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OneZero
The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.

Work

In OneZero. More on Medium.

OneZero readers know it well: The very concept of “work” is changing thanks to colossal technological shifts that have only accelerated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Remote positions, precarious gig jobs, and side hustles are now cornerstones of our new economy.

Which is why Medium is launching Index, a new publication about work.

As Index editor Jean-Luc Bouchard puts it in their welcome letter:

Jobs have increasingly become decentralized, with millions stringing together gig and contract roles as millions more have been thrust into remote work this past year due to forces well beyond their control. There has…


A boom in contact tracing devices could herald a new era of worker surveillance

Photo illustration sources: PwC; Iv__design/Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Before April, Radiant RFID, a 16-year-old tech company based in Austin, was mainly in the business of tracking equipment around the workplace. Radiant’s tags, which can use Bluetooth or GPS, can be stuck to anything valuable, like a crash cart in a hospital or a specialty tool in an auto manufacturing plant. Then, the object’s location can be constantly tracked through Radiant’s website or app.

But the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the company to stand up an entirely new business: tracking worker interactions.

Radiant now sells a stripped-down Samsung smartwatch as a social distance monitoring tool. When an employee wears…


They’re on the front lines of a relentless and overwhelming news cycle that is pushing them to the edge

Illustration: Lia Liao

Until recently, Christina Garnett worked at a global agency managing social media accounts for Fortune 500 companies, running a team that moderated and responded to people’s online questions. During the first months of the pandemic, she would wake up at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m., anxiously checking her phone and email to see if there was yet another crisis that required a quick response: Did the stock market crash? Did the president tweet about a specific brand? Was there a potential Covid-19 vaccine?

The 37-year-old social strategist often felt depressed and misunderstood by upper management, who didn’t fully understand how…


Sharing compensation data has become an annual tradition at Microsoft during this time of year

Microsoft logo over an image of a calculator, pen, and printed table chart.
Microsoft logo over an image of a calculator, pen, and printed table chart.
Photo illustration, image source: Blake Callahan/Getty Images

Over the course of August 2020, more than 300 Microsoft employees shared their salaries, bonuses, and stock awards in a Google spreadsheet to continue their push for fairer compensation.

“You are legally protected to share this info, and you should share it so your coworkers can determine if they’re being underpaid; however, you should still exercise caution,” the Google Form to submit information reads.

Sharing compensation data has become an annual tradition at Microsoft during this time of year, when full-time employees are notified of any raises or bonuses. Last year, more than 400 employees similarly shared their salaries, OneZero


The most important reform to promote diversity and inclusion in your engineering organization

Photo: Kaleidico/Unsplash

In 2017, prominent software engineers took to Twitter to confess that they would fail a whiteboard interview. A popular way to evaluate programmers of all experience levels, “whiteboarding” involves presenting candidates with a computer science problem to solve on a whiteboard in real time. Engineers have been complaining about them for years.

David Heinemeier Hansson, the founder of Ruby on Rails, one of the most successful web frameworks in history, led the way. Top developers from Google, Microsoft, and the New York Times joined in.

Yet whiteboarding still constitutes a core part of the interview process at many tech…


Convenience comes at a price

Men work at a distribution station in the 855,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center.
Men work at a distribution station in the 855,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center.
Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

My experience as an Amazon warehouse worker was, at best, completely mediocre. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. Sometimes I liked it. Sometimes I didn’t like it. I’ve had worse jobs — at Walmart, I was paid a lot less for a more difficult job as a booster team stocker. At Walmart, it was always a puzzle to find out where an item went on the shelves. At Amazon, a computer tells you where something goes. There’s no guessing. …


Two former employees say that a lack of HR action was a primary reason for leaving the company

On March 20, 2019, a Microsoft employee who had been at the company for three years sent an email to a collection of listservs for women at the company, asking how to move up in the organization. She had worked for years without a promotion, and said that her career had been limited because she was a woman. It was a spark to a tinderbox.

In the next few days, dozens and dozens of other women replied to the message, each sharing frustration and stories of discrimination and harassment at the company. Some said they had been subject to overt…


Microprocessing

A cultural shift to remote work may keep you working at home even when the pandemic passes, if history is any guide

Only a bright laptop screen is visible in this dark room.
Only a bright laptop screen is visible in this dark room.
Photo: Cavan Images/Getty Images

Four months into New York City’s lockdown, I’m finally committing to outfitting my own home office.

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, I worked at my husband’s desk, which has multiple large monitors, a very nice desk chair, and even one of those green-glass banker’s lamps. Now that he’s working from home, I need to design my own little work nook, which will cost a little bit of cash I’m loath to part with in these precarious times.

The investment of energy, creative thinking, and money into creating a home workspace is intimidating, but it’s never been more essential…


Microprocessing

Video can break down hierarchies by bringing people into each other’s worlds more fully

A photo of a Macbook in a Zoom call against a sky blue background.
A photo of a Macbook in a Zoom call against a sky blue background.
Photo: Morning Brew/Unsplash

I recently had a frustrating phone call that was full of trial and error. I was calling a professor for this story, and I was already a bit nervous, as I usually am when chatting with accomplished experts in their fields. Then came a series of technological mishaps — a spotty connection, Zoom problems, and a Bluetooth nightmare.

Though we were eventually able to conduct our interview, I still worried that the bumpy beginning would lead my source to judge me negatively. Would he think that I wasn’t competent at my job?

It’s ironic that the episode itself was illustrative…


What the experience taught me about automating the hiring process

An Amazon Fulfillment Center sign and building located in Sacramento, CA.
An Amazon Fulfillment Center sign and building located in Sacramento, CA.
Photo: Andrei Stanescu/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus

A few weeks ago, I had just completed an application to work in a warehouse for Amazon. I had watched a video and completed a quiz showing that I knew that to stow items — heavy goes on the bottom, light goes on top. About 20 minutes later, Amazon emailed me that I had the job at the shift I desired. The email said to come into the warehouse recruiting office in Baltimore to take a photo for my ID and have my official documents, like my social security number and passport, ready to be scanned.

I was conflicted. It…

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