I'm a CEO. Yes, my LinkedIn says "Principal Engineer" and I occasionally toss around "President", but I'm a founder, I'm responsible for people's paychecks, and I've arguably hustled harder and pulled more all-nighters than Sergei and Larry ever have.
But I'm just trying to invoke street cred. My point has nothing to do with my accomplishments.
The interwebs have criticized Marissa Mayer of Yahoo left, right, and sideways about making folks come into the office. I don't know Marissa, I'm not sure of her abilities, and I don't have a bone to pick with her or Yahoo as a company.
I do know that it has been a long time since I thought of Yahoo as innovative. I also happen to know what it is to work for a medium sized company with a culture lacking accountability or inspiration.
I also think that Marissa deserves the benefit of the doubt on this one. The outlaw against working from home has nothing to do with feminism, women's rights, respect for employees, American competitiveness, or anything else quite so grandiose. It has to do with managing smart (we hope) people in a "maintain the status quo" environment.
Now, let me tell you something about what smart people do when faced with a six-figure paycheck and no real accountability.
- Leave and start your own company. This, of course, requires capital, a fantastic idea, and lots of hubris. Pick any two. Add tenacity if you're wise.
- Leave and join a company with better culture, probably a startup.
- Do the minimum, "work" from home for a couple of hours daily, and "fly low".
- Slightly more sensibly (or ethically), hang out, doing the minimum, until you can put together 2 out of 3 items in #1 and then start your own company. This might be the same as #3 if you're reading this.
- Fight the frustratingly sluggish brass at your firm and either get promoted to a point where this exercise is moot or slapped down until you give up the fight in quiet pain as your devotion to king and country is squandered at the hands of bad management.
- Quit with no fallback plan because you are just that cocky. Or, perhaps, that good.
- Start a blog calling Paul Krugman an idiot, Marissa Mayer aloof, and Rush Limbaugh the Messiah. Hey, there are probably readers in that demographic.