On Friday, Sheryl Sandberg spoke at MIT's graduation ceremony. The Facebook COO shared her experience of graduating from college and transitioning into the working world, as well as her advice for the Class of 2018.
She said that there is one important thing that everyone should ask a potential employer: "Are you doing good?"
"We are accountable to the people who use what we build, to our colleagues, to ourselves and to our values," she told the crowd. "So if you are thinking about joining a team, an NGO, a startup or a company, ask if they are doing good for the world."
Sandberg cited research from her alma mater, Harvard, which suggests that people become more creative when they ask themselves the question, 'Could we?' and become more ethical when they ask, 'Should we?'
She said the best solution is to ask both.
"Know that you have an obligation to never shy away from doing the right thing, because the fight to ensure tech is used for good is never over," said Sandberg.
The COO also listed several workplace policies that she believes workers should advocate for, including living wages, equal paid parental leave for all genders and bereavement leave. She says that by encouraging employers and policymakers to do the right thing, all workers, no matter how young they may be, can create change.
"I want you to know that you can impact the workplace from the very day you enter it," she said.
Sandberg said she had seen this power with her own eyes. She recalled having a boss that belittled her in public because she was a woman, and that two young male colleagues stood up for her. This moment taught her, she said, that "even if you're the most junior person in the room, you have power."
Her hope for the Class of 2018 is that they use their power for good: "Know that you have a chance to right wrongs, not reinforce them."
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