Ex-TikTok Workers: 85 Hours of Meetings Is the Norm

To say it sounds like employees work a lot is an understatement
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2022 6:45 PM CDT
Former Employees Say TikTok Is a Miserable Place to Work
   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – "Relentless productivity and secrecy" seem like two things that might be common to plenty of tech companies. But in the telling of a number of TikTok employees, who came to the social media behemoth from elsewhere in tech, the degree to which those are demanded at TikTok is "uncommon in the industry." So write Georgia Wells, Yoree Koh, and Salvador Rodriguez in a lengthy piece for the Wall Street Journal on TikTok's work culture. It's teeming with anecdotes from largely former employees who describe relentless and exhausting demands. One woman had to start marriage counseling after forgoing so many dinners with her husband in order to be on calls with China (where parent company ByteDance Ltd. is located).

Another woman says she was so worried to step out of back-to-back meetings that she bled through her clothes rather than change her tampon. A number of the former employees recount attending an average of 85 hours of meetings a week. Monday morning in Beijing is Sunday afternoon in the US, and some former employees said they had to start working then to keep up. To ratchet up the pace, TikTok will assign several teams to the same project to see who can complete it first, which some say caused an environment of paranoia. As for the secrecy, former employees say there is no org chart and a policy against making one (a Chinese practice designed to prevent competitors from scooping up employees), and data is sometimes obscured in presentations. (Read the full story for much, much more.)

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