In 2015, LinkedIn came in first as the top-twenty five fastest growing technology companies in America. There is hardly anything to detest about working at a popular Silicon Valley company that offers healthy free food, chair massages, a luxuriously furnished on-site gym and an ice-cream café that serves real, velvety ice cream, sorbet and frozen yogurts. There is also the typical gaming arcade featuring foosball and video games for employees who want to take a break from all the software development, engineering, management or sales work that goes on at LinkedIn. With all the happy-go-lucky workmates to go around, this social media company seems like a little slice of heaven. But, as in most workplaces, there are those little, pesky frustrations about working at LinkedIn that even the best sorbet or slice of pizza cannot make up for.
1. Forget About Flextime, You Must Commute
It’s the 21 century and being able to work from home when you need to is one of the perks of living in modern times, not to mention working in a blue-chip tech company. But LinkedIn is not having it. The company is located in Mountain View,California, so if you do not live in this area, be prepared for long commutes. The commute from San Francisco to Mountain View can eat up to four hours of your time, to and fro, not to mention the potential exhaustion if you are not the type to sit in one place for more than thirty minutes. Your ability to handle the commute is so vital that prospective employees are always asked whether they would be willing to commute to the Mountain View headquarters each workday. Luckily, there are LinkedIn shuttle buses and the new MVgo shuttles that pick you up at designated neighborhoods and drop you at work so you do not need to drive. Amazon, Dell, Intuit, and Apple are some of the top technology companies allowing their employees to work part or the entire week at home, but LinkedIn is not bothered with any of this flextime, telecommuting, work-from-home fad.
2. You Just Might Not Have a Life
An intense work environment and churning out crazy hours is part of the wonderful magic of working at a top tech company. Without a doubt, you could not compare LinkedIn with Amazon in terms of work demands—Amazon prides itself in having an intense, overbearing work culture whereas LinkedIn is more about meeting deadlines than putting in hours of work. Even then, some teams such as customer service representatives, account executives, sales and product development can have a skewed work-life balance. If you work in any of these teams, be prepared to lose your weekends and to put in more than the regular eight hours per day of work. Overall, for all the foosball, ice cream and yoga, there is a high demand on employees to either thrive or leave. One employee complained that people typically burn out 2-3 years into working for LinkedIn.
3. Minimal Career Progression
LinkedIn is on a spectacular growth frenzy if its new 450,000 square feet offices in San Francisco and its 120,000 square foot tower in Sunnyvale are anything to go by. The company is looking to add up to 7,500 new employees over the next two or three years. While there is nothing particularly wrong with this kind of explosive growth, new hires can tend to have very limited room for expansion at LinkedIn. Going by employee reviews, most complain about feeling stifled in their career growth. Of course, office politics plays a role in who is promoted but the company’s rapid growth and absorption of new people means that you could find yourself as an account executive for many years with minimal prospects for growth. The wages are relatively lucrative as is expected from a Silicon Valley company but the great pay is only a consolation when you are stuck at the bottom of the career ladder. If you are roaring for progression, it may take a long while before getting that bump up the ladder.
4. Lack of Horizontal Consistency
Large companies can be a great deal of fun to work at—there are plenty of teams so you have an infinite number of people whom you can choose to work with and be friends with, unlike in a smaller company where you are stuck with more or less the same folks. There is also more buzz, more drama and more adrenaline in a company where there are over 500 people at the office on any given day. The downside is that the horizontal bureaucracy can be a tad frustrating. If you belong to the product management team, getting someone in the software engineering team to repair a poorly written code can take hours of going round and round in circles to get the right person to repair the code! Some employees complain of departmentalization where each department seems to be working on their own thing, therefore there is very limited cross-team collaboration. Unless you have good, close friends on the other team, getting help from that other team will almost be a shot in the darkness unless you have the time to keep shooting until you score the bull’s eye. Frankly, no one has this kind of time and it can get quite frustrating for someone who is not pushy.
5. You Need to Act Like You Are 18, All The Time
There is barely anyone in their forties working for LinkedIn; the large majority is by far millenials, with the average employee aged 35 years. It is not surprising why older employees and bosses traditionally have a dislike for millenials—these young workers are naturally rowdy, laid-back, shifty and extremely individualistic. The drill is the same at LinkedIn where millenials abound; teammates can be very touchy-feely, people are constantly hugging, hurdling together or getting rowdy in the name of team spirit. If you have a more mature disposition or you are not a party animal, you might feel a little or a lot left out at LinkedIn. Being a tech company with a relaxed work culture and whose majority of employees are younger than 35 years, things can get quite noisy, often at the times you least expect, like at 10 in the morning. Obviously, this is not the place to be if you are looking for less dramatic, nice, well-mannered and hush colleagues to work with. Do not get it wrong, the organizational culture at LinkedIn is excellent and the people are great. They are just mostly a noisy, juvenile bunch.
See Also: 25 Tips to Grow Your LinkedIn Network
Overall, LinkedIn is certainly one of the best technology/social media companies to work with. It is not only a Forbes’ Fast Tech 25; it is also a company that is emulated for its innovative work culture and the wide buffet of perks it offers its employees to keep them as loyal and enthusiastic as they are. Most employees swear that even if they were offered a 100% salary increase elsewhere they would not leave LinkedIn. So, if you are willing to potentially spend four hours a day in a shuttle, hug your colleagues at least twice a day and deal with the team politics, working at LinkedIn might not be as frustrating after all.