February 18, 2018

VIRGINIA POSTREL: Must Love Dogs? If You Want the Job.

“We live in such a dog-adoring culture that it’s hard to admit when you aren’t totally enamored of them. What you are supposed to feel — what you must always feel — is love,” writes former Amazon employee Corina Zappia. As the company planned its move to a fancy new complex, Zappia, who had a traumatic canine encounter as a child, hoped for an office on a dog-free floor. “I am allergic, but to be honest I don’t really love the idea of working around dogs,” she confessed in an email to her department head. “I would like to be on a dog-free floor, if that’s okay.” It wasn’t.

Even with a note from her allergist, Zappia had to settle for sharing a windowless dog-free office on a dog-populated floor. One employee regularly walked his dog around the office, while others kept their office doors shut so their dogs couldn’t escape. At Halloween, a memo went out urging everyone to dress their dogs in costume. Maybe, she thought, she’d like the dogs more “if our dog-loving culture wasn’t so weird: There were buckets of doggie treats at the receptionist desk and four-dollar gourmet sweet-potato dog biscuits in the vending machine.”

I love dogs, but I’m not sure if I’d want to share a cubicle with one. As Glenn would say, the 21st century isn’t turning out the way I had hoped.

Update: “Your office doesn’t have a ‘dog-free floor,’ but NO SMOKERS ALLOWED!”