Cupertino Nightmares: 15 Apple Business Practices To Avoid

Apple is one of the most reputable tech companies in the world with some of the highest paid interns. Working there must therefore be a dream job, right? Wrong. Over on the career community site Glassdoor, there are plenty of complaints and horror stories from current and former Apple engineers, developers and project managers. Here are some of their chief bugbears that other businesses would do well to avoid.

Apple picture from Shutterstock

[Note: Just to be clear, we’re not saying these complaints represent what all Apple employees think. These are just the opinions of a small number of people. Every large company has its own perks and downsides; even Apple.]

#1 Fast employee burnout

Writing on Glassdoor, one senior software engineer called Apple a "passionate place to work", but this intensity can cause people to run out of steam.

Another added, "be mindful that a lot of employees are at or near burn-out. Don't build a meat grinder. Relax on departmental budgets for outings/events. Free food would be a great perk."

#2 Dystopian-style amenities

One employee thought that Apple was lacking in amenities — with no ping pong, foosball or recreation options in the buildings except for one.

"Silent, dull environment, with everyone just simply doing their work and like robots — much like a big professional corporate, no startup culture...gym is not free like other companies. Cafeteria is not as great as companies liked LinkedIn, Intuit, Netflix — and not even close to Google, Facebook."

#3 Poor work-life balance

This is one of the most glaring, common complaints in such a fast-paced environment on Glassdoor.

"Work-life balance is non-existent," said a software engineer. "Vacation is not very good."

A manager added, "many emails arrive after 10 pm, people still finishing their work — hard to find a good balance. You want to support the team, so all in. You really need to stand out and work hard to even be considered for a promotion."

Another said there is also a lot of overtime.

#4 No leeway for employees with families

A presentation designer valued the way that Apple employees truly cares about their work, but says that a "workaholic work environment" comes along in the package.

"Not good for employees, not much understanding of family emergency, etc."

#5 Pushing beyond your limits is encouraged

Working at one of the top-notch technology giants in the world is challenging.

One systems design engineer reported, "You get to use these amazing products to do your daily job...the on-boarding is very aggressive and you'll be expected to ramp up from day one. You will push yourself beyond what you have thus far, and you'll be asked to pursue excellence with much more aggression than you've thus far."

#6 Cramped work spaces

A senior software engineer hails the competitive salary, benefits and smart colleagues, but has reservations about the space which is getting cluttered from so many newcomers.

"Apple is hiring so rapidly into my department that we all have to share an office with another employee. Perhaps when we move to the new 'spaceship' campus I'll get a private office."

#7 Dodgy office politics

A software engineer commended Apple's brilliant colleagues on Glassdoor, but commented on the bureaucracy: "Alas, those smart colleagues are sometimes arrogant. With no formal hierarchy in many teams, everyone is formally equal, but as it always happens in situations like this, some are more equal than others."

"Treat everyone in organisation better, not just upper management, and you would have higher employee satisfaction and retention," a production designer advised in a review.

#8 Salary disputes

A transducer design engineer doesn't believe that newer employees are properly reimbursed for their time spent on projects.

Another worker wrote, "expect to work 15 hours a day even on weekends and during vacation — compensation is so-so for the amount of work you do...forget your evenings as you will be on China calls."

#9 Company secrecy "like a gun to your head"

Apple is notorious for its cult-like secrecy when it comes to new products. Leander Kahney, author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products called it "the iron curtain."

"Out of everything I've done in my life, I've never seen a more secret environment than working here," said a former Apple engineer in the text. "We were constantly under threat of losing our jobs for revealing any shred of anything. And even with Apple, your neighbours often didn't know what you were working on...the secrecy was like a gun to your head. Make one false move and we'll pull this trigger."

"Due to secrecy...often several teams work on similar solutions wasting engineering hours. Similar mistakes from similar teams can sometimes be seen year to year."

#10 Limited diversity

A product design engineer felt that Apple was entrenched with middle-aged Caucasians with "questionable moral standings."

"There is little diversity in leadership, and few successful role models for people who aren't old white guys."

#11 Ignoring of best coding practices

A former software engineer had a long-winded rant regarding the informational systems and technology platform and the unwillingness of managers to move from apparently outdated models. According to the employee, engineers barely make an impact because they're not allowed to code with the best practices.

"The real problem with this place is the contracting model that started long time ago. The whole IS&T was built on top of it. A lot of the full time including many managers are coming from that background. The technologies, methodologies and design patterns that you have learned are going to cause (management) fear of losing control and that is something they really do not want to see because they have nowhere else better to go. If you are skillful and young, join a startup. If you can get an offer from anywhere else but IS&T from Apple, by all means go for it."

"Avoid IS&T like the plague," added another former employee.

#12 "Nonfunctional HR."

Some managers allegedly fabricated stories and lies to make them look good in front of others, according to a former principal engineer. Reporting to HR did little to apparently address these issues.

"HR plays very weak role. Reporting management issues to HR does not help," a former principal engineer wrote.

#13 A lack of excitement

A software engineer can't understand why most of Apple employees seem to enjoy working at the company.

"To me, my job is boring. They don't value creativity or insight; they value carrying out the tasks that management sets out for you. The company's priorities don't make a whole lot of sense either...there doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency in some areas, while other areas are on the 'death march' from release to release."

#14 Poor communication and delegation

One employee, who had no job assignment nor any introduction to the group or keys to the group area, thought that Apple wasted their time.

"No matter how much I studied the product line and showed how I could use my skill set to really help them where I knew help was needed, all I got was nothing, no communication, no job assignment. So I watched a critical product get delayed, and delayed, and delayed. I was like, "this is Apple?" I looked back at my resumé to make sure it didn't say somewhere, "I am skilled at being ignored and tapping my fingers on my desk."

#15 Poor leadership

An engineering project manager thought that colleagues were inexperienced, and there was no training to help them out of that pit.

"They tend to promote good performers without any management skills and then don't help them obtain any. Be extremely judicious in getting onto a team that has great leadership because there is a huge inconsistency in management skills."

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.


    So basically they're complaining because it isn't a ridiculous company that pays workers to play games?

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