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Ask HN: Should I quit Uber?
122 points by engatuber on Mar 15, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 150 comments
I'm a software engineer at Uber. I've been there for under a year. I left my previous job because an Uber recruiter offered a large pay increase. I had been there for under a year as well.

Is it worse to have the job hopping on my resume or a very unpopular company on there?

Staying for a while wouldn't be hard on me. My team and the ones around me aren't toxic (yet). I'm strictly concerned with the impact on my career.

I've never heard of a company not hiring a qualified developer because their former employer is "unpopular". Job hopping from company to company based on popularity just seems like a bad career move.

It sounds like you're happy with the work environment, which is not something that should be taken for granted. Stay on board and continue to put in your best effort.

I've seen a few large, well-known places downgrade candidates from certain places by dint of ability or technology stack in use. Or to be honest, just plain prejudice. So they'd be less likely to get interviewed in the first place.

I'd far rather be an early, perhaps too early leaver, than stick around for six months to not job-hop only to find the Corp blew up. Now there's 3,000 Uber engineers on the market, and quite possibly a lot more bad press.

So for OP, consider carefully, including your insider perspective, before deciding either way! (I'd probably lean towards an exit as the bad PR does seem to have reached critical mass).

Maybe I'm not paying close enough attention; is there some evidence that Uber is "blowing up" outside of Silicon Valley conjecture and blogs? People I talk to outside of SV don't know anything about Uber's recent internal issues.

I wouldn't say uber is blowing up but there business model has a lot of unknowns.

Right now, Uber is subsidizing each ride and their marginal cost is high compared to their marginal profit. The only way they can become profitable is either cut drivers pay, increase the cost per ride or both.

If they cut driver's pay, will the drivers stay with Uber? The other side of the coin is how elastic is the demand?

The third option is to automate drivers. I don't really see what the unknowns are. Uber has always seemed to approach it as a long game a la Amazon.

The unknown there is their automation arm being sued by Google.

And it looks really bad if you read the deposition by the WayMo (staff/manager?) employee.

Thanks. Somehow I hadn't heard about this yet.

Right, but that's always been the case with Uber and the employee in this case knew that going in. Uber's overall business model doesn't seem to be his or her concern, but rather recent bad press.

I agree. That reply was more in context of worrying about "3000 Uber employees" in the market at the same time.

Unless he is a high level executive, I don't see why anyone would tar him with the ethical lapses of Uber

On the other hand, someone mentioned Yahoo. I would definitely ask someone technical why they stick with Yahoo.

> Right now, Uber is subsidizing each ride

How can this be true? I thought Uber takes a cut on each ride. Are you suggesting that they actually pay the driver extra money on top of what the riders are paying?

It's based on total operating costs--not the cost of the driver only. If you include how much they have to pay for everything else (developers, management, advertising, etc), the "cut" they get from each fare is less than how much they spent in other areas. (I could be wrong so please do correct me if so but I believe this is the case here).

Scale only helps if you have high fixed costs, the ones you mentioned, and the marginal revenue - marginal costs is large. But if your marginal profit is small, scale doesn't really help.

People like to compare Uber to Amazon and how long it took Amazon to become profitable. The differences are:

That Amazon was putting money into expansion and could turn a profit anytime it needed to.

AWS is their most profitable division - a category with high fixed costs and high marginal profit.

They are already using a lot of automation for their warehouses. It will be decades before driverless cars are ubiquitous.

In many markets, Uber will pay bonuses based on hitting a particular number of rides.

Well there's been several pretty negative pieces on the Guardian front page in the last month. OK they're left of centre, so will undoubtedly have a view on the sexism aspect of recent events, but it's not been just those aspects they reported.

I think most also got picked up by Metro.co.uk and the Daily Mail etc - like the CEO argument - so reporting is well outside SV. Not forgetting the whole #deleteuber thing. A couple of months back the only mention of Uber outside of HN, Tech Crunch et al was reports of the driver self-employment case or expectation of driverless cars.

What I can't guess is how influenced non-techies are from current events. It does feel like they've hit a certain mass that those negative events are now being widely reported in the mainstream.

I'm the wrong side of the Alantic to be well up on the SV jobs market, but as I say, were it me I'd be concerned by the apparent change in mood. I'd have been equally concerned by the change in mood, and endless bad press, just after Ratners CEO called one of their products "cheap crap" as a joke [0] - 12 months later Britain's largest jewellery chain was no more.

[0] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/aug/22/gerald-ratn...

Yeah, I am in Chicago and don't know any programmers here who DON'T know about Uber's issues.

Maybe I'm overreacting to comments on HN and other social media. The CEO of a successful startup publicly said he wouldn't hire someone from Uber.

Many HN comments on articles about Uber share the same opinion. Several of these commenters were founders of software companies.

>The CEO of a successful startup publicly said he wouldn't hire someone from Uber

Would you really want to work at a company where a CEO is so prejudicial? I know I wouldn't (and I find the publicized culture of Uber incredibly repugnant).

If you're happy at your current position and aren't complicit in the abuse that's going on (seeing abuse but not doing anything about it) then stay. If you're concerned that in a subsequent interview that your position will color you, volunteer for a noble cause:

-Encouraging young women to pursue STEM education / careers

-Domestic Abuse NGO etc

A CEO might prejudge a person coming from one company to another based on perceived risk to workplace culture the same as when assessing someone just out of school or coming from or into enterprise or out of military service or out of prison or back to the workforce from raising a family or when switching vocations or with gray hair or lip piercings.

Of course it could also be based on direct empirical observation, or just liking to hear the sounds of one's own tweets. On the other hand, the would-you-want-to-work-at-a-company-where position probably falls flat in the case of Uber...it already ate the cake.

Fact: Uber has a well earned reputation for tolerating or even encouraging a work environment that is hostile toward women.

Fact: If you're a male Uber employee, you're somewhat tainted by this association. Maybe just a little, or maybe more.

Conclusion: If you're competing against another candidate who is identical in all other respects except they don't have this association, you're at a disadvantage.

It's not fair to you, but that's the inescapable conclusion.

The bigger question is, do you believe that Uber is ultimately a force for good?

In addition to your salary and benefits, is it important to you that your efforts contribute to making the world a little bit better?

I don't disagree with the potential for it being seen as a disadvantage. I don't think 'I saw it as a force for good' is ordinarily going to dissuade someone who sees it as a disadvantage at best it might be an excuse. The problem with excuses for one's own behavior is that they are often taken as a mark of character (whereas excuses for others' behaviors are often seen as a hallmark of judgment).

> Conclusion: If you're competing against another candidate who is identical in all other respects except they don't have this association, you're at a disadvantage.

How many hiring managers actually care about this? I know it's PC to say that you care, but I doubt it would affect the actual decisions of many managers.

> The CEO of a successful startup publicly said he wouldn't hire someone from Uber.

1. "A successful startup" is one company. Fortunately there are thousands of companies who could employ you and the vast majority of them will not care.

2. CEOs don't typically make hiring decisions for engineers at any company that is "successful" because they have more important things to worry about. I would argue that you should avoid working any where the CEO is engaged in this sort of micromanagerial moral preening.

> Many HN comments

HN is a bubble. That bubble tends to be a bit more... umm... extreme... in more than one way, than the rest of the software industry or the world.

Yes, you would be overreacting.

If a CEO is going to classify all male Uber employees as male chauvinists and not hire them I would see that as stereotyping and discrimination of a class. The world is not black and white and I would definitely not want to work for that CEO.

That being said, I see issues with Uber long term. Not just Travis issues but also in the business model. Eventually all car manufacturers will have level 5 autonomy. At that point the car manufacturers will be Uber. They will be able to produce the car at cost and watch it drive away from the car manufacturing plant to be rented out wherever it's destination state/country is.

Uber doesn't have a chance in the long term.

I'm not long on Uber either, for several reasons. But there exists a possibility that Uber's legacy could be that it served an important and pioneering role in the evolution of transportation and that is something that current employees should consider before they want to jump ship due to perceived brand popularity.

I agree, Travis did indeed disrupt the taxi industry and had to fight tooth and nail to get Uber to where it is today. I respect the hell out of that but unless Uber has enough money saved up to buy a small car manufacturer they are toast in the long term.

Regarding brand popularity, there's a quote from Gladiator that I love: "The mob is fickle brother". We're living in an age of the mobile phone app and there's no such thing as brand loyalty anymore. We as consumers and contractors can UNinstall an app such as Uber or SnapChat in 5 seconds. The only thing preventing that with Uber is likely the same thing that keeps Walmart in business: $$$.

It sounds like you are basing the opinion of the company you work for more on online comments than your own experience of working there!

Things change quickly. Uber has had some hiccups lately, but reports of its death are greatly exaggerated. There is a strong chance that "sexual harassment" and "toxic managers" will not be attributes people think of when they think of Uber in a year from now, assuming the company works to resolve those internal issues in an effective manner.

Well, I'd say those are jerks that I would not want to work with in the first place.

So because Uber made some mistakes it is OK to blame random workers board failings? Fuck logic.

Google, FB, $INSERTWHATVER here can also make a mistake, as a worker you should not be punished because of that.

Discriminate someone because their employer probably discriminated someone - so tolerant...

Yes you are, stay with Uber and stop listening to everyone else and listen to yourself.

Well then that company probably has a terrible culture as well.

I'm not sure "unpopular" is the way I would describe Uber's perception because I think many people's perceptions are framed with consideration of how they might act or feel in the circumstances that have been described.

I've observed that companies make quick judgments about hires based on where they have worked all the time. That there are favorable and unfavorable companies to have on one's resume is among the premises of career management. Keyword search bakes that premise into the hiring process.

It is worth looking at a case where it is known that working for specific companies excluded candidates from consideration: Silicon Valley's no-poaching cabal. If those companies used key-word search to exclude candidates there was nothing illegal in and of itself in that act (it was the collusion among companies that was illegal). It is as easy as flipping a bit to divert a resume with 'Uber' to the bit bucket as to the advance buffer.

Well there are biases involved.

If we flip it I do see companies hiring developers because their former employer is "popular". But I do agree with rest of your opinion.

I think Uber won't turn off too many but I obviously work for the Trump campaign is going to significantly change how well your resume works for you.

I have heard of it. Also, when there are more than one candidates for 1 spot it can be what makes the difference.

The impact on your career should not be much.

As an employer, I would not turn down any ex-Uber, as long as he or she did not trigger warning lights during the interviews.

Just focus on the technichal side and the money. If you feel good every morning when you wake up to go working for them, then stay.

If not, then that would make a great explanation to your next employer for him/her not to consider you a job hopper. Along the lines of "I quit at Uber because, as you very well know, the culture there was toxic and yours looks much more interesting, blah blah...".

Good luck!

That it is worth mentioning warning lights and triggers in the context of interviewing an ex-Uber suggests that there is some assessment of a unique risk. The common way to handle risk in hiring is 'no' when it comes to applicants that provide somewhat fungible rewards.

To put it another way, an ex-Uber might be asked something like "What do you think about Fowler's statement?" to assess those warning lights and triggers at a company with an orthogonal culture. And a perfectly reasonable answer might be looked at with suspicion. Not that all hires are made on such a basis.

If anyone, at any company, asked you "What do you think about Fowler's statement?" as part of the interview process, you should run from that company as fast as you can.

Any HR org that is at least 1% more competent than Uber's is alleged to be would absolutely put the kibosh on those kinds of questions. HR orgs know those kind of questions are destined to get useless responses, and they could easily lead to a situation where an interviewer could put the company into legal jeopardy.

Not even the people in their HR department or sr leadership team?

Or the people that worked on the Greyball project? I wouldn't touch those people with a ten foot pole, it would be like hiring one of the VW people working on emissions. "I was just following orders" can only go so far.


As long as I stayed with that employer for longer than a year I would be fine, or would the period of job-hopping look bad permanently?

Any job you stay less than two years at is going to look funny and require some sort of explanation.

If you're at a job for less than six months, the assumption people will make is that you and the company were a bad fit. "Bad fit" can be interpreted as "applicant was incompetent and hired by mistake" so, having your own explanation about why you were a bad fit helps. Maybe you don't even list this job on your resume.

If you're at a job for less than a year, then the assumption people could make is that you got a bad first performance review, and you're changing jobs now instead of getting fired later.

If you've been at a job for at least two years, then people will assume your performance has been reviewed at least twice and that if you were actually bad, you would have been fired.

I'm going to disagree with a lot of the other responses you are receiving.

If it happens once or twice and there is a good story/explanation that goes along with it that is fine, but I actively avoid candidates who switch jobs every year or so. In my opinion it takes a decent amount of time to understand everything within any given company or codebase (especially one that has a decent level of complexity or specialized knowledge). I don't want an unstable environment where people are leaving just as they begin to fully understand things to the point where they are extremely productive.

Along those same lines I think it is the responsibility of an employer to give raises that are equivalent to the salaries they would pay to poach people with a similar level of experience. If you are willing to give someone a significant raise to leave their current company you should be willing to do that for someone within your own company.

> Along those same lines I think it is the responsibility of an employer to give raises that are equivalent to the salaries they would pay to poach people with a similar level of experience. If you are willing to give someone a significant raise to leave their current company you should be willing to do that for someone within your own company.

What would you say is a reasonable amount of time for an employee to stick around if an employer isn't providing pay increases?

What would you say is a reasonable amount of time for an employee to stick around if an employer isn't providing pay increases?

Two years. If you came in at market value, the median market value shouldn't increase that much. Two years is also about the time to get enough experience to "level up"

Appreciate it!

Sure, most large codebases need at least a year to get to know your way around them.

But keep in mind that the majority of job switching happen unilaterally from the employee side. So that could also be a sign that the employee is not afraid to quit because she knows her value on the market.

edit: grammar

I don't think job hopping is as big a deal in software as it is for other industries - a new job every 2 years seems typical for many, but less than a year wouldn't get looked down upon, especially if you cite a "toxic environment" as the reason you quit. 6 jobs in a year (that aren't contracts) would be a red flag, but one or two isn't really a problem IMO. Demand is too high.

I've never agreed with the angst towards 'reasonable' job hopping. We all recognize that interviews and research of a company can only take you so far in truly determining fit (on both sides) within an organization. There are also variables within the company that can change that are completely out of your control, such as leadership, company strategy, or team composition.

And there are also cases where a company promises a certain role or duty, the candidate joins, and then they aren't doing what they thought they'd be doing.

The ability of the hiring company to determine any of these situations is minimal though. Those trying to play safe will make assumptions, unfortunately.

I've job hopped quite a bit (7 times in 6 years). There's plenty of valid reasons to leave a job, most of my moves have been due to skill stagnation at a certain company. Also, increases in salary is ridiculous when switching. If you stay at a single job you run the risk of stagnating your salary as well.

If you can articulate to the company your reasoning behind switching jobs, and why you're genuinely interested in the company and the value you bring, I believe you'll be alright.

Has yet to bite me in the ass (Chicago) and the experience you gain between companies (small-large, workflows/methodologies, stacks, etc) is priceless.

I've got to disagree. I've job hopped over the past 8 years - 4 full time jobs and one short term contract. I would think two years is the minimum unless you were a contractor or were laid off.

I'm at a point now where I need to stick around a job for at least three years.

What's the reasoning behind your disagreement? Have you noticed any skepticism while interviewing?

I do believe 2 years is a great norm, 1 year for getting up to date, 1 year for giving the company a chance. But, we're in high-demand (mostly) and if you don't feel comfortable at a company, life's short, not worth staying imo.

I'd also like to point out, while I have a great track record of interviewing, it seems (pointing to the quantity of positions I've held) that I need to do a _much_ better job of asking questions about the company in the interview phase itself.

While I do feel stuck at my new job (2 mos), I have a different approach mentally for keeping myself happy.

It's all contextual/anecdotal to the person involved. Though I'll tell you, my mother is always worried about the short-term positions. Just for a personal reference.

For the first time, the last time I looked for a job, people started asking questions. I consider myself a great interviewer --the last time I looked I got no rejections, two offers, and 8-10 other positions I withdrew from the process after accepting an offer.

As far as asking questions. I use a modified version of the Joel Test:https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2000/08/09/the-joel-test-12-s...

Basically, getting rid of the last 2 questions and asking about automated testing, code reviews, continuous integration, etc.

I always of course ask about the technology stack and the amount of autonomy developers have.

Great idea, going to save this reference. I believe StackOverflow has this at the bottom of all their career posts.

Need to use this next time :}

I'm in a similar boat. When you got the question about job hopping this time around, how did you answer it?

2011 - company acquired, everyone laid off and I went to do a short term contract with one of my former company's clients

Early 2012 - contract over self explanatory

Mid 2012 - I was brought in to work on a new .Net project and to convert a PHP project to .Net. Two years later they abandoned the .Net initiative and everyone was working on PHP. That wasn't a career direction I wanted to go in.

2014 - I was brought in by a manager who wanted people who would aggressively pursue change and modern best practices, they pushed him out and all of the people who didn't want to hear about change started pushing back on his hires.

So when I was looking for a job late last year, I was very specific about the technology stack I wanted and the coding practices that were in place. Ironically, I ended up accepting an offer with a company that ranked 2 out of 14 on my modified Joel Test. But I was promised the support of the manager to come in and implement best practices.

I don't really know how things are in the US, but here in Europe, the employer's need for a developer will often overcome his fear of hiring a "job hopper".

Be ready to answer questions about the reason why you quit your jobs, though. Just telling the truth is usually enough. "The commute was too much", "I was not growing/learning any more"...

Job hoping is nowhere near as bad a signal in tech as it is in other industries. I would even go so far to say that some job hoping is expected as long as you don't go overboard.

If you stayed at one job for less than a year, nobody will notice or care. If you stay for 6 months at three consecutive jobs, then you might get a question about that.

As a friend who is a recruiter explained it to me, candidates who have a history of job hopping WILL get the question in the interview and MUST have a reasonable answer for it.

Assuming that you pass that formality, the question doesn't seem to affect anyone's actual decisions afterwards. (Even though people may claim otherwise.)

"Hey Bro, thanks for seeing me. Yeah, I know, I am hot stuff, did you wear gloves when reading my resume? Shit is hot, yo. Eh, before we get started, are you banging that chick out in front, she is tight. Ok my man, you have some q's for me?"

A bunch of people here on HN are / were working for the defense industry. A lot of social networks we ought to trust our private data on were founded by them. I never heared them complaining about not getting a job because they used to violate the privacy rights of humanity or developed the software for drones being used for killing people. Don't be afraid, a lot of companies need mercenaries with broken moral compass.

[Edit] I am working for a company doing "legal spamming" -according to German law. It is kind of useless shit the world would be better off without but the work makes fun and pays the bills. Is Uber hiring in Germany?

"a lot of companies need mercenaries with broken moral compass" - This statement incriminates & implicates anyone working for Uber as a-moral. One can be employed at Uber and disagree with it's policies and culture.

It's like saying living in the U.S implies agreement with the president (Trump or Obama) and his policies. One can still live in the U.S. and disagree with the president.

Suffices to say that working for Uber isn't like working for the Nazi regime - you won't be tried for crimes against humanity like in the Nuremberg trials. If anything, working for Uber puts you in an select group of people who could make it through their difficult recruitment process.

So - DON'T QUIT. Try and work for a better workplace from the inside.

> It's like saying living in the U.S implies agreement with the president

No: Working for a company is opt-in, living in a country is opt-out. Quitting your job out of protest is a lot easier than emigrating.

Choosing to work for Uber and disagreeing with their culture is more like voting for a president and then disagreeing with them. Why should the OP try to change a rotten company from within when there are plenty of other employers to choose from?

I imagine there are probably plenty of Uber engineers who are stuck with vested stock options that they can't afford to exercise. If they were to leave before an IPO they'd be losing out on tons of money. Golden handcuffs.

That seems like a terrible argument, morals only matter when money isn't involved?

Reading this I wonder if we programmers might be first against the wall when the revolution comes. Are we enabling unethical companies because the work is fun and the money good? Is that an excuse?

Harsh but true. I'd go even further and say to be successful in tech, finance, etc, by all means keep your moral compass in good working order, just leave it at home.

Good techies can absolutely afford a moral compass. You might lose your chance to be the next Zuck, but that's highly unlikely either way.

I left a Fortune-100 company recently, in part because I wasn't happy with the ethical choices being made by management. I was being asked to implement software that I didn't want to be part of.

I had management assure me that legal had been consulted, and don't worry, they say it's not technically illegal. If the media finds out and we get bad press, PR has already made plans for how they'll respond to it. The responses they gave me really made me lose respect for the managers above that.

Uber is (imho) a morally bankrupt company- even by the standards of companies. The question you should ask yourself isn't whether that will look bad on your resume, but whether you're going to live regretting you were part of it.

I make a bit less money overall now. I also sleep a lot better at night.

I wouldn't worry about what it looks like to leave Uber at the moment. Job hopping is bad when it is unexplained. There's not a tech company in the valley that would fault you for leaving Uber in solidarity or because you didn't realize the extent of the sexism until the story broke. Companies view job hopping as a negative because they worry you'll move on and not stick with them if things get tough. But there's certain varieties of tough that don't fall into that category and the kinds of allegations that are being made against Uber right now (HR complicit in sexual harassment) are at the top of that list of exceptions. I might worry about how it looks to have stayed at Uber, since it might seem like tacit support.

As an aside, the Otto scandal might even be enough reason to want to leave. It's now far less likely that your stock options will ever amount to anything. But leaving for this reason won't be as widely respected, so don't mention it to recruiters.

I was a technical recruiter for startups in SF from 2005 to 2013. I filled hundreds of startup jobs. I wouldn't worry about it. Good engineers are always in demand, so if you're good, you'll be fine. Even if Uber is evil, and Lyft is good, I bet Lyft would hire you.

The thing that will prevent you from being hired, even if you are good, is not owning the fact that you chose to stay at Uber. If you're 100% okay with staying Uber, and you're only worried about perception, I'd say don't about what other people will think. But if you're ashamed to don your Uber hoodie in public and/or you cringe to answer the question "where do you work?", that's harder for you. That may have more to do with how you feel about it, and less to do with what other people will think.

Imagine this... You're the hiring manager for a startup that needs a darn good engineer. Someone applies to your company, and their two previous employers were Ashley Madison and Adult Friend Finder. You've previously interviewed candidates from both companies. If those candidates had been amazing, then you will do anything you can to get that applicant in the door for an interview. If the applicants all bombed, you'll be likely to think the engineering talent at AM and AFF wasn't any good. Neither situation have anything to do with the fact that both companies were adult-oriented websites, which carries some social stigma with it. The AM/AFF applicant might have a tough time getting a job at Eharmony because of their personal values as a Christian-friendly website.

I just left Uber after only six months. It was the best decision I ever made. I'd also been bouncing around the bay - A year at my previous company, merely nine months at the one before that.

My reasons for leaving Uber were simple - My team was toxic. You're not having this problem... or maybe you are and don't realize it. Much of what made it so toxic felt like my failures - Inability to understand the deployment strategy, things moving faster than I could keep up, objectives changing/not well documented.

After a while, I realized that the whole organization was engaged in gaslighting. We were always at war with Eurasia. My manager changed OKRs middle of the quarter. Decisions that I had written agreement on were questioned in the next meeting. Changes were made based on people's personal preferences, without regard for negative effects on others or the moving targets they presented. Coworkers were being cagey about giving advice or plans because they wanted to be 'the hero' and solve problems that I was trying to fix, or they didn't want to admit mistakes, or...

Anyway. I suggest you move on. But it may be worth sticking around for your bonus/stock options. On the other hand - People are going to be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt if you're getting out of Uber now. In six months, it will be a real black mark.

Don't quit necessarily, but quit if you feel it's the right thing to do. I've never thought highly of Uber, so having it on your resume is similar to having military experience or working at Amazon to me, it immediately sounds the "probably not a good culture fit" alarm in my head.

I'd personally give a thumbs up to any qualified engineer interviewed with me and mentioned that a big part of the reason he or she left Uber was because of their lack of morals. That takes balls, and so does leaving before the "standard" two year mark, so people who do that are either stupid and ballsy or principled and ballsy - the latter type of person is almost always a great person to work with as long as their principles make sense. There's nothing worse than a principled, ballsy Machiavellian.

So, to reiterate - quit if it really aligns with your principles as a person and you're ready to explain that, stay otherwise. It could also be that in 6 months staying at Uber will be against your principles, making that a great time to jump ship. I think the advantage you have is that since a lot people know Uber is toxic they won't fault you for wanting to get out.

You know, in the 90s, Microsoft was considered to be a deeply unethical company. Would anyone now consider Microsoft on someone's resume to be a black mark?

I've worked at and helped hire for companies in Seattle, I've personally voted down people coming from MS (especially a few years back) because MS trains people to play certain toxic political games to get ahead. When those employees move to other companies those games tend to persist. ( This is generally a management tier problem )

FWIW, things have changed dramatically at MSFT since Satya took over.

That's an interesting comparison. Back in the 90s, Microsoft was considered unethical from a business standpoint, but not as a workplace.

Uber, on the other hand, has lots of claims of workplace harassment, sexism, general dysfunction, etc. etc. So an employee that tolerated working at Microsoft in the 90s could legitimately be looked at differently than someone who works at Uber today.

FTR, I'm not convinced it's right to judge employees in either scenario negatively. I'm just not sure they're the same scenario.

Recall when people where told to quit SCO, or they would never work for companies X, Y and Z? I think the companies that made that threat has forgotten about it at this point

People (and companies) forget quickly, especially if the person they're interviewing is pleasant and competent.

Did Microsoft have a reputation for sexual harassment and toxic managers? I don't know much about Microsoft in the 90s.

No, Microsoft has generally (I'm sure at the size they are they have had some issues) never had major problems like that.

Their reputation was more around 3E's (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish), they didn't play well with others (intentionally).

My perception is that Uber does not enjoy a PR bonanza based upon its ability to work with others.

Yes and probably still has them. http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-is-filled-with-abus...

The key thing to remember is most people at uber and microsoft are decent people.

Honestly, I'm not sure that sexual harassment was a black mark on many companies in the 90's. The culture was different and (sadly) it just wasn't as big of a deal that it was happening. We've come a long way since then.

I remember hearing almost those exact phrases, but it was in the late 90s, comparing that time to the 70s.

And, relatively speaking, it was true then.

That doesn't stop the 2010s to 1990s comparison, relatively speaking, from also being true.

Microsoft's troubles were entirely due to their business decisions. There was never any suggestion that the engineers there were toxic. That is quite different to Uber's current reputation.

Idk. I worked at MS during the period being discussed, and it felt pretty toxic to me. Maybe its just that no one listened/cared back then... Having gone to HR, I can attest they cared as little about harassment then as Uber is displaying now.

What's interesting to me is that people seem so surprised with the level of toxicity in the software environment for women. Uber didn't happen in a vacuum. That behavior accumulates over time via interactions with hundreds of different companies. And thousands of HR reports that have been ignored. All of which have brought us to this point.

HR hasn't cared enough to stop it ever. At any company I've worked at. Brutal assessment, but spoken from a place of real experience.

Random advice from the internet:

Should you quit? Probably not. Should you be exploring other options? Maybe...and that's mostly orthogonal to being employed at Uber but not entirely. Personally, I don't think it is likely that Uber is going to significantly change its culture based upon its responses (they look like hunkering down and lawyering up).

Now in terms of 'strictly concerned with the impact on my career' that looks like a moral/ethical the-ends-justify-the-means-approach. Here, there are two relevant factors. One is that there is very little certainty regarding how job hopping or staying at Uber will effect your career. The other is that there is a near certainty that people will judge your decision on moral/ethical grounds and that some will judge it as being reflection of a character that is ok with Uber's culture as described by recent events.

When hiring includes consideration of 'cultural fit' time spent at Uber will weigh into those considerations as a risk for companies with an orthogonal culture. Since the longer someone spends in a culture the more likely a person is to become acculturated, the duration of one's 'post-Fowler' employment might be considered when assessing the 'cultural fit' risk/benefit of previous experience at Uber.

I am not pretending that I know what will help or hurt your career: careers vary on an individual basis. I am pretending that what you do or don't do is a choice about who you are. The internet is not going to give you permission for either choice.

Good luck

I can't see any good reason why you need to switch, your team mates are not 'toxic' and I believe pay is also fine. So why you want to switch? I agree sometime we need to switch for better carrier growth but when going to a new environment, there are chances that you have to adjust. Transitions phase in most cases are difficult. One last advice, don't switch only for money, job is and should be much more than that.

If you don't like the job, the culture, the company, the taste of the free coffee, the commute, the whatever, find a different one. You're fortunate to be employed in a field where job hopping generally does not matter due to high demand.

Aside from the outrage/noise you read on the internet, I don't think is much or any stigma associated with working at any particular company.

People are "tainted" to an extent that future employers/recruiters can be worried that you'll bring Uber culture with you. People can debate how much that happens and if it's valid/fair etc but it does happen.

Uber's brand has become toxic not just on the commercial side but within the tech industry to an extent too and things happen as a result of that.

One thing I haven't seen people mention is that you're leaving a lot of money on the table by staying less than a year at each of these places where a large part of the compensation is in stock. Why not stick it out for a full year until the cliff, get your options or RSUs and then switch if you must?

Just something to think about.

Yes, quit.

Do it because it's the right thing to do, not because you're worried about having Uber on your resume.

But since you say you're strictly concerned about the impact on your career, I can tell you that seeing Uber on a resume beyond March 2017 would be an instant red flag for me. I wouldn't bother phone screening that person.

Plenty of companies won't care though, so if you just like money and don't have qualms about your employer's rapidly growing list of unethical activities, then by all means stay.

> I can tell you that seeing Uber on a resume beyond March 2017 would be an instant red flag for me.

That's insane - you think everyone at Uber can afford (both literally and metaphorically) to simply quit their jobs without a landing place?

The flip side of this is that I would be happy to avoid working for someone who's so easily prejudiced against someone before ever meeting them. That kind of social bigotry is also very toxic...

> That's insane - you think everyone at Uber can afford (both literally and metaphorically) to simply quit their jobs without a landing place?

Uber's unethical behavior didn't start recently, but it has recently reached a point where I don't think anyone at the company can still claim plausible deniability. If you're still at Uber, you've had a lot of time to think about this stuff.

> The flip side of this is that I would be happy to avoid working for someone who's so easily prejudiced against someone before ever meeting them. That kind of social bigotry is also very toxic...

I wouldn't consider hiring someone who I suspected of being involved in theft of trade secrets, knowingly violating laws, or knowingly evading oversight, because those are behaviors I don't condone and would not tolerate at my company.

I can't say for certain that anyone who works at Uber beyond March 2017 is involved in unethical activity, but I can say for certain that anyone who works at Uber beyond March 2017 either knows that they're working for a company with a long history of unethical activity or is completely oblivious, and both of those things tell me this is a person I may not be able to trust to make good decisions at my company.

I also discard resumes that show a lack of relevant technical expertise, because that's another indicator that a person may not be able to make good decisions at my company.

I'm not interested in hiring robots without pity, remorse, or fear. I'm interested in hiring humans with empathy and good conscience and a capacity to do the right thing even when it's not easy, because those are values I want my company to have.

From the tone of your post, I take it you're young and just starting your career. A few short jobs shouldn't be a red flag at this point in your career, especially if you have a reasonable reason for leaving previous positions (and company culture at Uber certainly qualifies).

As for having a known toxic company on your resume, that should only be a red flag if you were in a position to alter that toxic environment (senior manager, HR roles, etc).

If I were in your shoes, I might be looking to move elsewhere. But, unless you're unhappy, there's no need to hurry.

I think much of the stigma on job hopping comes from it really having a lot of advantages for a worker who is up for it (it gets progressively harder to deal with the first 6 months in a new job the longer you are stably employed and the more specialized you get.)

If I felt I had an external justification to explain a hop and I had doubts about my employer, I would look immediately for a job filtering for ones that I would actually want to keep for 3-4 years. If a new employer accepts you and you actually stay a few years, I would consider a future employer that had an issue with your resume rather odd. While sticking it out at an employer that you feel uncertain about can leave you in a worse place with the wrong timing.

If your own work environment is a good one, then why would you leave? Don't worry so much about reputation.

This has happened before. Yahoo used to be a hot company to work for. Now, if you still work there, people wonder why you haven't left yet. It is definitely harder to get a job with Yahoo on your resume. Will the same thing happen to Uber? It's possible. You won't feel it until the feeling is very strong, which means it will be too late for you to move.

If you are concerned now, and can find a better offer that you are very comfortable with, I'd say jump ship.

Quitting Uber on principle might be ok, but don't quit because you're worried about being employable in the future. Loads of people will employ someone who is ex-Uber, despite the negative press. Largely, the negative association is with Uber management and execs, not its employees. I doubt you'd have trouble finding a job down the line. If you like your job, don't quit! If you feel guilt, just do what you can to try and shape the culture.

I think you'd be crazy to leave a team you like unless you have something better. The "harm", if any, to your career for staying at Uber would be less than the harm for being a "job hopper" and leaving in less than a year or two.

If you don't like your job, then look around. Maybe look around just to know what the market is like. But don't leave something you enjoy purely because you're afraid of what others will think on your resume.

Stay for the experience, if your personal morals are okay with it. Job hopping is okay in moderation, if you're genuinely not a good fit for the company, but sounds like you're doing okay work.

If it comes up in an interview, focus strictly on your work and how you contributed your skills to the business.

Software engineers ought to be fine moving on from Uber. It'll be the high-level execs who, rightly, will end up having trouble explaining their role in Uber in an interview :)

I think that being at two jobs in a row for under a year is a little concerning. I'd certainly ask questions about that in an interview.

That said, I think leaving Uber would be a significant advantage compared to other companies. In most cases you need to convince your interviewer that the previous company had poor culture without sounding bitter - but for Uber they will probably already know how bad the culture can be.

You shouldn't be worried about job hopping - you should be worried about your own judgement and conviction. Do you really believe that Uber is a bad place to work? And that the problems its facing cannot (or will not) be remediated? You say your team is not toxic (yet). Do you think it will be?

The same media that's slamming Uber today slammed every successful company... these armchair analysts, who haven't been through 0.01% of the struggles that entrepreneurs go through, predicted that Amazon, Netflix, Tesla, Uber will all go down. Now they're working overtime to paint Uber as a frat house with no ethics.

Every company has issues. Some even as severe as recent Uber events w.r.t harassment. But they fix it. They learn. They move on. Uber is not Travis, or the CTO, or the few people that came to limelight for bad culture. Uber is bigger than all of them.

Don't quit something because the press is saying bad things about it. Don't run away from problems. Fix them. That's what engineers do.

Im surprised this is a serious question. I'll cut you some slack because I realize that being a current employee at Uber must mean that every other conversation in your life has to do with your company's morals.

The most important thing to realize right now is that your caught up in a news cycle (albeit, a pretty bad one), but eventually the talks will quiet down and it will be a thing of the past (not saying that there aren't serious issues at Uber, but it won't get media coverage because people will be tired of it).

I agree with brandon272. No one has ever been disqualified from a job because their former employer was unpopular in the media (unless there is a major political statement that comes along with the employer i.e. marijuana advocacy, NRA, etc).

Stay on board, keep doing the best you can, and most importantly, don't get caught up in all the negative crap. Treat everyone else with respect and support your female coworkers if they need you.

The fear of job hopping is overrated in tech. Especially if you are leaving Uber, it'd actually make you look more attractive for actually having a backbone and a conscience.

In a period of about 3 years I went through 4 jobs. I never once was asked or told that my job hopping was a concern in any interviews (probably 50 all together) or offers.

Interestingly the only time I got push back on my "job hopping" Was when I left my first job that I was at for 3 years. I was being interviewed by my potential manager and one of his reports. As the interview was wrapping up the report piped up "How do we know you aren't just going to leave us in 3 years?"

The manager took control and smoothed that question over and I didn't have to answer it but it was an obvious power play and I'm glad someone else was in the room.

This may be true, but it's hard to get a sense of why you are or are not getting hired / getting interviews from the job-seeker's perspective, since you are not really privy to the decision-making process and can't really trust that the reasons given for them not hiring you are the real reasons (generally they don't owe you the truth and strategically it's often better not to say anything or to give some mundane reasons).

I've been involved in a small number of interview processes from the hiring perspective, and I've definitely seen some concern regarding job-hopping where it could easily make the difference on a marginal candidate. That said, this is only at one team in one company - and I was not involved in the initial resume screens (where people with a lot of job-hopping may have been eliminated entirely before I ever saw them). Probably would be best to get a broader perspective from people who have a lot more experience with hiring.

Indeed. I added my anecdote as a data point for arguments for being ready with a good explanation as to why you've left your previous employers.

Either they care and they don't call you, or they don't care and they don't ask.

In my experience the number of employers that don't care and don't ask are sufficiently large enough to not be concerned about the former employer type, especially for someone looking to get out of an uncomfortable employment situation.

If you're not upper level management I don't think having Uber on your resume is gonna be a big black mark, unless it fits with an overall picture you give off of being an asshole. If you seem like a nice person otherwise, I think people will give you the benefit of the doubt, if you are just an engineer.

Ha. Silicon Valley can be really pathetic sometimes. As an employee, you should really go with whoever pays you more. If employees of another company want to shame you into accepting a lower wage why should you?

Silicon Valley is always talking about "changing the world" while building pointless apps that will only exist for 5 years at most as they try to sell to a bigger data mining company. All in the name of "being passionate about what you do".

Fuck that. Starting a for profit business is mostly always about making money, so as an employee you should try to get as much money as you can from them. If you start a company and really believe you are changing the world or making the world a better a place, then make it a non profit. Otherwise, get your head out of your ass.

I wouldn't work where I'm paid more unless I needed the money. I would rather work with a great team that I get along with, and love the product I work with.

All else being equal, would you reject an extra 20k?

All of the stuff you mentioned is still part of "compensation".

When I lived in Australia, I did some contracting then decided to go back to full time. I narrowed my choices down to 2 jobs, one at 120k, and one at 80k.

In the end I picked the 80k one because during the interview they asked me to come in for the day and do a 'test' for a few hours, which was building a small project, then I got to sit with a couple of the members of the team and take them through it. I had a LOT of fun (more fun than I imagined) and ultimately decided to go there.

One of the best jobs I've had.

Obviously between 2 great jobs then the 20k would be the tipping point. But money isn't the sole reason I work. I love what I do for a living.

But that's all else being equal. A company with a toxic culture or a toxic reputation is not equal to one with a world-class culture and sterling reputation.

This is crazy. I use Uber all the time and I think it's a great company. (Of course, I don't approve of harassment/discrimination - but the people directly involved are now gone, and people really should just calm down.)

Don't quit now - good jobs can be hard to get!

On what basis do you claim that "the people directly involved are now gone"? They fired an executive hired after most of the allegations took place, and in one story the worst offending supervisor has left. There's no evidence that the culture has changed, and the people that put that culture in place are still there.

I agree with general sentiment expressed by others; a reasonable next opportunity shouldn't judge you because you worked for an unpopular company.

In fact, we're thinking the opposite: let's use this as an opportunity to hire engineers in your position (and we're currently hiring).

If you were in upper management then this would be a valid concern and you'd be more or less to be forced to take a position on the moral standing of the company.

However in your position no one could reasonably hold it against you. Perhaps it doesn't hurt to put out feelers though.

How much under a year? I've rarely stayed at the same company for more than 2 years, and haven't seen any objections to my job hopping. And if anyone asks you why you left Uber, then toxic culture or not really believing in the company's way of doing business, is an excellent reason.

But there are far more important reasons to stay or leave than fear for what others think. Do you like it there? Are you learning? Can you look at yourself in the mirror every morning for working there? If yes, then stay. If no, then leave.

Of course the smart thing to do is to first look for another job, and only then leave. That way you don't have to leave until you know it's safe to do so.

Job hopping early on in your career to maximize your baseline salary won't affect your career. What may affect your career is the opportunity cost of picking the wrong company (esp Startups) if you had a choice, and the one you didn't pick takes off.

You can do some freelance or personal stuff too and then when you leave you only so your personal projects during your time at uber, if it is really better. Otherwise you can stay for a little longer and do a good harvest now that everybody is leaving.

If you are good at what you do, working at Uber won't affect your career in the long run.

Are you happy? If yes then why leave? Leave if you're unhappy. Stay if you're happy or you have a family and a mortgage and have a good salary to pay it asap.

You are a techie, not on the executive board. So the Uber taint does not apply to you. As long as you are not required to implement some immoral program, there is no reason to leave as a matter of principle.

As a potential employer I would be more concerned about you changing jobs with less than a year at both previous jobs. Assuming you are not looking to take a pay cut, you would have to be stellar technically to even be considered with so little experience. Finally, I would consider you overly sensitive to outside influences and question whether you would stay with a new employer through thick and thin.

As a former MySpace employee I can confirm that being at an unpopular company is irrelevant. Employers are looking for increasing levels of responsibility, among other things. Do your best and you will be ok.

It depends. Do you like your job or are you trying to rationalize your regrets?

If you are subconsciously trying to look for an excuse to leave, well now is as good as any of a time to stop kidding yourself and get out of there.

Unless you're at the level of decision making where you're participating in the decisions that are creating the bad reputation around Uber, I don't think you'll be held accountable for that.

No. Even if the chance of someone excluding ex Uber engineers is extremely high like 50% (which it's not), the Brand name is still valuable since Uber was once one of the hardest places to get into.

The brand name has clearly taken a hit, otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Brand name in terms of engineering ability, the interview barometer during the years OP interviewed? Nothing in the press suggests this has changed. (I'd hesitate regarding senior management types more than ground level engineers -- kind of like Zynga tbh with great ground level engineers and PMs, but pretty questionable upper brass)

Zenefits sales guys don't have a problem landing their next sales role, though you might do a sanity check for cultural values just in case.

Apparently, they have managed to recruit Zoubin Ghahramani [to lead their machine learning efforts] despite the recent mess. While this particular recruitment may not be representative of the broader reception of Uber employees in the job market, choosing to stay at Uber for _professional reasons_ does not seem to be a bad idea.

Uber appoints Zoubin Ghahramani as chief scientist: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13876497

Don't overreact. It's easy to have Internet commando types give all sorts of bad advice.

Take a look around, but don't do anything drastic out of an emotional reaction.

Lots of people at Theranos stood around and watched it burn, plenty stained their career by association. Forget the pay, what do you feel as a person about Uber (not just your team) but Uber the company? Feel good? stay, feel bad? listen to your gut and get out.

Are you being harassed or discriminated against? Are you learning something in terms of career?

There are idiots everywhere. I don't see Americans running out of American as they are ruled by idiots, lead by a pussy grabber.

Uber is an innovative company. Stick around.

Pretend you have golden handcuffs.

Stay as long as you can for being overpaid.

Imo at some point years from now the large $$$$ won't be there any more.

Bottom line. Most of us work for someone else. No matter what we do.

Uber is up there with Monsanto, and circa 2000 Microsoft in terms of nasty. I wouldn't work there no matter how much they paid me.

Team/Environment seems ok, great pay,

Stick it out.

Save money, learn as much as you can, do interesting things at and outside of work.

Plan what you want to do in the future.

I definitely recommend staying for at least year, probably longer to offset your previous job being shorter than a year.

Yes Uber is toxic wasteland, definitely a big black mark on your resume. Quit while you can!. Good luck.

Why exactly do you want to change jobs?

No, unless you want too. I know a ton of non sv companies on the east coast starved for any talent.

Anytime you pop the question of "Should I leave X?" That answer is always yes. The question is when.

Plus everyone eventually leaves X, since they die. You don't have a plan for immortality, do you?

at least round it up to a year or double it.

I guess I'm a little out of the loop here, what has Uber done to become unpopular? Last I checked they were Silicon Valley's favorite darling.

There were several stories that broke over the last couple of weeks. It started with Uber and the travel ban. I don't want to get too into it so you can read about it here: (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/31/business/delete-uber.html).

Then there were several sexual harassment claims that were handled poorly. They can be read here: (https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&e..., https://medium.com/@amyvertino/my-name-is-not-amy-i-am-an-ub...).

Their SVP left because of similar claims against him at Google (http://www.recode.net/2017/2/27/14745360/amit-singhal-google...).

Their VP of product also left under similar circumstances (http://www.recode.net/2017/3/3/14805384/uber-ed-baker-resign...).

Google is suing them over potential stolen IP (involves a former Google employee leaving to start Otto, which Uber promptly acquired). This has still yet to be settled but you can read about details here: (https://danielcompton.net/2017/03/14/uber-bombshell).

Yes, you should, come join other ex-uber folks at Mixmax. Mixmax.com/careers

Not a bad idea ;)


why leave a good and high earning job? don't ruin your life. stay at uber.


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I don't know why you would let HN's opinion on the integrity of the companies leadership influence your decision to work there. The question seems preposterous to me. If you are happy with the work you are doing and the way your team conducts itself and you don't have a better offer on the table why leave? It's not like uber is building a nuclear bomb. Unless you are high up enough to influence any of the things that have come up in the bad press, why would anyone look down on you for working there?

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