Code Vigorous

Dustin J. Mitchell

Table Stakes

12 Oct 2017

I saw a slide with the text “Why are you passionate about diversity in the workplace”. The question stuck with me. Am I? I’m not, really. I don’t lie awake thinking about it. I don’t go to people-management conferences. I don’t really even find it that interesting to talk about.

Does that mean I don’t care about it? No!

It took me a while to figure out the disconnect: I think of a diverse workforce as part of basic business operation. I’m not passionate about Mozilla paying the rent on time, but I’d be pretty angry if I learned we are not. I don’t care how the wifi in the office is implemented, as long as it works. I have no interest in the intricacies of contract negotiations with partners like Google or Yandex – I just expect these things to happen.

I feel the same way about working with an interesting, representative mix of people – that’s table stakes for running a business. Likewise, the people i work with should be treated fairly and given a comfortable environment to do their work. Hiring someone is hard, and if they feel like they can’t continue to work here because of the behavior of others, a hostile culture, or unjust policies, then we’re losing a lot of productivity.

The software engineering industry is emphatically not doing these things well right now. Mozilla’s not, either. So I might not be “passionate about diversity”, but I’m pretty miffed that the people who should be aren’t getting it right. And I’m even more upset by the noisy few who are actively picketing against diversity and inclusion – that’s certainly not helping to solve the problem.