THANK YOU GROUPON, FOR REMINDING US OF THE GLORY THAT IS GLASSDOOR.COM. Groupon, the all-star white-hot unstoppable brilliant daily deal startup that launched a thousand clones, is being sued by Chicago employees for abusive working conditions (think “sales staff cries all the time”). Nevermind that Groupon is the PointCast of 2011–”I don’t understand how everyone isn’t vomiting in their mouths over Groupon,” one exhausted founder told Betabeat a short time ago–let’s talk about GlassDoor. The all-anonymous, all-unverified rumormongering-est site of them all, a thorn in the side of employers who are forced to endure slander or pay GlassDoor to clean up their profiles, and a blight on our eyes as we navigate its rabbit hole-like interface in search of smack talk.
Let’s start with Gilt Groupe, which we’ve heard is an unpleasant work environment for developers–meaning alternates between being a nightmare and being a snore. Long hours was the top complaint among the ten reviews on GlassDoor, but this one stood out for eloquence:
Similarity to “Devil Wears Prada” attitude of management is shocking – disrespect was shown to assistants on a daily basis; it is often the support staff that are blamed for management’s errors
Talk about long hours! – 8-6:30 is expected, and many people do not take breaks or lunch. Work/life balance? There’s something else besides “work” called “life”?
Time off was frowned upon – often when someone called in sick, others in the office would gossip about where they were, insinuating that they were on an interview for another job (wonder why?)
Cutthroat atmosphere and “blame game” means that others sometimes try to sabotage their colleagues… no teamwork makes for dismal morale. It wasn’t uncommon to see people crying after being publicly disrespected.
No feedback for positive contributions to the company, but bullied, shouted at, and often blamed.
Poor work environment: Manic atmosphere of running around, and due to rapid hiring and little space, people are crammed into an overcrowded work area with little ventilation, often no windows, and an open office area, almost like a factory. To top it off, there aren’t enough bathrooms for the number of employees, so the bathroom is often filthy, with trash left on the floor by the end of the day, and in dire need of an upgrade – spaces in between the doors mean you can see people inside of the stalls!
Overall, this was the most abrasive work environment I’ve seen to date – yes, pay is important, but office culture is what decides how happy you’ll be at a company.
Now, how about Aol, whose employees seem to lack the faith:
- “AOL was never the same when Steve Case left the company. The company has been going downhill from that point forward…”
- “not able catch with market speed”
- “No clear strategy to turnaround company. Feels like it’s been in a freefall for years with annual layoffs without anything to look forward to.”
- “It is frustrating often playing catch-up with our competitors; it seems the culture of innovation is lacking. Management direction changes swiftly, and often without adequate communication or buy-in from the rank-and-file. The employee base is shell-shocked from years of perennial layoffs and there’s a definite culture of fear that stifles productive risk-taking and honest criticism.”
- “high turnover due to a belief that AOL’s best days are behind it.”
- “senior leadership is clueless – this is sufficient feedback”
- “Short breaks – We get a half hour for lunch and 2 fifteen minute breaks. It’s tough to really take a break in that short amount of time.”
- “Work-life balance is a crapshoot, though generally skewed towards the work side; the high turnover is indicative of how stressful life at Amazon can be”
- “Office politics can make life miserable; because Amazon is made up of lots of small teams (two-pizza rule), you need to have a boss that has your back, otherwise you will get screwed”
- “Workload: I’m flabbergasted about this. It’s unbelievable. I work pretty darn hard, and yet it’s not enough. Emails on Sunday morning. New projects due in 24 hours. Outrageous expectations that require 12 hour work-days. I’m in my 40s… I don’t have the energy or desire to devote my life to a company. This is the point in my career where I should be balancing better and enjoying my family more.
- “Micromanaging: This is utterly ridiculous. I consider myself a professional. I’m not an hourly temp worker, I’m an exempt mid-level employee. Two weekends ago I worked the entire weekend, along with my manager. We worked Friday, Saturday and most of the day Sunday on a specific project. Tuesday morning, I had a doctor appointment and came in 90 minutes late (with pre-approval from my manager). Later in the morning, he asked me if I had submitted my request for personal time. I was stunned. Here I worked my entire weekend in the office, but had to use personal time for a doctor appointment? Unbelievable. The micromanaging also includes a good 50 emails a day, a zillion check-ins, constant “constructive criticism”, frequent meetings, and a question about everything. I can barely even sneeze without having to vet it through my manager first.”
STRIKE IT LIKE IT’S HOT. Adstruc, an older, Boulder, disruptive sort of TechStars startup, is rumored to be running out of money as it comes up on the one-year anniversary of its Series A. Time to raise the stakes! But we’re not expecting this team to fall victim to the seed-stage slaughter. Like, just check out their hipsterish new billboard campaign. You are not a clone. You are a beautiful and unique startup.
ANGEL MAKES APIS, LISTS, FORTUNES. AngelList has a man in New York! Coder and former IA Ventures intern Andrew Cove is back in town after spending most of August in San Francisco, and we heard he’s already started his duties as Venture Hacker for the crowdsourced funding hub, a rumor supported by the fact that it seems he’s been updating AngelList’s API and tweeted last week that he’s started working out of Dogpatch Labs. He’s also just slipped his Twitter handle from @andrewacove to @aac–it’s more profesh, y’know? Like getting a new haircut. Looks good on ya, Mr. Cove. Let’s do an interview. UPDATE: AngelList dev Joshua Slayton rules the API, Mr. Cove informs us via Twttr.