The Worst Things About Working At Facebook

Employees reveal a litany of complaints.

Facebook has often been regarded as one of the best places to work in the tech industry. After all, their interns make $25,000 more than the average citizen. And famously, employees on Glassdoor voted Facebook the No.1 best company to work for overall.

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."

"The drama."
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."

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Sounds a lot like one of the companies I work for... started small, and now it's getting bigger, and we are not the type of people who know how to run a large company, but once it starts growing.. what can you do? (Obviously learn to be more professional, but... well, that's no f***ing fun.)

November 13 2013 at 9:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Poor babies all that crying and you make more in 1 year then my family makes in 3 years thanks to a heart attack and bad heart that took me out of the game, also trying to figure out a 7 year old child who is severely diagnosed with ADHD and several other issues, and my poor wife whom was thrown into becoming a caretaker for us and working a part time job that suddenly decided to cut her back to 1 day a week for the total of 4 hours at just slightly above minimum wage.
I feel so bad for you that you have to leave the ringer on your PHONE at night and cannot go out and get drunk because your on call, lets see you try what I did when I was in my 20's and run a Dunkin Doughnuts baking and running counter because everyone called out and then having to stay there for 38 hours straight because no one showed up one night to work or the next day either. And that is nothing to the 18 hour work day I put in being a manager for a garden center starting at 5AM and finally leaving at 11pm at night

September 12 2013 at 12:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

With very few exceptions, this sounds like alot of places I've worked. From the priggish, young engineers who haven't yet figured out that they're *not* actually Einstein incarned to the managers who think they alone are responsible for the success of the company to the complaints from people who find out you work "there", its all just a rehash of my career. I think most who have been around more than a handful of years can identify.

September 10 2013 at 5:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Kind of reminds me of the military. RHIP = Rank Has Its Privileges. I saw lieutenents and captains carrying coffee and tea services down the hallways of STRATCOM at Offutt AFB, NE, because they military was not going to grant security clearances to people just to carry coffee to conference rooms. Generals do have lower ranking troops assigned to pick up their laundry and do the cleaning just like the president used to have, and may still have for some tasks. Empowering the lowest to learn how to make decisions is a way to share leadership. Knowing when something is good enough to work is a very good leadership quality. Not everything in life has to be perfect. I never got any free food or drinks in the military unless I lived in the baracks, then the chowhall food was free. If I went to another base or was in a classroom and they had coffee, I put money into the jar to pay for more coffee or I went to a vending machine. Complaining about being on call 24/7 for 6 weeks out of the year? Our troops are on call for 365 days per year during their entire enlistment of from 3 to 6 years and that includes all holidays. Their vacations can be cancelled at any point in time. I loathe spoiled whiners who are lucky to have a job in this economy. I could address every single one of these complaints, but enough is enough. Now I see what the Army is getting in so many questionable recruits. They actually exist on the outside in corporate America. Mark Zuckerberg seems to have a good handle on how to run his company. It could use some office furniture tweeking, but then again, he is trying to keep it united as a team and not divided as in "I have my own cubby for all of my personal crap to trash out." The less space people have, the more productive they can be - especially when it comes to seeing what they are doing on their computer screens. Zuckerberg isn't paying them to play video games or have a lot down time. About the only thing I would address is having his wife's private undies exposed. Never a good idea, especially if they are lacy or expensive. I get what Zuckerberg is trying to do. His COO Sheryl Sandberg not so much. She needs to be doing a better job of empowering female workers by paying them. Zuckerberg could probably find himself a better COO if he did some real research and interviewed some female military veterans who were well-trained in leadership and had a clue. He appears to like running a tight ship. That will keep his company intact. Google is a great model for his company to emulate, because it just keeps getting better. Every complaint that I have seen is not all that valid to those who are more experienced in the world of production via work. I don't know what these people expected when the entered the real working world, but kudos to Zuckerberg for giving them a reality check along with one to deposit into their bank accounts.

September 10 2013 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, perhaps HR could polish up their act. Education is the key.

September 10 2013 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would imagine being female and working for Zuck would feel like being trapped the High School Boys' locker room!

September 10 2013 at 3:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Freddie Sharp

The kudos...

September 10 2013 at 2:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

all these techy's and yet facebook does not itself have spell check or grammar check...go figure

September 10 2013 at 2:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Geez! Complain have a job, make good money, with benefits. If its not good enough for you, leave & let someone who would appreciate it take (your job). There are 1000's of people who would LOVE to have a well paid job at a secure company. In these times, be glad you have a job....if I were Zuckerberg, I'd pull every one of your names, then fire you

September 10 2013 at 2:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

ban facelessbook ! obama did not build that ! blame bush! (now you blew it. by reading this you're now on the NSA surveillance list, you subversive, you!)

September 10 2013 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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