A megacorp is not your dream job January 1, 2021 on Drew DeVault's blog

Megacorporations1 do not care about you. You’re worth nothing to them. Google made $66 billion in 2014 — even if you made an exorbitant $500K salary, you only cost them .00075% of that revenue. They are not invested in you. Why should you invest in them? Why should you give a company that isn’t invested in you 40+ hours of your week, half your waking life, the only life you get?

You will have little to no meaningful autonomy, impact, or influence. Your manager’s manager’s manager’s manager (1) will exist, and (2) will not know your name, and probably not your manager’s name either. The company will be good at advertising their jobs, especially to fresh grads, and you will no doubt have dozens of cool project in mind that you’re itching to get involved with. You won’t be assigned any of them — all vacancies are already filled by tenured staff and nepotism. You’re more likely to work on a product you have hardly ever heard of or used, doing work that doesn’t interest you or meaningfully impact anyone you know.

A business doesn’t get a billion-dollar valuation (or… ugh… a trillion-dollar valuation) by having a productive team which takes good care of its employees, rewarding them with interesting projects, or quickly correcting toxic work environments. A business might get millions of dollars, at most, with that approach. The megacorps got their 10th figure with another strategy: ruthlessness. They create and exploit monopolies, and bribe regulators to look the other way. They acquire and dismantle competitors. They hire H1B’s and subject them to payroll fraud and workplace abuse, confident that they can’t quit without risking their visa. Megacorps are a faceless machine which is interested only in making as much money as possible with any resources at their disposal, among those being a budget which exceeds most national GDPs.2

If anything goes wrong in this heartless environment, you’re going to be in a very weak position. If you go to HR3 for almost any dispute, they are unlikely to help. If you quit, remember that they will have forced you to sign an NDA and a non-compete. You’re rolling the dice on whether or not they’ll decide that you’ve overstepped (and they can decide that — the terms are virtually impossible not to breach). That .00075% of their annual revenue you took home? They could easily spend 100x that on lawyers without breaking a sweat, and money is justice in the United States. You will likely have no recourse if they wrong you.

They may hurt you, but even worse, they will make you hurt others. You will be complicit in their ruthlessness. Privacy dragnets, union busting, monopolistic behavior and lobbying, faux-slavery of gig workers in domestic warehouses and actual-slavery of workers in foreign factories, answering to nations committing actual ongoing genocide — this is only possible because highly skilled individuals like yourself chose to work for them, build their war chest, or even directly contribute to these efforts. Your salary may be a drop in the bucket to them, but consider how much that figure means to you. If you make that $500K, they spend 1.5× that after overhead, and they’d only do it if they expect a return on that investment. Would you give a corporation with this much blood on its hands $750K of your worth? Pocket change to them, maybe, but a lot of value to you, value that you could be adding somewhere else.

They won’t care about you. They won’t be invested in you. They won’t give you interesting work. You will have no recourse if things go wrong, and things are primed to go wrong. They could hurt you, and they could make you hurt others. Don’t fall for their propaganda.

Megacorps are, in fact, in the minority. There are tens of thousands of other tech companies that could use your help. Tech workers are in high demand — you have choices! You will probably be much happier at a small to mid-size company. The “dream job” megacorps have sold you on is just good marketing.

  1. EDIT @ 23:37 UTC: It bears clarifying that I’m referring to extremely large companies, at or near the scale of FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google). Hundreds of billions of dollars or more in market cap. ↩︎

  2. Political side thought: Amazon’s revenue in 2019 alone exceeds the GDP of 150 sovereign nations. Is undemocratic ownership of resources and power on that scale just? ↩︎

  3. Quick reminder that HR’s job is to protect the company, not you. This applies to any company, not just megacorps. If you have a problem that you need to bring to HR, you should have a lawyer draft that letter, and you should polish up your resume first. ↩︎

⇒ This article is also available on gemini.

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