This article is a follow-up post from the original article – ‘I Quit: What Really Goes on at Apple’ – posted here
It should be no surprise to anyone reading this, that I wrote a blog last week about why I quit Apple. In this article I covered the main themes that I deemed as a toxic culture of bullying, harassment and manufactured unnecessary pressure that seemed to serve no productive purpose. I’m not going to go in to more detail here, however I wanted to debrief about why I wrote this article and touch on the response I’ve had.
For a company as large as Apple, I have to say how surprised I am at the attention this article has received across global media. I’ve never Googled myself in the past, but did the other night and was shocked at just how far across the cyber world this article has reached. It’s been translated in to German, French, Chinese, and more. Surely I’m not the first Apple employee to disclose the nature of the Apple culture in light of leaving the company? However it seems that this is indeed the case. Some articles refer to a ‘trend of Apple employees speaking out upon leaving’, however they don’t back up this claim.
Upon reading other articles, journalists speak of their ‘shock’ at me ‘going on the record’ about my time there, which really confuses and frustrates me. Their language drips of passive awe of this ‘tech giant’, and a dangerous sub-text of positioning Apple the same as a religious organisation that has the same grip on us as the church did back in the middle ages. I feel as if I’ve just quit Willy Wonker’s Chocolate Factory “where nobody’s ever seen going in and nobody’s ever seen going out” and now everyone is hungry for what really goes on ‘inside’. Some have even mentioned NDAs as the reason for no one speaking out. However I’m not giving away company secrets here, I’m simply saying that in my experience it’s a shitty workplace.
In my opinion, Apple does a great job at de-motivating individuals and crushing people’s self-esteem. The constant ‘dog and pony show’ is hard to keep up with and speaking against management receives tailored and subtle retaliation that infects even the most level-headed mind and leaves you questioning your own abilities, confidence and skill, no matter how experienced you are. I believe that a lot of people leave Apple, feeling so down following this soul-sucking experience that they no longer feel they have a voice to speak out, nor do they feel they even deserve to speak out. Instead, they feel as if they have failed.
Since writing my article I’ve received several thousand personal emails from current and ex-Apple employees thanking me for speaking out and telling me their very personal stories of almost identical experiences. Firstly, I thank these people for your emails of support and thank them for sharing their stories, however the question that needs to be asked is, why is it no one speaks out publicly?
Don’t get me wrong – it’s difficult. The last week has been incredibly tough. However I am still in shock that in this day and age of social media – no one else has taken to the air waves.
Anyway given the media attention and thousands of questions I received, I wanted to clarify a few things about why I wrote this article.
Firstly I am not a “disgruntled employee” I’m simply shocked and disappointed, my resignation came as a shock to my colleagues and I am not writing of my experience from a soap box of angst. I severed my ties with Apple in a moment of positive self-preservation from my own mental and physical well-being, as well as the fact that we are taught from a very young age to never tolerate bullies. So I wrote this article for two reasons:
1. I believe that a company as large and influential as Apple has great social responsibility. If an organisation claims to ‘think different’, understand people, care for its workers and make the world a better place, then they should be held accountable by their customers and their employees. Their own founder – Jobs – speaks words of wisdom about not accepting others negativity and dogma, exactly what I experienced. I feel people should be cautious of such large organisations that pull on our emotional consumer heart-strings and that they should not be glorified in the way they are. Apple is simply a company and if they had supported me when I needed it and showed they cared for my well-being and addressed my valid concerns like a normal company, I may still be there, even with the long hours and numerous meetings. Something about mutual respect tends to motivate an individual to put in the hard yards. When this respect and trust is absent, long hours become non-productive and burn you out. However emotional and physical well-being as well as family life must come first in my opinion, and my experiences at Apple were bleeding in to my personal life which was a sign for me to cut ties. I’m not stupid – I know that other employees enjoy their time at Apple – however I should never have been exposed to what I was exposed to which is what I’m writing about.
2. I want to encourage people to stand up against bullying, harassment and intimidation. Don’t normalise this behaviour or dismiss it as ‘corporate’ or ‘normal in the tech industry’. Human beings deserve to be treated like human beings and given respect no matter what rung of the corporate ladder they cling from. I believe in honesty, transparency and mutual trust in the workplace and I did not get that from Apple and, from what I’ve read from my readers, neither do thousands of others who are trapped in toxic workplaces with mind-game playing managers yielding giant egos.
These two reasons alone are why I wrote this article. I’m saddened that so many others have been or are going through the same situation, but I’m even more saddened that no one has spoken up. I don’t blame the individuals experiencing the bullying for not speaking up, I blame the organisations for successfully killing people’s’ self-esteem to the point where they’re so down, they can’t even recognise and acknowledge text-book bullying, harassment and intimidation and even blame themselves.
I personally won’t be buying the Apple Watch, but I wish Apple all the best. I did work with some managers there I respect and I do have friends there, most of whom will probably never speak to me again because I’ve spoken my mind… Sad.
I do believe Apple need to change the way they treat employees and I predict that if they don’t, this problem won’t go away for them. They need to innovate internally just like they do with their products or they will become entrenched in business models and processes that will fast become outdated as the company refuses to change how they operate on the inside.
Thanks to everyone who wrote to me for your support – you’ve made my week.
Not a ‘disgruntled employee’, not ‘on a rant’, not ‘sacked’, not a ‘pussy’, just some bloke who believes in standing up for what you believe in and not compromising your own values and beliefs no matter what the situation and circumstance or how large the organisation.
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