Original tweet here. I used the threadreader app to get the raw text, which is why the formatting is a bit wonky.
I work in Big Tech. A name you would know and have probably used before.
Wanted to give a rundown of what it’s like from the inside right now.
Obviously insanely radically leftwing. BLM/LGBTQ. Trans flags hanging in office. Pronouns stated before meetings. Special affiliation groups for everyone but white men. All what you’d expect.
But COVID/WFH has totally broken people.
*WFH = Work From Home
They are fundamentally weak, often with no social support outside of work.
They’re the people with no children, no spouse. Only a dog or cat for emotional support.
There’s constant talk, even now, about how hard things are for everyone. Often meetings start with going around the room to ask “How is everyone feeling?”
Literally everyone else went on sad rants about their lives. “I’m so MAD a white supremacist shot 3 black men in Kenosha!”
It’s toxic. When it got to me, I said “Good.” and then a (((lady engineer))) literally proposed that we should not be allowed to answer the question positively. I shit you not.
I think it hurt her that I wasn’t as miserable as her.
She made some argument about “vulnerability”. These people not only want you weak, they want you to expose your vulnerabilities to them so they can exploit them.
They may not intend this explicitly, but whatever twisted ideology they worship ends with this result.
So back to morale. Everyone is demoralized.
This may surprise you, since Big Tech is extremely well paid and has been able to WFH throughout the past 2 years. They’ve been given extra days off, extra stipends, bonuses, etc.
They never had to fear being laid off.
I have some sympathy, and can feel some of this myself. It’s normal and natural to work with people in-person.
WFH can make it easy to overwork. You take fewer breaks, often work past normal working hours.
You don’t feel connected to customers or celebrate success in person.
And as I mentioned, Big Tech is often the only social life for people. I fortunately never made it mine, but my company had all sorts of after-work activities. Sports leagues, game nights, different classes taught by employees. There was a rhythm and connectedness that’s gone.
The Great Resignation is real. Many employees are leaving for better jobs. Remote work has (so far) resulted in more job opportunities for those working in Big Tech, especially outside of Silicon Valley.
And so we backfill those positions, or hire new people, all remote.
We now have employees who have nearly 2 years of tenure who have never met another employee in person, and lives alone in some city away from where the office was.
This would be fine for a normal person, but again, we’re attracting the family-less urbanites scared of…
…even meeting up with their friends at a restaurant.
The churn in jobs also has the major effect of constantly dealing with the overhead of re-assinging projects from people leaving, and onboarding new people.
The new employees don’t get enough attention to succeed.
And the employees that stay end up with a load of work dumped by the former coworkers, plus the responsibility of onboarding the new ones.
There are many software engineers who’ve not written a single line of code in the past year.
While the Woke agitation has slowed due to the productive employees’ ability to simply log off, in addition to the tiredness of the agitators, there is more and more open rebellion regarding pay and profits.
“Bring your whole self to work” was the Big Tech mantra. Tell people about your cool hobbies, share your politics (if you’re far left only), share your sex life.
This plus the feeling of distance an online-only presence creates has made people braver in speaking their thoughts.
You used to have to have the balls to knock on the CEOs office door, or schedule a meeting. Now you can fire off a nasty Slack message straight to her.
People will openly write threads and comments throughout Slack bad-mouthing the higher ups at the company. And they do nothing.
It’s unreal what people will write, with no recourse.
If it were anything remotely RW, I’m certain they’d be immediately fired, but so long as they’re sufficiently LW or minority (anything but straight white man), they can agitate, complain, do no work, and continue employment.
And so the entire company has devolved.
We’re running on the code written in years past. No major new product initatives are being launched.
Workers complain that they’re understaffed and demoralized.
People take constant sick days, or don’t show up at all without record.
It’s very easy to hide when WFH. With such a flux in employees/management and so much allowance for “mental health”, it’s easy to simply no show without punishment.
We hired a new employee and I pinged them at 1pm to see if they’d join a meeting.
They came 10 minutes later. Said they slept in because they didn’t have anything to work on.
It’s got to be mind-boggling for someone not in software.
On a given day, managers (there are several in weird matrix structure) will say things like “What can I do to support you?” “Do you have enough to work on? Too much?” It’s like emotional support.
And you can simply say..
“Oh, I’ve had a hard week. Barely slept. Felt sick. Don’t think I can handle much more this week.”
There’s no real accountability to anyone.
Record profits at the top, because of existing code and product-market fit cruising along, so leaders don’t notice.
It’s utterly surreal to watch the deterioration. To see how quickly an organization can crumble.
And I’m not productive either. I’m constantly bombarded with anti-white, anti-male, woke propaganda.
We’ve even had explicit discussions of assigning less work to URMs (under-represented minorities), because “life is really hard for them right now.” This suggestion was from a lesbian white woman with cats.
As productive as one person can be, you can’t add value when constantly thwarted. Nobody in IT doing tickets anymore to provision things for you…
…large bureaucracy to gatekeep any actions (needs review by X number of committees including now DEI committees).
It’s hard to feel unproductive. I’m not the type who feels great about getting paid to not work, but that’s essentially what I’ve been doing for the last year.
This problem is the worst in Big Tech, so if Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Amazon Prime, or Netflix go down, the world will probably be better off. It’s not essential.
I worry about this apathy spreading to companies that matter. Ones that write software for utilities.
We had a woman who worked for us who was just awful at her job. Could not understand instructions at all. Could not do the job. Barely spoke English.
She wasn’t just not productive, she actually dragged the team down.
I worked with my Director to finally get her fired after…
…failing her Performance Improvement Program (PIP).
HR told us they can’t fire her because she’s Asian and female and in California, that it’s just simply too hard.
This was over 5 years ago.
You have a certain fire in your 20’s. Ready to reform and change everything. You get noticed when you perform. Promoted, bonuses, etc.
But eventually you keep hitting the same problems or gatekeepers over and over. I recall asking an older coworker (mid-thirties at the time)…
…what drove him, and he said he just does it for the paycheck now.
I’m at that point. Lost the fire for career and collecting my paycheck for other purposes in life where the fire has been rekindled.
I worked remote for 5 years at a prior job and this was never the case.
There’s something special about this combo of remote and “your feelings are valid”.
I know this isn’t just my company because I’ve interviewed at many other companies (Big Tech and Unicorns).
Awful conduct at interviews. Demoralized employees who show up late, unprepared, or absolutely do not want to be there.
Things my coworkers spend an enormous amount of their day on:
– Coming up with a “clever” new Zoom background each day (something Harry Potter or Star Wars like children)
– Clever Slack emojis
– Reddit style responses in threads (“First!) and other low brow irony for the lulz.
Going to add a few more examples.
Our director hired a manager, female minority. He said “She’s not qualified but she checks the boxes.”
The first order effect is that this is not good for her or her direct reports, but it gets worse.
She drove 2 high performing engineers straight out of the company. Totally demoralized a third.
Engineers who were able to switched managers, which overloaded the other managers.
Since she had so few direct reports, all new employees were assigned to her and had an awful first experience with the company. Most left soon after.
Instead of firing her (obvious answer), she was moved to another group, where she had the same effect.
She’s still here years later, wreaking havoc.
Don’t hire unqualified people because of race and gender!
Another example. I’ve interviewed many times wanting to leave, but every comparable company how has a “Diversity Panel” interview, which is just a matter of gatekeeping ideological purity at these companies.
They ask questions like: “Why is diversity important to you?” and…
“What have you done to increase diversity at your company?”
In one interview, they re-asked me 3 times because they weren’t satisfied that I was ideologically pure enough.
I value diversity of experience, they were wanting me as a white man to apologize for my sin of being born
People have increasingly been taking “Mental Health Days”. Sometimes they’re using sick days, many times they don’t. It’s just a free vacation, unaccountable.
I have no doubt half the time they ARE used for one of the 3 leading causes of mental illness:
We have or have had policies were interview panels must have at least 1 woman, resulting in having unqualified interviewers rushed in to meet the quota.
Any white men who are in high-up decision making positions must have a BAME (black, asian, minority) partner sign off.
I’ve now had messages and friends reach out to say this isn’t just in Big Tech. That even in manufacturing and hardware this is becoming the norm. FedGov and Big Tech are forcing “diversity, equity, inclusion” requirements on their suppliers. White men in small town Midwest are having some (((consultant))) come in to their factory and say “Hello fellow white men” and talk about their privilege.
Among social liberals, learning about White privilege reduces sympathy, increases blame, and decreases external attributions for White people struggling with poverty: psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi…
There’s way too much “feedback” and and praise in Big Tech. Just a big circle jerk of “shout outs” at meetings. Praise for people just doing average at their jobs.
Not healthy for self-esteem.
Please read my PSA on winner take all markets, which big tech corporations are invariably in. If there’s some idiots reading this wondering how these corporations could possibly pay for employees to literally do nothing, and drive productive, talented White engineers out of their corporations for low quality black wahmens, it’s because these are monopolies. They don’t need to respond to market forces, because there aren’t any.
BTW, it actually very much bothers me that corporations like Facebook are even referred to as “tech companies.” Facebook is a shitty website in a winner take all market. What technological achievements have we seen from Facebook, as compared to, say, car companies in the 1920’s-70’s? What about early 3D graphics corporations? Those were actual tech companies, not Facebook.
These big software companies are a joke. Everyone who ever takes any sort of objective look at the quality of their output, relative to the amount of engineers they have, can only conclude that they are amazingly, almost impossibly unproductive.
From the comments on that video.
It’s well known facebook engineers suck at writing good software. Their REST api alone has gone through so many versions and breaking changes, it’s pit of horrors.
API should be capitalized, but that casual comment sums up what everyone knows. Facebook, and really all these “tech” corps suck at writing software. They are actually so bad that we are entering a world where the software people use is getting slower and slower all the time. Hardware improvements have slowed to a crawl, yet to the extent that these garbage corps even write code anymore their products get slower and more sluggish to use with every update. In fact as the rate of hardware performance improvements slow down it’s almost like the rate at which software performance degrades increases. We’re entering this brave new world where computers will get slower and slower at an increasing rate until they stop working entirely.
I haven’t played a video game in ages, with the exception of the Halo:MCC edition pack that I bought on Steam less than a year ago. Here’s a video that I made because I was blown away at how long it takes to open up the settings part of the menu. Yes, this is no longer something that happens instantaneously.
It takes 5 seconds just to open up the settings. First of all, all of that data should be in memory. Doing the work from the CPU side is utterly trivial, we’re talking about sorting some text, and then telling the GPU to go render it. Flipping between other things in the menu is seamless, as it should be. However, I’m going to actually quantify this for you, because you need to know how utterly absurd this is.
The CPU that I’m running here runs at 4 GHz, and can execute 4 instructions per clock. That means that every second we can theoretically execute 16 billion instructions per core. Even ignoring the other cores, that means every millisecond we can execute 16 million instructions, and every microsecond we can execute 16 thousand instructions. All of the data should be in memory, which means the worst we should be getting is a cache miss. With Out-of-Order execution cores we should only be functionally getting a single cache miss, because the processor can push all the loads forward. So that’s a nice 100ns of time. Doing the work to create some polygons to send to the GPU to render the text is trivial. Same goes for figuring out the order of the text on the screen. Let’s be charitable, and say that this requires 80k instructions (somehow), so we’re looking at a grand total of 5us of time spent.
We are literally doing this one million times faster than 343 Industries.
But let’s say for some reason, probably not a very good one, that we don’t have the data we need in memory, and have to fetch that from the SSD. The latency to an SSD is almost exactly 1ms. Let’s even be charitable and say that they have to go and get the data from a few different text files. I have no idea why, but fine. Worst case scenario we’re looking at maybe 5ms. We are still 1,000x faster than 343 industries.
It’s almost hard to be this slow. The only solution I came up with is that they must be storing the users settings online somewhere. But even that would take about a 100ms latency round trip. So we’re still 50x faster. Instead they must be absolute fucking retards, who are querying one small part of the settings from a server, waiting, then doing this over and over and over again. That is just about the only way that this could even possibly be taking so long.
But the craziest part of all of this is that it used to be slower. I hadn’t played the game in about a year, and had to redownload the game just to get that footage. It used to take about 11-12 seconds to open up the settings menu. I’m trying to explain how cracked out this is. They looked at their program running literally millions of times slower than it ought to, and their solution was to aim for 2x performance improvement.
It’s the real life scene from Zoolander where he looks at the toy model of the “children who can’t read good,” building.
I would actually be less baffled if they didn’t “optimize,” this in the first place. It’s like if someone notices that the titanic is sinking, cups his hands together and bails out a bit of water, and then sits down in a chair and breaks out a smoke. It’s like applying a small touch of scotch tape to a collapsing bridge. It’s like noticing that a 787 has complete engine failure on the runway, so you add a single blowdryer to the wing, pointed backwards.
How is it possible to notice such colossal failure, yet also come up with such inadequate solutions?
Well Microsoft is an oligopoly, so they don’t have to respond to market forces, even in video games. Enjoy your software that runs a million times slower than it should, that’s the best they can do.
It’ll be worse next year.