Money Work ‘Why I left’: former employees dish dirt on major companies
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‘Why I left’: former employees dish dirt on major companies

Safiya Nygaard's video about leaving Buzzfeed has more than 8 million views. Photo: Safiya Nygaard/YouTube
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Disgruntled employees are spilling the dirty secrets of major companies as part of a new trend that sees people sharing career advice on Youtube.

Companies like Emirates, Sephora, Google, Starbucks and even YouTube itself have been the subject of videos earning hundreds of thousands of views online.

The most popular of the ‘Why I left’ videos are produced by former employees of viral news website Buzzfeed.

One video, from former Buzzfeed producer Safiya Nygaard, has attracted more than 8 million views.

“The overarching reason why I left BuzzFeed is to have independence,” Nygaard said in the March video.

Other ex-employees share Nygaard’s sentiments and add their own grievances, like not being able to work outside of the organisation, an increase in advertising on the website and a desire to create more quality content with less pressure to get clicks.

As highlighted by Variety, the success of these videos ironically has a lot to do with these employees using the skills they learned at Buzzfeed to create content guaranteed to go viral.

Buzzfeed has responded by taking the high road and wishing their former employees best of luck in their future endeavours.

But it’s not just Buzzfeed in the firing line – former flight attendants for Emirates have done videos criticising the airline, while ex-Sephora workers complained of workplace bullying and poor management.

YouTube employees took issue with how long it took to get anything done, and Starbucks employees detailed the poor health practices they’d seen fellow employees commit.

Common complaints from ex-Emirates staffers included that the basic salary is too low, the hours are long and the company’s leave policy is too strict.

Blogger Kristen Leo claimed she was disciplined for regularly calling in sick, while Scottish blogger Lauren McKenzie claimed she was forced to resign because the airline didn’t have a maternity leave policy for short-term employees.

Not all ‘Why I left’ videos are negative, with some YouTubers admitting they left jobs they loved to have more time to themselves, or to start a family.

Others simply said while the company culture was excellent, they felt the need to keep moving to further their careers.

But be wary, airing your grievances about a past employer could have serious consequences when trying to secure future employment, according to Professor Paula McDonald from the QUT Business School.

“The biggest risk is a prospective employer profiling the person and discovering that they’ve spoken negatively about their former employer and you might do the same thing in the future,” Prof McDonald says.

There may also be repercussions for the colleagues you left behind.

“What a lot of companies would do in that situation is to respond by creating more detailed and constrained social media policy for current employees,” Prof McDonald says.

“It’s definitely an expanding concern for both employers and employees.”

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