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How One Of FAANG's Biggest Upsides Becomes A Terrible Downside - Peer Pressure

05/17/2023

A big reason engineers go to FAANG is to learn from the brilliant talent there. However, this benefit is very much a double-edged sword.

Here are the core points from the video:

  • Big Tech is very competitive - You will be compared to your peers, many of whom will be better and more productive than you are. Most Big Tech companies make this competition explicit by having stack ranking where the bottom 5-15% of engineers are fired or PIPed every performance cycle. This means that if you're not superior to enough of your peers, your job is in danger.
  • There are many side effects to this environment:
    • Imposter syndrome - Imposter syndrome is rampant at Big Tech where everyone is so insanely smart and hard-working.
    • Anxiety and fear - Being a low performer at Big Tech sucks and is almost always extremely stressful. A lot of engineers here spend a ton of time worrying about being at the bottom.
    • Poor work-life balance - You will be pushed by your peers to excel. Many of them will also be overachievers who work late, pushing you to do the same.

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