Bad behavior at Google

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.


Once in the summer of 2014, David came over to visit our son and we got into an argument about his one-way terms for seeing him at my house at his convenience, especially when he had his own house(s) blocks away. He sat down at our kitchen table and, using my laptop, he pulled up a year-old article from the Daily Mail about Eric Schmidt’s philandering lifestyle. He then passed the computer over to me to read. I was so perplexed! I was well aware of Eric’s lifestyle, David was even more aware, but none of it was news, we’d talked about it for years. David explained to me how Eric’s “personal life” was, in essence, his privilege. The article was apparently a reminder to me of how things worked: David was (and is) a powerful executive. His “personal life” (which apparently didn’t include his son) was off limits and since I was no longer his “personal life” it was time for me to shut up, fall in line and stop bothering him with the nuisances or demands of raising a child.

Many years later, when the #MeToo Movement began, I was contacted by several reporters. I’d always felt like my situation was my fault, that I deserved it because David was married. I am regretful on many levels, but I’m also thankful for the growth in character I’ve had since then — and for my son! What I never understood is why I was the only one bearing the consequences, especially when I knew David’s treatment of our son and me was nothing short of abuse.

Looking back, I see how standards that I was willing to indulge early on became institutionalized behavior as Google’s world prominence grew and its executives grew more powerful. Women that I worked with at Google who have spoken to me since the New York Times article have told me how offended they were by the blatant womanizing and philandering that became common practice among some (but certainly not all) executives, starting at the very top. For me, the abuse of power didn’t stop with being pushed out. Afterwards I was pushed down, lest I got in the way of the behavior that had become even more oppressive and entitled. Until truth is willing to speak to power and is heard, there’s not going to be the sea change necessary to bring equality to the workplace.

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