Tech is becoming very competitive, aggressive and toxic. Are we responsible?

LinkedIn 10xEng
Sep 20 399 Comments

News about fb employee committing suicide is really sad and reading comments in other threads are unsettling. We still don't know what was the reason but bad WLB could be one.

Tech wasn't like this until few years back. Engineers were often content with their jobs and there wasn't a need to pull teamates down to grow in career. Also the interview process has become a game and even if you are a good engineer, you still have to leetcode for months to crack interviews. Are we as tech community responsible for this ? We are so focused on getting higher TC and titles that we don't care about how it's adversely affecting us.

What can we do as a community to make it better? Any ideas on how interviewing process can be made better?

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 399 Comments
  • LinkedIn / Eng
    gibelwlv

    LinkedIn Eng

    PRE
    Google
    gibelwlvmore
    I think it is the society in Bay Area. I cannot speak for Austin, Seattle or NY, but the set of people who live here are very specific. I am an immigrant myself, but I feel that a lot of people from certain regions are here who are very competitive, egocentric and unsocial - otherwise they won’t be here (rich family, good school, connections —>USA). The people don’t see the value in free schools (higher tax for the rich) and at work team mates are treated as enemies and it looks like a popularity contest.
    Sep 20 17
    • Microsoft / Eng nikii
      I have also seen the same thing in Microsoft and some other companies, people who are quiet but deliver good quality work have not been given value, manager doesn't even know about their quality of work and thinks they don't do much. It has become like you do 10% and show as if you have done 200%. I hate this culture. Manager should know what each individual does in the team and working style of each individual to be able to manage them effectively.
      There should be healthy competition which encourages ppl to learn more and improve them, not like where ppl try to show off and show others down as if others are idiot.
      Oct 6
    • Microsoft pYmi54
      I’ve seen that too, only if managers are smart enough can they understand the value of their team member and what their contributions are.
      Oct 6
    • Microsoft itellyou
      Same here in my team....and totally same situation as with the LinkedIn person. Tech is going to be a toxic place and I need to get out of it
      Oct 7
    • LinkedIn ugsebkidv
      I am also looking at the possibility of someday leaving Bay Area. It’s a hard proposition though since my SO is from here and has family and friends here. It’s hard for me to see a future here signing up to pay for an expensive mortgage on a shitbox house so I can go to my frustrating job. What’s the purpose of any of it at that point. I make decent TC now but idk if I will forever and hence can afford a mortgage today, but who knows what tomorrow will bring.
      Oct 7
    • T-Mobile OneT
      It's not just tech but the old saying, ' squeaky wheel gets the grease'....everyone is watching out for their backsides including managers....no one has time of motivation to look after the guy who is shy or doesn't promotes his/her work....should it be different? Sure that would be great and so would be a world with no inequalities... probably ain't gonna happen because people are greedy and selfish....maybe once we have universal income and people work for intellectual satisfaction instead of money.....
      Oct 16
  • Intel D’s🥜
    Only you can affect change. Be conscious of how you speak at the workplace. Battle the details of the issues & problems, not the person. Lift people up and don’t tear them down
    Sep 20 4
    • LinkedIn 10xEng
      OP
      I've actually started doing this in my team. Management will always push to squeeze more out of us. As a Sr Eng I try to step up and set the right expectations.
      Sep 20
    • Salesforce newgrad01
      LinkedIn pls take me in your team. Your are a good guy. It would be awesome to work with people like you.
      Oct 6
    • Amazon / Eng KHCr70
      I did this as an L4. Pushed hard for wlb, talked to team members, forwarded concerns anonymously to management.

      Also I think a big one was talking to new hires and especially new grads on the team that they shouldn't work overtime every day.

      Always pushing for addressing tech debt and ops load reduction also helps a lot.

      Biggest factor was having a manager that supported that and encouraged the behavior.

      I am sure the same behavior would have gotten me dev planned by some managers :)
      Oct 6
    • Amazon / Eng KHCr70
      Edit: fwded concerns anonymously with teams permission**
      Oct 6
  • Google Mr. Glass
    This is actually symptomatic of our current generation. When you never had to face real hunger or danger or risk to basic necessities, you stop valuing them and start taking it for granted. There will come a time when we will see bad upbringing lead to tragic cases such as where an idiot would decide to take their own life because they couldn’t afford to upgrade their car to the newer shinier latest fad of the year.

    This generation is the most pampered, irresponsible, arrogant and idiot generation from the bunch of them all. This is why people have no other personality than getting entitled and being sanctimonious little outraged Marxist brats - outraged at imagined-inequalities.

    You idiots need to live in a lawless land for a month where you have to fear for your life daily, then you’ll appreciate the hierarchical structures that we have in society today and start to feel grateful. That’s the cure. That’s what needs to happen to get these idiots to learn some perspective and stop cribbing about every small thing - and then have the audacity (!) to claim that your little office politics is just as bad as genocide, concentration camps and the Cold War that the previous generations had to face. Jesus Christ
    Oct 6 34
    • Uber / Eng sporg
      Also, how old do you think Millennials are, and can you think of any difficult or transformative events that may have occurred during their lifetimes?
      Oct 20
    • Google Mr. Glass
      ^ pose an opinion if you have one, and contribute to the discussion. This is not an interrogation or an exercise in one-upmanship.
      Oct 23
    • Uber / Eng sporg
      If your argument can’t withstand two simple questions are you really making your case or are you just ranting? I’ll make the argument. Millennials are approaching 40 years old and have experienced the worst terror attack in US history (9/11), the longest foreign war, the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, record high debt burdens, and record high cost of living. Is that hardship?

      You most likely didn’t experience WW2 or the Great Depression. You probably were never at risk of going to Vietnam either. What hardships have you encountered that this generation hasn’t?
      Oct 23
    • Google Mr. Glass
      ^ wrong. The only thing this generation withstood is a dramatic fear-mongering campaign where where less than 0.0001% of people were affected. The statement I made about the mentality and psychological changes in this generation compared to those before still stands true. Reflect on it more and you will see. The notion of personal responsibility which is crucial to living a fuller life, is deteriorating. I’m just proposing we acknowledge it and fix it before it’s too late. Nothing controversial at all in that statement. And I’m not interested in your stupid one-upmanship game. Think of the larger goal here.
      Nov 2
    • Google AC/TC
      - Calls other people's opinions "stupid one-upmanship game"
      - Provides no evidence that his opinion are correct other than his feelings
      - Ignores contrary evidence

      Ok boomer
      Nov 2
  • Microsoft iamletired
    I'm fairly certain people don't kill themselves over a bad review or bad management. It could be the straw that broke the camel's proverbial back, but there was an underlying issue. And if not this, it would be something else. Don't trivialize mental illness with these silky theories.
    Oct 6 17
    • Amazon / Eng
      weeeeeeee

      Amazon Eng

      BIO
      AWS
      weeeeeeeemore
      “Lol this guy presents solid, factual points.

      Boomer detected”
      Oct 6
    • Clover Health sinkinship
      Sounds like someone has been sleeping since WWII.
      Oct 7
    • Amazon oTHi30
      This is true to an extent. Psychiatric disorders like general depression and OCD are relatively common, and most suicides have a formal DSM diagnosis behind them. But many of these people are able to function normally day to day in heathy work environments. In a place like Amazon where HR explicitly instructs managers NOT to be transparent about an employee’s performance issues prior to a formal PIP and at the same time forces quotas on orgs that may not have anyone doing poorly, the conditions become a perfect storm that can throw an otherwise functioning individual into a crisis which has them taking their own life.

      Also, killing oneself over work conditions does not mean the person was unable to tolerate hardships. I have known plenty of people who went through literal hell in their lives (war, sexual abuse, brushes with a violent death, etc.) and weathered it like champs but then saw their psychiatric health totally undone by a vicious manager clawing his or her way to L7. This can take a toll on a person’s psyche in ways that those who haven’t experienced it can’t even imagine. I keep my own sanity by reminding myself that my Amazon boss will one day have to answer to God for all the terrible shit he’s done, and his cheerleaders in our org won’t be there to cover his ass when he does.
      Oct 7
    • Facebook Atyo
      Othi30, if you are waiting for God's judgement, the joke's on you.
      Oct 7
    • Intuit / Eng STFUorGTFO
      Othi30, well said...
      Oct 7
  • Lyft Ishmael1
    Tech used to be full of interesting sincere libertarian minded people. Now it’s pure Wall Street backstabbing politics
    Oct 6 7
    • Flatiron Health clefairy
      Exactly. Wall Street types followed the money into tech
      Oct 6
    • Yes. Back when very few of us were paid over 200k, and most of us were between 70k-120k, attitudes were a lot more down to earth. Because you didn’t become an engineer for the money.

      You went into management consulting or law for money, not engineering.
      Oct 6
    • Lyft Ishmael1
      Tech motto in the 90s: “information wants to be free‘

      Tech motto in the 2020s: “I’ll build you a surveillance state apparatus for the highest bitter “
      Oct 7
    • Google / Eng lolol7
      yep nailed it. well said. happened in dot com boom too. after the crash all the a-holes cleared out of sf and became awesome for a while. now, the city/culture are very sick. perhaps another cleansing will come soon.
      Oct 8
    • Google Mr. Glass
      Bingo, you got it. I’ll add a bit: Tech motto in the 2020s: “I’ll build you a surveillance state apparatus for the highest bidder and go around with self-delusion yapping that my mission in life is to advance justice and goodness for the world, and my product really is a force for good.“
      Oct 19
  • Yahoo wth3
    Didn’t read through all the comments and I will risk saying something that could be censored by Blind: it’s the immigrants’ work mentality that contributes to this toxicity—boasting at meetings, working overtime on weekends, purchasing after shiny work that gets visibility instead of real work, work hierarchy, putting down lower ranked coworkers and no one says anything to fight this bullying...when I complain to a coworker about this he/she often says “oh it’s worse back home. This is already better”. Sure we need diversity but we don’t need this third world crap
    Oct 7 13
    • Google cjjdjd
      Or maybe the third world immigrants are simply better than you. Idk man.
      Oct 7
    • Microsoft itellyou
      Another problem is the at will employment and cumbersome visa process and stupid rules. It leads to an environment of fear, and the result is that immigrants work their butt off to avoid losing jobs and visa
      Oct 7
    • Avanade gitPullAll
      Can’t really disagree with this at all. But isn’t the root simply the fact that jobs are competitive to get an offer, and maintain your position within a company? An immigrant would need some advantage over a native English speaker since usually the immigrant has worse communication skills. So the immigrant would just work longer hours or overstudy the interview material. It’ll be interesting to see how long this lasts because what happens when too many candidates ace their interviews? Do leetcode hard problems become the new default standard? Are we then ranked based on fastest time to complete problems? The fact that too many people will eventually ace these questions makes me wonder, what will be the new metric or style of questions used to separate potential candidates from people who just grind out questions.
      Oct 8
    • Intel G.Thurberg
      The people in Silicon Valley are the cause of the toxic problem
      Oct 9
    • Bloomberg cg_ny
      I mean I don’t disagree, but they often have worse soft skills (communication, confidence etc.) so it all evens out, even if they work a lot more
      Oct 15
  • Disney prbablybob
    Look toward your bubble 10x guy
    Sep 20 0
  • Google rUSY74
    There have always been companies with poisonous cultures. Within companies, there have always been teams with poisonous cultures.

    Don't put up with it. As soon as you're aware that you are in such a team or company: GTFO. Right away.

    I know that Bezos thinks engineers are fungible: I will never work at Amazon.

    Facebook has broken my trust on privacy a dozen times too many. Those ethical compromises come from the top. I will never work at FB either.

    I wouldn't have worked at Gate's or Ballmer's Microsoft, but I will work for Nadella's Microsoft (being careful about the specific manager).

    I will work at Google (obviously) but I'm keeping an eye on executives that might create poisonous problems. Very happy with TK replacing Diane Greene.
    Oct 6 8
    • Google rUSY74
      Very much like asylum seekers.
      Oct 6
    • Facebook i9js5
      Google culture used to be extremely cutthroat though. Read the book I’m Feeling Lucky for some examples
      Oct 7
    • Google rUSY74
      Oh, absolutely. It's mellowed significantly during my 11 years.
      Oct 7
    • Salesforce kVfz47
      What’s wrong with Diane?
      Oct 8
    • Facebook ris
      What are concrete examples of policies at google that make engineers feel less fungible? At FB, I do not feel secure.
      Oct 9
  • Microsoft bbobd
    To be honest, it has to be the company rewarding system to blame. If there’s no stack ranking, why anyone wants to make coworker enemies.

    The management based on fear is disgusting and manipulative. Everyone should be able to decide if they want to “take a step further” or not. I won’t join a company saying we only hire rock star blahblah. That’s a red flag of unnecessary and endless pushing limits.

    Common, it’s just a job at the end of day, no one is giving me 51% of company share, no one will take care of my family when I’m devoting myself to the “family”, and no one will blink twice when they had to trim some fat.

    I think that the industry is very young is also a reason. New grads are still fooled by company’s mission, free food after 7pm, and “changing millions of people’s life”. The reality is you’ll have to have substantial amount of stock to be bonded to a company’s future and mission, your time is more valuable than the catering food, and no, the feature you spent entire quarter of sleepless nights didn’t change people’s life more than a few more clicks in your company’s app.
    Oct 5 3
    • Lockheed Martin / R&D Schz3
      Microsoft is more mature. Have you noticed a culture change they are in the last 10 to 15 years?
      Oct 6
    • NVIDIA vnnP31
      To be fair, your manager will blink and feel bad about it if decent and you haven't made enemies of them, but they can't and won't help if their hands are forced from above. If it bothered them so much they would quit over your sake, you're lucky but then both of you will have to find new jobs anyway. The best you can hope for is straight talk from your manager and that they would do what they can to help you in that case. If you don't have such a management, do yourself a favor by jumping around until you find someone decent to work for.
      Oct 7
    • Intuit / Eng STFUorGTFO
      This
      Oct 7
  • Google / Eng chandu_
    I believe this happens when TC chasers find an opportunity in the market and exploit it. Like Indians abusing the green card system.
    Sep 23 5
    • Google sGIp07
      what is this Indians abusing gc system thing ?
      Oct 6
    • Cisco VChr123
      This chandu guy is really a gandu 😂🤣
      Oct 6
    • LinkedIn rabbithole
      Ah blame indians. How convenient!
      Oct 7
    • Nokia IFKG33
      Do you mean Indians are abusing the GC system by being H1B slaves for 10-25 years? That’s an interesting definition of the word “abuse”
      Oct 7
    • Facebook / Eng
      eniA65

      Facebook Eng

      PRE
      Google
      eniA65more
      Chandu ke gaand mein daalo bamboo. Phir royega saala fuddu.
      Oct 8
  • Dell newtoleet
    Also i believe all this toxic culture is because of allowing too many.... too many (yes 2 times) immigrants here... so big corporations have big choices on how to treat workers
    Oct 6 5
    • Amazon / Eng mulla
      Lol. There's always an idiot with anti-immigration political agenda.
      Oct 6
    • Convoy XWIF21
      naive
      Oct 7
    • PayPal codestar
      The most useless comment on this thread.
      Oct 8
    • New / IT fa19gatr
      you are so delusional it’s unreal
      Oct 16
    • What 👋is 👋this👋comment👋 walk up ..are you human ?
      Oct 17
  • Citadel Securities jfb6hfww
    Community? Here? This has to be the most toxic, brotastic corner of tech anywhere.
    Sep 20 3
    • LinkedIn 10xEng
      OP
      I disagree. There are several anonymous communities like hn/Reddit where people discuss constructive things. Not Evey blind post has to be TC or GTFO
      Sep 20
    • Citadel Securities jfb6hfww
      They don't have to be, and yet they are.
      Sep 21
    • I disagree.
      Oct 7
  • Amazon JayP
    I can understand this after being a victim of bully by my manager and director back at The sweatshop company. This event can leave one with suicidal thoughts. Imagine my manager and a freaking level 8 director lying blatantly in a doc just to get rid of me and the HR couldn’t even do anything about it. I just hope nobody goes through this. It leaves you with a scar and constant doubt about yourself. Not everyone can survive that kind of emotional trauma.
    Oct 7 5
    • Zyzyxtech TimZuck
      If it’s of any comfort, lying by upper management is more common than you think. You’re not the only one who found out that the world is unfair.
      Oct 7
    • Chase / Eng (๑•﹏•)
      Been there buddy. It's a rough road but you're in a better position now. I'll have to struggle my self up to get to go to better company now.... Setting some goals but the constant doubting just becomes a hindrance. I've been in to this situation and ended up with constant anxiety, and IBS (read on this) but slowly I'm recovering now thanks to Blind honestly as this became a place where I could speak up and bring the truth.
      Oct 7
    • Amazon bubble12
      I am going through this right now. ! Unjustified pip. Anxiety. Need to find a new job in next 45 days. Cause of h1b.. so stressed
      Oct 7
    • Zyzyxtech TimZuck
      Ah, Amazon. I think Blind would agree that Amazon work culture is toxic.
      Oct 7
    • Amazon bubble12
      My life was heaven! My ex manager was awesome. This new guys came and screwed up everything
      Oct 8
  • Chase / Eng (๑•﹏•)
    It's made toxic partially because everyone wants to be the next Steve jobs or Mark Zukerberg. Literally half of the work force atleast in the upper management I have met, think they are the next Mark zukerberg, asking teams to work longer hours, have no wlb and always trying to prove like an asshole that they are the best, while clearly forgetting that it affects others life. If anyone stands up to their bullshit, they misuse their powers and well we all know what happens. I'll spell out for some geniuses as I'm going to be asked either way. People who standup to such, gets fired. Such people are majorly responsible for the toxic environment. And now we have even more.

    I'll share an example. Our director had his first success of delivering an application on which 2 teams worked on day and night. He got super excited. After then came the season of layoffs and many got laid off except for a few. The same years promotions were happening and this director wasn't promoted to an MD. He hated it and realized that the other guy was being promoted because they made something better, so he asked me to work on weekend to create something similar just so he can showcase it in 3 days and I just couldn't say no otherwise my job was on the line.

    Came to the next job I found my self in even a worse situation. A guy who I knew previously from my previous company was very close to that director. And this guy became a manager while following similar footsteps, and he was young. Everyday and night, Saturday or Sunday he would call our team as if something wrong happened for a few trivial problems. This habit of his kept on going. I thought given an year he might change, but instead he started pushing teams even more and more till many left the team.
    Oct 7 7
    • Google Dr. Seuss
      This company/director won't last long. The productive reports will eventually start leaving because the system isn't set up to be meritocratic.
      Oct 7
    • Chase / Eng (๑•﹏•)
      The guy moved to 2 different companies now and has acquired an extremely good position for himself. He isn't going anywhere and same goes for his group.
      Oct 7
    • Salesforce kVfz47
      This type of guys will last forever. They excel in politics, most companies bay area allow this. I’ve seen so many misdemeanor by managers and their favoritism based promotion and gossip
      Oct 8
    • Chase / Eng (๑•﹏•)
      This guy isnt from Bay area, but I'm sure people like that are everywhere.
      Oct 8
    • Microsoft Illya
      Unfortunately, most of the times, you can't change the system in place. Either join it or create your own system, but the second option will very likely require to find a new gig or start your own.
      Oct 19
  • Intel adbC65
    Mathematically, over 100 FAANG employees should be committing suicide a year if they were equivalent to the population (ratio is roughly 25 of 100,000 males aged 25-55 commit suicide). Just for frame of reference of a couple Facebook folks jumping off buildings.

    My personal perspective is people in tech are a bunch of whiners. You don’t work in a fucking coal mine 12 hours a day 5 miles underground. Grow up.
    Oct 6 10
    • Intel adbC65
      Statistically, there were probably another 99 suicides in the last 12 months.

      They can’t find a job where they aren’t abused? That defies belief. So then it’s just a choice of how much money will you accept in order to be abused.
      Oct 9
    • Convoy XWIF21
      What’s the suicide rate of mine workers in US? If it’s lower than your generic number, you’d think they are not eligible to complain?
      Oct 9
    • Intel adbC65
      Dunno. Have you ever heard a mine worker complain? No, and they live in a lot worse condition than you do.
      Oct 9
    • Convoy XWIF21
      How do you know they don’t complain? Have you looked at their Blind? Why do they have union?
      Oct 10
    • Intel adbC65
      I lived near mine country and volunteered there because of the massive poverty and impact of opioids. Pretty difficult conditions, and no, never heard them complain. Unions date back to when the mortality rate was 10x the average (still is 2x the rate). It’s literally life and death situations vs tech workers complain about making $200K.
      Oct 10
  • Lyft RunBurn
    Lyft is very toxic. Employees from Facebook came and ruined the culture. However I should say that it’s not just FB employees that causes this type of toxicity in companies they go. Think about the lifecycle of these employees - started off with competitive Ivy League education, then landed in Facebook or Google - which insulates them from learning by experience - all these ppl become great at what they do but very poor emotional Q - I would say poor is an understatement. All they know is how to move 1 pp of their metric every quarter. Lyft is rife with these ppl with the EQ of a belligerent child. It’s not their fault - it’s our education system that prevents diversity of thoughts and expressions and this constant capitalistic hunger of accruing wealth at the cost of others. Funny - most of these ppl later become philanthropists preserving their market advantage and shutting down the basic public policies that addresses the root cause of the issues they donate money for. ‘Murica!!
    Oct 7 4
    • Mapbox / Eng zZisUrp
      And a lot of startups try to emulate these companies with awful results. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you’re good.
      Oct 7
    • Salesforce kVfz47
      Jeffrey Epstein was also philanthropist
      Oct 8
    • Microsoft sjdnsnskks
      I would say it is the interview process that focusses on one metric - coding quizzes. Team work and attitudes are the most important trait in my opinion but these are often overlooked in the interview process.
      Oct 8
    • Uber p&$dt
      Well said!
      Oct 8
  • Oracle cloudweb
    Stack ranking,
    Unjustified PIPs,
    Maximum time in role,
    People in just for the money,
    Immature managers.
    Oct 7 1
  • New / Eng
    500k

    New Eng

    BIO
    https://ShiftLeft.academy
    500kmore
    The system itself is designed to make us competitive.

    Quarterly reviews with grades and stack ranking (similar to schools), PIP (aka probation), and SAT/GRE like competitive exam to get a job. Engineers are not treated like grown ups and we happily accepted this.

    I have a lot more to say about it, but later
    Oct 6 3
    • Uber p&$dt
      👌 Engineering job is nothing different from jails aka schools.
      Oct 10
    • New / Eng
      500k

      New Eng

      BIO
      https://ShiftLeft.academy
      500kmore
      I wouldn't call it a jail. No one is forcing anyone to stay in those jobs.
      Oct 11
    • Bloomberg cg_ny
      This is so true. It’s so weird seeing 30 year old adults be treated like little children (daily status updates, ridiculous interview questions etc.) and they happily accept it.
      Oct 15
  • Adobe / R&D
    Spidey™🕸️

    Adobe R&D

    BIO
    1. ©️➕➕ 2. Python🐍 3. JavaScript
    Spidey™🕸️more
    This is totally a speculation and most probably not even correct but one thing I noticed is that Facebook's Engineering Managers are some of the youngest in the industry.

    Some of them became Engineering Managers only 2-4 years after graduation and are in their mid-20s only.

    One of the reasons behind their culture and their repeated mistakes could be their lack of maturity. I am pretty sure it will get better with time as they learn to manage people better. Managing people is an art and something you don't learn this young in most cases.
    Oct 7 2
    • Amazon / Eng mulla
      Captain underpants 👶
      Oct 7
    • Facebook i9js5
      This is not really the case. There are some young managers but it’s not the norm. All the managers in my org are 30+
      Oct 7
  • Flagged by the community.

    • Apple lQFv08
      Exactly!! Hahaha
      Oct 7
    • Amazon FBvu27
      I mean, citing 1 case of suicide- lets check the stat of how many suicides happen in other industries)) like police ?)
      Oct 7

Salary
Comparison

    Real time salary information from verified employees