Uber Engineer Who Made $170K per Year Commits Suicide Due to Job Stress

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by Megalith, Apr 27, 2017.

  1. vegeta535

    vegeta535 2[H]4U

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    So fucking this. You people think only high paying jobs are stressful. Trying working in a restaurant or hell even fast food. Managers and workers are constantly under pressure to perform. If their numbers not up to standards set they will get axed. All for $12 an hour.
     
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  2. HorseproofBacon

    HorseproofBacon Limp Gawd

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    In my case, it's a warehouse with a micromanaging boss who gives only negative feedback. It's buckets of fun constantly getting yelled at (yes, YELLED and cursed at) for doing exactly what you were told to do.

    Joy.
     
  3. Pusher of Buttons

    Pusher of Buttons [H]ard|Gawd

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    I one-man ran an IT department for 300 users at 30 locations for a non-profit for $30k a year.

    Now -that- was fricking misery.
     
  4. akaliel

    akaliel Limp Gawd

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    Only the most fucked up stories seem to come out of Uber.
     
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  5. ruffbytes

    ruffbytes Limp Gawd

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    I feel bad for the guy's family. It's really a shame.

    You can say that he should have done this or that, but he probably had some sort of undiagnosed problem that prevented anything different from happening.
     
  6. Private_Ops

    Private_Ops [H]ard|Gawd

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    Not even $12 an hour around here where i'm at.

    I work for a railroad and can't break 60k either untill i hold a regular job (where i'm in a hotel atleast 3-4 days a week) or take a mandatory promotion to engineer. And this is considered a decent job around here. I guess the difference is I like what I do.
     
  7. BiH115

    BiH115 Gif Guy

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    Haha, yes yes, but of course! Let's drink over our struggles.

    No doubt! My apologies for jumping to conclusions, I just wanted to get a point across. Thanks for the clarification, I appreciate it.

    Yes, because if we're not dodging bombs from airplanes or dying of hunger, we have absolutely no reason to be stressed or frustrated. I get what you're saying, but we live in a world where it's all about relativity. You said it in the first three words. it's first world problems, but they're problems unique to us. Should we have sympathy for the rest of the world that has it far, far worse? Of course, but we're all too busy swept up in our own bullshit, where we don't think about it constantly.

     
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  8. PhaseII

    PhaseII Limp Gawd

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    The competition between the stresses of the rich vs. the middle class vs. the poor is irrelevant to the tragedy here. No one can truly know the stresses that will push a person past the breaking point except for that person. As Megalith said in the original posting:

    No class is immune to psychological problems that lead to suicide. For evidence, look no further than Kurt Cobain and Robin Williams.
     
  9. NickJames

    NickJames [H]ardness Supreme

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    No one is saying every high paying job is stressful. I got lucky and have a very comfortable well paying job with little to no stress. One of the reasons I haven't hunted for a higher paying job is because I honestly put in about 4 hours of actual work a week during a slow season. But depending on the circumstances certain high tier careers can induce a lot more mental stress than physical. It's easier to take being yelled at for not cleaning the dishes fast enough than to have a multi million dollar contract riding on your shoulders if you don't perform to expectations. At least for some people, everyone is different of course.
     
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  10. Insula Gilliganis

    Insula Gilliganis [H]ard|Gawd

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    Perhaps I have my "NoAgenda" thinking cap on too tight but when I read this story and especially this line..

    I immediately thought that somehow this is a tie-in to a movie coming out TOMORROW..

    [​IMG]

    which is a story about a tech worker joining a powerful Internet company which starts out as an incredibly rewarding experience, but as she works there longer, she can't leave and things start to fall apart.

    Side note about Uber..

    [​IMG]

    never have understood how basically a glorified taxi company with an app has gotten so much press, so much $$ as well as so much bad press which never seems to dampen the enthusiasm people have for using the company. I am definitely out of the loop.. time to change the paste on my Athlon 9600!!
     
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  11. BiH115

    BiH115 Gif Guy

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    Holy shit that Uber image, too soon! :p
     
  12. HorseproofBacon

    HorseproofBacon Limp Gawd

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    Did I forget to mention I'm the only computer tech where I work too (which means when a computer takes a shit, I'm the one that is charged with figuring out what is wrong with it and fixing it) AND I do sweaty warehouse work in the humid Texas heat?

    I feel your pain.
     
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  13. jcollett69

    jcollett69 Limp Gawd

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    Lots of people are being sympathetic but he stated he couldn't quit the job but did in a way by quitting life. He was also only there for 5 MONTHS! He turned down an offer from Apple to get the Uber job so how hard would it be to get the Apple job or another tech position in that area? Article states their life insurance won't cover suicide. Most policies will after owning it for about 2 years. So, I'm not feeling much sympathy here. There must be more to this story than we know.
     
  14. BiH115

    BiH115 Gif Guy

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    I think as has been stated ad nauseam, there's definitely more to the story, and there are a lot of factors in play as to why he persisted staying at this company.
     
  15. Pusher of Buttons

    Pusher of Buttons [H]ard|Gawd

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    I got out eventually....now I'm merely a small cog in a giant wheel responsible for 16 users...almost doubled my salary for 1/3 the work!

    But...the stakes are high here. I don't have much to screw up, but screwing up is basically not an option for me anymore, lest I be responsible for wasting important people's time and money.
     
  16. NickJames

    NickJames [H]ardness Supreme

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    I doubt his mental condition would've improved switching to Apple. 5 months does seem pretty short, there's definitely other factors at play here.
     
  17. HorseproofBacon

    HorseproofBacon Limp Gawd

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    Perhaps I need to do the same. I am responsible for data that could get somebody imprisoned or the business shut down by city ordinances if not handled correctly, yet I'm getting paid the wage of a grunt. We are currently trying to get R2 certified as well, oh what fun that is going to be having to catalog EVERY single hdd from now on and certify that they have been "sanitized" by a 3 wipe DOD.
     
  18. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Wish I was making that kind of money. If I did I maybe I could afford to retire before I hit 70.
    (I live in Southern California)

    170k is about the average income for people buying homes in my neighborhood. Only reason I can afford to live there is because I bought a fixer 20 years ago for less than 1/3 of what they are selling for now.
     
  19. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    Too much money, to quickly, just like all the Hollywood and sports stars who flame out. Results in over spending, bad decisions and self destructive behavior.
    It's a rare individual how can come into that kind of money yet stay grounded in what really important.

    1 Million a year? I'd be retired after 10 years and maybe if I got bored I'd find some side work I liked.
    Selling a business fro 20M? I'd buy a nice home (maybe 1 or 2 Million) and then retire. There are plenty of things I'd like to learn about, places to travel to, or hobbies I never have time for, to keep me busy for the next 40 years.
     
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  20. Killahurtz

    Killahurtz Gawd

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    I feel compelled to quote the ancient , and much maligned retort..." who cares? "
     
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  21. gsilver

    gsilver Gawd

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    I'm a programmer, and yeah, I could earn more than I do now, but with as stressful it is keeping up with stuff at home (and this is just with a hyperactive dog, no wife or kids) I think that I'll keep my (relatively) easy hours instead of looking at the sweatshops on the west coast.

    The latest I've ever worked in my current job (excluding any (rare) off-hours calls) was 9:00, and that was like once.
    Compared to my last job that wanted me in the office past 2 AM multiple times a month. F that.

    And the current job pays way more.
     
  22. tetris42

    tetris42 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Your statement reminds me of that infographic with all the sad people put out by the WSJ a while back:

    [​IMG]


    Let's get real. Yes, San Francisco is criminally expensive, but if you're squeezed bringing in 170k, you're just bad with money. That's all there is to it. I say this as someone who was living in LA on 24k for a while. I had a studio apartment. I sold my car and took the bus. I was careful about every purchase I made. It sucked, but it's possible. Now if you you were saying 50k or 60k for San Francisco, you might have a point, but that's a world apart from 170k.

    I don't think anyone is seriously saying that someone can't face a tremendous amount of stress with a high paying job, but at the same time, the person with the high paying job has OPTIONS. The stress you feel from screwing up something on a professional level v. not knowing if you're going to have a place to live or food to eat next month simply can't be compared. It's like trying to compare the stress from not turning in a paper on time for school v. PTSD from an active soldier who under fire. Yes, they both feel stress, but the two are simply ridiculous in comparison to the other. One person can get rid of the stress anytime they choose to and do something else with their life, the other can't. A person earning 170k a year can probably squirrel away enough to live on a budget for YEARS to recover from whatever workplace difficulty they have. It's hard to feel sympathy for someone who always has an exit strategy for themselves, whether they realize it or not. Can people simply lose perspective and take things more seriously than they should? Of course, but you have to be really insulated from financial hardships to equivocate the two.
     
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  23. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot 2[H]4U

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    No doubt that the pressure from managers was intense given all of the recent bad press. That crap filters down because the higher ups start looking for 'Scapegoat Fred' to blame stuff on and the slightly lower bosses don't want anything to attract attention to their group.

    Also sounds like a guy that was either good enough or lucky enough to have never experienced work related failure and was having to deal with failing to meet what were probably totally unrealistic project schedules.
     
  24. BulletDust

    BulletDust [H]ardness Supreme

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    So they wanted you to live your job?! Bugger that, that's why I work for myself now - Greed and stupid expectations are wining, i thought the age of slavery was over.
     
  25. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    You're only miserable if you work long hours at your job. If you work short hours, you have time to recuperate. This is the common problem with work in America as most people who work full time usually don't have time to do anything else, like spend time with loves ones or do hobbies you like. This is why I think America should move the work week limit from 48 to 40 or even 35. People would be healthier, both mentally and physically, and employers would have to hire more people. So you basically decrease health care costs and increase employment. Also fuck this unpaid lunch hour. Such bullshit.
     
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  26. Seventyfive

    Seventyfive [H]ard|Gawd

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    You should really be saying this to the people who say "screw the money, live your dream, just be happy". At the end of the day, I have been poor. I grew up sharing a 2 bedroom apartment with another family. I make decent money and i'm not happy but it sure as shit beats being poor. At the end of the day, happy is nice but I can't pay my mom's medical bills with "happy". I can't pay for my kid's expenses with "happy". I can't buy food with "happy". I buy that shit with money.

    Wishing for happiness is selfish because happy can't be shared with others. Money can be. I'd rather be slightly miserable for the sake of my family than happy and my family is doing shitty.
     
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  27. BulletDust

    BulletDust [H]ardness Supreme

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    I tend to budget like you do. However, based around what I see with friends/associates/etc. The more you earn, the more you spend, which is a stupid way to go about doing things. In Australia the banks loan stupid amounts of money to anyone, so personal debt is at an all time high - It's not uncommon for the average working class individual on well below $170k (more like 80k) to have a $900,000+ property with 3 aches of land and live week to week, it's ridiculous!

    There can also be quite a bit of anxiety in changing jobs, I suffered from that anxiety for 20 years before I finally broke free.
     
  28. WorldExclusive

    WorldExclusive [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I took the pay cut before I got married. Working form home is a blessing.
    I wouldn't take $150/yr to walk into an office and that's considerably more than what I make now, but I'm close to turning on the jets!

    It's hard to rollback a comfortable life for your family. So unhappiness follows you. Mo' money, Mo' problems.
     
  29. scojer

    scojer 2[H]4U

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    I work in a call center and people come and go. Stress isn't managed by everyone and it tears people apart.
    I've seen people up and leave weeks after they worked here. 5 months for someone who doesn't handle it well could be a nightmare.
     
  30. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I think there could be some more to it along the lines of ego. Position, income, elevation, success, ego.

    It's hard to run from yourself.
     
  31. NickJames

    NickJames [H]ardness Supreme

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    I think the market crash hit him too hard and the thought of losing everything just turned him crazy. Not to mention his $7M mansion had some insane property tax in 1999.
     
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  32. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I agree mostly, but I also feel that young people in this country are sold a big load of horseshit when it comes to how to finance their lives and set a course for happiness.

    They are taught how to manage debt. I see debt as a shackle that you do not want to wear. It's bondage, financial slavery. You teach kids that they have to learn to manage debt and you are teaching them that the life of a slave is ok, sign here.

    People don't have to live in debt, unless they get into debt when they are young. It's like you get a taste for it and don't know anything else and can't see any other way to live. The moment they begin earning a pay check, they are told to start working on their credit rating and that they have to give up a % of their income to make it happen. It''s such bullshit.

    Now I know some people start out OK, they aren't in bad shape, they know the score, and shit goes south and something happens and they just have to sign up and suck it up. But that isn't everyone by a long shot and most start early and they really can't see another way. Mentally they can't conceive of an alternative and to them it is simply not possible to avoid debt.

    I also know it's still possible for people to work through their debts and eventually come out on top. But you ask anyone who has done this and they'll admit that they were lucky and avoided major setbacks along the way. It just worked out for them. It worked out for my wife and I as well.

    It's hard, yes it's hard, but it gets easier as you go along and if you ever break through and get on top. Then it really becomes an entirely different game. But no one can do it until they start to believe it.

    You can't do something if you think it's impossible. I'd question your sanity if you tried.
     
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  33. bobzdar

    bobzdar [H]ard|Gawd

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    You can do both, it's not an either/or proposition. Of course, people often over-steer in one direction or the other, and the guy this thread is about obviously over-steered to the money side.

    I haven't seen one person in this thread give an argument as to how Uber could possibly be to blame, though.
     
  34. amddragonpc

    amddragonpc [H]ard|Gawd

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    This is a sign of the times. I know several people who are under the same kind of pressure (i.e. failure is not an option, etc) and they experienced panic and anxiety attacks at work ... and yet they will not leave their jobs.
     
  35. Seventyfive

    Seventyfive [H]ard|Gawd

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    I agree, it doesn't have to be, but it usually is. Very few kids say "I wanna grow up to be a biochemical engineer" or "instead of programming a game, I really want to program a consumer services relational database". Some people are lucky and actually DO want to grow up to be something that makes money. For better or worse, many of us do something to pay the bills and try to find happiness where we can.
     
  36. gsilver

    gsilver Gawd

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    It sucks, but there are a lot of barriers to changing jobs, from cognitive to social to practical.
    It took me looking at a mirror and realizing that much more of that and I was going to fall apart, and I walked away from an entire year's worth of stock options (it vested annually, and I was a month away from that year's) and promises of upcoming promotion to principal software engineer, my own team, and now carrying the burden of a mortgage on a house less than 2 miles from the old job.
     
  37. ianken

    ianken [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yea. I suspect this guy had other issues than just stress in the workplace.

    Tech right now is full of job openings, and if you have a pulse and average skills you can make it.

    I did the shit jobs thing ages ago. I paid my own way through school (when you could do that) with those shit jobs. I learned that I never want to do shit jobs ever again. Yes, the stress of shit job money and barely scraping by blows goats.

    But if you're under so much stress and in a mental state where your only perceived out is suicide, money is not going to fix it.

    Plus, the attitude here of "he had a good job, fuck that guy, my job sucks" is fucking pathetic. Money doesn't fix depression.
     
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  38. Nanogrip

    Nanogrip Limp Gawd

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    Yeah I'd rather be stressed with 200k a year than stressed with 30k a year. I am a medical equipment tech and I make pennies on this island, as some of the guys here have said, just one payment for a car problem and then you'll have to shift your payment priorities drastically. I live conservatively with my current salary, and if I'd make 200k a year, I'd still live conservatively, just with more toys and less worries. But, nothing is worth committing suicide over, people all over the world and throughout history have suffered more than the Uber guy in the article, and still lived long enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
     
  39. Pusher of Buttons

    Pusher of Buttons [H]ard|Gawd

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    Nobody kills themselves because of anything concrete. Suicide, particularly in men, is an impulsive act usually brought on by an inability to cope with whatever stress is in your life. Uber is likely no less to blame than the car that cut him off on his way to work, his kid needing expensive out of pocket dental work, a shit relationship with his wife, a gambling addiction nobody knows about, et al.

    It's compounded stress, not just one day going..."Man, working here sure is stressful, best go shoot myself"


    Also, be curious is he was being treated with SSRIs for depression or anything. I got put on them as a preventative for some nasty headaches I was getting after a concussion and holy crap..... it's like they unlock some crazy dark impulsive part of your brain.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
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  40. Dr. Righteous

    Dr. Righteous 2[H]4U

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    Donno,
    When I was younger; still in my 20s I got my shot at my dream job which was working for a major electronics manufacturer. It was the most miserable job I ever had because of the management was basically a "good old boy" system. If you played their mind games and kissed the right rear ends, you advanced. This was being a "team player" to them. Any talent or real job skill you had was meaningless unless you played their games. I HATE that kind of politics in the work place I wanted to quit every day and was stressed beyond belief and miserable. YEAH, that can really depress you. It paid well, had great benefits, and opportunities to advance if you were willing to suck up to people who were morally repugnant. And I'm about as far from a mindless yes man as a person can be. When a lay off came through and hit me (by design) I was devastated at first but then I realized the killer stress was GONE, and being out of a job was MUCH less stressful then working for them. My perspective changed 180*.
    I got another job, didn't pay as well, not a bunch of benefits but they greatly valued my skill and expertise at what I did. Stress was minimal and life was better by far.