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I worked at MECLABS full-time (More than 3 years)

Pros

- Amazing people. Without hyperbole, the best staff you'll find anywhere. The interview
process can feel ridiculous, bordering on insane, but you cannot argue with the results.

- Despite others having different experiences, I was always treated incredibly well in terms
of salary (+60% in three years), advancement (4 promotions), and growth (MECLABS
offered me more opportunities and put more trust in me in three years than many
companies would in ten). My career has undoubtedly benefited from my time at MECLABS,
and I'll always be grateful for that.

- Personally, everyone at MECLABS was NOTHING but kind to me when I was an


employee of the company. There are few people in that building that I wouldn't happily get a
drink with tomorrow. Even Flint, the CEO of the company, made a point to stop me in the
hallway at least once a week just to shake my hand, look me in the eye, and tell me that he
thought I was doing a great job. Never once did I get the impression that it was anything
less than genuine.

It's all of these positives, and the fact that I genuinely like everyone so much as people, that
makes writing the rest of this review so difficult. But after seeing the recently posted review
attempting to publicly discredit past employees, I feel like someone needs to be honest
about how the company has treated a lot of these people.Show Less
Cons

Before I get into the cons, I just want to quickly identify myself as Ken Bowen, handsome
Data Scientist. If I'm going to be critical, I think it's only fair that I own my opinions, not hide
behind anonymity, and ensure that if anyone is going to be "blamed" for the honest opinions
expressed below, it's me alone.

That said, here we go:


- Unilateral decision making. Flint's an incredibly intelligent guy, and he's far surpassed
what anyone would have thought possible with MECLABS when he started it. A cursory
look at the client list will confirm that. That said, his extreme optimism isn't always rooted in
reality. This has hurt a lot of people unnecessarily. To compound this, he's surrounded by a
leadership team that is either unable or unwilling to reign some of that boldness in (and I
know for a fact that some of them try very hard). Many smart leaders within the organization
have tried their best to caution that the events of the last 18 months might be coming, but
more often than not, they disappeared or were nudged out. Flint's company, Flint's
decisions, I totally get and respect that, but something's clearly not working in the last two
years.

- Selective transparency. I left MECLABS on my own accord because, in addition to missed


payroll, I could no longer rationalize some of the things that were going on. Though the
company repeatedly touted how transparent they were, the information being presented in
company meetings was often very different, and spun much more positively, than the
information being discussed behind closed doors. And it sucked to be privy to both, while
seeing younger, more impressionable employees put their full trust in the spin, turn down
other job offers or defer paychecks, and then end up getting fired. It finally reached a point
where I felt like if I wasn't part of the solution, I was part of the problem.

- Emotional pain. I've never seen so many strong, educated adults crying in the workplace
before. Without exaggeration, I've witnessed over 50 of my coworkers sobbing as the result
of MECLABS' decisions. Layoffs are a reality of business (though 90% of companies offer
some form of severance, per 2017 benchmarks), I've been on both sides of them at other
companies, but this degree of hurt isn't normal. I feel terrible even saying it, but objectively
speaking, the MECLABS-employee dynamic has at times kind of mirrored that of an
abusive relationship. Emotionally - the cycle of hurting employees, apologizing, promising
that it won't happen again, and hurting them again. Physically - the company will take a lot
out of you (nights, weekends, etc.), with a lot of your sacrifice ending up in the trash when
objectives change overnight. And financially - you'll be made to feel lucky to be paid on
time.
- Poor communication. Flint's communication with his employees is too often built upon
hyperbole and doublespeak. Where layoffs are furloughs or A/B Tests, deferred paychecks
are investments, dire financial issues are 60-day problems, transparency is telling you that
tomorrow's paycheck won't be there (nobody would notice otherwise?) or that a third of the
staff is being terminated in 30 minutes, employees often treated like disposable cogs in the
machine are stakeholders and family, etc. I don't think Flint's a malicious guy at all, and I
think it's often more eternal optimism than intentional manipulation, but it doesn't really
matter, as the end result is the same.

Advice to Management

As a positive person, I never wanted to be the guy posting a negative review.

The thought only crossed my mind at one time in the past, when after giving my all to
MECLABS for three years - even putting myself in the ER for work-related stress - the HR
department (who have always been wonderful in addressing things within their limited
control) called me at 8:00 PM the night that my final paycheck was supposed to post and
told me, "those thousands of dollars we owe you and promised you on your way out...
you're not getting it. Maybe call back next year."

It wasn't about the money at all. MECLABS can keep it. It was the shocking lack of
consideration shown to me by the company on my way out. No call, or text, or email in
advance from anyone in leadership saying, "Sorry, we know you were promised the money,
we just don't have it right now. Is this going to create a hardship for you?" Just a quick after-
hours phone call from a poor HR messenger, three hours before payday, saying MECLABS
was keeping my $3k.

For all anyone knew, I could have been depending on that money to buy Christmas
presents for my daughter, or for a medical procedure, or for a trip. No one asked. No one
reached out with the courtesy of an explanation. And when I followed up on my own, I was
repeatedly blown off until I gave up and just stopped trying. To me, that's pretty hurtful.
Even then, I didn't write a review, as it was a private situation, and I didn't want to react out
of emotion. I'm not a bitter person, it's not in my nature. It's a drag to be negative.

The tipping point, and the reason I feel like I have no choice but write this review, came
yesterday, when someone, presumably from senior leadership, had the audacity to post a
completely tone-deaf review of their own, a week after a third brutal layoff that affected a lot
of lives, positioning MECLABS as the victim in the situation.

The reviewer deceptively and opportunistically linked an unrelated troll attack against the
CEO, made on a completely different website (that doesn't dignify a link), to the dozens and
dozens of negative reviews posted here. And, based on this half-truth, they then attempted
to dismiss all of my former coworkers and friends, many of whom were terminated without
warning or severance over the last two years, as nothing more than disgruntled, dramatic
trolls trying to hurt the CEO by making “exaggerated” and “false accusations” against the
company.

Two wrongs don't make a right, and it's just so sad that someone would take advantage of a
classless personal attack against the CEO and use it as flimsy justification to carry out a
classless personal attack against MECLABS' former employees.

And incidentally, for a company so proud of it's philosophy and logic, it's also kind of sad
that the reviewer would need to resort to an ad hominem attack on these "disgruntled trolls"
without actually addressing a single specific accusation of their allegedly false claims.

This reviewer (notice how many "helpful" clicks that review has versus the others, by the
way) also expressed concern that these negative reviews - not the recent history of
terminations, late paychecks, and overly-optimistic but ultimately unfounded promises that
things were improving - would prevent good people from working at MECLABS.
Protecting existing jobs and payroll, not recruiting, should probably be the priority right now.
And even if it isn't, it's pretty insensitive to the 15 employees who were just fired last week
to be publicly carrying on about hiring. I'd also think long and hard about whether current-
day MECLABS is even a healthy environment to try to bring ANYONE into at this time.

Silver lining, though:

Now that HR is responding to individual reviews to “make their presence known,” and now
that someone within the organization has gone public to warn future employees that the
negative comments contained on this site are lies that potentially qualify as libel, let’s get
specific and figure out which reviews exactly violate the site's policies so we can take them
down and get those libel proceedings rolling.

Keep in mind, I'm not breaking new ground here, just summarizing what's already been
written over the years so I can help the cause and put any falsifications from disgruntled
former employees still picking up the pieces of their lives to rest.

Simple yes/no answers to the below, most commonly made accusations in these previous
reviews, will suffice:

1) Have there been three brutal rounds of layoffs since Memorial Day 2016? Was
severance offered? If not, does the employee handbook state that terminated employees let
go without cause will be paid out for their vacation balance? Were these employees paid
out for this accrued benefit? If not, will they be? If yes, what date specifically? If no, what's
the status of the plan for PTO repayment to terminated employees that the CEO proudly
announced in a company meeting in October?
2) Did company leadership hold a meeting asking the staff, many of them low-level
employees in their 20s holding their first real job out of college, to loan money to MECLABS,
waving around a piece of paper with suggested loan amounts in the thousands of dollars,
urging them to make a decision as quickly as possible? Was the implication made that, if
employees were to defer paychecks/loan money to the company, their coworkers and
friends wouldn't be terminated? Despite numerous employees loaning money to the
company, how many employees have been terminated since that meeting?

3) Has MECLABS, intentionally or accidentally, sent employees on the road for client
meetings with maxed out company cards, left them to pay their own way home, and taken
months to reimburse them for their expenses?

4) Has MECLABS gone through at least five reorganizations in the last year and a half? Is it
fair to categorize the last 8 months at MECLABS as “constant crisis mode,” as a reviewer
has done?

5) Is there a pattern of those closest to the company's finances being let go/leaving the
company?

6) Has anyone affiliated with MECLABS (or outside of MECLABS) posted, or been asked to
post, fictitious Glassdoor reviews about how wonderful the company is or about how the
negative reviews aren’t true?

No need to respond that you’re sorry about my experience (I'm not, I sincerely loved most of
it, I'm supremely gruntled), or request that I email you privately for answers. MECLABS
made the choice to publicly declare my former colleagues to be liars (this review would
have no reason to exist otherwise), so let's publicly address each accusation and put them
to rest, rather than dismiss them in a blanket. Or, let's delete that review, and I'll happily do
the same.
It brings me no happiness to write this, nobody wants to burn bridges, especially not a
handsome dataman with a large collection of boat shoes, but as a human being with a
conscious, I just can't reconcile the thought that some naive college graduate is going to
think about applying at MECLABS, come to this site for honest opinions from former
employees, potentially dismiss very real concerns from very affected people as the
byproduct of some unrelated troll attack based on the deceptive contents of that review, and
potentially end up as the next causality booted to the curb without a penny on the week of
their wedding, or while they're sitting at a funeral, or while they're out on paternity leave

And whoever wrote that review to bolster your own standing or get that extra pat on the
back, shame on you.

I understand those in leadership have their own jobs or families to protect, but ultimately,
everyone in a leadership position at the company* needs to do a better job reigning this
damage in sooner, as ultimately, you all share part of the blame for watching your teams be
repeatedly misled and then fired, and for allowing a struggling company to ask
impressionable young employees under your watch for handouts from their piggy banks, all
the while knowing how rough the finances were and how dubious the odds were that they'd
actually get paid back in a timely fashion, if ever. That ain't leadership.

*Excluding those numerous heros in senior leadership positions who were brave enough to
urge employees to get out as fast as possible and offer help with resumes and references;
you know you are, and we all love you for exercising true transparency.

And though it's great that you, Mr./Mrs. Reviewer, most strongly identify with the positive
reviews because you're not part of the 75% of the company that's been laid off or left in the
last two years, my guess is that it's only a matter of time before that next emergency
meeting comes up on the calendar and your number is called.
Let's see what your review looks like then.

I love you MECLABS, and I'm sorry to write this, I just can't with the shocking lack of
accountability and deflection shown here. It's too much.

Learn from what your former employees are telling you here instead of publicly, vaguely,
and callously dismissing their concerns, making jokes in meetings about their reviews, and
suggesting that the dozens of very real, very hurt people behind these reviews ("some of
the nicest you'll ever meet," per your words) are liars.

It's not hard. If you take the time and effort to read the reviews objectively, rather than
defensively, the answer is right there:

You just need to be more honest, more quickly, when it comes to bad news.

That's it.

If jobs need to be cut, be open with those affected three or four weeks earlier, give them a
working notice with a clear end-date, and allow them a fighting chance to line up another job
during that time. Your employees are an empathetic, understanding bunch, they'll respect
you for the heads up, and I promise you that each and every one of them will transition their
projects with class and with grace.

It won't cost you a dime more than how you're currently handling layoffs, and I guarantee
you these reviews will look radically different.
Remember, your greatest assets are your people. And those still left take very close note of
how you treat the people who are no longer of use to you.

Nothing in the world would make me happier than coming back here in a year and seeing
30 new five-star reviews raving about the culture and clients. I'll delete this in a heartbeat if
that happens. But the first step has to come from taking an honest look in the mirror and
figuring out why the existing ones are as bad as they are, rather than pointing fingers at
your former employees.

I'm rooting for you MECLABS.

I have faith that you're all good people.

Time to start acting like it.