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Why I'm Leaving Nutanix

After three years, I'm leaving Nutanix. My timing comes the same week our CEO is leaving, but is totally unrelated as I have almost no opinion on Dheeraj other than "seems nice".


When I first joined Nutanix, I was more or less out of school with one startup job in between. A friend who worked there let me know about a somewhat uncommon remote role that wouldn't require me relocating to one of their hubs like San Jose.

Remote was important to me for family reasons, but the thing that really stood out to me from this friend was the culture and how much they loved it. The product sounded really interesting and I was really into the idea of working in tech, at a tech company instead of a more generic type of business.

Years 1-2 (roughly) went pretty great. I got promoted once, my team was growing and I was able to take on more responsibility. We held annual events where we'd all get together, no holds barred, and it let me bond with people even being remote. My comp was bar none from people I knew in my area working similar roles, and I was a really happy camper.

The past year: Fall 2019

In late summer 2019 the deck got shuffled in my org and I was put under a new manager. Almost immediately when people around me heard where I was going, I got basically grimaces and snickering. The person had such a reputation for incompetence.

Being young and optimistic I thought maybe it was just talk, or maybe it was a manager being phased out of technical responsibility who was a bit out of touch.

That all changed when I met the person, who I'm going to call "Mike" since there are about five million Mike's running around any given company.

  • Mike would not reliably use version control
  • Mike was building new projects in Python2 in 2019, the year it was going to be sunsetted
  • Mike didn't use package registries
  • Mike appeared to have used databases a long time, but essentially wrote cross joins (tl:dr - EXTREMELY inefficient and huge no-no) with WHERE clauses any time he had to join tables

All this horrified me, but I figured this was a guy who had lost touch and if I could get him out of active code maybe this wouldn't all be so bad. I was wrong. Mike was not a good natured person with poor technical skill, he was also a terrible manager.

  • Extreme favorites, to the point where if my one colleague, a fall guy that I'll call "Gary" happened to ever have two different activities marked work in progress on our project tracking board, Mike would spend most of the daily meeting berating him in front of everyone
  • Gary, as I mentioned, was decidedly not a favorite: in addition to extreme scrutiny for project tracking BS, he would laugh at Gary in meetings whenever he assigned him undesireable tasks

At first, I told myself that I didn't care. The money was so good, the benefits were so great, who was I to complain, even if the entire team dynamic was miserable?

For the record, this isn't just the random opinion of joe schmoe. Mike's favorites noticed the inconsistency and they'd ask me afterwards "What's the deal with Mike and Gary, isn't he doing good work?". The entire dynamic was a mystery.

Winter 2019/2020

Something both good and bad happened in 2019, which was that a project I was on started getting greater attention for , attention that went all the way up to certain company thought leaders with sway.

As soon as that happened, Mike revealed yet another difficult trait: extreme emotionality. The best I can explain it is, if outsiders were focused on my project with scrutiny, even if it was a great month and we were meeting all our deadlines, Mike would be straight up rude to pretty much everyone, demanding weekend work and criticizing everyone.

On the other hand, if we received any positive external attention, Mike was buoyant even if we missed deadlines because of unforseen issues or had other missteps. His mood was totally political and not based on what the team was actually doing.

During this time, fall guy Gary also seemed to hit something of a personal rut, and I'll admit his output was not on par with my expectations, or other people in our group. I may be small for admitting this, but Gary doing such a bad job was a blessed relief for other team members for dealing with Mike's irrational mood, so for a brief time some people including myself just said mum about it.

Spring 2020

In Spring 2020, some things happened that pushed me over the edge to actually complain about Mike. I was promoted again (although into non management) and unfortunately being a confidant made any shred of respect I had for Mike disappear.

In 1:1 meetings, out of nowhere he would comment on how poor Gary's performance was and speculate that he was bipolar or autistic. This happened on three different occasions. I was not Mike's manager, and there was no reason to tell me. Mike also expressed plans to put Gary on a PIP, performance improvement plan. AKA code for a preemptive strike to fire someone.

The first time I was so dumbstruck that all I could say was "He doesn't seem like he has either of those things to me." Not that there's anything wrong with it, but having known some bipolar and autistic people Gary did not fit the bill. TBH, he instead just seemed like the old guard of Nutanix people who had gotten used to coasting a little bit, and Mike's moods and scrutiny had totally upset his modus operandi.

A few other things happened in rapid succession. COVID hit, and we wound up being furloughed, and Mike reached out to multiple people on furlough calling a very minor bug "urgent". He was careful to not ask anyone specifically to work but made it known he was available to call for whoever could help out. I have to say, I snapped a little bit there. It was so out of line. We all had taken the lack of pay for the greater good, but to be expected to still work like dogs was too much for me.

A number of other rude and dismissive remarks, temper tantrums, and other all around BS happened during this time, but those are the big ones that stand out to me. Trying to make people work furloughed, and saying in one breath that Gary was autistic and he wanted to put him on a PIP. One of the most unprofessional things I've heard my entire career, TBH.

I had never been in this position before, but I actually complained to HR. The ableism, the unprofessionalism, blew my mind.

HR was "great" for about five minutes to listen to my claim. They then came back and let me know appropriate action had been taken. I asked what that meant. They didn't answer further, but obviously Mike still worked there so I pushed. "So, my boss if he decides he doesn't like me tomorrow can go around speculating that I have an illness or mental illness, and nothing happens?" Crickets.

To say that I have lost respect for this company isn't quite correct. I don't know how much I've had for the past year. Mike got promoted since I've been here, even making disastrous technical decisions and being an emotional, erratic mess the whole time. Mike got promoted talking crap about serious health conditions about his reports to random other people. I can only wonder what he's said about me.

Anyway, I'm leaving Nutanix, gladly. I have so little respect for the org after seeing the HR response that I can't see myself there any longer. If I had any advice to give my former self, it would be not to set foot in this org, no matter the money. I found just as much money in a new position and by all indications, none of the mismanagement or unprofessionalism.

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