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.


\- 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.


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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