Dear Designer

Dear Designer: Yes, I Will Shame the Workers

You have the right to make a living—but not on the backs of others

Mike Monteiro
Published in
8 min readJan 15, 2020
Illustration: Eugenia Mello

“That’s not a good look,” came the reply.

“What’s not a good look?” I asked.

“Shaming workers.”

This was in response to a tweet I sent out a few weeks ago, pointing out some new horrible Facebook behavior. (There are many of these tweets to choose from in my feed. Pick one.) The tweet was addressed to Facebook workers and went something like “Facebook employees, this is where you work” with a link to an article about Facebook’s newest horrible behavior. I’ve posted the same type of tweet to Twitter workers as well.

But still, I was taken aback by the accusation that I was shaming workers.

Was my intention to shame workers? My intention was to remind the workers at Facebook of the effect of their labor. What the effects of their labor cost society. As I’ve said many times, you are responsible for the work you put into the world. I firmly believe that, and I hope you do as well.

But also, it probably was my intention to shame those workers — if only a subconscious intention. So I will own it. Yes, I will shame workers. Because, Lord — some of these tech workers should be ashamed of what they are devoting their time to. And if they don’t have the sense to feel that shame internally, I am happy to provide it for them. Being Catholic alumni, I am more than qualified to do this.

Here’s the thing about shaming someone, though: It’s like watering a seed. The sun can shine all day long on dirt, you can water it all you want, but unless there’s a seed in the dirt, nothing’s gonna grow. If you tried to shame me about wearing my favorite baseball team’s cap, it wouldn’t work. I love my favorite baseball team. (It’s the Phillies, BTW.) If you tried to shame me about watching too much TV, you might get a little traction. Because I probably do watch a little too much TV, but ultimately it would pass because I love watching TV. However, if you caught me smoking a cigarette and shamed me about it, that would totally work because it’s a horrible habit and I shouldn’t be doing it. (For the record, I don’t. Not in a long time. But…



Mike Monteiro
Writer for

English is my second language. You were my first.