Rackspace

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Rackspace Reviews

Updated Jul 31, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.7 460 reviews

83% Approve of the CEO

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Graham Weston

(54 ratings)

77% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • Culture is amazing and I've never had more a better work/life balance (in 25 reviews)

  • Great culture and endless opportunities (if you earn them) (in 30 reviews)


Cons
  • Middle management is the worst I've seen in my career in most departments (in 30 reviews)

  • Work life balance can be a challenge - not nearly as bad as Amazon (in 10 reviews)

More Highlights
460 Employee Reviews
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    • Culture & Values
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    Best place I've ever worked, but is slowly turning into just another corporate husk.

    Linux Systems Engineer III (Current Employee) San Antonio, TX (US)

    ProsRackspace is by far the best company I've ever worked for and has literally changed my life for the better, both physically in improved health and well-being, but also emotionally because it provided me an environment where I felt like I belonged. It's truly the first job I've had where I've been able to experience the positive impact I'm making on others in a real way while also at the same time getting to touch technology that's so new it won't even necessarily "hit shelves" until over a year later.

    You will meet many smart, talented, passionate people at this company and they will help take you on a mental journey you never thought was possible. Many of them will end up being your new best friends. When you mix together the energy and talent with the technology resources available you end up being involved in some amazing projects that really put you on the bleeding edge of what's possible. You'll always be learning something new and being exposed to new ideas. Put this all together with a culture that embodies responsibility, honesty, transparency, and getting the job done and you end up in extremely effective teams that thrive on honest feedback and doing the best they can do.

    ConsI would say the two biggest downsides of Rackspace are:

    1) The upsides are shrinking. As the company has grown the beautiful and unique culture that makes Rackspace so great has diminished considerably. This is largely due to poor hiring choices in leadership which has been extremely impactful in a negative way on the company even after some of these poor choices are dealt with my letting those leaders go.

    In some particular groups leaders that were fired over 3 years ago still have a lasting negative impact on how things are done because new leaders brought into to replace them did not effectively identify the things which their predecessor did wrong and fix all of them. In many ways this is a failure of middle management that's caused because of the tendency for new leaders to bring in a cadre of cronies that follow them from whatever corporate husk they left, and if the leader gets fired, the cronies stay making it that much more difficult for a new leader to effectively resolve the things that didn't work.

    2) The general level of compensation is well below market rate for a technology firm. It's pretty much always been this way, but most Rackers were okay with this in return for getting to be involved in such a wonderful culture and company and getting relatively unrestricted access to company resources to engage their minds on whatever it was at the moment they wanted to learn about. As the company has grown though the culture has dwindled and with it more restrictive policies have been created which prevent employees from being fully mentally engaged in the curiosities that drive them. It's led to a situation where many of the bright talented people I interact with come to work every day not sure exactly what they should even be doing because they don't solve problems by mandate, they solve problems by discovery.

    A company where it was once acceptable to have beer during meetings as long as you weren't drunk at you desk and where every employee had significant access to technology resources to try new things just to see if they'll work is what lead to the creation of many of the innovative technical concepts and methods of achieving them that exist today. Instead we've replaced that with company policies that won't even let me stream a documentary from Netflix on a separate monitor while I'm pulling an overnight shift in operations effectively monitoring systems which are highly automated in case an immediate response is necessary.

    This lack of compensation and this failure of culture has lead to a massive brain drain as the vast majority of long-time old school Rackers are bailing on the company. Anyone who is a strong technical talent is in high demand in the market, especially the likes of those who helped drive the beginnings of Cloud computing. Failure to compensate these people properly while demanding that they comply to asinine policies is a guaranteed way to lose them and with it lose the company's ability to execute effectively.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTake the red pill and wake up to reality. Middle management is lying to you constantly and you believe it, and you're being dragged into so many meetings you no longer have time to effectively talk to people on the floor to understand what's really going on. You need to fix this and the only way to do that is go back to our core values and our basics, which is communicate honestly and talk to the folks on the floor as your peers.

    If you take action at all, do the following, do it soon, and do it right:

    1) Fix the compensation issue. Yes, it'll increase payroll expense which will result in a net increase in opex. But, it can be offset by the other thing you should be doing.

    2) Clean house. And when I say this, I'm not talking about the guys on the floor, I'm talking about the bloat of middle management and sort-of upper management (Director and below) that's lead to constantly reducing productivity and our general too many chiefs not enough indians problem. Some things /need/ management, a lot of things need less management, and sometimes things just need the right management. At the end of the day though, management, middle management especially, is what's killing this company. Not the techs on the floor, and not even necessarily the people near the top.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Beware the dark side

    Decline to State (Current Employee) San Antonio, TX (US)

    ProsFun atmosphere, constant change, lots of challenging work, and significant opportunity for advancement if you play the social and political game correctly.

    ConsThere is a very dark underbelly to the company's constant focus on its core values. In most cases, people really live these values but they are very frequently used as a weapon to ostracize people who challenge too much or who are disliked by the powerful social cliques that run the place. Rackspace claims to be a pure meritocracy but it is a great deal more like high school. If you can be one of the popular kids and are good at what you do, you can grow an amazing career at Rackspace. On the other hand, if you are great at what you do but you are threatening to any of the in-groups, you're going to suffer intensely.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou REALLY need to get G&A under control and it's going to take cuts to headcount to do it. There are long-time Rackers who have risen far past their highest point of competence and you need to stop treating tenure as though it is the equal of merit.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Company in Transition

    Linux Administrator I (Current Employee) San Antonio, TX (US)

    ProsThe people are generally great to work with. The office is comfortable. The benefits are also very nice. There are lots of opportunities to learn new technology.

    ConsThe tools we need to use are broken half the time. Processes for advancement are not consistent and in some areas come down to very nit picky hoops that you have to jump through, some of them based on your personal brand and how you have sold it to the rest of your department.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDetermine what advancement means in any given team and tailor the advancement process to match your expectations of the new position. Tools need to be consistently functioning and not rely on third party (employee written) hacks to extend them for needed functionality.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
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    (UK) Great culture, poor advancement/compensation

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) London, England (UK)

    Pros- Fantastic benefits, which the HR team do a great job with. From personal health (gym, sports days etc.) to general fun, they do a good job of creating a nice buzz.

    - Generally, the culture is good. Increasingly, there seemed to be less focus on hiring the "right" characters and personalities for the company, but for most of my tenure I was surrounded by good people.

    - Flexible time-off and working from home policies.

    Cons- Compensation was really poor, and well below industry averages in some cases. Moving up pay grades was always made into a logistical difficulty (changing job titles, teams etc.).

    - Some of the managers are not equipped to be people managers, relying on leaders within the teams to do most of the hands-on managerial work.

    - Senior leadership approach the business in a very reactive manner, causing the business focus to shift every 6 months after things go wrong. There is no committed direction and it seems they're winging it.

    - No opportunities for progression. Having left since, I have realised how I've probably stunted my own growth by not doing so sooner.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIn several years of employment, I was one of many examples of people not once offered to interview for a more prominent position, in spite of performance and clear suitability. In my example, this was despite top-of-class performance reviews, and taking the role of "temporary" manager whenever the managerial team were away, or staff felt they couldn't rely on them.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    A shell of it's former self, trying to find purpose and meaning

    Project Manager (Current Employee) San Antonio, TX (US)

    ProsEveryone tries really hard to keep a fun environment and put people first. Family friendly atmosphere meets a laid back vibe with a "get things done" disposition.

    ConsSometimes Rackspace carries a strange, almost inauthentic paternal atmosphere. Leaders seem to burn a lot of energy setting up activities and conducting town halls that are designed to represent how much they care about Rackers...when all in all, most of the mid level leaders and below are actually self serving borderline psychopaths.

    Advice to Senior ManagementJust Quit. If what you read didn't make you question yourself or annoyed, maybe you're one of the 15% of managers that actually adds value.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Good place to work there

    Systems Engineer (Former Employee) Bangalore (India)

    ProsIt is okay types company... if you don't have any other offer, then go for it

    Conshings vary from project to project/ team to team... always be ready to move out and search for new opportunity

    Advice to Senior ManagementGood place to work

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Fanatically unstable

    Windows Systems Administrator (Current Employee) San Antonio, TX (US)

    Pros10% quarterly bonus (if your lucky)
    Flexible work schedule

    ConsHard to work your way up unless you are in certain 'cliques'
    bonuses are there but they are unreliable
    Pay is low for market and keeps getting lower the longer you stay

    Advice to Senior Managementafter hours should never be an after thought, and pay should be brought up to market, not "target", for everyone atleast every few years, for those who even stay that long if for no other reason than to show appreciation of the job they are doing(but all this is a pipe dream). Transparency and full disclosure shouldn't be to just are customers but to everyone

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    So much promise

    Linux Systems Administrator (Current Employee) San Antonio, TX (US)

    Pros"Culture" though not nearly what it once was, is still a standout.

    ConsLargely incompetent middle management. Senior management seems out-of-touch with reality. Front-lines are woefully understaffed and overworked. "Fanatical Support" has become mostly marketing B.S.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAll-too-frequent changes in product and company focus suggest that you don't have a clear vision. Get your fundamentals in order: the billing system is a disaster and after all this time you still don't have a functional replacement. Put an immediate stop to implementing untested system changes in Production, and hold development teams accountable for their shoddy work. Pay attention to the negative customer comments in NPS and actually do something about them instead of just cherry picking positive customer comments to make yourselves feel better.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Still a great place to work, the few imperfections make it even better.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) San Antonio, TX (US)

    ProsGreat mix of motivated, creative people all wanting to build greatness. Relaxed culture but that doesn't imply lazy or unfocused. Constant drive to evolve, a winners attitude and enough passion to float a ship. Senior leaders are doing all the right things strategically and all other levels of leadership pulling in the same direction. Constantly growing in size and visibly "growing up" into a fun corporate.

    ConsSuffered from misaligned strategy in the past, some catching up to do. Suffering from teenage "coming of age issues", should pass in a few years with strong parenting (leadership). A lot of employee movement within the business, as well as into and out of the company. Great for job seekers but the constant churn is can be concerning.

    Advice to Senior ManagementContinue to stay in touch with all levels of the business, ignore the small pain points and continue to chase the big ones.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Enjoy going to work each day - positive work environment

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) San Antonio, TX (US)

    ProsCreative freedom; personal growth is encouraged; helpful co-workers; work hard / play hard environment; great work-life balance; can work from home if necessary; always lots of free food around; free soda, tea, coffee, etc.; diverse group of people from around the world; good benefits; gym with free yoga, crossfit, etc.; learning environment; low toleration for negativity

    ConsToo many meetings; heavy middle management; compensation seems lower than average; environment can be distracting if you are not a people-person

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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