Google, Facebook, and Amazon win over software engineering recruits in a number of ways, including huge pay packages, a culture of cool perks, and the promise of working on state-of-the-art, impactful technologies. Of course, there are still downsides to every job, and none of the three tech giants are immune from employee criticism.
Most of the bigger issues have been well-covered. Employees have shown major public concern over Facebook’s privacy issues, Google’s response to harassment claims, and the treatment of Amazon’s warehouse employees. Then there’s the smaller stuff: employee concerns that pale in comparison to the seriousness of the aforementioned scandals. We’ve captured an assortment of complaints about each company, drawn from anonymous interviews with current and former employees (and filled in by a few recent online threads).
Google: Complaints About Gym, Brilliant Minds
It’s roughly 10 times harder to get a job at Google than it is to get into Harvard. Needless to say, the search engine giant employs almost exclusively brilliant people because it rarely, if ever, needs to settle for lesser talent. Yet offices full of extremely intelligent individuals can sometimes prove a detriment, suggests one current Google engineer: “Not everyone is going to be developing the next big thing… There’s tons of tedious and uninteresting work that needs to be done to maintain the big one cash cow [in search].”
A lot of candidates will sign off on any job description to get into Google and be paid accordingly, but smart people get bored fairly quickly, he added.
This is not only an issue for the employees who may feel “stuck” working on legacy products, but also those who work alongside of them. With Google atop what’s likely a strong résumé, there is plenty of opportunity to move and more turnover than one may think, the engineer said: “You’ll see a lot of [backfilling] the same roles,” which puts more pressure on those who still remain on a particular team.
Then there are the interns and fresh grads who’ve yet to fully understand exactly what they’re doing. “The complete lack of self-awareness from 20-year-olds who believe they’re changing the world on day 11 will never stop bothering me,” another employee said.
Meanwhile, several people across various Blind forums complained about on-campus gyms at Google, including their size… and more specifically the lack of equipment for intense weightlifting. Apparently you can slim down at Google, but it’s rather difficult to bulk up. Where are all the squat racks?
Facebook: Complaints About a ‘Too Political’ Office
Several recent scandals at Facebook have helped create an office environment that some employees believe is too political. Speaking to us late last year, one employee recalled a sense of acrimony at his office that was caused primarily by political divisiveness.
Business Insider reported on an employee divide at Facebook where roughly 160 workers joined together on an internal message board to protest the company’s “intolerant” liberal culture that is “dripping [with] hate” for conservatives. “The perception that Facebook has been used as a medium for right-wing influence is very much part of the discussion,” the employee said at the time.
Talking with him again this week, the engineer said that Facebook’s scandal-plagued [ast two years have started creating annoyances in his social life. “People have come up to me multiple times during social occasions and complained about Facebook as if I was [CEO Mark] Zuckerberg,” he said. “I’ve never even met him!”
Elsewhere, one of the more common complaints across several recent message boards is Facebook’s affinity for open office plans. They are said to be designed for collaboration, yet the reality is dozens of rows in one big room filled with a massive number of people all cross-chattering, according to multiple posts. Others said the designs generally create a lack of privacy.
“Nothing for me is bad but the bathrooms,” one intern commented to us last year. So there’s that.
Amazon: It’s About a Lack of Pay and Cool Stuff
Several complaints about working for Amazon center on the company’s 401k plan as it relates to high-compensation employees. “Their 401k sucks b***s,” noted one employee, bluntly. While it includes a match, there are reportedly tight limitations on contributions, at least as far as big earners are concerned. Contributions can also (allegedly) partially returned at the end of the year in situations where company thresholds are missed.
Past employees have also made noise over a lack of free Prime accounts and what some characterize as limited earning potential on restricted stock due to the current share price of just under $1,800.
There aren’t many who are up in arms over the company pulling out of its deal to create a second headquarters in New York City’s Long Island City neighborhood, though there are certainly a few. At least three Amazon employees bought apartments near the planned NYC headquarters ahead of the announcement, according to the Wall Street Journal. When Amazon pulled out of the deal a few weeks later, they were accidentally stuck with more of a vacation home.
This article originally appeared in eFinancialCareers.