The Russian CEO Just Sent an Email: “What Self-Isolation? Work Or Die.”

I was furious when I read it.

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My mother’s boyfriend (not my father) is a top-manager, working at a very big construction company in Moscow.

He just sent us the following email he received from his boss:

Colleagues, the dedication with which you work, the result that you give will be the measure of your need for the company. I respect your position to leave the office at 6.03 and not at 5.58, and I carefully look at the security statistics and your indicators. Perhaps this will come as a surprise to you.

Very difficult times will soon come for business. I consider this to be only the beginning, and the fact that you are defending your interests only deserves to be ascertained, it is time to defend only the interests of the company, so that tomorrow one of you has somewhere to come and earn money for food.

The labor market, colleagues, I do not want to comment on what will happen in 3/6 months, but my forecast is very bad.

For the employer, the coronavirus is a good state of the labor market.

But for you, in order to preserve what is now, you’ll need to work three times as much and wear yourselves out.

These are my thoughts shared by many of my business colleagues. The scope of the impending problems is not clear.

Heroes with brains and a strong core will win. All the nonsense and mediocrity will be discovered and it will be very-very difficult for them.

I wish everyone health and tremendous energy to overcome this struggle.

The time will come and we will remember this period as another impetus for us

It might seem like you need to self-isolate and go on quarantine, but on the other hand — WORK OR DIE.

Just to give you more context: this is a very big company with hundreds of employees.

And the CEO is absolutely serious when he says: “It might seem like you need to self-isolate, but on the other hand — WORK OR DIE”.

When I first read this, I was furious.

And also glad that I made a decision 6 months ago not to work in Russia— or build there a business — ever again.

I can’t say that all companies in Russia are bad. We have some of the best (and cheapest) technical talent on the market, and all startups should consider hiring coders from Ukraine or Russia.

IT companies like Yandex or are crushing it. At the same time, the Telegram messaging app which was created by ‘Russian Zuckerberg’ — Pavel Durov — is worth being proud of.

But when you look at the general business climate in Russia, most people are still operating as if they lived in the 19th century.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world, where the boss sits in his shiny office and operates by fear, using cameras and “performance indicators”.

In this world (which many of my readers, gladly, haven’t even heard of), men don’t cry, women look beautiful — but not because they want to, but because it’s “appropriate”.

In this world, coronavirus is a toilet-paper joke, the stats are falsified until it gets too late and too many people die from it. And even then, nothing is done, self-isolation is seen as weakness, and the employees should “wear themselves out” for the sake of keeping their jobs.

It’s an ancient world, a rural world, a barbaric world.

In Russia, we have a saying: “The fish rots from the head”.

When your boss operates this way, it’s no wonder that you’ll go and treat your family and your employees the same way.

It’s a shame that this is happening. It breaks my heart to see this, read this, and write this. But I know that the more people know about it — the faster we can hope for a change.

Because even though I made a decision not to work in my home country, and have as little to do with it as possible, I still care.

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