About a month ago, after years of designing in various industries, making websites for small-time clients, working at failed and debatably successful startups, and fiddling with random side projects, I had been offered an interview at Apple. I couldn’t believe it.
So begins this blog post in the Apple Daily section of Medium by one Jordan Price, a UI/UX Designer. He was actually working for a third party contractor, but they told him an opportunity had come up at Apple.
After a single interview with three people for less than an hour, he was offered a contract position as a mobile designer at the headquarters of cool in Cupertino, California. Apple in his eyes was "the most highly-regarded company a designer could work for."
Wow! I was so ecstatic that I had screamed when I got off the phone. My parents and family were super excited when I told them the news. I had posted the news to Facebook, and I had never gotten so many likes and congratulations on anything before. I got more likes when I announced that I got a job at Apple than when my daughter was born.
It didn't stop there. It was like Jordan had suddenly been invited to the popular kids party. People he had "friended" years ago and hadn't talked to since were sending messages. His new Apple role brought lots of new followers to @supercooljordan on Twitter.
He writes that he couldn't sleep on the nights leading up to his start date, with so many questions running around in his head. “What does this mean for my career? What will I be working on? Where will this take me?
Then the start date comes, and it sounds as if the honeymoon ended almost before it began. He said he took a substantial pay cut over his previous work and Apple's inflexible hours made an immediate impact on the quality time he was able to spend with his young daughter.
"On boarding was super bumpy, and they had so many passwords, accounts, and logins that it took nearly a month just for me to get on the server. There were meetings all the time which were disruptive to everyone’s productivity."
On boarding was super bumpy, and they had so many passwords, accounts, and logins that it took nearly a month just for me to get on the server. There were meetings all the time which were disruptive to everyone’s productivity, but they seemed to be a necessary evil in a company that’s so large with such high-quality products. It was all a bit bothersome, but nothing that would be a big problem in the long-term I thought.
However, there was a big problem he says that showed up immediately, in the form of his immediate boss. Price says he had a habit of making personal insults masquerading as jokes to anyone below him, and the boss soon began making direct and indirect insults to him.
I felt more like I was a teenager working at a crappy retail job than a professional working at one of the greatest tech companies in the world.
So Jordan said he tried to concentrate on the bright side of life. After all, there was a lot to be grateful for. He was working at Apple of all places, with world-class designers who had sharp eyes and paid great attention to "every single pixel, screen, feature, and interaction." The food in the company cafeteria was also pretty great and he liked his new iPad Air. How bad could it be?
But the jokes, insults, and negativity from my boss started distracting me from getting work done. My coworkers that stood their ground and set boundaries seemed to end up on a shit list of sorts and were out of the inner circle of people that kissed the producer’s ass. I started to become one of those people that desperately wanted Friday evening to arrive, and I dreaded Sunday nights. Few of my friends or family wanted to hear that working at Apple actually wasn’t so great. They loved to say, 'Just do it for your resume.' or 'You have to be the bigger man.' or 'You just started. You can’t leave yet.'
"I started to become one of those people that desperately wanted Friday evening to arrive, and I dreaded Sunday nights."
All that sounds like pretty good advice and the kinds of things most of us might say to a friend struggling at work.
So one morning, Jordan wakes up a little later than usual, misses the Apple employee bus that makes the long commute bearable for many, and begins the drive into work in his own car.
On the way, he slowly simmers about the traffic and how he would rather be taking his daughter to her preschool like he did before he started at Apple.
Jordan says he finally gets into work, immediately has to go to a meeting, returns to his desk, and is hit with another "low-blow insult wrapped up nicely as a joke" by his immediate boss.
He tries to ignore it, but has a hard time concentrating on his work.
I was too caught up thinking about how I should deal with the situation. Should I put in my notice? Could I make it to the end of my contract? Could I switch to a different team? How could I find a new job if I was always stuck in Cupertino? Maybe I should bop my punk boss in his nose? No don’t do that, Jordan.
"At lunch time I wiped the iPad data clean, put the files I had been working on neatly on the server, left all their belongings on my desk, and I got in my car and drove home."
Here is what he does do though.
At lunch time I wiped the iPad data clean, put the files I had been working on neatly on the server, left all their belongings on my desk, and I got in my car and drove home. I left a message for my boss and told him he’s the worst boss I had ever encountered in my entire professional career and that I could no longer work under him no matter how good Apple might look on my resume.
Rather predictably, the third party company that contracted with Jordan Price "is furious" in his words, because he has potentially jeopardized their relationship with Apple. And they feel he acted "highly unprofessionally" by walking out.
I think most Staffing Talk readers would concur on both counts.
I’m not really proud of myself for doing that, and I do feel terrible for destroying the long relationship I had with the recruiter who helped me land the interview. This is all an especially difficult pill to swallow because I was so excited to work for Apple. I’m not sure if this will haunt me or not, but all I know is that I wanted to work at Apple really bad, and now not so much.
Now, not so much. What do you think about Jordan Price's response to inflexible hours, a lower pay rate than he was used to, lots of meetings and an insulting boss?
I don't think any of those things put Price in any select group. Millions of people in corporate America complain about those same issues every day.
As for why Price didn't attempt to reach out to Human Resources at Apple, here is his response.
It’s debatable if it would have helped the situation, but I didn’t feel there was anyone to turn to. It was unclear who exactly I even worked for or who I should share my grievances with. I was contracted by one company, yet paid by another contracting company, and then I worked at Apple. To this day, I never once encountered anyone from HR while at Apple, as I wasn’t technically employed by them...But I reached a breaking point and ended up leaving in a way that I did not plan on.
It's debatable Price says if HR could have done anything for him. What's not up for debate is he didn't try. He simply walked off the job.
He is, however, looking for a new design job. If you have one that's cool, that is. Any takers?
Maybe we should send Jordan Price the link to this Staffing Talk post by Scott Morefield with some better ideas on how to properly leave a job.