Uber's internal investigators 'overworked, underpaid, emotionally traumatized' with 1,200 cases a week: Report


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/01/22/ubers-internal-investigators.html

“A single suicide by an Uber investigator who posts that they could not ‘take’ the job demands any longer will be fodder for the national if not international news media,” the memo said.


the memo notes that the team members loved “being associated with a ‘hot’ brand”

Trash Fire Enterprises invites you to join us at our hot brand!

But seriously, this is like a cross between the burnout faced by online content moderators (insane task targets) and the burnout faced by 911 operators (being part of the worst day of someone’s life, every single time).


The team — which was made up of 60 investigators and 15 team leaders at the time — was tasked with handling the most severe incidents reported to the company in North America, including verbal threats, physical and sexual assault, rape, theft and serious traffic accidents.

Because those are the kinds of crimes you want a corporation ruling over. /s

Feudalism 2.0


Suicide? No job is that bad! Can’t you walk dogs or something, at least until you feel better?


I suspect that some of them do just burn out and leave; which is probably why the suicide case is treated as hypothetical rather than historical; but there are two very unhelpful factors;

In general, constant engagement with a social context isn’t calculated to make most people take a broad view: your local context tends to suck you in and loom larger than an objective bird’s eye view of the situation might suggest is warranted. If some ‘company culture’ expert is working to enhance the strength of the local context bubble it’s likely worse.

In this particular case; these people are being tasked with handling cases where bad things happened to people: unless you are really checked out, or internalized some gruesomely cynical demand from HQ to reclassify the problems until they disappear, that’s the sort of situation where people of some degree.of empathy likely end up feeling both deeply responsible and substantially powerless. Bad combination.

Walking out on a shit job is easier if the inbox you are abandoning isn’t full of some tragic cases that aren’t likely to get a hearing elsewhere.


All the ugly real life of 911 dispatch; all the being a powerless cost center mostly there to deflect liability rather than help of content moderation!

Not that it keeps the job from taking a toll; but there’s probably a reason why ugly-first-contact jobs have traditionally been accompanied by some sort of morally uplifting mythos of prosocial sacrifice; which seems like a deeply un-Uber thing.


In addition, if your job is making you suicidal, you are often no longer able to see that leaving is an option.

By definition your mental state is damaged. You’re not making good decisions anymore - and you’re incapable of realising that.


Seems like a high volume of ‘incidents’ … so I’m wondering if the rate of incidents was the same in old-fashioned proper taxis (and how those were dealt with - though I’m assuming RTAs and rapes became police jurisdiction pretty quickly -and yeah, WTF is Uber doing getting involved in those at all) or whether it is something about Uber that increases the rate of incidents.


Uber-triggered depression: Blueber.


If that’s 1,200 cases per week total, then each investigator is handling 20 cases per week, or about 4 per day. I’m guessing each one requires a fair bit of work? It doesn’t sound ridiculous on its face, but I really don’t have a good idea of how much work each case is.

Unless that means 1,200 per worker per week, which means they would need to crank through each case in about 2 minutes. But that would also means Uber is receiving over 10,000 serious cases per day, which seems too large.


Uber isn’t a business. It’s just financial scamming.
And for that matter, there’s so much financial scamming because the excessive wealth from an upward transfer of wealth needs places to go.

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