No company is flawless. As the promoter of a company, you can never keep everyone happy. There will always be something that you do in your company that can be done better or even something that just isn’t right about it. This happens to the best of the companies as well, including the ones that people have a cult following.
From an engineering standpoint, companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Apple will look at one of the best places in the world to work for. And they are. However, we’ve found out some interesting, some even shocking things about these companies, straight from the employees.
One half of the world’s largest internet companies, Google is notorious for its unforgivingly high bars for recruitment. They hire nothing but the best. However, Google is also an organisation. And like with every other organisation, there will be mundane things to do as well. And mundane things, isn’t something that you expect the brightest minds to indulge in, right?
Well, unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens at Google. Here’s what an ex-Google employee had to say –
“The worst part of working at Google, for many people, is that they’re overqualified for their job. Google has a very high hiring bar due to the strength of the brand name, the pay & perks, and the very positive work culture. As a result, they have their pick of bright candidates, even for the most low-level roles.”
“There are students from top 10 colleges who are providing tech support for Google’s ads products, or manually taking down flagged content from YouTube, or writing basic code to A|B test the colour of a button on a site.”
Google staff are so outstanding that there’s an internal joke about it.
“… I used to joke with my colleagues that Larry & Sergey go out on their yachts – tie them together, sit back on the same recliners you’ll find on their jumbo jet, each on his own yacht/set of yachts, smoke cigars, and put up pictures of Googlers with little snippets like “was a GM at muti-national telecomm company, got a Harvard MBA and is now answering Orkut tickets.” and then they would erupt in laughter and clink their cigars & Scotch together in celebration. This, of course, is highly unlikely given neither of them would ever smoke a cigar or drink Scotch. Remainder is plausible.”
Apple’s obsession with quality is unparalleled, and it shows in their brilliant products. But spare a thought for the obsessive ones; the people who work at Apple. And obsession isn’t always a good thing. It takes a toll on every other aspect of your life, and demands all your focus on a singular activity.
So does the same happen at Apple? Well, this ex-Apple employee surely thinks so –
“I hardly (hardly meaning never) saw my daughter during the week because the hours were so inflexible. I had also taken a substantial pay cut, but I figured I was making a long-term career investment by working for such a prestigious company. On boarding was super bumpy, and they had so many passwords, accounts, and logins that it took nearly a month just for me to get on the server. There were meetings all the time which were disruptive to everyone’s productivity, but they seemed to be a necessary evil in a company that’s so large with such high-quality products.”
“… coworkers that stood their ground and set boundaries seemed to end up on a shit list of sorts and were out of the inner circle of people that kissed the producer’s ass. I started to become one of those people that desperately wanted Friday evening to arrive, and I dreaded Sunday nights.”
The company that has captured the dreams of every entrepreneur and every engineer. This 200 billion dollar social enigma, is home to the personal communication of at least 1/7th of the entire world’s population. And when you’re serving over a billion people, you’re bound to face some problems. Take this Facebook engineer for example, who had to go through 6 weeks of 24 hour duty –
“The worst thing about working at Facebook for me has been on call duty. Most engineering teams run complex, frequently modified software in production. Since things have a way of going wrong, teams have a rotating responsibility for responding to unanticipated emergencies. Since these can happen any time, day or night, and are of unknowable scope and severity, being on call is a serious responsibility; many millions of users are affected every minute the site is broken.”
“My current team’s rotation lasts for two weeks, and rolls around two to three times per year. For those two weeks, I don’t leave town on the weekend; make especially sure not to have “one too many” at any social gatherings I attend; and most importantly, carry and immediately respond to a charged phone where I can be reached 24/7, including leaving the ringer on on the nightstand as I sleep. And yes, once or twice a year that phone does go off at some bizarre hour to rouse you from your slumber and go fight a fire in production.”
“While it can be satisfying to help get the site back in order when it’s sick, it really is not for everyone. This part of the job just isn’t fun for me; I find debugging under time pressure through a 3am haze stressful.”
(He also had some nice things to say about the company too. Read the full account here – http://www.forbes.com/sites/
After recently going public, Twitter garnered a lot of media attention and a lot of engineers wanted to join the tech giant. Sure, Twitter has been an effective medium in the voice of change over the internet, and has a really interesting technology stack to work with; you would think that this is a company that would be an engineer’s paradise, right?
Well, not quite. Engineers often complain of major disparity between them and the non technical folk in the company. Here’s what some disgruntled twitter engineers have said –
A staff software engineer says, “Lots of engineering managers for a company of this size. Most of the engineering managers are non-technical and add little-value (but do create a lot of noise). Alarming amount of internal politics for a company so small (of ~2000 people)! Feels like a company with 10x the number of people.”
A data scientist says, “Manager inflation, and hierarchy, unfair and very nonuniform compensation.”
And a software engineer adds: “Hiring has been heavy, but where the new workers fit into the picture is somewhat of a mystery in many groups.”
Well, no company is perfect.