While Uber’s culture is deeply broken, the kind of on-call responsibilities described as onerous here are not much different than any other organization with high growth or established scale.That’s not an Uber issue, it’s a standard feature of the tech industry — when I was on call at Bing, for example, I got calls at any time of day or night, with only seven minutes to respond before the event escalated.
This can produce a culture of fear, as described, but doesn’t necessarily if on-call duties are cycled through the team. It’s never pleasant to be on-call.
During periods of rapid growth, current and former employees said, on-call employees could be paged dozens or even hundreds of times a night. Even employees with realistic expectations of the hard work that fast-growing startups often demand felt burdened by an on-call system that they say often amounted to unpaid extra shifts. “There was a three- to four-month period where I was getting woken up every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 3 or 4 in the morning to fix something,” said an engineer who started at Uber in 2014 of his earlier years there. “Months of that, on top of working 10-plus hours a day.”