The New York Times Magazine has published a massive piece on Arianna Huffington and her Huffington Post empire. The one thing that stands out? It sounds like it’s a terrible place to work. Allow us to shed some light on the HuffPost world:
To work at The Huffington Post is to run a race without a finish line, at a clip that is forever quickening. The pace is stressful for many employees, who describe a newsroom with plenty of turnover. One former staff member I spoke with, who developed an ulcer while working there, called The Huffington Post ‘a jury-rigged, discombobulated chaos machine.’
One of Huffington’s most important insights early on was that if you provide bloggers with a big enough stage, you don’t have to pay them.
In an attempt to restore some semblance of editorial integrity, Huffington fired the freelancers who worked for the site and replaced them with young staff members. Many were recent graduates of Yale — her feeder of choice — whose chief qualification, aside from the obvious, was a willingness to work for a pittance.
From Yale to sideboob slideshow. Look at me now, ma!
One former employee said that some staff members take second jobs to cover their expenses. Many staff members rely on what has been called ‘HuffPost lunch’ — Luna Bars, carrots, hummus, apples, bananas and sometimes string cheese, all served gratis in a kitchen area of the office.
Man. Luna Bars aren’t even good.
Others who have worked closely with Huffington have found it a bruising experience, saying that she is perpetually on the lookout for signs of disloyalty, to a degree that bespeaks paranoia or, at the very least, pettiness. Employees cycle in and out of her favor, hailed as the site’s savior one moment, ignored the next.
One could say it would be difficult to “thrive” under these conditions.
‘Someone told my manager, ‘Arianna is really stressed out about the number of people leaving, so we need a bunch of people to sit at those desks in the path from the elevator to her office, to make her feel better,’ the former editor said. ‘So we sat there, waiting to say: ‘Hello! Greetings!’ as she walked by. It was supposed to be for two hours, but she got there at about 3 in the afternoon instead of 11 in the morning. It was absurd. I had to interrupt my workday because this woman was stressed out, because so many people had left, because they were stressed out.’
We saved the best for last.