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I'm at my first job out of school. I'm one of 12ish engineers, but everyone else has a totally different working style than me:

  1. Everyone else comes in at 7am and stays until 6pm. We're only required to work 9-5 but everyone does unpaid overtime. I haven't been doing this since I have better things to do with my time.
  2. No one ever takes PTO or any kind of vacation or sick time. People come in with the flu and some people even forfeit their earned PTO days to meet revenue incentives. One person is making a list of other ways we can save the company money, like forgoing health insurance or the 401k match.
  3. Everyone continues working from home and works on the weekends, also for free. I don't have work email on my phone so I come in every Monday to ~20 email threads waiting on my response and all my other coworkers wondering where I've been since 7am.
  4. No one ever leaves their desk. No one uses the break room coffee because they want to cut down on costs and they work through their lunch. I have never seen another person in the restroom.

The work is interesting, but things like spending time with my friends and being outside are much more interesting, so I won't be acting like my coworkers. I'd like to stay here, but I feel like I'm really not a fit. Naturally, everyone else gets way more done than me, though I'm very happy with what I get done during the normal working day. My manager acts pretty much like these other engineers, and he's said performance reviews will be strictly performance-based, but his higher-up manager has said he's just concerned that our department hits the revenue target every quarter.

I feel like I'm cruising to be laid off for not fitting in. Would it be unwise to stay here?

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    The pay must be amazing, or else the company having an absolutely incredible reputation, or else, it is the only employer in the area. Or it's a startup. Which is it? – Captain Emacs Jan 22 at 1:05
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    What country? In some countries, working such long hours as an employee would be illegal. – PeteCon Jan 22 at 1:42
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    OP, your problem is that your first job and you have nothing with which to compare it. I highly recommend that you rectify that. – Mawg says reinstate Monica Jan 22 at 6:48
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    How many people work in the company? Is this a startup? – Kiril Jan 22 at 7:17
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    +1 Because I was in the same situation. Just shake it off, do your things, works as usual, and leave when you feel it without putting extra hours. Ignore the rest. – kaidan094 Jan 22 at 10:05
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I'd like to stay here, but I feel like I'm really not a fit. Naturally, everyone else gets way more done than me, though I'm very happy with what I get done during the normal working day. My manager acts pretty much like these other engineers, and he's said performance reviews will be strictly performance-based, but his higher-up manager has said he's just concerned that our department hits the revenue target every quarter.

I feel like I'm cruising to be laid off for not fitting in. Would it be unwise to stay here?

There's no way to tell, without knowing a lot more about the company's practices.

While in general it's safer to fit in with the team culture, it's not always required.

Not everyone in every team needs to be a top performer. Many teams have room for steady, if unspectacular performers. Many teams are okay with someone who comes in on time, leaves on time, works well, but never goes the extra mile. Maybe your team is like that.

But some managers prefer that everyone work and act the same way.

If you are happy with your work, and don't care that your raises may be much less than others, and aren't interested in being promoted, it may be fine for you to stay. You'll probably get a better sense during your first performance review. Perhaps your boss will tell you directly if you are or are not meeting minimum performance expectations. Perhaps you'll need to ask or look for more subtle clues.

Frankly, most people would prefer to work where they fit in with the team's culture. After a while, you might feel that way too.

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Short term hinges on whether they truly only care about performance and what that means.

  1. You have an idea in your mind of what good performance is. They may have an entirely different one. Most companies claim to only care about performance for developers. The problem is, the definition of performance is entirely subjective. It could be based on features built, a metric where you would almost certainly lose unless you are a star. You don't say which industry you are in, but quarterly targets can often lead to crunch for developers. And if the higher manager is leaning on the engineering manager to meet those targets, not working more means that you are the weak link from their point of view.

  2. When things are going well, the normal worker is easy to tolerate. That changes if things become bad. This company seems like it is currently doing well. That makes it easy to tolerate vacation and 9 to 5 and seeing friends. That can disappear if the company starts struggling or additional pressure starts coming from the top. I am keenly aware of the possibility of a recession where I live and all the nastiness of that, so I would see that as a threat to my job security.

  3. Managers change, especially in software. Your current managers may tolerate you. Future ones may not. My job has had 3 managers in an 8 month period and I work for the government which is usually accused of being slow and steady. You could find yourself under a new manager with something to prove.

  4. The importance of quarterly numbers. Quarterly targets can easily become the main driving force in a company and inspire all sorts of atrocious behavior. I worked in equity research for a period and I have an entire book on absurd things companies did to goose quarterly numbers. Managers would rather sacrifice their firstborn than miss one.

So if they are all about performance, that can be fine, but make sure you have a very firm understanding of what performance means at your company.

Long term

even forfeit their earned PTO days to meet revenue incentives. One person is making a list of other ways we can save the company money, like forgoing health insurance or the 401k match

This alone is a reason to leave if you are not the type. If forfeiting health insurance and PTO are allowed to be used in the revenue incentives, eventually your co-workers will be mad at you for costing them bonus money.

Also, allowing those things to be used in the calculations indicates that employees are already working on gaming the number simply because all that matters is the number, not how it was obtained. Such schemes are not sustainable.

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    +1. The employees around you are regularly sacrificing their long term wellbeing (401k, PTOs, over-long hours) to meet targets. Either the short term rewards (i.e. pay) are stupendously good and they all plan to quit as soon as they have banked enough, or they and you are being badly exploited. It should be obvious which. – Julia Hayward Jan 22 at 8:33

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