Working at Apple Is Brutally Insane and Awful

Illustration for article titled Working at Apple Is Brutally Insane and Awful

You might have a stressful job—everyone's is, sometimes. But does your job involve an office with windows that inexplicably frost, plainclothes agents that spy on you at bars, and instant firing? Welcome to Apple, says Fortune's Adam Lashinsky.

Lashinsky's upcoming book, "Inside Apple: How America's Most Admired — and Secretive — Company Really Works," details the lengths Apple goes to maintain its iron wall of secrecy. And it's terrifying.

Just some of the fascist lunacy: Employees are regularly hired without knowing what their jobs are—or what their coworkers are doing. Special teams are surrounded by extra locks and added doors, sealed off from the rest of the workplace without any explanation; there are some rooms at Apple that nobody claims to have ever been in.


Corporate rumors also say Apple posts up spies at a nearby watering holes to catch employees blabbing while off the clock. This might sound outlandish, but this is the same Apple that does have its own draconian secret police.

And of course, talking about any of this? Instant termination, even if it's to your wife or kids. No exceptions. Ever.

Put this all together and you have what sounds like an entirely petrifying, miserable career. So why do people put up with it? The knowledge, explains Lashinsky, that you're working on the world's most desired products: "Sitting in a bar and seeing that 90% of the people there are using devices that your company made — there is something cool about that, and you can't put a dollar value on it," explains one former employee.


Sure, there's something cool about it, but is it worth enormously stringent career demands that span your entire life? Your family is affected, your friends are affected—you can't discuss how you spend most of your conscious life with most of the people you'll ever know. Working at Apple right now is a historical experience, but Lashinsky's work—excerpted here in Fortune and in book form here—makes anyone seriously question how much history is worth your sanity and happiness. [Fortune]

Original photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty


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Who works at a place where termination isn't instant? Do people really get told they're going to be fired...soon?

Plenty of people have secretive jobs outside Apple, whether in government, or entertainment, or manufacturing where they can't share info at risk of their job. Apple may be more effective at enforcing this than most institutions, but I'm pretty sure they're less draconian about it than, say, the NSA.

And throwing around "fascist"? It does mean something specific, you know. It was a movement with a particular set of goals, not just broadly authoritarian. Fascism was specifically anti-union, anti-socialist, and populist. The movement favored government patronage of corporate contractors over government expansion into space occupied by private enterprise. Otherwise, Stalin, Mao, Oliver Cromwell, Cardinal Richelieu, and Mussolini are all fascists, which is absurd.