The Worst Things About Working At Facebook
Employees reveal a litany of complaints.
Not bad, right?
Wrong, according to some Facebook employees, both past and present, in an open thread on Quora.
Various engineers, software developers, and anonymous sources from Facebook's front lines divulge the details about the worst things about working for the social network.
From the lack of office professionalism (tasked to fold the boss's laundry?) to complaints of Mark Zuckerberg's "holier than thou" attitude, we've rounded up some of the most interesting details. To be clear, we're not saying these complaints represent the average experience. These are just the opinions of a small number of individuals. Every large company has its detractors, including Facebook. Here's what they have to say.
"For six weeks out of the year, I'm on 24/7 on-call duty."
During on-call duty, engineers are responsible for keeping the service up and running, come what may. "For those weeks I don't leave town on the weekend; make especially sure not to have 'one too many' at any social gatherings I attend; and most importantly, carry and immediately respond to a charged phone where I can be reached 24/7, including leaving the ringer on on the nightstand as I sleep." - Keith Adams, Facebook engineer.
"The wall does not exist at Facebook."
"At most companies, you put up a wall between a work personality and a personal one, which ends up with a professional workspace," says a Facebook engineer who chose to remain anonymous on Quora. Because the culture of Facebook implicitly encourages employees to "be themselves," the company lacks the "professionalism" found at other firms, the engineer says.
"There is not a truly functional infrastructure."
Employees say that trying to figure out how to do cool things with a team of 4,000 people is much harder than doing them with a team of 500.
"We're growing so fast and have never emphasized organization, polish, or stability."
"Don't complain to me about Facebook just because I work at Facebook."
The spouse of a former Facebook employee said that her husband was the recipient of many complaints about the site from friends and family, just because he was employed by the company.
"As a Facebook spouse, I was often asked for help on how to use the privacy settings solely on the basis that, being married to someone who works at Facebook, I must know."
"The complete lack of focus on my team."
"On the last day of my internship, the team decided that it was not worth completely rewriting the project," a former Facebook intern admitted on Quora, after spending all of his time at the company redesigning and coding said project.
"If a more clear vision of the future of the product had been communicated to the team, I think I could have made many improvements to it, and impacted the company in a more positive way."
"You won't be making millions or building a new exciting company of your own."
Just because you're working for a cool company still means you're working. In this case, you're working to fulfill someone else's dream.
"It was probably my worst professional experience to date."
"As a contractor and back fill for someone on maternity leave, I was temporarily assigned [as an admin] with very little guidance or support, serving two of the worst leaders I've ever interacted with," claimed an anonymous former employee of the social network giant.
"I was asked to complete really inappropriate tasks."
One anonymous former employee of Facebook confessed, "The team treated me like garbage and I was asked to [do] really inappropriate tasks (i.e. separating the director's laundry complete with his wife's dirty undies still attached)."
"Instructions were not clear, everything was a guessing game, and I was immediately set up to fail."
After being put on a rigorous 10-day performance plan, one former employee said his team didn't even bother to give him feedback.
"At that point, I quit on the spot."
"Knowing that you are part of an overhyped public company."
Facebook, which was "supposed to be valued at over $200 billion by now, had a dismal public offering that left many employees feeling totally helpless as they saw the value of their stock collapse," an anonymous source wrote on Quora.
"Zuck and Sheryl imposing a 'holier than thou' attitude."
Referring to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, a Facebook employee complains that the two spend way too much time on "extracurricular activities" (hint: "Lean In") and copying off the competition (i.e., Poke, which bears a resemblance to Snapchat).
"We're looking too hard at Google."
Though he doesn't work at Facebook, this Quora user chimed in to say he is often invited to Facebook's tech talks, where he finds "no WOW factor."
"A lot of times Facebook seems to be looking too hard at Google rather than focusing on their core strengths and mission."
"Forget the free food and drinks - the workplace is awful."
"When you have huge rooms filled with rows and rows of picnic style tables with people sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with six inches of separation and zero privacy, I am sorry.... That's how you keep cattle in the pen, not high quality talent earning low to mid six figures."
"I've seen decisions being made by interns."
Philip Su, a software engineer at Facebook, published "Ten Things I Hate About Working At Facebook" on his personal blog last year in a tongue-in-cheek attempt to write about the things that separate Facebook from so many other companies.
"I've seen decisions being made by lone engineers. Or an engineer and a designer over lunch. Or by interns," he writes. "All without telling their managers, even. This sort of autonomous decision-making suggests a complete lack of understanding of how corporations are supposed to work."
Su writes sarcastically (though we can't imagine the above scenario would work in corporations across the board), and his post provides an entertaining look at the inner workings of Facebook culture.
"The tone of voice people used was belittling and self-righteous."
According to one former employee, his colleagues were anything but pleasant company.
"The tone of voice people used was belittling and self-righteous," the ex-employee writes. "I found them snobby, cliquey and frankly, rude."
Of course, Su admits that the politics are ultimately what creates the dynamism and drama that make work worthwhile in any company; Facebook not excluded.
"Without these, it's just code, code, code. Ship, ship, ship. I get tired just thinking about it."