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My Experience at Apple (ex-apple-engineer.medium.com)
1602 points by limono 16 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 778 comments



Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

Unlike others, I actually find this story fairly believable.

When I first joined Apple, straight out of college - a good program, top three in the country - I was abused similarly. I joined a team that was on a project behind schedule.

Our manager was a brusque, no-nonsense sort of dude. But he clearly had anger problems. On the team were 2 senior engineers, me, and a junior engineer that had just completed his internship and was on a work Visa.

As the project got closer to the deadline, and the scope increased, the manager got agitated. In our team meetings, he would start yelling at us. People down the hallways would stare at us with those "looks." In our 1:1s he told us we might not have a job if our product doesn't ship on time (we were competing with another internal team to beat them to the punch.)

The two senior engineers decided they'd had enough and quit the team. The manager told us to work overtime (no overtime pay, but we had to for fear of our job). He promised us that if we did it that we would get a month of vacation on him, and that he could secure it for us.

The product released. After countless nights of overtime we did it. Our manager left, our guarantee of a month of vacation evaporated, and for the next three months, us two junior engineers were left on 24/7 primary/secondary on-call for a critical service. It was a nightmare. Calls at 3 AM, 6 AM, on weekends.

Our manager got a promotion and is fairly high up at Apple now.

Horrible experience. I left for a new company that pays me nearly double.


Some extra tidbits that didn't make it in because the edit timer ran out:

- Despite the big release and herculean efforts, both of us were paid a fraction of our target bonus. This was the day I decided to move jobs.

- I eventually grew some balls and told Apple to (a) pay me 2.5x during overtime (b) hire SREs for this critical service, or (c) go fuck themselves. They chose (c), which worked alright because our service was pretty stable.

- The primary lesson I learnt is that it doesn't matter if you work hard. Nobody notices, and even if they do you will likely not get anything out of it. Do your job, but don't kill yourself over it. Work-life balance is king.

- Only my first manager at Apple was an asshole. My last manager was a kind and genial person.


- The primary lesson I learnt is that it doesn't matter if you work hard. Nobody notices, and even if they do you will likely not get anything out of it. Do your job, but don't kill yourself over it. Work-life balance is king.

This has been my experience as well. Nowadays I work hard only while most of the following are true: - I'm making top dollar (good salary + equity value is high) - Work is interesting (something new to learn, or challenging, or both) - My home life is not going great (there are ups and downs, and working hard during the downs is a pretty decent way of coping)

I absolutely do not work hard if any one of the following is true: - Project Manager is applying pressure. - People who do not deliver value have been promoted over me. - Manager/Technical leadership has repeatedly ignored my advice and leanded the team in hot water (cutting corners to make arbitrary timelines, only to incur high support costs or maintenance costs later) - Performance Management is not occurring at the company (underperformers are not thrown out, or, worse, promoted). - Company is not doing well (equity value is down). - Salary has not kept pace with market (i.e., nothing more than 3-4% raises per year). - There is an over-reliance on junior people and they start calling the shots, thereby making my hard-won experience useless to the team.


Throwaway for obvious reasons

I work for a company belonging to Accenture.

I can only agree. Shareholders get +10%. Employees get nil.

It is expected that we do at least 15 - 25% overtime without compensation. Project manager promises everything the client asks for. Even if they know we cannot in any universe deliver this without massive overtime. At the same time they introduce new mandatory processes to follow costing additional time.

Performance management is a joke. Employee development non existent. Promotion and raises have nothing to do with performance. If managing directors do not like you, you are out of luck as they ultimately decided on your salary, promotion and bonuses.

I am still there because I can only switch jobs after Sept 2021 for private reasons.

After that it is jobhunting season.

If anyone is of the opinion that you do not deserve adequate pay, can be bullied by project managers or others - do yourself a favor and look for another company that does value you.


> Accenture

Large consulting firms seems to operate this way, being basically a pyramid with endless layers of non-programming "Enterprise Architect Solution Expert". I've had folks tell me explicitly when joining these firms post-grad that their goal was not to code in two years.


Any company that has to change its name to avoid bad publicity is not worth working for.


Can you give us additional info please?


Arthur Anderson used to be one of the Big 5 accounting firms along with Deloitte and Touche, KPMG, Price Waterhouse and Ernst&Young.

I was briefly at an Indian subsidiary of EY(those days, the Big 5 weren’t allowed to operate by themselves without partnering with a local chartered accounting firm) because only certain firms could do bank audits and I wanted the experience at one if the Big 5. KPMG was known for its entertainment industry accounts. I picked E&Y for manufacturing and I think I ended up with an international cement conglomerate account. The Big 5 clearly decided who gets what industry. They operate like a cartel. They also had consulting divisions. AA after Enron simply focused solely on consulting and IT.

They are all ‘special’ kinds of hell. Just different flavors. AA/Enron scandal was a big deal and was the only talk for days and days and days.

Slightly dated.. 2018: https://riskmagazine.nl/article/2018-03-19-how-the-big-five-...

[..] Andersen was responsible for checking the accounting of energy company Enron. The energy company went down with great noise because of shoddy accounting. Trouble came for Andersen as they had approved this accounting. After learning the Securities and Exchange Commission had begun an investigation of Enron’s accounting, orders were given at Andersen to destroy thousands of documents and e-mail messages. These illegal acts resulted in a conviction, which made it impossible to act as a public accountant for American stock exchange funds. Andersen decided to hand in its licenses before the SEC would withdraw them.[..]

[..] On appeal for the destruction of the files, Andersen was acquitted and there was no formal objection to the continuation of the audit practice. However, almost all employees had left due to the obscure practices. The practice had changed hands and the name would always be linked to this scandal. The few employees that stayed, worked on litigation arising from past audits, as well as pension issues and few other matters. Also there still is another firm which reminds us of the existence Andersen, namely Accenture. Accenture started off as the consultancy part of Andersen, which split off just in time, before the scandal happened.[..]


Accenture used to be Arthur Anderson but changed the name as a result of the Enron scandal.


That’s just not true. Arthur Andersen originally spun off its consulting arm into “Andersen Consulting” under a global holding company. AA did accounting, AC consulting.

AC paid AA 15% of its profits every year. But AC was growing far faster than AA, so AA started growing another consulting arm, which was against the contract.

AC partners claimed contractual breach, and as part of the separation settlement had to change their name and distance themselves from the brand.

This was lucky given what happened with AA’s reputation later.

(Source: I worked there in that time period)


Here is another AC story for you: I worked at a bank in the late 90s, on a crunch y2k project that was instigated because AC knowingly installed a non-y2k compliant set of core systems in about 1997, and didn't pass on the vendor's warnings about y2k to the bank management.

The AC project (which ran about 93-97) went kinda rogue, the bank management lost control of the situation. The AC project managers kept bringing in more AC consultants and told the bank management not to worry, everything was good. They were heavily customizing a non-y2k version of the vendor's software, and the vendor warned project management that they were customizing this in ways that would prevent future support and patches, but AC project management covered this up.

Eventually the vendor contacted the bank CEO directly and said "what are you going to do about the y2k issue, we are concerned". CEO: "What y2k issue?"

The bank had to go live with what they had, fire and blacklist AC and burn tens of millions of $$ to re-start the project to deliver exactly the same thing, but using a y2k-compliant version as a starting point, and removing as much customization as possible so they could take future vendor patches.


Wow. That's ridiculous. Problem with non y2k version was exactly what? Just compatibility with year 2000 to be recognized as valid year? Thanks for replies all!

Correct. The separation did happen before the former parent was involved in the Enron scandal. Or at least before it became public.

Not that Accenture doesn't have enough scandals on their own. So they are by far not the clean guys in this tale.

I remember the German "Berateraffäre" just to state one example.


Ho-lee shiiiit. I wondered what happened to AA... now I know.


Accenture spun off of HP. Don't know what happened to AA.


You're thinking of Agilent. Also Accenture didn't change their name due to Enron. It happened before the scandal (so quite lucky for them!) Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting were involved in a legal tussle which required them to change their name... https://www.nytimes.com/2000/08/08/business/worldbusiness/IH...


> It is expected that we do at least 15 - 25% overtime without compensation

Is this still a thing as a developer in the western world?

If any of my managers proposed this, I would laugh, then say "ah wait, you're serious?", and then laugh some more.


What are you supposed to do if your employment contract says you’re exempt (meaning no overtime pay)?


I even had to look for what it means to "be exempt".

> Exempt employees stand in contrast to non-exempt employees, which are paid minimum wage and overtime above the standard 40-hour workweek.

Wow if I had heard this in a random bar discussion I would called it complete and utter bullshit. The more I read HN the more it feels like being a worker in the US is like riding a horse through the wild west; anything can happen.

In my country the overtime pay is mandatory by law and it is also constrained to be a minimum of 75% more than the normal wage.

Btw it is also mandatory to enjoy your (minimum of) 23 days of holidays per year; no exchanging for other perks or money, like some comment mentions above.


From my contract, there is no overtime pay. Overtime has to be given as free time within a specific amount of time after the overtime occurred.

But for any rolling period of x timeunits (don't want to be too specific obviously) I have a specific amount of hours of overtime that the company doesn't need to compensate in free time. In my case this is ~20% of my regular time in ever rolling period.

But up to a maximum amount of overtime hours per year. This max amount is short of 10% of my yearly hours.

So in the end I have to accept about 10% overtime just already compensated with my contract.


No overtime payment specified in mine, either. The usual thing is to "fall back" to what the law says, and that's what I've seen mostly everywhere. Maybe in other sectors this is negotiated differently, though; apart from the grounds laid by law, a set of sector-specific collective agreements might have been set up in the past for different sectors, further improving or detailing their particular work conditions.

Overall, workers are given a lot more protection than what I feel there is in the US, and that percolates into the common culture and the expectations. Then we get surprised when seeing what happens in other places :-) (both ways)


FYI, it goes both ways. An exempt employee chooses their own hours. If the company tries to dock them for working less they'd immediately become non-exempt.


> If the company tries to dock them for working less they'd immediately become non-exempt.

This is false. First, the relevant rule that is kind of like that is the “salary basis” rule, which doesn't apply to all exempt employees; for instance, it does not apply to “Computer professionals who are paid on an hourly basis at a rate not less than $27.63 per hour.”

Second, even for exempt employees subject to the salary basis test, they can be subject to workplace conduct rules requiring a set schedule and be subject to disciplinary dock for failing to comply with that conduct rule. The structure of the dock needs to make sense as a disciplinary dock and not be a de facto shift to non-salary pay, but there is absolutely no rule in US federal labor law that “an exempt employee chooses their own hours”.


Are you sure?

This department of labor letter seems to state otherwise

https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/legacy/files/2006...


> Are you sure?

Yes.

> This department of labor letter seems to state otherwise

That letter doesn't deal with even the question of what effects the status of exempt employees, since it deals with rules applicable to, and I quote from the letter itself, “salaried non-exempt employees.”

Even so, while it finds the specific conduct being addressed was prohibited, it articulates a rule similar to the one I discuss for exempt employees subject to the salary basis test, stating that, “an employer may take a disciplinary deduction from an employee’s salary for willful absences or tardiness or for infractions of major work rules.”


But the employer chooses what needs to be done and the time frame for completion. You can choose whatever hours will let you complete the assigned work. Just complete it or you're fired.


> The more I read HN the more it feels like being a worker in the US is like riding a horse through the wild west; anything can happen.

The term for this is “at will employment” and in most started it is the default law.

Meaning that your employment can be terminated by the employer for any reason or no reason at all, without notice.

As in, security coming to your desk and escorting you through the door.

Look it up.


I think this is a case of culture clash between USA, where "overtime exempt" is a thing, and most of Europe, where it is required to be paid (of course, there are cases where people end up being pressured... or like me, forgot to log the overtime hours despite secretary going around with the sheet).

Of course that only applies to people working on employment contracts, not those who got seduced by "B2B" :|


It’s supposed to work both ways - I work 60 hours this week with the implicit understanding that I work 20 next week. Sure, I don’t get OT pay, but I can abide by that as long as it all balances out to 2000 hours at the end of the year.

That said, the abuse of the exemption system is arguably a pandemic in the US.


The problem is that unlike with proper overtime protection, it's just an implicit understanding that is in no way guaranteed.

Overtime laws generally allow taking the hours worked back as PTO. The only thing is that usually there are limits to avoid running everyone ragged with no end.


I have a very simple philosophy `no pay no work`. It is about having self respect.


'If you're good at something, never do it for free'


Look for another job. Developers have enough leverage in the job market that there's no need to put up with bad working conditions unless they want to.


Don’t work overtime?


Wow, Great List! The last one (juniors calling the shots) really hit home; when I worked in <automobile industry>, I was ultimately standing on the shoulder of midgets.

The worse part? As a CS grad, I knew how to do better, but: nobody with the power to change things understood how or why what I was suggesting was better(!).

I've long thought about this afterward, and concluded it's that 'my world' (which includes a lot of experience, and facility with Math) required me to study a lot and learn a lot; and these 'coders' simply did not have the background to understand what I was trying to teach them. I would have had to fill in several semesters in order to get my points across. Yes, I left. (And yes I tried simplifying - but that only goes so far.)


I'm curious, what kind of things did you learn in your cs curriculum that applies to that job, and the other coders didn't have?

I'll precise I'm not being sarcastic, genuinely curious. My math background could be better and I'm planning on improving that, but it would be for personal satisfaction as it's not hurting my work (legal tech). But maybe it is, you don't know what you don't know.


Just to add to the list. Keep a paper trail of all communications between you and your line management or any other colleague. Especially abusive communications. It will look really bad when you read these out aloud at a HR meeting for them.


Sounds like you're an algorithms guy, and the other coders didn't have the background needed for understanding their use?

I'm self taught, and for many years didn't know about algorithms, big-O notation, and similar. You can do a lot of stuff without that knowledge, but there are definitely some areas that require it.


It's very prevalent in this industry. Newbies cost less and there is usually a lot of mundane work that needs doing, so they comprise the majority of any average team. Even more so in established or mid-size companies where the sudden expansion or huge existing base necessitates a lot of grunt work. Sadly, there is also a trend of managers bending over backwards to please newbies (otherwise the hiring pipeline is thought to dry up; also, it's easier to hand out raises that appear larger if pay is lower) which exacerbates the situation.


Hiring Newbies to call the shots becoming a cost saving pillar that eroded work culture at Boeing is one of those things that indirectly contributed to the recent debacle.


Is a bean counter still heading Boeing? Technology companies really need to be run by technologists first, businessmen second. It's fine to have a COO handle the nitty-gritty of running the company, but the vision and culture need to be set by a technical person and should be very technology-focused in general.


>The primary lesson I learnt is that it doesn't matter if you work hard. Nobody notices, and even if they do you will likely not get anything out of it. Do your job, but don't kill yourself over it. Work-life balance is king.

I dunno - I worked hard, especially early in my career and people noticing lead to four new jobs, two of which included substantial pay/benefit raises. Then again more than a bit of that hard work was on cross-organizational teams; I wasn't acting solely in my direct organizational unit.

So hard work can pay off if you are doing it somewhere it is visible by others. Getting involved in working groups outside of your company, even if you have to do it after hours, is a great way to network and help others notice your work ethic.

I see far too many people who burrow into their current organization and then just bitch about it without doing something about it. If people can't see you they won't be able to recognize your work.

This isn't directed at you but just a general observation - if you don't like your current organization, get proactive and do something about it. I have little sympathy for people who just complain without doing anything.


Agree. Not always easy to be rewarded within a company. However, others will notice you do good work (assuming you can make it visible) and they’ll be a great resource when seeking next positions.


> Nobody notices

This is a common problem. It doesn't work to do great work and expect others to notice. You've got to promote yourself and your work. Nobody is going to do it for you.


A good manager should.


You'll be much happier with the career results of taking care of this yourself rather than waiting for someone else to do it.

I've seen too many people become embittered waiting for someone else.


I upvoted both this and the parent.

Without much experience in the industry, I would say that both perspectives are important:

The person most invested in your success is you, so leverage that and promote yourself.

But you absolutely deserve management and teammates who celebrate your accomplishments and help you get rewarded for them.

Discrimination and prejudice also affect this—it’s probably hard to advocate for yourself if your management just doesn’t believe you’re capable for some reason—but I’ve generally found solace in the synthesis of both attitudes.

Fight for yourself, but find people who fight with you. Maybe put it like this: if you yourself were a people manager, wouldn’t you want to advocate for your reports?


This is generally true, however in a toxic workplace being effective might set you as a target for doomed projects or envy - even sabotage. You may see people getting promoted by threatening to leave rather than doing good work. You can't assume good intent in every situation sadly.


When I switched to a different team a year ago, I talked with my ex-manager and asked what he considers be strengths and weaknesses. I found the answer quite funny because it was a random sample of mostly minor things. It showed my that my manager has actually no clue what I'm doing all day. He is a nice guy and wants to be a good manager but that is harder than it looks.

His biggest criticism was that 20 months earlier, I skipped him and addressed his bosses boss for some bureaucratic thing. I find that argument reasonable but it showed me that he was not aware of the full context. Either I never explained it to him or he forgot. The context is: At that time I was in a special two week task-force team where his bosses boss was officially involved as Scrum Master. As such he was officially responsible for impediments. The impediment was: We either get this bureaucracy thing out of the way today or I'm unable to participate in the task-force anymore. Given the urgency and him being our Scrum Master, I found skipping levels the right thing to do.


This why the stereotypical sociopath go-getter/politican/evil-business man claim credit for everything, all the time, and blames everyone else for any failure.


This just convinced me to look for another job ASAP.


It's fun because sometimes all of your points are true at once :)


I can empathize with your story. I once landed what I thought would be my dream job at my dream company. I quickly discovered that the position was open because all of the previous team had quit due to the extreme toxicity.

> The primary lesson I learnt is that it doesn't matter if you work hard

Be careful about getting jaded and cynical. This is far from a universal truth in the tech industry. I've hired a few ex-FAANG who had burned out and become cynical on work altogether. We had to let them go because their negativity was dragging everyone down.

A similar thing can happen to people who go through difficult divorces. If they let themselves become cynical, they start believing that marriage is a doomed institution and that all members of their ex-spouse's gender are equally terrible people and such. It can become very counterproductive to moving on.


The last few jobs I’ve had were glowing from the interviews and believe me I asked some very tough questions I hoped would be revealing enough without torpedoing my candidacy.

Every one of them: as soon as I started, the foundational person of the team quit, you know the guy or gal who burned themselves out building the process. Fixing all the cruft and actually trying to unfuck everything but leaving scant documentation because the mountain of technical debt rivaled the heights of K2?

As a result I had to “drink from the water hose” constantly. And this is something I am absolutely sick of doing, and no team should tolerate it.

It’s happened so often I’m beginning to wonder a) how I can assess if the team is bleeding talent (I’ve had companies straight up lie about things like attrition and retention) or b) if I just have some kind of gravitational pull for companies that are running people out the door.


a) how I can assess if the team is bleeding talent

Nothing wrong with asking the average tenure of people on the team imo, that is something you can frame in a way less likely to make them lie.


I'll be honest, my default perspective is to expect filibustering and non-answers from all but the actualized and self-aware teams, who if reading this thread and many, many others like it, and lived experience are anything reliable: are less common than their frustrating counterparts.


You can use that to make your decision then. Both filibustering or a non answer in this case are as good as a negative answer for what you want to figure out with it.


>As a result I had to “drink from the water hose” constantly.

I've only ever heard that phrase as 'drinking from the fire hose', I didn't know that even a water/garden hose was considered too much.

I think I need to find a better ... career (?)


Ah, error on my part. Firehose is correct.


I got an offer from Apple. The hiring manager told me "You worked at a startup before, you'll have no problem working overtime". I didn't end up taking the offer.


I work at a startup right now and can count the number of times I've had to work overtime with a null-pointer - 0.

Well run startups can still compete by making smart, focused decisions.


I've never had a startup that hasn't roped me into a production support on-call for a month or more in addition to regular duties. Under 10 engineers, 50 engineers, 500+ engineers: they've all done this.


I've never worked on a product where it ever made sense to be "on call." I'm an engineer, not a doctor.


If something goes catastrophically wrong at 1am, caused by some unforeseen bug in the code, who fixes it? Who diagnoses that an issue flooding the logs is not an issue with your software but something else down the line?

I think it makes sense to have an on-call rota. Some people do it for a week or so. Cycle it through the team.

There needs to be someone knowledgeable to call in case of issues.


The disconnect seems to be that it isn't mentioned before the offer. If the employee is expecting normal hours but finds out after the fact that the employer actually demands more on-call than was initially discussed, how could that be interpreted as anything other than a bait-and-switch?


We fix it when we see it's broken, which isn't going to happen at 1am local time. If we have a distributed team the odds are better it gets fixed sooner. The world keeps spinning and there's always another bug to fix, it's not worth losing literal sleep over.

> There needs to be someone knowledgeable to call in case of issues

"Thank you for calling. Our normal business hours are ..." works for the rest of the business world, there's no reason it can't work for you. You can always sell 24h tech support for more money, or make products that don't break in the middle of the night by not relying on systems and designs that are likely to fail spectacularly in the middle of the night.


That doesn't work if gmail goes down. Or netflix. Or an ISP. Or any product that is primarily used by people outside business hours, e.g. xbox live. "Sorry several million people couldn't play games this weekend, the outage was outside normal business hours."

Lots of products need uptime guarantees.


Sure.

But I bet the people working on those don’t say their employer unexpectedly “roped me into a production support on-call”.

If a role isn’t advertised as having responsibility outside regular office hours, bait and switching people into regularly working outside 9-5 type hours should not be allowed. And “not allowed” with serious enough financial teeth that companies right up to FAANG size would care, or at least that employees leaving/fired from bait and switching employment hours would end up feeling satisfied with their payouts.

If you need uptime guarantees, hire people letting them know up front so they can choose to accept or reject that work. You don’t (or at least shouldn’t) get to drop that responsibility on people who never signed up for it in the first place.


Agreed but it should be paid.


Other fields have separate teams or overtime; salary-exempt isn't something an individual person can realistically negotiate against a company (imo).


Other fields don’t release new version of their product every few days. Oncall for things that are always changing is very hard to be done by people who aren’t ones making those changes. You need formal release process and expecting training for each change. That’s not how 99.99% of internet businesses work.


I'll note that only the largest of those companies had this deployment style. The rest were either ~quarterly (with client pressure to slow that down) or weekly/monthly (agile-ish).

I think the only one with a formal release process was the quarterly release outfit, and even that was due to single-client risk.


This was the first thing that really shocked me at my first job (startup in SF back over a decade ago). The attitude that what we're doing really matters, and if something was found broken on the weekend we'd get a call and have to come into the office. Fucking absurd hubris all throughout SV.


Why are you doing it at all if it doesn't matter?


Very little of what most people do "matters" from a certain point of view. But everyone has to eat and there are plenty of products that make money that might not "matter" but offer jobs. We can't all work for Tesla or SpaceX.


if the only thing that mattered is some system being down not making some suit money, and mgmt has no respect for the work, it doesn’t matter. i work to feed myself not because it matters.


To earn a living.


It’s probably obvious, but I’d suggest never working on a product doctors use.


Agreed: well-run startups can still compete by making smart, focused decisions.

I've worked at 3 startups (5th employee, 16th employee, 2nd employee).

The first one had 80 hour weeks and burned me out after a year. The company had enough capital to stay in business, but never went anywhere, and my shares were washed out in subsequent funding rounds.

The second had 40 hour weeks and I worked there for six years. A fair-to-middling exit to Broadcom.

The third one had 40 hour weeks and I worked there for 3 years. A great exit to Google.


I completely agree, sure if you’re into a feature and on a roll in a startup keep going but if you’ve reached a good point to stop no need to cause yourself stress!


There are definitely days I work late, but that's almost always by choice. When I do work late, it means shorter days for me later in the week.


> can count the number of times I've had to work overtime with a null-pointer - 0.

Sounds to me like you've malloc'd all of memory.


You should have just said no sir I wont have any problem working overtime and my rate is 2.5x for overtime hrs, you wont have a problem paying for that you're a rich company.


I can only answer with LOL to such offers

Yes I've worked for a startup. Yes I did long hours. Yes I learned that's not sustainable and not a good way to make things work.

So, no, I won't do it again.


I never understood the supposed attraction of "just like a startup, but in a big company!". That appears to mean that you will work in a small team, putting in unsustainable hours, but not receive the financial reward that a successful startup could provide.

I've worked in several startups, and occasional death marches are unavoidable. They don't work month in and month out. But enduring that kind of life for just salary is nuts.


The other notable thing about “just like a startup but in a big company” (often for startups which have been acquired) is the frequent claim that the startup will be left alone by the rest of the company. Every single process and incentive is against that remaining true.

Maybe in some cases you can hope for the acquired startup to be the pet project of the acquirer’s founder/CEO?


I knew that to work out exactly once, (not a company I was at).


> the supposed attraction of "just like a startup, but in a big company!"

I think the advantage is supposed to be that you won't come in one day and hear your boss say "Guess what? We're broke."


> I think the advantage is supposed to be that you won't come in one day and hear your boss say "Guess what? We're broke."

Sure... but you may still come in and find "this project has been nixed". Upside is that you may still have a 'job' in the bigger company, but everything you worked on may be thrown away, you may lose whatever political power your project had, etc. Certainly there's an 'immediate safety net' issue of "you may have a paycheck next week", but doesn't address any of the emotional stuff that goes along with "we'll have a scrappy startup mentality!"

I had been in something similar - not quite a 'startup in a large company' situation, but similar. And... we hit a "hey, this project is being shut down, and there's no other budget in the company for this team". So.. the company itself was still going OK - everyone else kept rolling along - but a handful of us were effectively cut adrift for a bit. Some were able to be assigned to other internal teams, some weren't.


A project at big financial company...

At some point around March we learnt post-factum that the project, mostly staffed by contract workers (aka "B2B"), nearly lost pretty much all of non-managerial staff, because parent company of the group (a german corp) made decision to cancel all B2B contracts.

Our project barely survived because of some fast talking, and by becoming "important enough" the fact that canceling the contracts would leave them with no "doers" on it was the main reason we didn't get "sorry, you're fired" email.


> I never understood the supposed attraction of "just like a startup, but in a big company!"

Imho it's frequently used to falsely motivate junior/inexperienced into working crazy hours that they might get some financial or other rewards like a startup.


I got a similar line from a certain european video-game company.


I interviewed for Blizzard many years ago. One of the first questions they asked is how many all-nighters I had done. Yeah, that was the end for me.


My frank response would be something along the lines of "I'm going to ask you a question, and how you respond will likely determine if I work here, 'Are you self selecting for incompetents or doormats?'" Their response to this question would probably tell you most of what you want to know about working at that company.


To be honest, I appreciated the honesty. Lots of companies would not ask such a question because they would be afraid of scaring people off. Blizzard can afford to be very picky about their candidates, and they were surprisingly blunt about the work environment. If I was single, I probably would not have cared - Blizzard was always one of my dream companies to work at.


Yeah, you can do this when you have several equally good offers in your pocket. Meaning you're good enough to be picky. What would be your response if you don't feel you're better than all others who applied for this position?


There’s nothing wrong with choosing a job that you know are going to expect all-nighters, probably un compensated all-nighters - but make sure you choose it knowingly instead of pretending it’s an office hours job. It’d be a rare job in video game production that didn’t involve crunch time, and if you want to work in those roles you can, so long as you accept/embrace that. If you’re the sort of person for whom 2-3 months a year of crunch time is going to destroy your relationships/family/mental health, you should probably choose a different industry. There are lots of 9-5 ish coding jobs that involve zero or minimal outside-office-hours work. Don’t fool yourself I to pretending your “dream job” is one of those if there are obvious (or even subtle) red flags that it’s not.


Actually, I just realized I can't relate to this concern. I've never had a situation when someone asked me to work extra. In every job I've ever had I was expected to get things done, and no one ever cared when I do it as long as I do it by a deadline, or by a sprint review, or by a demo day, etc. More often than not it was me who were setting those deadlines for myself, just because I'm ambitious, and I like to impress others, and I like being promoted. Besides, I could never work 9-5. I usually accomplish little in terms of actual work during those hours. Occasionally I get into the zone late at night, without any distractions. That's when I feel most productive, and that's when I do most of the work. Another thing is, I either work on something I love, or I work for a very decent salary. In both cases, I feel fine working extra hours.


“More than I ever intend to do in my entire career. I’ll just see myself out, sorry you wasted my time here.”


Working overtime at a startup here and there can have an emotional reward, as a small team works together with enthusiasm to bring something to market. Yes, this can be abused by bad management and planning, and often is, but .. it's an entirely different beast from demanding overtime out of employees at a large profitable company where poor planning and under-resourcing are not really excusable.


> The primary lesson I learnt is that it doesn't matter if you work hard.

I knew of one company, a pair programming shop doing the sort of financial software where bugs could get very expensive. To maximize quality, they had firm rules about all code requiring a pair, and that barring emergencies, everybody had to go home on time. It worked; they had very low bug rates.

They told me about a new employee they had, somebody who'd come from a company where performative overwork was valued. He'd stay until the wee hours, coding up a storm, expecting people to be impressed. In the morning, they'd thank him for his enthusiasm, revert the commit, and do the work again with proper pairing, testing, etc. I never heard what happened to the guy, but I imagine he pretty quickly unlearned his bad habits. That or he quit and went somewhere he could feed his heroism addiction.

In contrast, I remember a long-ago 6-month contract a major online auction company starting with e and ending with Bay. I was on some internal mailing list where I'd get promotion announcements. Every fucking one of them included a dramatic story about how the person had egregiously overworked themselves. The code was of course a giant fucking mess. It was simultaneously the result of tired idiots who never cleaned up and also the cause of so many bugs and schedule issues that people had to dramatically overwork themselves to hit arbitrary managerial deadlines.

It was a valuable lesson to me, the coding version of the Allegory of Long Spoons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_long_spoons

Ever since I've done my best to work at places where sanity is rewarded and drama discouraged. And to bend things in that direction as I'm able.


> - The primary lesson I learnt is that it doesn't matter if you work hard. Nobody notices, and even if they do you will likely not get anything out of it. Do your job, but don't kill yourself over it. Work-life balance is king.

I think this close, but a little off. Work hard only on what matters. Join the high visibility projects and work hard on the important parts. "Nobody notices" -> that's up to you. Document and demo your achievements every few weeks.

Work only the good jobs. If it's not good, switch teams ASAP. Never, ever wait for "things to improve". So many times after I switched jobs, I said to myself "Man, why didn't I leave sooner?"


> Work only the good jobs. If it's not good, switch teams ASAP.

I agree with this but you have to understand that it's very difficult and frightening for an inexperienced new grad or someone on a green card to do. These groups are also unfortunately the most exploited.


Thanks for the correction. I did write this thinking narrowly as a privileged resident and I remember now not everyone has that freedom unfortunately.


I do not understand why someone w/ a green card needs to be afraid of being fired. Isn't the whole point of it to firm up your status as someone who is allowed to stay on indefinitely with very few conditions, one of them being % of year spent in the US, plus not committing certain serious offences (felonies?)


That is true. The parent probably meant to say Visa not Green Card. I can definitely relate to the feeling of being "stuck" in a bad situation while on a Visa and/or while waiting for a green card to be processed. It's such a huge relief when you finally get that freedom to move around in the job market.


People with green cards don't need to be afraid of being fired: they're permanent residents. The people who have to worry are those on work visas.


I am sure he meant people on a work visa, whom the employer had applied for and are waiting to get a green card. The process can take from 2 to 10 years, so you are at the mercy of the employer during that time- where abuse often worsens because of the power leverage.


> If it's not good, switch teams ASAP.

At least in large companies it can be pretty hard to actually find the good teams among all of the noise. I've tried to keep my eyes open for them but haven't had any luck yet.


> The primary lesson I learnt is that it doesn't matter if you work hard.

As with most things in life, there are places where it matters and places where it doesn't matter. If someone's a junior employee working in a big company, it's likely that they don't have the necessary experience to figure out whether hard work matters in their position. That's an important risk to be aware of. But the opposite advice, avoiding hard work, is also risky. (And not a good habit to cultivate in the long term of course.) If you're not sure which position you're in, and you don't trust your more experienced coworkers to tell you honestly without punishing you for asking, then putting in some amount of hard work with the goal of finding out is a pretty good start.


I don't know. Work fairly, certainly. Work hard... what's the point?

So in some cases you want to fast track your advancement in a direction that you like and this possible through this method, and you actually can work hard, so in this case take the chance if you want to. But that kind of situation is quite rare, I think.

Also certainly do not appear to be working too lightly. But also do not appear to be working extremely hard if it is not the case.

And remember, the (perceived) results are more important than actually working hard. It can be very unfair sometimes, because e.g. if you have to maintain and add features in a legacy codebase, (poor, but that's common) higher-ups may be uninterested with your difficulties caused by the spaghettis of your predecessors, but well life is just unfair I guess :P


> Work hard... what's the point?

I think it really depends on the person. It's a very common problem for people to procrastinate or drag their feet on the parts of their job that they don't particularly like. (Just like most students drag their feet doing homework they don't like.) But no job (or school program) is ever 100% fun stuff, and being able to delay gratification and get the unpleasant parts done is a super important life skill that not everyone has. For a lot of people, maybe most HN readers, this is basic stuff that they nailed in high school and never had a problem with after that. But I'm not sure that's the majority experience.


> The primary lesson I learnt is that it doesn't matter if you work hard. Nobody notices, and even if they do you will likely not get anything out of it. Do your job, but don't kill yourself over it. Work-life balance is king.

Exactly this. Unless your manager has a history of giving raises and/or promotions to YOU for doing your JOB then do not assume, ever, that they will give you anything for overworking to chase a carrot on a stick.

That said if they have a history of recognizing and appreciating your work, and compensating you for extra effort, then by all means feel free to put some sweat into the work. That's a good relationship.

My rule of thumb whenever starting a new job is - Work hard for the first year, but almost never overtime. Do my job, and do it well, but don't kill myself. If manager recognizes the good work, and gives me a raise, I'll talk to them about incentive based objectives, and that I'm willing to work over time if there's a reward structure. Or, that I'm happy to continue at my 9-5 pace if that's working for them. Point is - always wait for them to make the first move. If they don't, either accept the 9-5 work for the pay, or move on to another employer that does value incentive based (bonus) salaries.


> Do your job, but don't kill yourself over it. Work-life balance is king.

This is the most important lesson I learned working at the fruit company. That and never have a long commute.

I now work at a place that's ten minutes door-to-door in the morning and fifteen in the afternoon. I took a pay cut to achieve that (I live in East Bay), but maybe the new wfh culture post-COVID will open up more possibilities.

Anyway, point being that I've decided that my job is second to my happiness.


> - The primary lesson I learnt is that it doesn't matter if you work hard. Nobody notices, and even if they do you will likely not get anything out of it. Do your job, but don't kill yourself over it. Work-life balance is king.

This depends a lot on the situation/company. It is definitely true that in many cases it doesn't make sense to work hard. However there are situations where hard work is rewarded. Those are just probably quite rare situations after all.


> I learnt is that it doesn't matter if you work hard. Nobody notices

What I learned people that spend all their time working don't have time for the social engineering needed to get ahead. Also a lot of people that focus heavily on social engineering make bank on passing dirt on their coworkers to upper management.


>- The primary lesson I learnt is that it doesn't matter if you work hard. Nobody notices, and even if they do you will likely not get anything out of it. Do your job, but don't kill yourself over it. Work-life balance is king.

This. And the intrinsic metric does not necessarily align to the company's until much further down the road or sometimes not at all. Hard lesson for me to learn after a score at the same company and the health insurance stays the same regardless.


Stuff like this is why I refuse to work at large companies. Shit does happen at smaller companies, for sure, but it seems like larger companies are just that much more dysfunctional that I don't want to take the risk.


I've been on both sides of the BigCo fence, and in my experience, the small companies I've worked at have been much more dysfunctional than the alternatives. A BigCo is usually a loose conglomerate of smaller fiefdoms; -much- the sanity level in your team depends on your immediate boss and coworkers. If you luck out and find the right bunch, you're set. A small company is usually a larger fiefdom than a BigCo team, and self-selects for certain bodily orifices, doormats and complexity junkies.

YMMV.


The lesson should be work as hard as you need to (which usually isn't that hard). Never work harder.


If you're the type of person that can only "work hard" due to being driven by needing the project to be completed and as best as it could possibly be, then maybe working for MegaCorp is not the best idea. Seems to be you'd be much better suited for a start-up (hopefully with prospects of major funding).

If you're the type that doesn't want to work very hard and just there for a paycheck, then you are probably more suited for working at MegaCorp.

Getting these out of wack makes for unhappy working conditions.


I also worked for Apple and I had a very similar experience. Management was brutal and abusive from my immediate manager to all the way up to and including the VP level. For example even though vacation hours were accrued I never got to use them unless I wanted to endure the verbal backlash of abandoning the team and my responsibilities. When the holidays came around the director would email everyone reminding us there's a stipend for working through the holidays but in reality it pays less than our normal salary and was a means to justify not taking time off. A variant of Stockholm syndrome made me appreciate the clever design of having a convenient cash out vacation days button.

In the end the team was meet with a hostile takeover; everyone was merged into another team working on something similar with new management. Meet the new boss same as the old boss. A good number of people ended up leaving the company shortly after that.

One more thing, you can also include me as another data point for getting pay doubled after leaving Apple.


Wow reading all these stories about Apple really is eye-opening, as I've only usually heard these types of things about Amazon before.

I say that because I work for Amazon, and my work environment is pretty bad by my standards (my team cuts a lot of corners, we are given unrealistic deadlines by upper management, our on-call is paged at least 10 times a week, we have a huge backlog of tickets and bugs that we can never prioritize, and it is overall a very stressful environment.) I guess it can always be worse...


> everyone was merged into another team working on something similar with new management. Meet the new boss same as the old boss

I worked for Apple before Jobs died. He'd frequently have several teams working on the exact same thing, in secret, and then pick the team that met his goals the best. Sometimes the "losers" would be merged into the "winning" team, but never treated well by the winners.


I know more than one famous scientist who does this. Multiple postdocs working on the same project. Whomever gets there first gets a Cell-Science-Nature paper. The other(s) get nothing.

Probably a very common abusive management style at high levels in many industries.


The personal/political aspect aside, I can think of multiple projects that could have benefited from an approach like this.

I'm often astonished by the inefficiency of project delivery, particularly in large companies.

Teams spending months building sub-systems from scratch, where there is an off the shelf(sometimes open source) tool that will do the same job and better.

Man years of work going into chasing trends like "serverless" or "microservices" for no real reason, when a monolith running on a server, could be delivered in a fraction of the time and probably do a better job than what ended up being built.

I'm convinced that paying two teams to work on the same project would often cost less than paying for the huge teams and cost overruns I've seen.


I disagree, such an approach completely desensitizes the human aspect of work and treats the people working as commodities that are expendable. Engineering is hard, teams might need to go through multiple iterations/generations to get the desired results. A better investment would be to develop the right engineering culture rather than Team A vs Team B duking it out.


[flagged]


It only is that way because we make that way. There's no law in the Universe dictating that people are spendable, it's part of a system, a myth we created and live on.

Don't get too cocky against someone that has a more humane view of what's valuable to be human. Get a grip that reality has very many shades of grey.


Interesting theory. If you pay 2 teams A and B to work on the same project, and B finishes in half the time it would have taken A, you really didn't spend anything extra did you?


... until you find they finished first by cutting corners and delivering something that is only capable of passing the scant unit tests.

Then the "zero knowledge" psychopathic management style doesn't seem so smart.


It isn't a zero knowledge style. It is an experimental, or knowledge-acquiring style. To employ that approach most effectively it makes sense to have competing teams with purposefully different styles.


> experimental, or knowledge-acquiring style

No knowledge is going to be acquired that way.

It's a manager who has decided understanding the nature of the work is beneath him, when he can deploy someone else's money to wind up some insects that will run around doing the work for him and watch them struggle against each other. Literally zero knowledge, before, during and after.

When whatever result appears they will not analyze the meaning of what happened beyond punishing some insects and rewarding others.


> until you find they finished first by cutting corners and ...

Or until they accidentally burnt down the office building. You're right, doesn't seem so smart

joe_91 15 days ago [flagged]

Why not just find the best people for the job who can understand the needs of the project they're working on and execute correctly?

Running two teams against each other just screams of waste/bad management in my opinion.


Suffering is the commodity engineers are providing.


It’s fine if everyone knows they’re in a competition


At the same time, can't this make it harder for members of the different teams to become friends with each other -- in a way, they are competitors, not coworkers. And maybe they'd be worried about getting fired if they "lost"? That could cause some of them to start looking for other jobs? Or some could feel bad, get demotivated. And other weird side effects.

What could be ways to avoid such things

How did this work out at Apple? When you were there


Gosh - I hope that isn’t a prerequisite to greatness?

How does someone even get the human and financial capital to run projects like this? I guess your first attempt with the first founding team has to ‘hit.’

Otherwise, how can you afford to triple headcount, management, etc?


I suspect that abusive behavior is an optimal strategy if you're working for abusive people. Organizations tend to be set up such that people like the people in power succeed.

Jobs was a notorious jerk [1] [2] [3], so it's not surprising that similar behavior is what gets promoted.

[1] https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/steve-wozniak-cried-jobs-kept-atar...

[2] https://www.yahoo.com/news/memoir-steve-jobs-apos-daughter-1...

[3] https://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-jerk-2011-10


Steve Jobs died from being a jerk, to himself, because he refused to take his doctor's advice about his diet and pancreatic cancer. A reality distortion field only works so long.


What was his diet?


The exact diet doesn't matter, what mattered is that he believed changing his diet would cure his cancer. In the end of course it didn't.


The exact diet matters a metric shitton, because Jobs' hubris cost him his life, if instead he had realized he did not, in fact, know everything, he might still be alive.

Pancreatic cancer eats sugar for-fucking-breakfast. [1] He was eating nothing but fruit, and even though fructose release is regulated in its binding with fiber, its still sugar.

If Jobs had eaten nothing but bacon, steak, and eggs, we might still have him around. I forgot what folder my bookmarks are in, but there's scant - but compelling - evidence to support that a sugarless diet high in protein and fat quite literally starves pancreatic cancer.

[1] https://jeccr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13046-019-....


In fact, ketogenic diets have been shown to slow tumor growth in a number of cancers. See https://www.mdanderson.org/cancerwise/the-keto-diet-and-canc....



> If Jobs had eaten nothing but bacon, steak, and eggs, we might still have him around.

Maybe he didn’t want to be around..


Nothing but fruit.


For most larger companies an engineer salary, or any human labour for that matter, is very cheap. FAANG could pay 10x more if they had to, but they don't have to because no one else pays more.


I'm not so sure. If engineer's were cheap, you wouldn't have Steve Jobs colluding with other companies to suppress salaries: https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-tech-jo...


That he'd prefer to pay less doesn't mean he couldn't afford to pay more.


If money isn't part of the equation, this may actually be the best approach. During the 2007 financial crisis I worked at a bank that had to develop risk software really fast to comply with regulations and prevent disaster. They had two teams work on the same project and once a winning team emerged, they killed of the other. But the result was used for only a year or two, and replaced by a long term solution which was developed by yet another team in parallel.

As the saying goes, in software development, we can control speed, cost and quality, but only two at the same time.


This is not a bad solution, as long as the teams are on the same side (and know it too). I strongly believe that toxic culture is neither needed nor useful, ever.


How can one create a climate where they're on the same side?

And no one is afraid of "losing" and worried about problems that might cause? (Eg getting fired, even if managers say won't happen)


By having leaders who want this and who know how to achieve it. It is simply a matter of principles and trust (both ways). Granted, I have only seen this in companies up to 100 employees... :shrug:


I think this is due to the exponential payoff in a success scenario. Especially in high tech where certain initiatives can have a “winner take all” effect. I find it completely unsurprising that internally the tech giants function like a cluster of startups competing against each other.

Capitalism is based on the idea of transplanting the survival of the fittest paradigm into the economy and that’s exactly how I’d expect it to look in practice. Especially as progress accelerates and massive wins become both scarcer and more impactful at the same time.


Internal competition on the same project shows a lack of confidence from management... it literally shows they don't know what to do, and are just throwing spaghetti at the wall, or aren't confident in their skills to get something deployed with what they choose. It's not solid leadership, it's dissonant.

It also sets people against each other, creates better-than-you mental heirarchies between equal workers where non are necessary, and is essentially friendly fire in the workplace. I've never seen this end well.

Capitalism isn't just economic natural selection either, it favors those with capital, and especially the most of it, and is easily exploitable by them to tip the playing field in their favor against their competition and those below them. Your analogy is bad in both cases; natural selection means one side dies, which is not what's being described here, and is not good for one side anyway, and capitalism is not as good as cooperation anyway. The latter is far more efficient.


Software projects often operate in high-uncertainty scenarios. Best approach may often only be "obvious" in hindsight. It's not irrational to do it in parallel/ in several teams - in fact, I'm surprised it's not happening more often.


I disagree that (internal) competition unequivocally leads to better-than-you mindset. If done properly, in an open and sharing mindset – one might call it scientific, with expectations and criteria defined up front and with the projects objectively compared against the criteria, then it will work. I have also this work. It takes effort to come up with criteria and metrics beforehand but that is what makes it different from throwing spaghetti at the wall .


> If done properly

Any guidelines? What to think about


First and foremost, a safe (team) environment. This has to be created over time and there are few shortcuts.

In addition, for each experiment you need: a defined time window, up front criteria by which to judge the results, optionally form solution ideas together, give all teams the same amount of time and opportunity, after the experiment is finished each team presents their solution in a fact based manner in perspective of the criteria. After this the teams rotate and see what they can improve on their original solution with the remarks and information from the other tracks. After this decide together or with an informed captain which solution to continue. After this there should be no hard feelings, no personal consequences. Each team should be treated equally because they all contributed to the end goal. This is what will give you a fair competition and help create team safety.

This can be done on all kind of levels, between one day for something small and two/four weeks for the bigger challenges. Making it bigger than this will incur a lot of stakes/vested interest.


Thanks!

> After this the teams rotate and see what they can improve on their original solution

Interesting idea


>Internal competition on the same project shows a lack of confidence from management...

I'd disagree, internal competition (like it or not, and yes it doesn't sound fun and often doesn't feel great or fair) can be a very effective motivating strategy. And management is used to using this with sales teams, everyone in sales is always competing with each other. It's never fair, they'll have unequal markets, for example, but the competition is incredibly motivating. When I was in sales long ago, the drive to be the best and regarded as such was even more motivating than just getting more commissions. It's dog eat dog but for better or worse it works.


> survival of the fittest

I often hear that about capitalism, but then the caricatural opposite is the survival of the unfit. It is quite visible when swathes of our economy that are not put on any kind of competitiveness (the DMV) end up dropping standards beyond bottom.

We need a balance in between, and we are living in this balance: We are not on either extreme side of this spectrum, the reality is more mild than all-or-nothing, and the non-fittest can still work for a less performing company and be happy with their life. It is just the temptation of big corporations with big incentives that makes some engineers too eager to work for a bad company.


Because often time to market is more important that R&D costs or tech debt for the success of a company. If you win the market, the profits will compensate for the additional R&D costs, and you can release increments to address the tech debt. Customers actually appreciate this, as they are constantly looking for better, newer versions of the product.

Time to market trumps everything.


The unfortunate thing is that if not for the social/political side, this would be a good approach. I would be happy to be on one of many teams doing parallel implementations if at the end one codebase won but no people lost.


Sadly, you can fill in the blank with any FAANG company with this story. I’ve heard it a thousand times. Toxic management. Sorry you went through that, sorry that was your first taste of engineering out of college. Glad you stuck with it.

It’s a tough spot to be. Do you roll over and do the job your being yelled at to do even though you know any concessions are BS? Or like the senior folks, do you walk? It’s a really hard choice.

Does Apple not have manager feedback mechanisms?


I don't think so. I've worked at other FAANG companies which had these sorts of posts written about them, and I've witnessed plenty of situations that I would call "abusive".

But what I read in this article was beyond the pale. I never felt like anybody adjacent to any of my roles might have cause to fear for their physical safety. Reviews were used as political tools and occasional sources of psychological abuse, sure, but people still got marched out quickly if they stopped acting like empathetic human beings towards their peers.


Facebook had an engineer commit suicide and the company tried to cover it up. Going as far as firing an engineer that spoke up about it - https://www.vice.com/en/article/qvgn9q/do-not-discuss-the-in...

So yes, this does happen. Typically to visa workers who are easily exploitable due to their precarious status in the country.


> Typically to visa workers who are easily exploitable due to their precarious status in the country.

This is the key point about this experience to me. The fact was that without the visa situation, the author would have had many more choices. Unfortunately, it seems like the lack of viable alternatives was taken advantage of to the hilt (and presumably the author wasn't the first or last employee so affected).



Apple had its own tragedy, but the details are unknown.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-death-idUSKCN0XP383


This is fairly obviously true, FAANG's are large companies so lots of strange things happen even if they on average are great. I worked at Google for 10 years, and had 10 great years there with very little negative to say. That was true for almost anyone I knew. But there was a mailing list "yes at Google" for these kind of stories so other can see that it does happen even if most of us thought it was great. Most of the targets in the unfortunate stories were woman or minorities.


I've never read anything even half as terrible as this story on Yes At Google. I'm not saying shitty things don't happen, but I'd like to believe that such shittiness would not fly at the G.


I had friends experience what I think was way worse at Google. Don't really feel comfortable sharing, but lets say it more or less always involved power games and/or sexual harassment. Worst one was probably a combination. Google was/is great, but sadly not for everyone.

I mean Andy Rubin and Amit Singhal worked at Google when they did their career ending stuff.


Rubin's career-ending stuff was being accused by a woman he had been in a relationship with and was in a custody battle with of something that could never be proven and which he strongly denied. It was career ending only due to the western culture that women are always believed, even sans evidence and when there are obvious reasons to not believe it (e.g. years having passed with the supposed victim having made no complaints, right up until there was some sort of power struggle).


And their careers ended (albeit with insane golden parachutes). In this story everyone gets away with it.


>But what I read in this article was beyond the pale.

Yes, but while I believe it happened just like that, it's too beyond the pale to be representative of Apple at large.

Looks like a particularly, close knit toxic team + gaslighting above levels about the new recruit.


It's hard to say, because Apple is a huge corporation. It would be wrong for the takeaway to be "all of Apple is like this." But it should call into question "how much of Apple is like this?" and "how many more stories are there like this?" because I guarantee you that this author is not the only one who has experienced this at Apple, and there may be elements of its secrecy-obsessed, top-down culture that are common factors which contribute to it.


>it's too beyond the pale to be representative of Apple at large.

Why?


Because of a general understanding of how the world works, how businesses are, how western businesses are, people and so on.

Same way if a told you some politician was sexually assaulting his pages, you woulnd't assume this is representative of congressmen and pages in general...

I don't have recorded minutes of their interactions or other such hard proof.


> Does Apple not have manager feedback mechanisms?

My manager left me out of the first review cycle, but at the end of the second review cycle I did leave a review of the manager. By this time he had left our team though. I don't think it did anything as he continued to rise through the ranks.


Would it not be appropriate to contact said managers (new) manager directly in this case?


Not to speak for the OP, but cross-team HR situations at Apple don't exactly play well. I don't think jumping the chain of command so to speak to contact a manager's manager ever actually works.


You can put just about any company in the "Apple" role here. A bad manager anywhere can cause a workgroup to turn toxic. I've seen it happen literally everywhere I've ever worked, though luckily only 1st hand at one location. (Actually there was one exception: working at a Barnes & Noble during college. I'd heard horror stories about other locations while I was there, but the store I worked at was run by an extremely good manager who cared for her employees and fostered that attitude in her assistant managers as well. It was also the most profitable store in the region, probably not a coincidence)


Any large corporation that gets remotely near the headcount as Apple will have enough variance across team cultures that there will inevitably be cesspools of toxicity, true. But there's still the question if certain orgs foster a higher or lower standard across the org, and what factors contribute to it.


That’s true, I’ve seen toxic situations happening in other teams like those described here at several employers that were otherwise good places to work.

Sometimes it’s down to a particular manager, but sometimes it can just be the consequences of a bad decision taken further up the food chain. This can leave a team in a no-win situation where even a good team lead can end up in a mess with no good options. I was at one employer where this happened and the team lead in question fell on his sword and quit rather than beat his team to death. I ended up taking on some of his responsibilities and team members and got some additional resources to deal with the re-org, so it worked out well for the team members and the company. It also gave me my first taste of management. It cost the guy his job though, which was grossly unfair. Not many mangers would have the guts and integrity to do something like that, and even if they did there’s no guarantee it would actually benefit the team. They could just be replaced by a tyrant.

The only answer is to be open and honest about what you think and principled in your own actions. Call out bad behaviour where you see it and say when you see mistakes being made. If you aren’t prepared to do so, why should anyone else? Too many people silently tie the line and keep quiet and then wonder why these things spiral out of control and end in disaster. It’s because nobody said anything or did anything about it. We have to be prepared to take responsibility for calling out what’s happening around us and what we do about it as employees. It’s not somebody else’s problem, it’s our problem. Don’t be afraid of losing your job, it may well happen but jobs come and go. Having principles carries a cost, but one I think is worth paying.


I disagree. There are many large, profitable companies (>50k people) who don't need public or media attention to fire the whole managerial line-org once abuse is discovered and then hold several workshops for all senior employees and managers detailing out what exactly is acceptable in the workplace and what is not.

In-fact you don't get your bonus if you don't attend these workshops and score in these tests. HR regularly queries all low-level employees about their work/life balance and other other work-place issues and regularly sends feedback to senior management. Actually senior management even regularly has meetings with entry-level employees with team leads and management sent away from the room to obtain proper assessment.

But then this is a German company and not a US one. I will never work for a US MNC in my life after the bad experience I had early in my career.


Honestly, at Microsoft, I've never seen a situation like this, and I have worked in something like 15 roles now.

That might also be, for better and worse, why Microsoft folks have such long tenure at the company. Its honestly a great place to work compared to these shit shows.


I've seen it happen, multiple times, at Microsoft. Additionally know 2nd hand of dozens of other instances of abuse, career sabotage, and scorched earth management.

Have been fortunate that the instances I was involved in directly, I was prepared, had extensive documentation, and my position (and my colleagues) were more valuable than the perpetrators, so they were swiftly shown the door.

At the end of the day it's the same at every large company. HR protects the business, not the employee. They don't protect the victim, they protect the more valuable resource.


I agree, in 15 years at MSFT I've had mostly good experiences. The worst I've seen could only be described as "mildly annoying".

If any manager behaved like the article described, I don't see how the team would get anything done, plus their MSFT poll score would quickly get them into trouble.


I would suspect that finding out how many employees throughout the hierarchy have been there for a long time may be a good way to find a good company. The company I work for got acquired a couple years ago by a much older and larger company, and it usually feels like anyone you talk to has been there for 15, 20, even 30 years. I've yet to have a single issue with someone in that part of the parent organization, even though helping my group out isn't something they have been told to do.


My employer is like this - I'm the second newest person on my team and I've been here for 9 years. It's a great place to work and quite difficult to be hired here.

To quote the old Tom and Jerry cartoon, "Don't you believe it." I could tell you comparable hair-raising stories I witnessed there over a couple of decades.


It’s not a hard decision. You unquestionably walk away from a situation like this. If your interactions with the team are going this poorly, walk immediately. There’s nothing to be gained from trying to hang on in a situation like this. This person should have walked much earlier.

It’s agonizing how much broken US immigration policy plays a large role in forcing talented people who have decided to join our country to feel like this isn’t an option for them. We owe them much better.


Not sure why you refer to the US immigration policy, this is how it works essentially everywhere. In the UK, for example, you get around 60 days to find a new job or you have to leave the country. https://iasservices.org.uk/tier-2-visa-termination-employmen... I am not saying that the immigration policy is not broken or broken, I am simply stating the fact that other countries literally do the same.


If you're on a H1 (or some of its cousins here) and you lose your job, you have no option to even try to find another. Your legal status in the US is coupled to that job, not just any job.


Are you sure that is correct? According to results from googling you get 60 days to find a new job if you got laid off from H1B job. https://www.stilt.com/blog/2020/05/steps-after-an-h1b-layoff.... Ps: to someone who downvoted, what don't you agree with?


You are right that I overstated this. You do have a window to try to find a new job. However, the new employer will need to be willing to sponsor a new H1B visa, and will need to get their part done within a fairly narrow timeframe.

I agree that this is not an impossible scenario. But I also have a strong feeling that it's not a particularly likely one either.


Absolutely, my point was that this system is essentially everywhere, in one way or another, there is no need to say "US", since it's not USA specific system.


Does anybody really want to be “the person who criticizes his or her managers,” in an official on-the-books capacity, in a context where your job is already being threatened?


9 years at Google and I've never heard of anything this bad here. I'm sure there are cases, and while I've been in unpleasant teams myself with crappy arrogant team leads who got away with dubious personal behaviour because of their engineering genius, the kind of obvious outright hostility and abuse would described by people here... well, I am pretty sure it would lead to some serious sanction.

I could be wrong and just lucky tho.

FWIW my wife worked at Apple in a non-engineering role for almost a decade about ten years ago, and I can completely see how this kind of dysfunction could happen in that company. Pressure cooker environment.


Big difference is that other FAANGs have much less secretive inside culture. That of course doesn’t prevent abuse, and horrible experiences will happen everywhere. But it’s much easier to hide and develop pockets of abuse if everything you work on is top secret.


I've never been able to understand why Apple thinks they need to be so secretive. Most other companies do just fine without pretending that they're working on life-changing secrets that are worthless if they are leaked.


I speculate some reasons are:

1. Being able to reveal something new and surprising leads to a flurry of good press. Failing that, constant rumors about what they are working on is like free advertising.

2. Keeping something a secret until it is shipping gives competitors less time to react/plan.

3. Preventing your employees from publicly discussing what they are doing may make it harder to know whom to poach, and harder for folks who want to leave to sell themselves.

4. It is useful as a cultural tool: it brings employees together in sharing a secret, creating an in-group/out-group dynamic; it gives product launches a kind of mystery, makes them something special for employees to watch together and celebrate together.

5. It helps Apple keep control of the framing of a product and the narrative around its launch.


So they're making it hard to leave, creating a distinctive in-group and air of mystery, and clamping down on information to maintain strict control of the narrative.

I can't help but notice that some of these are the same reasons why cults are often so secretive.


Sure. I think there are some pretty deep parallels.

The company had been really successful. That makes it easy to trust the leadership and believe they know best.

If you’re changing the world and doing the best work of your life, maybe that’s worth making sacrifices for (overtime or whatever).

On the bright side, I’m not sure there’s any equivalent of the malevolent, sexually abusive stuff we see in cults. Hard to complain about being a well-paid engineer with good benefits, etc.


Some companies have a more open and transparent review process. I'm not sure if it would help with a clique, but at least people have to put information in writing which when push comes to shove can be verified. And, reports can review their managers. If your management chain doesn't care then yes, senior people walk.


About 10 years ago I was interviewing at Apple (Cupertino office) for a software architect level position for iTunes. So I'm sitting alone in cold conference room, waiting for the last interview with hiring manager. Finally middle-aged lady comes in with very serious impression on her face and first thing she says is: "So, tell me why are you dreaming about working at Apple?". That moment I realized it's not going to be good cultural fit :) When I rejected the offer their recruiter was very insistent on getting the answer whether it was the money or not. They never ever contacted me again.

Another funny thing I remember from that experience is that they gave new hires t-shirt which says "Journey is the reward". So it's not "Money is the reward" but some mythical "journey". Apple is so full of shit.


If this is true, it’s really sad, I’ve read the whole thing. I had an experience, not as bad as yours but I know the feeling.

I really hope you will go public about this experience and share it, Apple aren’t the “virtuous” company as they pretend to be.


What org was that in? IS&T? I am thinking that this story by OP was in IS&T because that is known to be the worst org in Apple


I was thinking the exact same thing. I did all of three months in that org, attempted to switch to iCloud, got blocked, then quit and went back to my old company. Fuck that shit straight to hell.


What's their social? would be a good follow-up too.

I'm not sure you understand that Apple could bury this person's career and numerous companies only need one phone call to let this person go. Please understand that you're creating an attack vector that is too great for this person to reveal.


The picture the author included has enough information for an outsider to piece together their organization. The fact that it includes a meeting time and room would be enough for Apple to figure out who it was, just by looking at who booked it. Unfortunately, they probably are already in a position where Apple knows exactly who they are, and perhaps their colleagues do too.


> The picture the author included has enough information...

I'll refrain from the sarcasm. Although...it's very appealing.

Is exApple-anon (OG comment that I responded to protect the obvious attack vector) the same as limono (HN submission)?

Do you have evidence of this? I hope you certainly don't believe that they are the same person in a 100,000 person organization. This would be terribly assumptive.

I don't believe limono's questions were malicious but I wanted to make it clear why the questions were inappropriate.


I’m sorry, I’m not following your comment. I had interpreted the one I had originally responded to as “please don’t dox this person” to which I was responding “the pictures in the article are enough to dox the person already”. I am not quite sure how ‘limono or ‘exApple-anon come into this; FWIW I would doubt that they are or that ‘limono is even the person that wrote the article on Medium.


I know from my own personal experience that Apple doesn't care. This person could go right back to a different department and get a new contract if the opportunity exists.


Yeah, really. My last contract was with Apple Online Store which was part of IS&T. IT WAS HORRIBLE. I wasn't working at the time (because of my previous mistreatment by Apple) and my "friend" was a manager in the org and he had a contract for me. It supposedly involved development with microservices, Docker, Ansible, etc. Turns out, he was a pathological liar and that was just his pet project that went nowhere from day 1. He would go out and vape weed in the parking lot every day. I ended up working 9 months just documenting the infrastructure of the AOS on their internal wiki as an "IT consultant". The real reason the other managers said that I was hired as a consultant (not developer) was to fix their broken organization. 80% of the workforce was VISA and they acted like they feared for their lives. I was asked to gather information from managers throughout the department and they would ignore my emails and keep postponing meetings until months later. They knew my contract would just expire so they did not care. They shoved everyone into bullpen cubicles and teams were using conference rooms as offices for their entire teams. Booking a conference room for a meeting or just to make a private phone call was impossible. I had no office - I had to sit on a bench in the hallway, or sit in a woman's office who was actually in another woman's office (who was out on maternity leave). The second that office door shut, my manager and his hiring manager would mock their senior tech lead (who was just doing his job properly), and start gossiping about other mid-level managers non-stop. The level of hostility in the org was amazing.

That was almost as bad as my previous 15-year stint with Apple where I started with my dream job and ended up 15 years later in the same organization being told "You should be thinking about your career" by a new director (who was actually a professionally trained diplomat) because they were going to stop shipping the software I worked on for 15 years. They don't just do layoffs because of the liability. I watched other competent senior engineers and managers be treated the same. They removed all of my areas of responsibility and then claimed that I wasn't doing anything, but still forced everyone to show up every day (instead of working remotely, as we had been doing). For the first time, we had daily standup meetings where the manager would just call in to make sure we were present. In that case, they had told us that we were going to be "guinea pigs" for the new Apple spaceship building. Not once did anyone ask me about my opinions regarding the new work environment. They had me in a shared "office" with other perturbed individuals who only wanted to complain about the situation. I was surrounded by glass walls, put at a "desk" with a glossy monitor with windows (no blinds!) behind me so I couldn't even work once the sun started reflecting off of my monitor. One engineer (who now had to commute every day from Carmel to Cupertino) grabbed a patio table's umbrella and propped it up against the window because of the lack of curtains/blinds. I had to watch people drink beer on the patio in the bezel of my monitor because of the reflection. Directly to my left was a black globe security camera always in my peripheral vision, annoying me. I started calling sick because of this crap, and my sick days were maxed out and weren't accruing anyway, so why not. Eventually I just had to leave, like everyone else. All of this after working HARD for 15 years and even winning an Emmy award with my work. And when I came back to Apple for that contract for the online store, that was even worse and the job was all based on lies from the manager.

Let's just say that I do not display my 10-year glass trophy from Apple or the Emmy award, they mean nothing to me and are in a cabinet somewhere. I just sit and laugh at stories about engineers running into the glass walls/doors in the new building, so much so that they started putting sticky notes on the walls/doors so they wouldn't run into them. So that's what became of me being a "guinea pig" for the spaceship building. Then I switched back to PC/Windows/Linux as my primary platform, just like it had been 15 years earlier. Never again, Apple.


20 year ex-Apple here.

I suspect there is more to this individual’s story, but IS&T is truly horrible. It’s full of fiefdoms built on tier 1 consultants (H1-Bs who are treated horribly).

Apple Retail and IS&T clash horribly, projects run over by years and tens of millions of dollars. Seating is beyond inadequate. There is very little very that is redeeming about IS&T, especially when compared to the other organizations within Apple (Apps, iOS, macOS, coreOS, hell, even iCloud).


what does IS&T stands for?


Information Systems & Technology. They're mostly contractors that are hired to build and work on Apple's internal tools and infrastructure.

Buzzfeed News has an excerpt [0] from Alex Kantrowitz's book Always Day One [1], which contains interviews with former employees that describes the dynamic.

[0] https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/alexkantrowitz/always-d...

[1] https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52027218-always-day-one


"isn't"


especially bc she/he mentions SREs...


"If you are an Apple employee, please send this story to your upper management particularly Tim Cook."

I doubt he will care, reflected at how he manages PR when accused of international labor abuses.


> I doubt he will care, reflected at how he manages PR when accused of international labor abuses.

Provided the article is now deleted, it seems someone cared, though in a different way :/.


Sad...I wonder why, I hope she gets the courage to speak up long term


I am pretty sure somehow has a backup copy :)


I think for most people the question is whether there are reasons to think Apple's internal environment fosters this kind of behaviour.

You can imagine a company of that size has a huge number of teams, some where everything is just dandy, some with terrible issues like yours and the author's.

But is there something corporate-wide about Apple that makes you think what you went through was common, or the opposite (ie that you were unlucky)?

You can ask the same about all the large techs.


The internal culture was influenced by Steve Jobs. He was widely known for being an asshole who also happened to be an excellent salesman with a really good design sense.

That's Apple.


Exactly--Jobs was a raging asshole, and that became what the managers looked up to as the example of what brings success. During my time there, the assholes were the ones rewarded and promoted, and thus became the promoters, and the people with a shred of decency and empathy who just wanted to be good and do good work were marginalized and not rewarded. It's up and down the chain from VP level down to the first level managers.


That isn't really true. Steve Jobs was no nonsense, but was most often merely direct rather than rude.

One thing which Steve Jobs did do was go to great length to assemble highly qualified teams for missions that were clearly stated and understood and which all involved agreed were worthwhile even if there might be quibbles over details. The Apple that rescued itself from near death with colorful and fun designs and then released a BSD derived OS was very different from the modern Apple where contributors joust for top status without much if any existential threat.


Jobs himself was abusive. But in his second stint at Apple, he generally worked through layers of management who bore the brunt of his abusiveness, and oddly enough, for the most part, his managers did not emulate his abusive ways. The two members of senior management that I had a chance to interact with for some time (Bertrand Serlet and Jony Ive) did not at all strike me as abusive.

One of the reasons, I suspect, is that for all his flaws, Jobs was not particularly fond of flattery and imitation, and he did not want to surround himself with mini-mes. I can think of only one member of senior management who could have been described as having somewhat Jobs-like tendencies, and even he was not that close a resemblance.


Next time you see Jony Ive, tell him that it was his fault that I had to work in a hellhole when Apple told me that our team were "guinea pigs" for the new spaceship building. That was all his work. They took my office away and replaced it with a panopticon prison-style environment where everything was glass, with no curtains for the external windows, a black globe surveillence camera right above/next to me. Every 2 minutes someone would walk by, distracting me. I couldn't see my screens because of the windows behind me with no curtains, so I was being blinded by the sun. They didn't even provide a bookshelf for my programming-related books. AND they never once asked me about my experience in that "office." I found three (sorry, but OBESE/UGLY) individuals constantly walking around and pointing at things - I followed them around and those were Ive's employees examining the horrible workplace they were creating. That was all Ive's fault. Then they forced us to be in the "office" every day instead of working remotely like I had for years. In his words, "And I know how we work and you don't!" RIGHT. Well, I left that job after 15 years while in that crap environnment. That's when I lost all respect for Jony Ive.


Direct is basically a euphemism for rude, in that it indicates lack of empathy. It might not intentionally be so, but usually shows that the speaker puts other priorities ahead of the emotional state of the recipient.


One can be both empathetic and direct.

Jobs was highly empathetic, it’s why he was able to understand the customer so well and why he was famous for saying “the customer doesn’t know what they want”.

Understanding someone’s emotional state does not mean you need to coddle them.


I have found that people who harbour opinions like these usually just aren’t very good at realising how bad they are at what they are doing in the first place. So they need the niceness to keep the false assumption that they are not that bad.

Sometimes the emotional state of the recipient is just a function of how grown up they are.


Read his biography. He was abusive and got shit done.


[flagged]


Your comments have been breaking the site guidelines. Please read and follow them: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.

Perhaps you don't owe Steve Jobs et. al. better, but you owe this community better if you're posting here. Much better.


The quality of my comments lately is quite low, I'll give you that.

You're actually more than welcome to delete the account, aren't you guys supposed to allow that anyway under GDPR (for Europeans at least)?


Sure, but I've never read an as-toxic Jobs story / exchange, as the things in this story...


The secretive nature of their product development and the supposed "allure" of being an employee there seem like they would combine to enable particularly douchey forms of management.


> In our 1:1s he told us we might not have a job if our product doesn't ship on time (we were competing with another internal team to beat them to the punch.)

That sounds like behavior I've seen in banks - more the "competing with other teams" than straight job threats.

It's baffling. If I'm a company, the idea of having more than one team doing the same thing in order to try to beat the other down strikes me as not just counter-productive, but expensive and evidence of a broken hierarchy and culture.


> It's baffling. If I'm a company, the idea of having more than one team doing the same thing in order to try to beat the other down strikes me as not just counter-productive, but expensive and evidence of a broken hierarchy and culture.

Depends... If you have the resources, multiple team can achieve the same result in many ways, one possibly being vastly superior than others. If you look at large companies like IBM or Oracle, this internal innovation is often stifled by "we have whale clients X Y and Z, ask them what they want and implement that".

That said though, it can lead to duplication of efforts and pretty much the same result done twice (once for the finished product, and once for the almost finished product by team B). If you're apple with billions of dollars that you don't know what to do with, this is a viable and useful strategy (also employed by Amazon AFAIK).


Maybe I’m just too jaded, but this is how I assume all big tech companies operate. The people that win get the results, even if it means being a massive piece of shit and treating your employees like garbage.

In fact, I would wager that not a single VP or higher at any major tech co isn’t a self-serving, backstabbing asshole. You simply don’t get into those types of positions on merit alone. You need to play the game.

That type of environment, where it’s almost impossible to do good work because you constantly need to be watching your own back is so unappealing to me that I can’t fathom why anyone with self worth would work at a FAANG. Perhaps it’s because they don’t know yet, but Blind exists, and it’s more horror stories than not.

Not having to deal with office politics and deranged managers is worth a hell of a pay cut imo.


The experience can vary wildly at those companies, sometimes while still holding the same role. I’ve seen people shifted from amazing transformative mentoring managers to gaslighting managers that counted lines of code as a key metric in performance reviews right before directly claiming they didn’t in team meetings.


I have a friend who went through this two times. (Second time was "shame on me").

One problem was that he worked with a lot of H1-B coworkers. So management would push, and they feared for their ability to stay in the country, and when he got there, people would just just suck it up. His first day, calls at 1am 2am 3am. He left.

So a year later they cajoled and talked him into another job. He was given assurances and when he got there, basically the same culture slapped him in the face again. sigh.


> (we were competing with another internal team to beat them to the punch.)

What this intentional? I worked at a company that similarly had three projects that were "competing" with each other, unofficially. It was more like three different teams working on a spellchecker, all with different upper engineering management VPs or directors vying for more influence in the organization. Many other teams standing by were not choosing what project to integrate with because we didn't know which would be completed first (or if they made a choice, it was because VP / director told them they had to).

In any case, it seemed silly, and worse, it revealed a lack of vision or leadership in upper management to just choose one of these projects instead of having multiple people working on the same thing, which would inevitably lead to two projects being canned and some number of engineers feeling demoralized and quitting.


"we were competing with another internal team to beat them to the punch"

This is what Microsoft did, and later admitted it was bad for the products and users and teams.


> This is what Microsoft did, and later admitted it was bad for the products and users and teams.

Is there any research on the topic? Or in-depth post on Microsoft's strategy at the time?


Talk to a workers compensation attorney. If this job was less than five years ago, don’t delay. It cost nothing! The attorney gets 15% when they settle the case.


Doesn’t this only work if (s)he recorded the overtime? Otherwise the company would just say there’s no evidence.


No evidence needed. Let the lawyer deal with that stuff. In California, the evidence is what a QME says it is. A medical report is the evidence. The QME will look at all medical records and make a determination.


I find it totally believable that a Muslim would get harrassed given the current toxic political climate.


It's hard to know what's going on in every corner of a company as large as Apple, but open harassment certainly would not fly in our particular organization. Our team alone has engineers belonging to 4 different religions I know of (and obviously quite a few not identifying with any particular religion), and I've seen at least Christians, Hindus, and Muslims promoted to management.


>>but open harassment certainly would not fly in our particular organization.

Can't comment much on Apple. But as a Muslim I've seen this in quite a few places. Both in India and the US.

It's not even that much a company thing as much as it is a personal thing. Some people are just bigoted and don't like you. In fact the very sight of your existence disturbs them very deeply. And yeah, if you are better than them, it just makes the problem more worse. It's like they have to now deal with the realization deep down that they inferior to the person they hate.

Mostly Muslims just move on, because we have bills to pay, and families to support. Over long periods of time, it's not really possible to fight these political battles every time you have bigots around you.

I've also known cases when things are proven beyond doubt and the HR is likely to take action on the bigot, they start citing excuses like 'mental health' and 'personal preferences'.

You can't win this, there are going to be these kind of people anywhere you go. You just leave them to their state, and move on.


I can't vouch for a complete absence of hidden prejudice, and I'm sure sometimes things happen that people perceive as discriminatory (e.g. on team outings, not everybody automatically remembers the vegetarians when picking restaurants, and one person's jocular lunch banter might be stepping on the trunk / kicking the cross of another person's deity of choice, etc).


There is a big difference between this and not getting promoted by a manager who just promoted an easily identifiable inferior performer belonging to their own religion/caste. Or they praising that kind of a guy in every team meeting, or sending out appreciation emails for trivial stuff. It becomes more than obvious they building a case to promote their people.

I've even gotten cold stares for using the office budgets for books, Why do people like you have to read books and get better than us?

Many times it's subtle, but some people are just living through bigotry day in and out. They just can't stand you. And it becomes visible easily.


  I've read lots of workplace complaints and talked with lots of different people about their workspace experiences and this persons description rings hollow in many places. You are crazy if you think a publicly traded company the size of Apple would tolerate religious discrimination or anything like what is described in this post. 
Double so for Apple who has gone woke. I'd expect a white Christian to get hazed LONG before anyone would even THINK of harassing a Muslim at Apple.


:( sorry that this happened to you! So much of a good job experience is on the project and the manager it seems. I hope to join Apple one day but youth ear stories helped me temper my resolve because I know a) don’t meet your heroes, and b) this is similar to high stress places like Amazon or Netflix that I’ve heard about. :/ But f, all of that, I’m glad you got out and are happy. I had a similar experience although at a very much just a microcosm of a place where when I left I had some legit trauma (PTSD) but I’m all good now.


Ianal. I think Apple broke a bunch of laws in your case you should be compensated for your overtime or at least the promised vacation, plus legal cost and a compensation for the abuse.


Shows how terrific output can be achieved with abuse and slavery of youth. You only need to look at the Pyramids of Egypt to know that it really pays off for the folks at the top. These corporate overlords really need to be brought down several pegs. Please break up Apple.


Teams competing with another team seems to hurt the whole “it just works”, no? Wouldn’t it be better if teams collaborated? Competition will do wonders for delivery of projects sure but it has all sorts of negative externalities.


I am so sorry this happened to you. :,(

I hope Tim Cook sees this and takes swift action to make things right with you, hold others accountable, and ensure processes are changed to prevent this from ever recurring.


...and why would he do any of those?


To defend Apple’s image as a progressive, innovative, diverse, compassionate company that values its employees and is a great place to work. Even if he does not care at all about this person, he at least has huge reasons to not want articles like this circulating among major programmer forums.


Haven't seen cocaine mentioned anywhere, and I know for a fact it was a bit of a thing there back in the day.


With a bit of fantasy, one could infer narcissism or cocaine abuse from some parts of the story: the childish ever-moving meeting with subsequent blaming of the victim, all the while ignoring that there were other managers (i.e. non-victims) being annoyed by the same ever-moving meeting.


Your story sounds believable (and sadly common). The posted story sounds incredible, ie it strains credibility.


may I ask what pays double that of FAANG?


> may I ask what pays double that of FAANG?

Is Apple known for having high salaries? I was under the impression (possibly wrongly, I've never worked for Apple) that they underpay their engineers, relying on the engineers' desire to work for them because of their brand.


No, there has been a culture shift. Apple actually does pay quite well as of the last 2-3 years. They will match other FAANG at the very least.


What company? I want to apply there!


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