thing, but one thing is like, this is still being
understood under like a pandemic. What, like non pandemic life looks like,
and also work from home. Like, there are probably some intangibles that
occur by just being able to be in conversation with each other. If the
pendulum swing so far as like, we get rid of all sense of community and
you, then you isolate people like, yes, you might not have like racial
microaggressions, because like, we're all just like these like black boxes
just producing. There is like a, a detriment, if you only think of yourself as
just writing just, or just producing code or just doing this particular thing,
I think there's, and I think this is what we'll talk about later.
Hopefully is the idea of just like, what is like solidarity in the workplace
look like, because that is going to be near impossible. I believe my belief is
if like you just like are logging in for these specific moments and then
disengaging very quickly. I I'm hesitant to see, I I'm hesitant to say like, it's
all going to be good.
Yeah. That makes, that makes a lot of sense. What you're saying,
especially like you said, well, we'll talk about solidarity and the workplace
later, but being able to be present all the time in tech is definitely
something. I think that because of a lot of people, a lot of us don't
necessarily show up all the time because it's like, I'm just tired. I'm tired. I
want to, I wants to go home. I don't have the mental strength or capacity
to actually deal with something anymore. Of course that's also a privilege
in and of itself because some of us can't just decide to disengage. We're
always engaged. The whole burnout aspect, the expectation to go above
and beyond all the time really causes, like, not like a destruction, but like,
it definitely causes a lack in culture. It causes culture to go down when
people feel like they're not being valued on the person level.
So, yeah. I mean the question, so yeah, the question is like, yeah. How,
what does, when you say, like, you're intact, like what does that, and you
can like, it doesn't have to just be one or just like, what is like collection of
responses, what do they look like?
Yeah. It's interesting. At first, usually when I say I'm in tech, people just
generally are like, oh, that's cool. Cause I feel like a lot of people don't
still, despite the fact that we're such a technical world and we're all on the
internet. I feel like a lot of people still don't know like what tech is and
stuff like that. Like, my family, they're obviously really supportive. It's
really funny. I have like this one cousin who always jokes that like I work
at Google or something like that or that I own Google. I feel like a lot of
people, when I say like either like a software developer or a software
engineer, they're just kinda like, oh yeah, I never know whether that oh, is
like, oh, I don't know what that is or, oh, I wouldn't have pegged you to do
that. My optimistic self has always, like they're saying, oh, they didn't
realize it, but I feel like they'll realize what it is, but I feel like a lot of it is
probably like, oh, that's not what I expected.
Like my mom, I remember used to tell me this, tell me the story about, so
like, my mom's name is Alice. So, it's very European, very, just very white
sounding. Our last name mazel is also like very not, very like, not gonna
say it's white sounding, but it's very, people wouldn't peg it for like a black
family, I guess you could say. There, she always tells me about, there were
a couple of interviews that she's gone into and people would go do that
whole, oh, you're not Alice, right. Like I'm right here. What, oh, you're not
who I'm looking for. Like that's so wrong. That's what I feel like
sometimes when I tell some people I'm attacked, I tell them that and
they're like, are you really,
Are you lying to me? Okay.
Yeah. That's, that's been my experience for how people react when I say
I'm in tech. How do people react? I would say people are definitely
surprised when I say I'm in tech. Or I dunno, I guess that's just the best
way to say it. They're just like surprised and sometimes interested
sometimes not interested in hearing what I actually do, but yeah. I don't
know if that helps. I don't know. I've always had this feeling of not quite
belonging, I guess, especially in, I used to be more in math and I do feel
like there was like more of a feeling in math actually of not fitting in then
in tech. So, I guess if anything, that's one of the reasons I really just
started loving tech because I, I did find it better. I was not doing well in
the math environment. So, whether it's definitely not perfect, but I, it was
just better for me.
It shows again, just like, I wish that there was more of like this idea that
like what does working in tech look like? Because I think that, even if
there is like knowledge with answer, like tech workers as like an industry
it's going to this might be like of just like too broad of a statement. Like
somebody is going to like dictate, like what the tech industry looks like.
Overwhelmingly, it's probably going to just be like leaders of like the
highest level of management for like the company. It's either going to be
them as like very much top level people or it's going to be like a idea of
just like general workers themselves. I think it's, I'm curious to just think
of like how tech can be like just the public can be more aware of just like
what goes on in the tech industry.
Like what does like working in tech look like? because again, just always
going against this idea of just like, oh, like it's either like, oh, I can't know
anything about it. Like the like, oh, like I had, I have no idea what you
could ever do. Like that just seems so impossible. What you do, like lines
of code look like gibberish to me it's just like comes off as I feel like
almost like a little too adamantly, like dismissive or like uninterrupted or
just like, were they like seeing like, oh, like what does it mean to you? It's
more just like, I have an idea of what it is. I think that goes into, I think
that flows into like, what does, like both allyship look like or solidarity
look like? I like the word solidarity, allyship, I think is like, been like
corporatized and like target likes it and Sears likes, I'm just like, oh, I
don't know.
Like, am I in LA? I don't know. But I'd rather be in solidarity. So, yeah, so
those are like, what does solidarity look like? especially knowing that, like,
we have these like very peculiar, like tech model lists that people like
claws. I understand tech as, but like are really just like any other
corporate institution. Like we've like talked about, like, we do have like
these like very peculiar experiences, understanding just like, what does
class and a class race, gender look like in both like accessibility and also
just like maintaining yourself within tech. Now it goes into how do we like
really proactively form knowledge around it that like makes it a better
space. That's where the like allyship comes in or solidarity just like bleep
out. Whenever I say allyship, just like put in like the cuss word, like bleed
and then yeah. Make them think that, like I said something wretched,
when in fact I just said the word.
I think that, going back to what you were saying about, the whole, who
forms these companies who decides who's at the top, and what we talked
about earlier, a lot of like the top companies, specifically in the U S
obviously, cause we're in the U S we're formed by, CIS white men. I feel
like a lot of people who are empowered, want other people who look like
them also empower, I'm a woman, so I want to see more women in tech,
I'm black. I want to see more black people in tech. So, if you're a white
CEO, you want to see more people like you want to see your kids. You
want to see your grandkids, in the same position that you are. Thus your
whole you're upholding, practices that keep other people down. Whether
it's not hiring someone or not interviewing someone because their name is
weird to you and you can't pronounce it, or you meet someone and you
can't pronounce their name and they tell you and you tell them, oh, that's
still too hard.
I'm just going to call you Joe or something like that. I feel like a lot of tech
institutions really do uphold the whole, we want everybody at the top kind
of the same, or we're only going to hire people who we get a reference for.
Because everyone at the top is basically white you're there, you're only
going to get references for white people and thus tax is gonna stay the
way it is. That's why we have all these problems with, solidarity. Yeah, I
just wanted to add onto that I really do think you need representation at
every level and every department, every type of role. I think also it's really
important with interviewers that they are very like equipped with that, the
eye information that they're well represented of people, of all
backgrounds. Because I think that also affects the candidate when they're
going into their interview and everyone who interviews them doesn't have
the same background.
It's it already puts you off as another hurdle kind of. Whereas if it's
someone like you feel more comfortable, so I think that's also something
that's not considered, but probably should be. Yeah, I think that
leadership, especially there is this image to uphold, that I think goes with
gender race. I think, sexuality as well as something that doesn't get talked
about, but I, I think is also really important because there is this like, idea,
there's this image of who is at the top. I don't think it's always, inclusives
people feeling like they can actually talk about their families or their home
life. It's just like another thing that sets people, it makes them feel like less
comfortable in the workplace.
Totally agree. It, so when it gets into the end of the like seeing that I'm just
like belaboring over and over the idea of the myth is that idea that like, do
you want to these companies that are like tech companies, the idea is like
some ideas, like you just want to create like the best code possible. If you
want to create like the best code possible, if it is truly like a purely
cognitive, a clearly like abstract thing, I'm just like the best. You could
apply this to like, as a car manufacturer. Do you want like, to make the
best cars possible as like a food manufacturer that like the best food is
like, if you're really dedicated to that, you have to do like a lot to make
sure that like you are ha like the best access to Canada. So you're
supporting your campus.
You're, you're supporting employees like very consistently. I think there's
always this like the inner play of just like, okay, like we want to like, be
this like state organization that allows people empowered to like, maintain
power. That would be like a really destructive thing to actually say like if
we be, are going to actually have to start like re examining, just like, what
does, like racial bias look like? And like the promotion process, like if they
actually sit one to do that. I don't think that is, I think that's like a really
important strain to like amplify of like, cause I think of the solidarity is
both acknowledgement of like, actually there is something that like, that
should be done and it's now it goes from like the acknowledgement to then
this like collection, like collectively like discussing it. This was a quote that
is from Christina Collins, who was like a black fat black feminist scholar.
Amazing. One of the lines that she gave that I really like is suppressing the
knowledge produced by any oppressed group. It makes it easier for
dominant groups to rule because the seeming absence of descent suggests
that subordinate groups willingly collaborate in their own victimization.
Mostly it's just like, if like, yeah. The line of like, okay, like we're not like a
black people are talking about like a massage, like racism that much then
like, clearly it's like, it's not that important to them. Like they would like,
we've already hired enough that like they could say it to our faces. That's,
so that's why I think the final like, or not final, but like one of the like then
like tail end of it gets into. Like, what does like actively just discussing
having conversations around like race, because then that's something
that's like dissuaded from like that's that goes against the idea of like,
we're just brains in front of a computer.
It goes against the idea that like, we have like different background
experiences. When we walk into the doors of our building, like
corporations, I think are meant to like sanitize you as you walk into the
space and do it on the premise of like, oh, like we are free from judgment
here am I, we accept anybody of like, whatever their background identity
is. Also don't talk about your identity because like the easiest way to say
that you're all equal. It's just like to not acknowledge like any differences
and just let the presume structures take hold. That's the question that I
want to offer as, like, what does that look like as you go onto like a new
workplace looking at you, or if you already add like your existing,
It's for me, one of the things I've definitely started looking more into like
their whole interview process as a whole. Like companies that are
transparent about what an interview with them looks like exactly. Like,
cause a lot of people, if you have anxiety, ADHD, you, if they tell you, oh,
you're going to have an interview, but you don't know what's going to go
on, you can spend days mulling over something that hasn't even happened.
You end up psyching yourself out because you don't know what's
happening. Also for me, and I know tons of companies still don't do this,
but I will fight for companies to put their salary ranges on job postings. I
think that's just, that just speaks volumes to me about, number one, you
value an interviewees time and you also are transparent about what you're
paying people, because I hate when I go into interviews and they're like, so
what's your salary range because you're, it's a, toss-up either.
They'll hear what you say, but still like give you the higher amount that
was in their budget or they'll hear what you say. We're often than not,
they'll just go with that lower end. What you said. For me, I think I like
companies that, definitely put their employees first and to me having a
transparent interview process, definitely to me sounds like putting
employees first. Yeah. Transparent interview process and really just
valuing your employees personal lives, meaning knowing they have a job,
not, or not a job, they just have a life outside of this job. You know, I don't
live to work. I work to live. That's that's for me, what's most important.
Yeah. I think for me it would be not having to try to conform to this one
image because I do think you're a lot of times in the workplace, we're
supposed to act what's called professional and really what does it mean to
be professional? I feel like a lot of it ends up being hiding parts of yourself,
even if it is something like gender and race, you can't hide that, but in a
way you can, because, like April what you were saying about not being
able to talk about certain issues in a way that is hiding who you are.
I think that's a, a real problem and I, I don't know how to change it. I feel
like it's a whole culture shift that needs to happen. But, yeah, I just, I
always feel like it's all about upholding a certain image and
professionalism and I wish that wasn't the way it is.
I mean, I totally agree the idea of just like, yeah, like, yeah, just to your
point, just like professional, but like professional really is just like just self
eraser according to like what like the dominant guideline is. I definitely,
yeah, I think what I'm picking up on it. I think the idea of just that is a
cause where I would push back, it's just like access to leadership at the
end of the day, like leadership. I don't like the term leadership. I th I think
management is the term, that I would give them. I think leadership is a
very great new lingo that they've like developed. What it really, what I'm
like, why distill it down to is just like management will not, and this is like
a very standard, like labor paradigm. It's like management will only
respect you as much as like the workers themselves, like respect
Like it's easy to like, they don't like, if you want to like go up against the
black, the boss, if the boss knows that all of you are in like connection
with each other, that you are like familiar with each other and with each
other's lives. I think that's when, cause that's when you can I mean, this
gets into like the like old-school styles and just like, what does like a
walkout, like that's the most traditional thing, like a strike or like a
walkout, there's others ways that like workers can like be in solidarity
with each other. It is if management sees that you're already having that
discussion with each other, like for example, like salary, like if
management manager will put salary on their like listing, if they see that
like, oh wow, like everyone who works for us has already discussed salary
with each other.
Like, and like it's making us look really bad. Like I don't think
management is going to proactively put salary, but I think that they are
going to be like, wait a minute, everyone's here has discussed salary. Like
they're saying, like it's completely uneven and we need to like be
accountable to like this because at the end of day, like we are larger than
management. Like this general workers, like have, like, I think you
dropped that line of just like, it was when you're in some meeting, like
somebody kept on talking about claims and just like, watch me go over it
and like delete the claims app out of like PCF right now, if he's like, keep
on like harassing or whatever saying like shit about like the, what the
portfolio is doing. There is the way to sorta like, feel powerful is also
feeling connection with each other.
Maybe just to like leave on just such a like sappy note, but just like, it is
like the solidarity comes from just like enthusiasm for each other's lives,
that like extend outside and getting to see each other, as more
multifaceted than what your employer wants you to think of each other as,
and that's, that can be, especially when to Emily's point, it can be really
difficult when like the idea of showing up to work means like being as like
parceled out or like diminished or raised. That is like, that is a really tough
tension to like go through, like, I want to be presentable and appropriate,
but also like, you are so much more beautiful than just like your like
salary, like, and you were so much more exceptional than the lines of code
that you write. That's where I just went along, leave on it's like, you were
so much more than that.
Part of solidarity is getting to like explore that and be enthusiastic about
that with other coworkers. Despite what others, wish that you did.
I guess to, maybe start to close this out, how you asked us, like, what
would be our wishlist if went into a new company, when it came to
solidarity, like what is your whisky, wishlist, Andrew? Like what do you
want to see in workplaces?
I, my number one would be a 30 hour maximum work week. Like I do not
think that there's plenty of there's. I think what work from home is
exposed is like, there is not actually that much work to do like the
workplace by having a physical workplace. It said like, okay, you're going
to get here at nine and you're going to leave at five and we're just going to
try and extract the most work from you as possible. Afterwards, like in
your off hours. What I hope is like, realizing this is just like, I mean, I've
just seen this from other friends. It's just like, you don't actually have like
often like 30, 40 hours of work to do. If anything, for companies to just
like really hone that as like a practice. Cause it does take knowledge of
just like, what do workflows look like and how you make it and whether,
and I think that could mean then hiring more people or maybe it just
means like hire the same amount of people and just be like vulnerable
enough to realize like we don't actually have 40 hours of work to do.
Being okay with that because like the whole idea of just like, we're trying
to just get work out of you is like, that's what then justifies like, well, like
it looks like your gender is coming at the expense of us being as productive
as possible. Like, oh, it looks like your background, your identity is like
making other people feel uncomfortable. Like acts that, like, that's, it's a
rude thing. Just like you're here to do work, for as many hours as is
feasible or is like socially appropriate for your job. If, and I, I would like to
hope that like the next place I'm at is like, they will be like very
intentional, just like, yeah, we're okay with the fact that like you're going
to be like, you can clean your apartment or like go work out for two hours
during the day. Like, like, and we're not trying to like push you as hard as
possible because like, again to Emily's point is like, these companies are
making plenty of money.
Like if people actually knew how much money they contributed to like the
company's bottom line. Like it, I think it would mean so many people I
think would be incense and be like, no, wait a minute. Why am I getting
this salary? If like I'm giving you that much?
Yeah. I also just think that across the board, if there was that limit of how
much time you could actually work, it would make it easier for people to
get into other fields and learn new skills because that's such a roadblock,
especially getting into tech, like there's so much to learn. If you can't take
time off from a job, then that making that transition is just so hard. I think
it would help with that. I think, it also helped with being more, doing more
activism, things like that. Like people, I don't think people would just be
lazy. I think they would actually use that time in a productive way.
It should not be underestimated. What happens by the fact that like when
they co-located workers in the same place, they limit information that your
app like that you can access, they limit the people that you can be around.
Like it is eight hours, like out of your community. They also like put like
commute a commute time on you, which is like, can just be like taxing in
and of itself. Like there is like a form of control of taking people out of
their communities, putting them in a sterile building and then like draining
them of both like emotional and intellectual labor and then dropping them
back into like where they were and being. Like, that's that creates a desert
for the ability to like grow new ideas in your community or even to be
tapped into your community. I think that's, yeah, I really think that's when
it comes to like that solidarity.
I think that maybe Emily, to your point of like, when you asked earlier, like
what does work from home mean? I think this could be probably one of
the biggest things is like communication is open and access to community
is so much more accessible. That really a building is really, I think, meant
to, because we could have been doing work from home years ago, like,
Basically to summarize, we want to work fewer hours and make more
money and be in our communities. Yeah. Summarize this whole entire less
work, more involvement in your community or buddy less work. Yeah. I
guess, yeah. So go ahead. Go ahead. Okay. I was just going to say, did you
want to give any closing remarks? That's what I was going to say.
Thank you first. Thank you all for inviting me onto this podcast. I
incredibly enjoyed speaking with you all and getting to go on, like what at
times may have been like rambling rants on just for like my ideas.
Hopefully they came across like cohesively enough. Yeah, just like the idea
of just like technology, like there are so many myths, the 40 hour work
week as a myth, the idea that like, I think that's what we like interwove a
lot of, just like what are the things that we can like inquire into and like
realize that there's like a much more multifaceted reality behind. I feel like
we got to explore that today, so super thankful for that. Yeah, I look
forward to listening to this in a very narcissistic way, but like, yeah.
Yeah. Thank you so much for coming on Andrew. If people are interested
in talking to you or learning more, how can they find you?
Yes. The easiest way to access is real Andrew Carr. My Instagram handle
at real Andrew car. Yeah, I think send me a DM there. Specifically, if
you're interested in organizing on the north side of Chicago, or if you just
want to get a, like a plug into somewhere in Chicago, I have friends
throughout other community organizers throughout. I'm specifically
interested in socialist organizing on the left, specifically with, my main
organization is Afra socialists and socialists of color. We are a BiPAP only
that stands for black indigenous POC, only organization that's fighting
for, power in Chicago through a socialist lens. That often means either
electorial or through direct action, public policy, a variety of tactics.
Mostly in terms of like being in solidary with each other and create
community with each other. If that's something that you're interested in,
hit me up on Instagram, and I look forward to continuing conversation
Yeah. That's Instagram  @realandrewcarr with two RS. Yes, definitely
look them up. For anyone who wants to learn more about tech and savvy,
you can go to our website tech, the letter end It has links to our
Instagram, YouTube, and of course Spotify, all the podcasts places too. So
yeah. Thank you all for listening. Thank you.