Everyone knows that Apple puts out some of the best products in the world. To keep that intact they have very serious rules that they expect employees to follow to the letter. If they don’t, the company has no problem firing them.
Just like any other company, there are plenty of former employees that are sharing their tales of their time there. A lot of the stories tell you a lot about how the company operates. There are even a few that are still working there who are brave enough to talk. However, they don’t give their names for obvious reasons.
You may have read my other article about some of the best reasons to work for Apple, and there are a lot of good ones mentioned in it, but today you will learn about the other side of the coin. There are also plenty of reasons that it’s not a good place to work. Sure, the perks they offer are fantastic, but at what cost? You’ll learn several of those in just a few minutes.
Like if you are going to be graduating from college soon and have your eyes on a job with Apple, you can just forget about it. Or how they monitor every single thing you do and say, or how an employee may not be given any notice at all before being required to work all night long. Keep reading, there are plenty more, some that will blow your mind.
15. Welcome to Apple
If you are lucky enough to be hired on by Apple, you’ll know right away what you’re in for. All new interns get the following message: “There’s work and there’s your life’s work. The kind of work that has your fingerprints all over it. The kind of work that you’d never compromise on. That you’d sacrifice a weekend for. You can do that kind of work for Apple. People don’t come here to play it safe. They come here to swim in the deep end. They want their work to add up to something. Something big. Something that couldn’t happen anywhere else. Welcome to Apple.”
14. Getting in is a one shot deal
Apple has software in place that stops people from reapplying for a job they have been turned down for. All you get is one shot so you better make it good. It won’t be an easy process to get through though.
Luis Abreu said this of his attempt to get a job with the company: “3 screening calls, 5 FaceTime interviews, a trip to Cupertino for 5 two-person interviews lasting a whole day and a lunch at the newest Café Macs. In the end, I got a shallow no.” He added that during one of his interviews he was told “We don’t waste time with the dumb.”
13. Deleting things won’t hide anything from them
Apple keeps a very strong stranglehold on communications, even between employees. They even monitor what’s been deleted.
Tim Su said the following are standard practice at Apple: Code names for every product – no one referred to products any other way. Team members who are also on “special” teams don’t tell their coworkers what they do. Black curtains and frosted windows are everywhere and all trash bins are monitored.
For all of the perks that are offered by the company, it sure sounds like they make you pay dearly for them. You can understand wanting secrecy in terms of trade secrets but when is it considered a bit too much?
12. Very early days
When you work for a company that has offices all across the globe, someone has to sacrifice early days or late nights when meetings are needed. In the case of Apple it’s the Americans that suffer.
A former writer for the company, David Graham said “I remember when bleary-eyed guys in the developer group had to show up for meetings at 4:00am to allow for time-zone differences around the world. They had to do it every day, and I’m sure it disrupted their personal lives.”
11. They don’t work on the best equipment
You would think that the company that supplies the world with some of the greatest products in the world would work on top notch technology, right? Not so fast.
Code writer Brent Royal-Gordon said “Internally, most devices are running test builds of all the software on them, often updating every couple of weeks with the very latest code from the engineering teams. So Apple employees don’t just use Macs, they use really buggy Macs, often with really buggy apps. People on the iOS teams often use really buggy iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches, too. This ensures that the company catches a lot of bugs before anyone on the outside ever sees the software.”
10. Factories actually use Windows
When you buy your next Apple product think about this, it may not have been built with Apple software. That’s right, it may have been built using Microsoft Windows programming.
Apple CEO, Tim Cook, tweeted a photo in 2014 of a manufacturing line he visited in Asia. In the photo you can clearly see a Microsoft Windows operating system on the computer screen in front of the worker. You can be sure that Cook didn’t notice that before sending out the photo for the world to see but it didn’t take long for the world to recognize it. That’s a bit funny isn’t it?
9. Angry customers
Angry customers are all over the world. You can’t get away from them as technology is bound to fail from time to time. When it does it’s a major inconvenience for those that are affected.
However, if you say that your products are the best in the world, you should expect those same customers to be a little angrier than most. One Apple store worker once said “I have had death threats before. I had someone, I can’t even remember why, it may have been an out-of-warranty fix, who told me that because we wouldn’t repair it for free that they would wait outside until I finished work to run me down with their car.” Do you still want to work there?
8. Learn the security features that are in place fast
Once you are brought on board at Apple you have to learn the way they do things and you’ll have to do it fast. They have no problem firing people that don’t follow the rules.
Data Science and Software Engineer Wei Sun said “Almost everything will be at least slightly different from your previous job. If you’re an engineer, there are custom internal tools, unusual practices, and odd office culture norms, even more so than is typical at other companies. Questions should be asked as often as possible during your first month; don’t be afraid to ask. Furthermore, since secrecy is so important at Apple, different teams’ cultures had a chance to become incredibly different from each other. When working in cross-functional projects, take the time to learn about the other teams’ preferred communication styles and other peculiarities. This will save you a lot of time.” It might also save your job.
7. They tell you what to talk to the wife about
Make no mistake about it; Apple controls you in every way. They will even tell you what you can and can’t say to others, including your spouse.
Former User Interface Designer Justin Maxwell said “The measures that Apple takes to protect its creative and intellectual environment are unparalleled in the valley, and it’s been a disappointing experience since leaving there. Apple’s security policy extends to blogs, to speaking engagements, to what we talk about with our spouses. Most people get it and respect it. The ones who don’t, the ones who need to put Apple under their name so they can get a speaking gig at SxSW, are kindly ushered to move on. If I was still at Apple, I would not be responding to this question, nor would I feel wronged for not being able to.”
6. Have to learn the language
Just like any other company in the world, Apple is concerned with the threat of internal leaks. Whenever they send out memos companywide they make sure that each department and section gets a differently worded memo. There may be a punctuation error or some kind of little nuance that is different from the rest.
This way if any of the memos are leaked to the press Apple can easily tell where it came from and start their investigation. That’s a pretty smart move but it really doesn’t do anything to track what is spread by word of mouth. A lot of times those are the leaks that gain traction quickly.
5. The young are not welcomed
Apple doesn’t want young and inexperienced employees working for them. One employee said “It’s an older demographic working there, not the 24-year-old MBAs, most seem to be late 30’s to 40’s, super smart but with real life experience, too. There aren’t any Nerf guns or any of that crap, just people past all that and at the top of their game. It’s not the place for children.”
Since the person that said this did so under anonymity we have to assume that they are a current employee. So take that all you young college grads, Apple doesn’t want you. Don’t worry though, I’m sure Google and Yahoo do.
4. No notice before pulling an all nighter
You have heard coaches of sports teams tell their players that the team comes first. Personal awards come second. Well, Apple is no different, with a variation here and there to form to a company’s belief, instead of that of a sports team.
One anonymous person said “Apple comes first. Not to say you can’t have some personal life or even a pretty normal one, but when stuff gets crazy, work comes first ahead of all else. I’ve been in meetings at 4pm where a dozen people decide we are going to all work all night that night in the office on a problem. No discussion about ‘hey, I have to pick up my kids’ or ‘let me call home first’, everyone nods and agrees, no hesitation.” That certainly doesn’t sound like much fun at all.
3. You come to the office every single day
One of the very first things you learn if you are lucky enough to get a job at Apple is that there is no telecommuting. You come to the office every single day. The only time this isn’t done is if you are sick or dead, and it better be real or you can bet they will find out.
Another anonymous employee said that there is “No work from home. The company culture wants everyone face to face every day and they are very up-front and clear about it. You are in the office every day unless you are sick or dead. Nobody watches what time you are in every day but telecommute is something they very vocally say is not and will not be part of the culture.”
2. You belong to Apple 24/7
Once you sign on the dotted line you belong to Apple and they will not let you forget it. This has caused several employees to quit over the years.
Former employee Ben Ferrell wrote this on why he quit the company, “In recent weeks I contracted a nasty incapacitating mosquito born virus and was hospitalised for a short time. However, rather than receiving support, I was emailed a presentation to my hospital bed with a note that it needed to be completed ‘urgently’. Even on the very morning of my wedding I was still being harassed by phone and email to send a report someone had lost.”
1. Apple’s feedback is not always professional
It’s always good to get feedback from the higher ups in a company, unless of course that company is Apple. Every single week the executives analyze every aspect of the business and they pull no punches in what is expected and how you are doing in accordance to what they expect. It was once said that they “Have high expectations of everyone. Apple expects everything you do to be amazing.”
Former Apple Designer said “From a design perspective, having every junior- level designer getting direct executive-level feedback is killer. On a regular basis you either get positive feedback or are told to stop doing stupid sh-t.” At least they don’t try to give you a false sense of security.
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