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I’m at a fellow FAANG, and it’s sadly the consequence of over staffing. Managers and directors recruit a bunch of ICs without necessarily knowing what they should be doing, just so that they can expand their empire as measured by number of heads under them. I’m not making this up, I’ve been both a manager and IC and I know how it works.

This leads to a rat race where everyone is left to compete for “impact”. “Impact” is the word used by your manager to defer to yourself, and yourself only, the responsibility of justifying your existence because there’s not enough meaningful work for everybody. In a functional organization, whose staffing grows along with the demands of the business as opposed to political empires, it should be the other way around.

This ultimately causes horrible changes in behavior from the ICs themselves, who have no other choices than playing the game: extreme competition, backstabbing, stealing of ideas and credit, comical self-promotion (e.g., you fix a trivial bug in one hour and then waste a week writing a pointless 10-page doc about it so that you can use it at perf time to justify how much you did or send it via email to your management chain), etc.

I’ve seen so much of it that I was thinking of starting a blog or a $4.99 ebook sharing all the situations I’ve witnessed during my tech career.

You absolutely should, but also - charging a paltry amount is hilariously in line with the lessons about stealing every inch that you’ve been forced to learn

The related dynamic here is why large companies can't innovate as much or as fast as startups.

Actual innovation is quite wasteful and you wind up going down a lot of dead ends where all you can really say at the end is "well I guess thats one way to not make a lightbulb". This is a land for obsessive nerds.

But if your goal is the next promotion or more headcount you can't afford to take that kind of risk. Instead orgs wind up optimizing for pretend work that makes a great powerpoint at the end of the quarter. Remaining energy gets spent on trying to backstab or downplay other projects - competing for a perceived limited pie, rather than trying to make more pie.

Yes please do I would love to read it. I’ve seen this effect aswell and negative impact it has on the day to day work being done.

Yeah, so agree with the impact problem, but here's the irony ---

You have tens of thousands of brilliant and motivated engineers striving to find something to make better so... why are all the things so.... not-that-good?

I will buy a copy for sure, when you type it out as an ebook.

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