I'm a former military wife. The military does a lot of moving around. Affairs are common when spouses are separated. Etc.
So that kind of thing is hardly something peculiar to Microsoft.
It also sounds like she is European and speaks English as a second language. So going to Seattle for a while was possibly a case of culture shock. That also shouldn't be attributed to Microsoft per se.
I spent most of my early life in the city I was born in. The first new place I moved as an adult was a horrendous shock. It was trial by fire and I was so, so miserable and I hated that place. I blamed that place.
It took me years to realize that place actually treated me pretty well and the real problem was the shock of leaving everything I had ever known, so I would have been miserable anywhere. It wasn't the place per se.
She seems to make an effort to not be too blamey of Microsoft and to express her gratitude for the good parts, but the framing really fails to be evenhanded about this. Starting with the title, it attributes a very ordinary growing up experience to becoming disillusioned with this one company.
I've worked at startups and universities and I never had to deal with:
> The people I had on my team, were extremely closed minded. Most of them with many years of experience working in a corporation, so even more closed minded, only caring about their manager’s approval.
> I actually cared about my role, I cared about the people we were doing the Connect event for more than for my career and no one seemed to understand that.
> I found a job fairly easily with a similar salary, where they didn’t expect me to work 24/7.
I've worked long hours at a startup, but not like she is describing. The startup wasn't part of my identity, I didn't need to play politics. All I did was dev dev dev and some more dev. The communication overhead was low. Compared to her story, I had a dream job. Except that I didn't, it had good parts, and it had frustrating parts. Teaching at a coding school is more like a dream job since it doesn't feel like work and people pay you for it, except that it stifles career growth.
Seems? She worked out of the Warsaw office. Not many Americans there, I expect.
Also, as the OP mentions, the trap of getting used to nice things is that while you soon stop appreciating them, you will feel their loss quite painfully.
But yes, your point is valid: it's all relative.
> A cup of coffee are starbucks is a luxury.
In Melbourne, Australia a coffee at Starbucks is considered:
1. A sign that you’re a tourist.
2. A sign that you’re a masochist.
3. A cry for help.
4. All of the above.
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself :)
(I love my Saturday morning Turkish)
At least is still sounds pretty crazy to me.
I'm quite surprised this has gotten so many upvotes. I generally do not feel I am responsible for how other people react to my comments. I certainly don't run around trying to figure out how to be the top comment.
I'm a demographic outlier here. I try to give my point of view as best I can, knowing that it will often be neither respected nor appreciated.
If people want to talk about BigCo, they are free to do so. But understanding how much of her story can be reasonably attributed to the company and how much to other things is the best way to criticize a company, if that is your desire. If you blame them for everything, people stop listening and won't take even legitimate criticisms seriously.
My opinion is somewhat respected on specific topics, such as homelessness. This article is not on a subject where I expected anyone to care one whit what I thought.
Plenty of my comments are initially met with downvotes or strong criticism. I participate here a lot because I'm medically handicapped and don't get out much, not because I have any fantasies that the world is particularly interested in my opinions.
I generally figure if the world were strongly interested in my opinions, my various websites would have more traffic and make more money. In point of fact, I am routinely mocked on HN for complaining about how my participation here has failed to garner me anything resembling a middle class income and told to STFU and go get a real job.
Choosing to engage with a specific comment is not necessarily evidence that I'm all up in arms about it. It is an unfortunate truism that there is generally more to say when people have a difference of opinion than when they see things the same way. It is unfortunate because it tends to promote an appearance of fightiness rather than conversation in online forums, even when the explicit goal is conversation, as it generally is for me personally.
I've participated here nearly ten years. Rest assured, I have some familiarity with how the forum operates.
(Between my old handle -- Mz -- and this one, I have more than 40k karma. If it were under one handle, I would be respectably high on the leader board.)
I'm a former military wife. So I was involved in protecting national security while changing diapers and generally being viewed by the planet as a big fat nothing homemaker. "Loose lips sink ships."
So I viewed my corporate job as merely a day job of no special importance, thus I was not sucked into the cult-like atmosphere of the place. I imagine I would be equally resistant to the cult-like atmosphere at a tech company.
She waited 18 months to say publicly what she thought about it. She's still quite young and 18 months is not a lot of time in the grand scheme of things.
I'm 53. I had an affair in my twenties. I then read as much research as I could get my hands on.
Some common themes:
People frequently are unfaithful while physically separated from their spouse. It's a common feeling that it somehow doesn't count if you are far apart. In fact, some people use that stance as justification to have an ongoing long distance affair.
Affairs are common in stressful situations. When things are overwhelming, humans have a weird habit of reaching for a smidgen of distraction and comfort amid the chaos.
Although popular opinion is that affairs ruin relationships, cause and effect almost always runs the other direction: Affairs don't kill relationships. Instead, relationships in their death throes foster affairs.
I generally consider 18 months to not be a whole lot of time to gain perspective on international and cross cultural experiences. Cultures and nation's tend to be far older than the individuals in them and it can take quite a long time to digest the intersection where two such things meet in one person's life and, unfortunately, all too often grind on that specific individual.
The phrase "cult-like atmosphere" of corporations is meaningful too. Having lived in different national/regional/organizational cultures, I'd agree that there's a significant correspondence between culture and cult.
Personally, I love all the perks tech jobs offer but work-life balance always comes first.
How do you arrive at that conclusion without going through the ringer first?
Exactly. Any time anyone says "money doesn't make me happy" what they really mean is "I already have enough money that it's no longer the limiting factor in my happiness."
The vast majority of peoples' lives and happiness could be markedly improved by giving them more money.
Money helps reduce anxiety. Health insurance even more so.
Once you have responsibilities, mouths to feed, it's no longer just about you. Now that I'm an empty nester, I care about money a lot less. I'm practically happy-go-lucky.
I'm not saying that being poor makes it impossible to be happy. I'm saying that money can remove many stresses which make it harder to be happy.
Also, there's 'low income' and then there's 'financial instability'. If you get paid $100/week, spend $50/week on rent, and $25/week on enough food to keep you well fed, and have $25/week spare, and you have a reasonably reliable job (or can easily find another one) then you're financially stable.
If you're on $2000/wk but you have $1500/wk in rent/loans/whatever and $450/wk in food and transport costs, your boss is constantly threatening to fire you, and you know you can't get another job if you do get fired, you're going to have a very hard time being happy.
> If losing financial stability robs somebody of all their happiness, then I’d say they should question whether they were really happy to begin with, or just comfortable.
I'd flip that around and say if your happiness levels aren't affected by 'losing financial stability' then you've lost income but not financial stability.
I think the other posters mean happiness as the more run of the mill enjoying the moment, enjoying life, am happy about X kind of happiness.
Also, when we talk about happiness vs income, we should actually look at what many people actually say about it themselves, in data (pardon the pun :):
I mean, it seems like there is a connection between happiness and income up to a certain level.
Below $75k combined income is where those "do I want X or Y because I can't have both" situations come about increasingly frequently. Below $45k it becomes "do I want to pay the electricity bill or the rent?"
For instance, lots of peoples' mental states improve when they are able to not live with their parents, for various reasons. That requires money.
Tell that to the history of labor unions
Doubt it. Mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities are abound. Unions provide a floor for negotiations from which you can up-negotiate.
If your categorization was true, actors would never have breakout opportunities despite their union representation. Reality disagrees with your assertion and any movie star ever acts as evidence contrary to your claim.
Unions have personally screwed me out of hundreds of dollars of month in payment for pensions I'll never see because they've forced me into inappropriate position titles to the benefit of legacy members.
Good governance, fairness, accountability, responsibility, transparency remain challenges for all organizations, not just unions. Happily, we've been getting better at finding and learning from other experiments.
Reform is thankless exhausting work. It takes a special kind of crazy for a person to do that kind of policy work.
Software Engineering still hasn't reached that point. The profits earned by having top percentile employees, far outpace the compensation packages they demand.
It's really a profession that does not scale well.
Even if you’re not actually an active member of one of the about 60 organizations, the work they do benefit you through collective agreements.
Look at the companies and innovations sprung from this setting through the years.
It’s IMHO actually quite impressive considering the population size.
At least I believe it’s safe to say it doesn’t stifle innovation or hard working individuals in general — high performers gonna’ perform.
Crediting unions with the inventions and companies seems quite optimistic. Imho, they were at best a method for avoiding a working class/socialist revolution in the early 1900s and for supporting blue collar workers in general.
Also, Sweden isn’t socialist, and socialism isn’t equal to democracy.
Second, you have quite a narrow and arguably wrong idea about what socialism is:
Sweden is for example governed like a social democracy:
Being scared of the S word is kind of silly and assuming socialism equals totalitarian Stalinism or Communism is just plain wrong.
Third -- if you work in tech you might very well be a member of for example "Unionen" (660.000 members, myself included) or "Sveriges Ingenjorer" if you're an actual engineer.
Take a look at SACO with it's 22 unions: https://www.saco.se/en/
Just some other thoughts:
The opposite of socialism is not capitalism, as is usually portrayed.
For me, the opposite is what happens when accountability towards the people and greater good is nowhere to be found. Be it through unregulated free market corporations, organisation and politics or a totalitarian dictatorship.
Both corrupt and destroy and one thing is common: lack of accountability.
Also, I like talking about ”socialist Sweden” whenever an American talks about the horrors of unions, regulations and government.
Developed a healthy but firm relationship with my employer that I shall not be available outside office hours.
Hacked away at slack to permanently disable notifications and never show the blue distraction dot. Developed an expectation among the team about my responsiveness via slack or email.
Unlearned from my previous job: installing any work related software on my phone.
Adopted a financial lifestyle that prevents me from being a wage slave. This is the most important part, I think. It means all of the above can never be eroded because I'm not afraid to quit/be fired. This means I can stand by my philosophy.
I consider myself lucky that during my formative years in tech in the 90's, I was also playing guitar in a semi-professional band touring Florida during the year. I feel that due to these experiences, I was always able to see what many of my colleagues couldn't.
That tying your emotional, social, and financial happiness to your tech job is a dangerous place to be.
It is the first big real world thing many of them do, their first real career job, and possibility the most important thing to them they've done to date... it's so easy to get wrapped up in that when a company steps in to fill in all the possible gaps in life.
If you don't know what else you'd fill your life with, it's easy to fill it completely with the first big deal that comes along.
This is one of the reasons they provide free food, corporate vacations, team building exercises, etc.
They want you completely dedicated.
I probably averaged 50 hour weeks. I also earned enough to max out retirement accounts and make substantial investments in my post-tax accounts. I had enough to where I could start taking bigger risks. I had two vacations per year while building wealth. I also got married during this time.
I read comments like this and I wonder if someone had a bad experience or if it’s just resentment.
To be clear, I think there’s massive room to improve gender pay gaps, diversity, etc. That being said, I don’t think these companies are as nefarious as you make it sound. It depends on your situation. I never had to travel, unlike the author of the medium post. I didn’t face sexual harassment, although I’m also a female. I do know these things do happen, just as they would at many non tech companies.
Ah, there it comes.
Having been around lots of employees of one of the tech giants, I think the cult mentality is actually very strong.
You can observe this in two specific ways:
1 Adding in a gratuitous note at every possible chance about those who are resentful because they didn't "make the cut". Now, you could have made your point without the gratuitous note, and the fact that you still had to add it does make you part of the cult, de-facto. Interestingly, you observe this attitude in a lot of ways when you interact with them in real life too, and especially when you say something critical but factual about their software (e.g. that it is bug ridden despite an entire army of folks working on it)
2 The general idea that unlike the schmucks who need to comply with laws, a tech giant is not only above the law, but rather deservingly so (Facebook being the very obvious example with its friendly fraud case, but every tech giant has a pretty shady history in this regard). If someone disagrees, "it's just resentment". Even more tellingly, almost none of these folks actually take a stand on clearly unethical practices well after "earning enough to max out retirement accounts".
Instead of bristling at such comments, you should probably introspect a little more.
>Adding in a gratuitous note at every possible chance about those who are resentful because they didn't "make the cut".
I never made any statement about someone being resentful because they didn’t make the cut. You’re arguing a straw man with these things you’ve conjured up, and after making this statement, it’s probably likely you didn’t make the cut. On the other hand, making the “cut” isn’t so black and white. Great candidates sometimes fall through and don’t get an offer. The system isn’t perfect at any company.
>Interestingly, you observe this attitude in a lot of ways when you interact with them in real life too, and especially when you say something critical but factual about their software (e.g. that it is bug ridden despite an entire army of folks working on it)
There’s buggy software everywhere. Hopefully you can find bugs and address them before your users do but be transparent if something is serious. I haven’t seen anyone state that engineers at big tech companies write flawless code, so you’re arguing another straw man.
>If someone disagrees, "it's just resentment". Even more tellingly, almost none of these folks actually take a stand on clearly unethical practices well after "earning enough to max out retirement accounts".
People take stands on issues they disagree with all the time. You read about it when folks at Google, Microsoft, or Amazon speak out against selling tech to the defense department. It’s even on there news.
>Instead of bristling at such comments, you should probably introspect a little more
Your angry rant is misinformed, with personal insults and generally in bad faith. Do you have an employer and are they perfect? Even if you’re self employed, are the folks you work with or work for completely 100% objectively ethical, and if yes, how do you measure that and who/what defines that bar?
I never stated tech companies are above the law, that engineers at these companies write bug free software, or that everyone else is only upset they didn’t make the cut. If I had to guess, it sounds like maybe you didn’t make the cut, which is why this idea even came to your mind.
My experiences have been good. It seems like you came here hoping I would have insulted my previous teams.
One piece of unsolicited advice -
You won’t be successful and people generally won’t respect you or want to work with you if you’re the person who tries to pull the most negatively possible interpretation from others so you can use it to put others down. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or think you are.
I'm in a similar situation, and feel sad that a "bigger risk" for me - and probably a lot of employees in tech - is putting my foot down and working only 40 hours a week. Without having money saved, I'd have a much weaker hand in sticking up for myself.
I left my first company after college only after 3 years, despite the pay being great. I moved to a tech company, which longer term ended up being absolutely the right decision. At the time, I only left because I felt burned out. In retrospect, I worked nights and weekend, pulling in closer to 60 hours, but it was never expected of me. If anything, I set that expectation, and it wasn’t fair to my colleagues who couldn’t work more than 40 hours a week because they had a spouse, kids, or other responsibilities that I didn’t have outside of work.
If you do feel like you have no other way, my suggestion would be to find a different team or different org at your company if possible. Otherwise, time to move on elsewhere.
Keep your skills sharp - changing jobs is stressful and can suck, but never end up in a position where you absolutely rely on the job you have now. Build your nest egg early.
This is especially true if you’re young. I only wish I had someone give me this advice but my parents both worked their entire lives, and I saw them both work sometimes two jobs at a time. I didn’t know better having grown up in a home where that was the norm (they didn’t have a choice because they were trying to support 3 children, pay rent, car payment, etc).
I didn’t change til I literally worked myself into a hospital. I do wonder if knowing more about how often this stuff happens would have made me more aware of the pattern I was falling into.
Invest in your education, invest in your career, invest in your family, invest in your friends, invest in your hobbies, invest in your health.
Not all of those are sure to succeed, but if one fails or you realize is overvalued, you've still got a lot left.
You want you career path to follow; what you can learn, what you can do, what you know, who you know.
Every job should pay you in, experience, money and connections. If a employer is short changing you or blocking you on any of those, LEAVE.
I was told by someone once about how much drama there was in our office... I was pretty sure we worked in the most boring office ever, but I finally figured out that a small group of people happened to find each other, conflict, immature decisions followed. It wasn't the office that was full of drama ...
I'm at a FAANG now and it's very boring. Someone died at my office recently and some random uninformed online comment was trying to blame it on widespread Adderall abuse, which is so disconnected from how things actually are at the office.
You are, presumably, male and doing technical tasks.
It's much easier to get into drama when you are a 1) young female, whom lots of people want to interact with, hired to do 2) marketing, where your job is to be extremely social with semi-strangers.
This is simply the way of the world.
Heck I was surprised she was being flown first class, with all the cutbacks everyone I know at MS for the last ~4 years has been flying coach even for their first N international flights each year! (I forget what N is.)
Because that's who you want reviewing the books, someone who can barely keep their head up...
Penny wise and all that.
(My info is several years old, hopefully that policy was changed back!)
Depending on how carefully I've been keeping those books, quite possibly :)
Most of the stuff you learn in corporations are anti-patterns that you have to unlearn after you leave.
The reason why corporate jobs feel so meaningless is because most tech corporations have had a long term monopoly over their respective markets. They haven't had to really struggle on the market for several decades in some cases... Inside a corporation, mediocrity is the definition of success. If employees can produce something mediocre that only just works, it will translate into disproportionate revenue gains due to centralizing and monopolistic market forces. I think that this is what is meant when people talk about the "golden cage".
That's why I try to avoid corporate jobs. They pay well and you do learn some stuff in the first few months but after that your skills start degenerating and a lot of people don't notice it when it happens to them; then they get stuck in that job (or other corporate jobs) because no efficient company exposed to normal market forces will hire them.
Also note that the definition of 'normal market forces' is relative. Most startups which don't go through the normal corporation-controlled VC funnel (e.g. bootstraped startups) have a really tough time working against centralizing and monopolizing market forces.
TLDR: There's a core group that "get's it". Per Pareto and organizational psychology, most people have no idea what's going on.
The initial Quattro Pro team was just 4 people. They all had prior experience. Were colleagues who worked well together. They had management meat shields who fought off the rest of the org, so the core team had enough time and space to finish a thought uninterrupted. As the product progressed, the "surface area" increased, they brought in people to help.
None of my corporate jobs have been like that. They've mostly felt like a "choose your own adventure" games, where you wander around asking NPCs for help to accomplish the latest quest, hopefully finishing before someone gives the ant farm another good shake.
There's a lot of red flags - going to clubs, going to burning man, having an affair, renting a penthouse apartment in freaking Seattle.
I'm not passing judgement on those who wanna live life to the fullest, but the failure of achieving the white picketed fence type of life she originally wanted to live is totally on her and not on Microsoft at all.
I say this as someone who was once in this situation.
I think I didn't have much to compare to in my 20's (like social media posts) so I made plenty of bad decisions in my life. I was lucky to survive, learn, and calibrate my decision making process.
I'm glad you came out okay. It seems that the auther of this post may not learn or is possibly susceptible to being in this same situation again.
The job means you have to go out most evenings to every possible hackathon or meetup and talk to everyone.
jesus, how is this minor and acceptable? i'm a woman in engineering and I can not even imagine having to deal with something like this. Is it that Marketing is that much different? Or am I just lucky to be working with human beings?
It was a sobering moment when I realized this. I’ve been in the tech industry for over 10 years and I don’t think that anything similar has happened to any of the people I have worked with, but honestly, I have no idea. I’m not sure if I’m oblivious or just lucky to have never worked at anywhere like this. It’s terrifying how common experiences like this are.
As an example early in my career I used to work with a woman that was also pretty new and we had some chemistry. Nothing really came out of it but we did spend some time together at work and outside work. But that started as professional attitude -> friendly -> flirty. She was the one that pushed flirty at first and for example after a while when I sent her a message that she forgot an attachment I could get a "Oops, sorry! You will have to spank me!" or something similar.
I'm not trying to defend that 45 year old married guy that drunk walks up to the new 20 something hire and tells her that she has a hot body but at the same time you will have people looking for a partner spending a lot of time together. And if you also add in office parties with alcohol you are bound to also have a few misunderstandings where Guy/Girl thinks that they are hitting it off with other Guy/Girl and wants to try to take to the next level while the other person only thought they were friendly co-workers and wants to stay that way.
Having a female body is not a mixed signal.
I suspect working in an Eastern Europe satellite office far more regressive than your typical US west coast office. Not that it makes it either minor or acceptable, just... different.
I would love to hear from people on the ground about their experience, and whether that's true across other tech workplaces in central and eastern europe.
I don't think of this as being minor or acceptable, but I don't think it's any more widespread in computing than in other fields either.
Basically, if you wouldn't do it in front of your mom, don't do it to a colleague.
And anyway, if your intent is actually to get laid, then randomly asking people in professional environments is the worst way to do so. It's not even a good tactic in nightclubs, let alone in the workplace. So you're not actually accomplishing your intended goal; you're just harassing your female colleagues.
Good god man, ask people out for drinks first, don't just jump immediately to asking for sex! Did no one teach you how dating or hook-ups work?!
Anyway I said "could", not "would". It depends on how coarse you are with it, how dogged you are in doing so despite being told no, how many different people you do it to, and of course if you're reported.
The overall point is, though, that it's not a good idea.
Women I know wear makeup at work because many people view makeup as a "professional" or "put together" look, the same way a man might neatly comb their hair, not because they want to look sexy.
Like the OP said, I'm sure there are plenty of great teams at the company, and you can still have long, fulfilling employment there, but I could never relate to that experience.
A friend of mine who went and got a job at Microsoft (a rarity in my circle, they don't seem to be heavyweights in the graphics or video world) and made a smart move. His deal was they he got the job but that he didn't go through any kind of interview rigmarole. The gig didn't last forever but at least someone was spared a bit of craziness.
(Edit) One interviewer blew cigarette smoke in my face, for example. That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of decent people there.
Literally? That sounds like something you'd experience in the first half of the last century, but not with a tech company today.
lol. Usually that costs extra.
From her telling, it sounds like everything was going well for her in Poland. Then she did a very short stint in Seattle where everyone was "extremely closed minded... only caring about their manager’s approval". I'm not sure what that even means, but it sounds like that triggered in her a major depression. After which she spent a lot of time "pretending to work", which eventually resulted in her being fired. Clearly something major happened in Seattle, but we have no idea what.
Is there anything that MS could have done differently here, to avoid the problems she ran into? Or is this just a case of her investing too much time into her career and burning herself out?
I'm continually surprised how often this kind of life is considered 'perfect'. Every item in this list adds more liability and commitment to your life which is something very few 20-somethings (including myself) have enough experience with to handle it let alone know it's what they enjoy.
Beyond financial security, investing time in what you actually want to do with your life and your own hobbies is going to be much more rewarding and important than nice cars and houses. Even kids can become just another status symbol intended to virtue signal to your class appropriate 'friends' that years latter downgrade to just peers and colleagues.
> Huge campus, nice cafeterias, woods, a pond, overwhelming space. Everything seemed great....
Ugh, this trend to make work environments indistinguishable from a university campus is just the latest trend to warm up new employees until their fully committed to the boiling sewage that is a life that is all work and ass kissing. You only have to remember that FAAMNGS are committed to their shareholders to know that for every dollar invested in their campus, they need two back from you.
>Ugh, this trend to make work environments indistinguishable from a university campus is just >the latest trend to warm up new employees until their fully committed to the boiling sewage >that is a life that is all work and ass kissing.
Every feature that you are complaining about happens naturally when you have as many employees as MS has in Redmond. It has nothing to do with malicious agents planning to boil employees alive in ass kissing.
Well, maybe not the pond. Clearly THAT is the infernal device of campusness that entrances the innocents.
Disclosure: walked to that pond from time to time during lunch when I was working in the area, probab ly already brainwashed.
By committing only to shareholders, they miss out on other stakeholders: employees, suppliers, customers, community.
(Jonathan Haidt discusses at 18:50 onwards in this video:
When the company emphasises only shareholders, they miss out on building cooperative relationships with the other stakeholders).
The thing that really aligns employee incentives with shareholders is restricted stock and options. Employees directly benefit when the stock goes up, so of course it creates a culture where most people want it to go up and aren't happy when it goes down.
The guys in the mahogany suite say look the only people we are responsible to are the stockholders. Who most of them it turns out have very little coherent control. That's very convenient.
With your time, you can make small contributions or large contributions: a high quality decision that saves time or money, close a big deal, an efficient and reusable process/abstraction that saves effort, recruit the right person for the right job...
Or you can be counterproductive: have redundant meetings, waste people's attention, be toxic and make people feel like shit and less productive or engaged with their job, be closed minded and waste valuable opportunities, create a shitty abstraction that people's wastes time and makes people feel frustrated, recruit a jerk, interrupt someone that is about to say something important.
What you do with your time can be vastly more important than how many hours you work.
3.5 years of which 2 years or so are in dedicated program to rotate jobs across the world seems like an amazing deal to kick off a career many would dream of. Not much responsibility but a lot to learn and observe!
More objectively reflecting ones own performance and actions might good to understand reasons for what happened.
This is business and work, not family and friends. I see a lot of younger people struggling to make that distinction.
Tech companies are notorious for baking this into the culture to churn more hours out of employees. The usage of company values, tons of on-site perks to keep people there longer and of course if you’re going to spend the vast majority of your waking hours at/around the “campus” you’re going to consider co-workers friends.
Why is that a bad thing? In a normal 9-5, you spend 1/3 of your waking time with those people.
I'm a few years out of University, and I've now spent more time with co workers than I did with most of the people I went to university or school with. I don't know what's going on in their lives for the most part, we catch up a few times a year and that's that.
You're probably interested in some of the same things outside of work as many of your colleague, and may have more in common with them than other friends You don't need to consider every co worker a friend, and it's definitely sensible to draw the line between working and personal life, but it seems like a total waste to spend a huge amount of your waking time with people and actively refuse to be friends with any of them.
I was responding to the parent post that seemed to insinuate that it’s young employees at fault for believing their work friends are friends and that’s more of the culture of technology companies.
I’ve made a handful of good friends over the years from people I met at work, but I also have seen the nasty side of that when it comes to promotions, people leaving, drama/gossiping and so forth.
So it’s best to just go in eyes open and realize that some people may be your friend on the surface but they’ll fuck you over first chance they get (same can be said for real life as well)
It's not about disillusion or work-life balance. It's about how smart people go into submission of the corporate b.s. so quickly and for so long. You can count on your fingers, if you actually know, a place where you can work and derive from it your own fulfillment and generate a real impact to real human beings.
People get lost along the way, put money first and use politics as a mean to get that. That's the cause of all shitty jobs you may have and all shitty services you have as a consumer. This capitalism overfitting. There is no real mission behind people, except for the cold hard hash or power over other humans.
I invite you to think, even for a minute, about this statement written on Simon Sinek's website: "Imagine a world in which the vast majority of us wake up inspired, feel safe at work and return home fulfilled at the end of the day."
How come this statement is simply reversed nowadays AND people don't make an effort to change it. Holy Moly ...
In the "Lab rats" Dan Lyons tried to give a perspective on the "new kind of capitalism" after he gave a perspective on the current state of the Silicon Valley capitalism. Links above are from his book.
I've spent my 20s constantly oscillating between going broke trying to build a scalable startup and earning good money by working freelance. I was breaking my back getting things off the ground but also managing the freelancing projects, the effort left little place for holidays/friends or parties. I basically never went to conferences as it was either way to expensive or time that could be potentially billable.
After realising how toxic my lifestyle focused on "making it" had become I decided to join a profitable SaaS company that needed my skills to build a future proof software platform out of their legacy system.
Now at 31 I've got a good position in that company with a good chunk of stock options, I'm awaiting my second son.
Reading her story to me makes me wonder how much I've missed, just finishing University and applying to a large tech company might have been equally backbreaking, but at least I would have seen more of the world, networked more and maybe ended up with some usable savings to show for it. Typical greener-grass situation I guess.
I think the "scalable startup" fixation is the worst legacy of our industry.
There has always been an enormous professional world of people in many fields start either a solo consultancy or an agency/firm/practice and by their 40s they are paying themselves somewhere in the six figures.
"Will it scale" in the VC sense is not one of their concerns. They still get rich.
Personally I would die a million deaths working at a large tech company or living on the west coast. I worked at one F10 (at the time) non tech company for two years and said never again.
I guess I would make an exception if I could get in on the in house consultancy side for AWS/Azure/GCP just for enough years to make some money. Especially since they hire in many major cities - I don’t want the travel requirements right now.
A strongish opinion I'm starting to hold is that we are hitting peak software engineer and that with all the weirdness going on in terms of interviews, ageism, lotsa people getting pushed through college, lotsa general buzz, it's probably time for people to look elsewhere.
The tricky thing is to ferret out the business and skill set that is still young and getting ready to take off...or become a plumber instead.
Tech does still get traditional nerds, who'd do CS even if there was no money in it.
But I wonder how many of the traditional nerds are choosing other STEM fields partly because of the perception of current CS jobs.
If you think separating work and life is hard now try doing it when a company is directly paying for the place you go to sleep. No space or time will really be "yours" in any sense. They'll virtually know where you are at all times and be paying for you to be there. Hence, its strongly implied you live and breathe for the company.
Btw, I'm not saying people shouldn't do this. It can honestly be a really fun and motivating environment. But the trade-offs are something to keep in mind when accepting offers that seem too good to be true. I've found that constantly traveling and spending all your time working is super unproductive for me. All it leads to is burn-out and I usually end up doing far more when I'm happy, healthy, and in control of my own life.
Remote positions are god-tier for this. It's hard to beat being able to lie in bed writing code for something you love. I'll take that over other perks any day. Also, side note. It's always depressing reading about the sexism that women have to face in tech. If you're a women dealing with this at the moment I hope you continue to flourish and don't let stupid remarks get to you. Not everybody acts like this
You will learn and hear invaluable stories on how companies treat employees, how firing works, how being fired is and generally just meaningful information that will put your own present misery into perspective and prepare you for the things to come.
- I have no idea what is expected from a junior developer starting out in the workplace. I was self taught before going to college and my first job I was the sole developer writing a decently complicated networked data entry system. What should I expect the typical junior developer to know? I’ve only worked at companies who don’t hire junior developers.
- If someone’s dreams and aspirations are to “work for Big N” (the stereotypical r/cscareerquestions poster), what do I know? I’ve never studied leetCode/“Cracking the Code” in my life and don’t plan to.
- I’m not sure someone who has been in the industry 30-40 years will be able to relate to someone just starting off. Things are different now. Things are different from when I first started. Technology was just another decent paying, middle class career field when I entered it.
Someone in the industry 30-40 years is probably a company man and still believes in company loyalty.
EDIT: and that you dont care about leetcode probably also says something about how important that stuff is in the grand scheme of things :)
But as far as your edit....
ME: I’ll never spend a year of my life grinding at leetCode to work at a FAANG
ALSO ME: I’m going to spend three years of my life grinding through all things AWS so I can work as an SA at Amazon (or a partner).
Heck, scarcely anywhere I've ever worked still exists. They either faded away or were merged/bought into oblivion.
I hear what you are saying about the leetcode interviews. No thanks. Also, I agree on the decent paying middle class career angle, it was also quite a lot rarer.
I guess most of young people learn this the hard way, myself included!
1) They supply all the initiative you can't muster.
2) Having been involuntarily terminated, you can usually collect unemployment if need be, and sometimes a severance package.
If even, say half, of your emotions about it consist of relief, it was the right thing; it needed to happen.
It was a no-drama workplace full of great people who come in to work every day to do their job well and then go home and do what people are supposed to do, build a fulfilling family life. And if anyone had a disastrous personal life, it certainly wasn’t something they brought into the office.
I left Microsoft because I wanted to go a totally different direction with my career (I’m in law school now), but it really was a delightful place to work full of great people.
I do get that right now that a modern tech company is competing under “winner take all” scenarios so this stuff is hard to avoid. But it really does seem like we need to stop and reflect a bit on what the importance is of the things we are building.
DX has now become CSE (Commercial Software Engineering) and instead of evangelizing, they now mainly write code (with some exceptions). One group in CSE works with customers on short-term hacks which span a couple of days, and another group works on long-term projects alongside engineers at external companies, helping them build cloud solutions.
These jobs do have travel, but it is not very much since remotely working with customers is a viable option. There is also a strong focus on ensuring they don’t work or travel too much because no one wants to burn out engineers.
CSE is actually a really cool org at Microsoft, and you can see some of the stuff they work on here: https://www.microsoft.com/developerblog/
Across the board, the common thread among everyone I know at bigN, is how mundane it can feel.
I am joining MS next month, so I guess I will find out in time.
I used to work at a big oil company where its culture was obsessed with safety and they took it very seriously. It's actually a good thing and I get it if you're one of the workers at an oil extraction site because those jobs could be very dangerous. However, we were just the business operation team working in an office located deep inside the city. We still had to follow the same corporate culture and rituals about safety, so without fail every week we had to conduct meeting where team members would discuss various topics related to safety. Since none of us has actually ever worked down at the oil fields, we slowly ran out of topics over time and people started telling random stories like tripping on electrical wires, spilling hot coffee while they were driving, etc... I think it's such a perfect example of how some passed down cultures could feel a bit foreign at times, depending on which unit or team you belong to. Great company though!
Think two people walking into an elevator together.
eg too much time focused on one thing ("overdose" on it) -> burn out -> lack of motivation/focus -> needs 5 week (or more) break to gain perspective. (etc)
Because of that I'm somewhat skeptical of some of her claims. For example:
>The people I worked with were extremely closed minded. Most of them with many years of experience working in a corporation, so even more closed minded, only caring about their manager’s approval.
If these co-workers or managers could share their side, what would they say? Your manager is the one giving your performance reviews, bonuses, promotions, etc. If you worked hard to deliver good results, could that be interpreted as "sucking up to your boss?"
Can't agree with this more. The Seattle bit feels incomplete, there was something there that I'd tentatively describe as 'culture shock' or 'cognitive dissonance event' and I really really wonder what would the 'seattle co-workers' say about this piece.
It sounds like others more experienced actual developerd wanted her job with the perks. Microsoft wanted a different face, younger/well spoken/diverse gender/etc. Because she drank the cool-aid she was able to do great at her job without being a developer. The social aspects that supported her start changing. Meanwhile Microsoft responds to the public outcry and makes everyone like her learn to code and things aren't fun anymore. She quits and finds out her support system is gone and thinks everyone is fake.
I do think that people should more highly value positions in which they will have better professional relationships with their coworkers. It's a force multiplier to growth and productivity.
In my experience when someone says everyone else is the problem, it’s more likely they’re the problem but they lack the introspection to realise it. I mean really which seems more likely, that everyone else was awful, or that something she was doing rubbed people the wrong way? It sounds like Microsoft was just a backdrop to a turbulent few years.
Also after cheating on her boyfriend and spending large periods of time faking doing work (which I’m guessing contributed to her firing) her takeaway at the end is.. to focus more on herself and blame Microsoft and her former coworkers for her mistakes? How is that not just narcissism? I mean self care is important, but maybe her takeaway should be to act with integrity..
> the most fake people I have met still to this day
followed immediately by
> I cannot even explain how terrible it was for me to have to help them, show interest and pretend that I support what they’re doing
Taken out of context at least, there is exactly one person that seems exceptionally more fake than anyone else...
I dunno, maybe I have just been lucky to have sufficiently many sincere people around me in my life, but if I perceive someone as being insincere I will avoid those people — not stay around them and pretend that I like them.
Of course, if you perceive everyone at a place to be fake then you can’t really avoid them.
I don’t know what to do in that situation really. But I agree that some introspection would probably be in order. Though personally I have in the past had the opposite problem — being overly harsh on myself and critical of myself.
If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email email@example.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.
Both? A coworker at a former job comes to mind. He kept pointing out a problem that everyone else was ignoring, and they kept ignoring it. He gradually got minimized until he left on his own, and the problem remained.
He definitely rubbed people the wrong way. The problem definitely existed.
It's the sort of thing you can "fix" on your own, but if you don't get any buy-in from everyone else, you're kinda SOL.
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." - Marcus Aurelius
It seems like this was known in antiquity already.
Do you know of any recently successful teams that were not built up from entirely new people isolated and protected from the old teams?
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19888683 and marked it off-topic.
> P.S. I know there are teams at Microsoft that are different (shout out to VS Code engineering team!), but I just wasn’t lucky enough to work at one ;)
She also mentions that many people at the company didn't respect her position in the beginning. I wouldn't either. Shes paid to party and network and doesn't seem to have any of the technical knowlege to work at a very technical company.
And that final remark does not explain the lack of examples.
Phrases from the article that jumped out for me were: The real world will eat you alive. Everyone was fake.
Much of that cruelty and superficiality arises from the dominant ideology driving corporate culture. It can be tough and heart-breaking growing up in such a world.