Coworkers are not voicing about the “not so good” work culture, what should I do?

I am a programmer with around 5 years of experience. This is my second company, let alone a startup, so I don’t have any preconceived notions of work culture outside my previous / first company.

With that being said, towards the mid of Q3 last year, I joined an “early stage startup” (not exactly sure what this means, but that’s what was listed on the job posting) that has been around for 2 – 3 years and has a little more than 10 employees (CEO, CTO, Dev + QA), I got a 40% hike from my previous salary so it was a no-brainer for me back then to accept the offer. I am not from the US, but this company is based out of the US (run by immigrants to the US), so I was offered to work as a contractor and not as a legal employee of my country of residence. As a result of this, I would lose benefits such as health insurance among others, but the USD to local exchange rate plus the hike I got kinda made up for this (or so I thought), so I went ahead. So far so good, but the problem starts here.

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\- Standups twice a day in a 12 hour window (once in the AM and once in the PM).

\- When brought up, the CEO’s reply was “you are not expected to work 12 hours, work during whatever time works for you but be present during both the standups”

\- Goes without saying, the work given actually needs more than 12 hours.

\- Sprints and jiras exists, but as a glorified tracker.

\- Monday morning standup requires one to have some status update from the last standup (the evening standup on Friday).

\- Indirect expectation of getting work done over the weekends

\- “Unlimited PTO”, but as a contractor even getting off on regional / national holidays require a “permission” (slack message).

\- Towards the end of last year we were “allowed” to take off for 5 days. Of which, 2 were Saturday and Sunday. Rest of the world enjoyed at least a week during that time.

\- No paying clients.

\- There are a couple of clients testing the “product” but from what I hear, it has always been the case for the past year-ish.

\- Constant usage of words like “lets push, keep up the push, once we get clients we can stop the grind”. Yes, they used the word grind.

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The worse part is, some who work here have shared (with me, when I asked) the same concerns I have, but are not voicing it, they just say “yeah it happens”, I get that they probably don’t want to jeopardize their jobs, Remember it’s not the US here, and as a contract employee you can get your contract terminated easily. The only reason I haven’t straight up quit is, the pay is not bad, it may not be the best, but for 5 YOE, I would say it’s passable, considering my country and living expenses.

I guess r/cscareerquestions would be a better fit? But it won’t let me post due to not having 100 karma.

TL;DR – Kinda stuck at a place when I believe there’re better options out there, what are my course of actions considering current situations.



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