Why We Need to Talk About Elizabeth Holmes’s Destructive Work Ethic
The vision she sought to bring to fruition simply wasn’t realistic
The conversations around The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, HBO’s engrossing new documentary on the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of now-defunct blood-testing company Theranos, mainly revolve around her odd affect — her baritone voice, unblinking eyes, black-only wardrobe — and whether or not she’s a sociopath.
But the story of the toxic workplace culture she created is a cautionary tale we can all learn from.
Most of us aren’t going to commit serious fraud to get our careers or companies off the ground, yet the proliferation of “hustle culture” can lead us to make some of the same mistakes Holmes did. Namely, fostering overwork and burnout, sleeping so little that your mental sharpness is compromised, and discouraging employees from surfacing concerns.
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