Bridgewater Associates ex-intern reveals bizarre company policy

Bridgewater Associates, a company that was founded by billion-dollar investor Ray Dalio, allegedly plays by a strict set of rules in the workplace, which a former intern says fostered an “intense” work culture that “is not for everybody.”

In an essay written for Business Insider, former intern Daria Rose, who appeared on season 26 of “The Bachelor,” compared her time at Bridgewater Associates (which was from 2017 to 2018) to a “Black Mirror” episode. She said that the staff was constantly being monitored on a “microscopic level,” as employees used a strict rating system to rate each other’s behavior using color-coded “dots.”

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“In each meeting, we’d each have an iPad in front of us, showing a list of everyone else present. Throughout the meeting, we’d give people dots for things like humility, composure, willingness to touch a nerve, openmindedness, and assertiveness,” wrote Rose in the essay.

She claims that this system encouraged employees to be “way more conscious” when talking, hoping to avoid receiving a negative dot. “Dot outcomes” eventually would be fostered onto employees’ “baseball cards,” which detailed an employee’s “strengths and weaknesses.”

She also alleged that everything was being recorded at Bridgewater, so if employees wanted to see why they received a specific dot, they could refer back to a recording of their behavior.

“One time, my friend threw her water bottle in the trash rather than recycling it. I don’t know who saw her, but someone gave her a negative dot,” wrote Rose. “It made me realize, wow, people really do care on a microscopic level and they’re paying attention to you.”

Close up detail of a businessman working at a desk with a smartphone and laptop computer, taken on January 31, 2019.

Future Publishing/Getty Images

Rose also alleges that Bridgewater employees have a pain button on their iPads that they can press whenever they “felt pain” during a certain situation at work and would later write a reflection on it.

“Depending on the severity of the pain or what had happened, sometimes we’d have a diagnostic session to get to the root of the problem, such as if someone’s ego got in the way of them asking for help,” wrote Rose. “These sessions could sometimes be uncomfortable, but ultimately were really helpful and led to growth and better day-to-day operations.”

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Gossip was also allegedly banned in the office, where employees were not allowed to talk behind each others’ backs. This was a rule that Rose claims was “really valuable.”

“If you were talking about someone in the context of work, you’d have to send that tape to them afterward,” wrote Rose. “When I got my full-time offer to join Bridgewater, my manager sent me the tape of them deliberating and I got to hear what they genuinely thought about me while I wasn’t in the room.”

Rose found the experience to be helpful

Even though Rose stated that the culture at Bridgewater was “intense,” she revealed that the experience was “transformative and eye-opening,” and it helped prepare her for her time on “The Bachelor.”

“A few years after working at Bridgewater, I was on ‘The Bachelor,’” wrote Rose. “People scrutinized me and said so many mean, horrible things. My Bridgewater experience prepared me to understand that everyone will have judgments or perceptions about you, but you don’t have to take them all in.”

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The revelation from Rose comes at a time when employers are increasingly monitoring their employees’ behavior at work, especially amid the rise of remote work. It is estimated that by 2025, 70% of large employers will use tools to track their employees.

Three of the most popular tools employers use to track employees, which have increased in usage since the Covid pandemic in 2020, include location tracking, video monitoring and document scanning, according to data from StandOutCV.

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