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How do you deal with zero-sum situations where one's success comes at the expense of another?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer [P3] at Atlassian2 years ago

I've heard that situations at Atlassian and other companies in general can be very competitive to the point where engineers are competing against each other for survival with systems like stack rank and team quotas. I'm wondering what's the best way to navigate through systems like these.

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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 years ago
    • Zero-sum situations suck as they mess up all the incentives, so avoid them if you can. This is something to keep in mind during team/company selection. Ask them how performance review works and how employees are judged relatively against one another if applicable. Understand if the company does stack rank.
    • There's 2 options in zero-sum game:
      • Sabotage others
      • Build alliances
    • I strongly believe in doing the 2nd one. Learning to build deep relationships and collaborate is a more transferrable skill than playing politics and messing with other people. It's also powerful as it's transferrable outside of work.
    • Summing it all up: If you can't get out of a zero-sum situation, then just focus on doing your best work and building a lot of symbiotic relationships with others you trust/respect that have a similar mindset.

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