In the year 2008 a young Miley Cyrus released “7 Things.” While never confirmed, the rumor is that she created this song after her breakup with Nick Jonas. Breakups inspire many people to create poems, songs, books, any literature. A recent breakup between me and my previous employer is the inspiration behind this post.
Miley felt that nothing would change until she told the world the 7 things she hated about Nick Jonas, allegedly. Much like her, I need to post the 7 things I hated about my previous employer.
I won’t announce who the employer is. Although, a quick search about me or even those who know me, know the one company that laid me off. Despite the fact I was going to leave later in the year, I wanted it to be on my terms and not on what they dictated. I guess my lack of a work policy did me in (ha ha). Here it is, the 7 things about my last company.
1. Pulled me away from my career.
Before working in big tech, I was merrily on my career path working in healthcare as an analytics architect. Coming up the ranks from an emergency department nurse and combining my tech skills working with big data, this was the path I had envisioned I would go. It is difficult, however, to ignore the callings of big tech wanting to dabble in healthcare. Ask anyone, when Bezos, or Zuckerburg, or Cook, or Musk come-a-calling, the allure is too strong.
2. Made it damn difficult to get promoted.
I was put into a predefined role when I came to this company. Since this company had so few healthcare centric employees, it was forced to put me into one of more common roles—software developer engineer, data scientist, research scientist, data engineer, project manager, technical product manager (TPM), etc. They didn’t have a clinical informatics role and this is important. All of the predefined roles had “role guidelines” that helped employees “level up” in their career path. I was placed into a research scientist role for the first two years, and later into a TPM role, and the expectations to level had nothing to do with the actual work I was doing. This made it almost impossible for me to reach these bench marks for promotion. Had I done half the work effort in any healthcare facility, merit-based promotions would have been abundant. But because I had to follow a guideline that had nothing to do with my work, I was never promoted.
3. Profit first mentality.
I get it, this is a reason why healthcare sucks, we actually care about patients (or some may actually fake it). Look, when someone comes in with a large laceration, bleeding profusely, and in immense pain, us nurses are not looking to be stingy with equipment to save a limb or a life and control the pain and the bleeding. At that point, our motive isn’t profit first, it’s patient first. It was difficult to drive this attitude within big tech whose main concern was how are we going to make money from this transaction. Who cares if this is the right thing to do, how will it drive up stock? How will it drive customers to spend more, give more, linger more, like us more at the end of the day? Write it up and explain it please.
4. The Fail Fast attitude.
Similar to #3, and again why healthcare is lagging businesswise. Big tech encourages you experiment, fail fast, then start again. It was tough for me, because in healthcare, we can’t fail. Failing could lead to patient harm and the healthcare motto is to “first, do no harm.” There were times when I had to slow down the data scientists because I thought the product wasn’t ready yet. I didn’t want to confuse or misguide anyone who would use this product. But enter the MLP or Most Loveable Product, get it out the door, throw it on the wall to see if it sticks. If it doesn’t, trash it and move on. They trashed one of the products I was on, close to 300 people let go because the product was not viable, it wouldn’t scale. You don’t see this much in healthcare. Is that a positive? Negative? It is something I didn’t like.
5. Golden handcuffs.
What’s the best way to keep people around, giving them stocks—restricted stock options to be clear—that take months or years to vest. Given yearly as part of your merit increase or as part of your promotion, again which never happened to me. It’s actually a beautiful idea. We will give you X% increase in raise, which is ok, but them Y number of stocks which is wow(!). In particular while in a bull market, those could be worth 10% more by the time they vest, which makes them golden. The issue is they have to vest. Which is why they handcuff you to your job because leaving would be like throwing away money.
6. Office Jargon.
This isn’t new to any industry or job. It was annoying at the company. “What’s the delta?” “Let’s circle back.” “Slack me.” “What’s the level of effort?” “What are your metrics?” “How does this help the customer?” “What is the GCCP, DSI, Fill Rate, DAU, CTR, COC, CPI (or any other TLI)?” “Will we dog food or perform A/B testing?” As a new employee it is overwhelming but as someone who has been there for 5+ years I wanted to puke.
7. You make me love you.
Yes, I hated the fact that I loved working there. It’s big tech! It’s the mothership of technology and they wanted me! They recruited me and that is a big pill to swallow. Things were so shiny, so new, so over the top. Too much to list here and this post is already getting long. As Miley did in her song, the next post will reflect the 7 things I like about working there.
Go on to part 2!