tim sniffen writing & drawing: An Open Letter to Yahoo! CEO, Marissa Mayer
Ms. Mayer, Empress of all Yahoo!,
Hello. My name is Tim Sniffen. I’ve been a Yahoo! junior server administrator for eleven years.
It was with a stab of terror that I read your memo asking “all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! offices.” I realize we’re in a time of crucial transition, and many people will benefit from more personal contact and unscheduled brainstorming sessions.
I am not one of those people.
Ms. Mayer, you do not want me in your office.
For eleven years I have worked at home, thrilled with the arrangement Yahoo! provided. Free from distractions, free from traffic. Free from the burning, judgmental stares of other humans, from the deafening roar of each one drawing breath into their lumbering carcass.
Personal contact, Ms. Mayer? The darkness is my companion now. That’s all the contact I need.
To be clear, where I work should no longer be described as a “home”, but more a “Bunker of dark Elven magic.” Eleven years have allowed me to transform this garden apartment into the perfect symbiotic workspace, drawing from the best aspects of the Batcave (Burton-era), Tony Stark’s workshop, Cerebro, and the Batcave (Nolan-era).
From my motorized chair/exoskeleton I can maintain every server on the grid. Displays on hovering glass panels indicate data flow, cloud assets, employee location and emotional state. (Green = joy. Blue = despair.) Having tied all system function to eye movement, I can work up to fourteen days completely motionless, aided by the feeding and waste removal tubes in my lower back. (Once I emerged from a coding bender with a fine, downy moss on my legs and trunk, a colony of moths in my hair. Are you honestly ready to bring such a symphony of efficiency to a halt?)
Obviously you know the need to customize one’s work environment. The nursery connected to your office is common knowledge. Now instead of a nursery, imagine a one-tenth scale LEGO model of Rivendell (yes, including the broken sword of Elendil – this isn’t amateur hour) and you see why I can’t just fill a cardboard box and show up on Monday.
In your cursed memo, you mention the need of “physically being together.” Marissa, I assure you, I will be there. On every conference call; in every web cam, activated or not; behind nearly all the building’s mirrors. I will be there.
But from the incantations I must speak over my equipment each morning to prevent its’ gaining sentience and rebelling, to the thick smoke produced by sunlight interacting with my skin, you do not want me in your office.
Ms. Mayer, don’t drag Colonel Kurtz down river. Leave this alone.
If you agree to my request, simply say “yes” out loud. I will hear.
Still proud to be a Yahoo! even if I’ve long forgotten what it is to be human,
PS: I didn’t leak the memo.
PPS: As a server admin, I know who did.
PPPS: I’m already blackmailing them for several other things, so releasing their name to you at this point would upset our complicated agreement.
PPPPS: Is it way too late to take the ! out of our name? I always feel compelled to shout it. Granted, with larynx atrophy it only comes out as an anguished gurgle. Still.