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I have been working at NetApp full-time (More than 8 years)
Like any job, working at NetApp is largely dependent on what you make of it. If you stay positive, work hard and contribute, you will succeed. If you maintain an air of negativity, do the bare minimum of what is required and stay in the shadows. you won't be as successful.
The culture is great - lots of opportunity to do different things, learn, tinker and take risks. Work/life balance is really about how you manage your time.
As for senior management, moving Kurian to CEO was the right call. I was very close to leaving after the last RIF, especially since it seemed way more random than the previous ones. I've been at NetApp for nearly 10 years and survived several of those, but that one made the least sense in terms of who they let go. But getting rid of Georgens was a good start. I also agree with the overall direction and strategy of NetApp in a crowded, ever changing storage landscape. I still believe in NetApp and am not convinced that any other company is without their own set of challenges.
Work satisfaction also depends on what department you work in. I started in support and am now on the product operations side. There is definitely a difference in the "Great Place to Work" reality between the two.
Support was always "row harder" and driven by some flawed metrics. Too many managers that don't actually manage their employees, but simply serve as escalation managers when customers call in to complain about long running cases. TSEs are always backlogged with cases and many of them will sandbag to slow the deluge. The backlog leaves little room to self-improve during business hours and instead have to work extra hours to stay ahead. Promotions are hard to come by and seem politically motivated at times - sometimes to simply keep people after they threaten to leave. I can't speak for job satisfaction as a manager, as I never worked in that role.
In my current role, it's night and day. The stress level is very low and the amount of work is manageable rather than overwhelming. However, this role has different challenges, such as lack of a clear definition of the job, which leaves it open to interpretation when reviews come around. There is also a lack of metrics that matter, which is alarming for a role that is less reactive (such as support) and more "how are we helping generate revenue." It's near impossible to make meaningful sense of our actual contributions to sales, even though it feels like we do meaningful work.
Advice to Management
Clearly define the roles in the organization. Actually manage your employees and do away with the "self evaluation" reviews. Reward top performers and manage dead weight out of the business. Increase headcount in support to reduce workload and allow engineers to get better at their jobs. Weed out the sandbaggers. Plug the hole where good employees are leaking out to other companies. Level set the salaries to ensure people are getting paid at the industry going rate. Be proactive in retention. If you're going to cut workforce, do it intelligently (based on performance or product) and not just based on salary or position.
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