Career

Is Netflix’s company culture of fear real? What happened when you were fired?

New / Engryujehong
Nov 28, 2017

A little bit of my background, I’m a software engineer with less than 4 years of work experience. I ask this question because recently I got a senior software engineer offer from Netflix but I don’t know if I should take it. I heard that they pay really really well but they also fire people like crazy, like 2 mistakes and you’re out. Most of the engineers on the team I interviewed have over 8 years of experience, will I be considered not an A+ player compared to them? In Netflix’s culture deck they say that they fire adequate employees right away and only keep superstar engineers.

My major concern: Job security is very important to me not because I have a family to raise but because I’m on H1B work visa, which means if I got fired I would no longer be able to stay in US unless I could get another employer to sponsor my visa within a month. I’m basically happy with my salary at my current job and I don’t want to ruin my career just because I take the bad money from an unstable job. Another thing is that under such pressure and fear of losing job, will one grow as an engineer? I always think that engineers learn a lot from mistakes, if one is not allowed to make any mistake, how do engineers at Netflix grow?

Since Blind is an (to some extent) anonymous society, can someone tell us about how it really feels like to work at Netflix? Is the culture of fear real? Is the pay really worth the workload?

And to those who got fired by Netflix, how long did you stay there before you got fired? And what happened before you were shown the door? Is real that Netflix is basically zero-tolerant to mistakes?

comments

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  • I would not take the risk of getting fired on H1b.

    Seek a company where you can stay for at least a decade, if you plan on getting the green card.
    Nov 28, 20171
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      I think you can still change job while waiting for green card as long as there’s no big gap between two jobs.
      Nov 28, 2017
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • New / EngryujehongOP
      Yeah they made it clear during my interview but I’m wondering to what extent they really execute it that way?
      Nov 28, 2017
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      Thanks for the reply! Yeah I think it all boils down to the question of whether I’m strong enough an engineer to survive Netflix, which to be honest I’m not sure...
      Nov 28, 2017
  • New / Eng
    xofulb

    NewEng

    PRE
    VMware, Brocade Communications, Nokia
    BIO
    Take your coding puzzles and shove it up your ***
    xofulbmore
    Tough choice mate, money or mental peace? I would choose latter 8 out of 10 times.
    Nov 28, 201712
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      @L12 well if you can lose that double paycheck job anytime(given Netflix fires people ruthlessly), do you still feel the same way?
      Nov 28, 2017
    • Oath / EngL12
      Stay at home mom also means that I get to focus more on work ☺️
      Nov 28, 2017
    • Netflixoz42b1
      If you are looking for career path, than Netflix is not for you. You do not have lot of opportunities for that.

      Netflix pays well and treats you well. And everyone will want to hire you after you worked for Netflix.

      You will be judged per your own work, not for how much years of experience you have.

      But it is impressive that with just 4 years of experience you were offered position.

      Final decision is only yours, but this is big opportunity.
      Nov 28, 2017
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      @oz42b1 thanks for your comment! Yeah I know it’s a big opportunity and that’s why I’m struggling with decision making here :) Do you mind sharing your experience at Netflix? How’s the work life balance there? And I guess I’m most concerned with job security issue, how often do you hear people getting fired and what’s the average length of tenure at Netflix? Many thanks!
      Nov 28, 2017
    • Netflixoz42b1
      I think that you are putting too much on that. Much more people left on their own for various reasons. Way much more. Netflix in reality doesn't have higher turnover that other top tier companies. No matter what you heard.

      If you heard about unlimited leave? It is true. It all depends on you.
      Nov 28, 2017
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      Yeah I guess I read so many posts on Glassdoor and Blind that I’m becoming a little bit paranoid now and don’t know who to trust. I believe Netflix’s turnover rate won’t be crazy high because to achieve anything meaningful, you have to have a relatively stable team. As for technical competency, I’m hoping I fall in the category of A+ player now :)
      Nov 28, 2017
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      Also, can you elaborate on why there aren’t many career growth opportunities at Netflix? Do you mean title-wise? I’m totally fine with my job title being senior software engineer for the next several years :)

      If I’m judged per my own work, I’m guessing I’ll need to push back when my manager gives me a task that’s way beyond my ability, I hope that won’t be translated into “adequate player” though.
      Nov 28, 2017
    • NetflixXyGl47
      There is plenty of opportunity for growth at Netflix. You just won't see it reflected in overinflated titles. Instead you will see it reflected in scope and comp.
      Nov 30, 2017
    • NetflixJohnny5
      I’ve been around for many years and half of my team is at least 3 years in. Don’t believe what you read from disgruntled employees. Very few I have ever met regret joining Netflix.
      Dec 5, 2017
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      @Johnny5 Hi thanks for your comment! At this point of time I think I’m no longer too worried about Netflix the company itself but more about my own skills and chances of meeting expectations there.
      Dec 5, 2017
  • GE / EngAghd263
    Secure your GC first, make the jump later. You said you have 4 years of experience so I assume you’re young, therefore you have enough time to go back and take the risk at Netflix once you’ve secured your residency status.
    Nov 28, 20171
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      Thanks for the reply, I think you made a very good point from a new perspective! That’s exactly the reason why I post this on Blind - to get more people help me to think about this question from different perspectives
      Nov 28, 2017
  • Apple / EngProjPurple
    It depends on the person but I perform considerably poorly if I always have to worry about performance ; I tend to perform my best work when I am stress free and I excited about what I am working on. Secondly I am not even sure what sometimes your best work is - often stuff that I feel is relatively trivial can have huge impact and stuff that I have sweated and worked hard upon relatively less - much like the real world , where not everything is meritrocratic. Netflix’s culture deck would make me half the engineer I am and I have worked at some pretty stressful places ( still working at one ).
    Nov 28, 20170
  • StubHubasianchic
    @OP if your wife is working then go ahead and take the risk. You are young to take such a risk
    Nov 28, 20172
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      I’m actually single haha. Financial-wise I’m not too worried about being out of job, I’m more worried about losing my legal status in US if I lose my job and can’t find a new one within a month :)
      Nov 28, 2017
    • Twitterwthqer
      Haha how conveniently did this person assume that the OP is male
      Nov 28, 2017
  • New / EngryujehongOP
    Any current/former Netflix employee cares for a comment? I’m actually curious about how new employees ramp up at Netflix? Rumor has it that your manager can let you go within weeks after you start at Netflix, how do you guys manage the pressure?
    Nov 28, 20171
    • Netflixricewater
      Most managers have some patience on new folks. After all, it takes some time to pick up the platform, business logic etc. That being said, it won't take more than 3 months to figure out a new hire. You are not being compared to the others though. You just need to be able to do your job.
      Nov 28, 2017
  • Netflix is cult-y. Keep interviewing elsewhere. There are challenging gigs with job stability, you don't have to be at netflix to get that
    Nov 28, 20170
  • MicrosoftvRFI13
    Not worth it dude.
    Nov 28, 20170
  • Airbnbbearbnb
    don’t you have 60 day grace period these days? if you can make the cut at nflx, I bet you can land a job in that time frame
    Nov 28, 20171
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      Yeah I think we do, but honestly I think it looks bad on your resume if you have a tenure less than say half a year. I’m totally fine with switching job after a full year or two if things don’t quite work well, but I think changing job after a few months at Netflix basically tells your interviewer that you’re fired by them and that looks like a negative thing(to me at least). If I’m the interviewer, I’d rather believe in one’s track record than the ability to solve coding questions during the interview.
      Nov 28, 2017
  • Microsoft / EngAyrr11
    What is Netfilx?
    Nov 28, 20172
    • New / Eng
      xofulb

      NewEng

      PRE
      VMware, Brocade Communications, Nokia
      BIO
      Take your coding puzzles and shove it up your ***
      xofulbmore
      What Microsoft cannot be.
      Nov 28, 2017
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      Easy guys, both MS and Netflix are great company with many exciting opportunities. I post here to brainstorm with people on a career decision, not to belittle some company
      Nov 28, 2017
  • Apple / Eng
    bender-😒

    AppleEng

    PRE
    Microsoft
    bender-😒more
    From what I’ve heard, they don’t just fire you without notice. People get fair warning they aren’t performing at expectations. They give you a chance to correct. If you fail to do so, they chalk you up as a fluke that made it through the interview process and send you packing. Doesn’t sound all that unreasonable really.
    Nov 28, 20172
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      Yeah I think that’s true. I believe for any business to sustain, the company must have a reasonable workflow(effective feedback loop being part of it). I guess I’m okay with how their feedback works but I’m concerned with how demanding the job is, like if it’s too high a requirement and I constantly get bad feedback, then that’s definitely not something I want.
      Nov 28, 2017
    • Apple / Eng
      bender-😒

      AppleEng

      PRE
      Microsoft
      bender-😒more
      Well they’re looking for self starters and people who just know how to get stuff done. Real senior level stuff. There’s probably not a bunch of hand holding. So if you can deal with situation of ambiguity and can take charge and work a situation and be a strong team player, I think you’ll be fine.

      The demands are going to be more along these lines. Not whether you’re an uber engineer. They’re looking for strong generalists. That’s why they only hire senior engineers.
      Nov 28, 2017
  • AppleBnhjk56
    If you can get into Netflix then why not try for google or Facebook? Almost Similar pay without any of the performance headaches. Google is almost a government job
    Nov 28, 20172
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      I’ve never interviewed with google or Facebook (cos I don’t think I’m smart enough to clear the algorithm questions) but based on what I’ve seen on the internet, I think the interview questions I was asked during my Netflix interview are way easier than those of google’s or Facebook’s.
      Nov 28, 2017
    • AppleBnhjk56
      Don’t sell yourself short. Practice for a few weeks and attend the interviews. Never know until you try
      Nov 28, 2017
  • NetflixF&R
    OP, it's not as cutthroat as you think it is. PM me with what team you'd be joining and I can give you any insights I have.
    Nov 28, 20170
  • Yea.. agree with you.. not worth the stress.. sadly for H1b, the main priority is to get a stable immigration status (at least EAD) to take the risks of high paying high action jobs like Netflix or other interesting startups. For now, job safety and peace of mind one more important.
    Nov 29, 20171
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      True, to be honest I don’t know how I’ll perform under such big pressure
      Nov 29, 2017
  • StubHubasianchic
    Again take the risk and show the worth. Join the cult. Work hard and make history. Work closely with manager on expectations and Bring performance in every 1:1. You will be fine
    Nov 29, 20171
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      That’s what I’m hoping :) but probably easier said than done..
      Nov 29, 2017
  • Netflixabcabc123
    I am on H1B and at Netflix for a few years. PM me if you have specific questions and I can help answer.

    Netflix believes in fail fast, folks who have made big mistakes are still here. We don’t fire because someone makes a mistake. We look for ability to learn. If making mistakes becomes a pattern and person does not self realize the severity etc then it does become an issue (should be the same in many other companies as well which want to move fast).

    Someone mentioned about Netflix turnover rate and it is on par with the valley so it’s no added risk from that perspective.

    Remember Netflix is just as much investing as you to ensure you are successful in your job. It takes a lot of effort to find good engineers and we don’t want to jump the gun on letting someone go but at the same time if it is clear (takes a few months/qtr in most cases) that the engineer is not and will not be successful in the role then it is better to make the change.

    PM me if you have questions.
    Nov 30, 20171
    • NetflixXyGl47
      This +1000
      Nov 30, 2017
  • NetflixsMJq56
    :-[(^^):-D:-)(^^)(^^):-D=-O
    Dec 4, 20171
  • NetflixNetflixEmp
    I do not believe in this talk of Netflix having only high quality engineers. In terms of having strong engineers, netflix is like any bay area company. I don’t see anyone here as god like developers. In fact I feel we at Netflix do not experiment or bring in new tech as fast as even bigger bay area firms like Facebook. I attribute this as more to do with absense of younger generation developers and risk aversive culture. may be due to fear of losing job. Not sure. As far as firing people, it’s not always the case of the person being a strong engineer. In most cases it is team fit. Few teams have team members who are at Netflix for quite long time and knows in and out of all Netflix tech details. In those teams striving as a new engineer is hard as you may be the only one getting less done. As the company culture focuses more on independent contribution, team dynamics is less than other companies. Mostly, Anyone who got fired from Netflix is not bad. In max cases they are just in a bad team at the bad time.
    Dec 5, 20171
    • New / EngryujehongOP
      So how do you define a bad team at bad time at Netflix? Is it being in a trivial team at a time when the priority of the company is shifting away from that team? Or being on a team whose manager is a jerk and is under big pressure from senior management?
      Dec 7, 2017

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