The next company with poor work culture

First There was reolut and its toxic work culture and now it seem that Bulb is the next company that its been reported that there’s is a poor work life balance. Is it a trend?

(Its behind pay wall((I’m also not sure on the rules of posting full length articles on here :thinking: )
I’ve found the glassdoor and it makes for interesting reading,4_IL.5,11_IM1035.htm

1 Like

Some of their glassdoor reviews are pretty shocking but not surprising especially those about micromanagement and pressure to stay late (most companies have at least one of these issues).

I sometimes think companies use the ‘well we are a start up’ as an excuse to have unreasonable demands about work/life balance.

1 Like

I think in most cases its poor management and poor managers. I have a mantra which is if the work cannot be completed between 9-5 Monday to Friday and the person is working hard. Clearly you need more people or that person needs to delegate better. I personally don’t believe overtime is necessary and if it is they(the person) should be adequately compensated


Yeap I agree it’s often poor management and they say people leave managers not jobs. It also seems to me that after about 5-6 hours people become a lot less effective at their job for the day and so making them do 12 hours a day is effectively making them do 5/6 hours of pretty poor work


So much is to do with management. In a a lot of cases its expecting too much having not trained your staff properly. But its also small things for example mandated tea and coffee breaks where everyone gets tea or coffee together and shares a biscuit. 12 hour days should only be reserved for two types of people

  1. Students- Because partying and working hard can be 12 hours(Pick however you want to spilt that :rofl: )
  2. Bankers - They get paid well enough therefore they should be expected to…
    And managers need to know this and never expected it.
    Uber rare cases - The payment system for example destroys itself, people work through the night to fix it. Give them the next day to sleep and chill not like my sisters BF who worked on a F1 team and finished work at 2am and was expected in at 9 the next day…
    The Work life balance is all about working more efficiently in the same amount of time

Exactly, there’s an art to compromise and common sense with work life balance. I think also some managers buy in to a company “philosophy” e.g. we are changing the world! That they forget most people are there simply for money and don’t have an investment in the company, so as soon as their shift ends they’re more than happy to leave and not do anything extra and I don’t blame them!

Yeah, I think it depends. I’m a bit of a workaholic and will work massive amounts of Overtime etc(I’m a student) but I would never expect people to follow my example whether I’m at work or just generally I enjoy working hard. But its also using the soft skills to identify which people like the “vision” and which people are there just for the cash.

1 Like

Tell that to NHS rota managers


1 Like

The NHS is a nightmare: of under paid over worked people. How you solve that opens up a whole can of worms… :rofl:

1 Like

I took a look at the Glassdoor reviews (if that is what they are called?) earlier

It sounds like for the most part they are ending up as workers in a glorified call centre, which probably did not match expectations

I was particularly struck by one saying that a lot of their tasks felt like they could and should be automated, and that was in the works

A bit like with Amazon and Uber workers, be a little careful what you wish for when it comes to jobs with dubious conditions - they may just pop out of existence soon!


These terrible startup cultures are a reflection of the founders. It’s as simple as that.

They work hard and their whole life is dedicated to turbo charging this project, which is great for them if that’s their choice to work 100 hours a week and they enjoy it. They have a big vision and a burning fire inside them to become the next unicorn, conquer the world and reap all of the rewards that come with it,

The problem is when you go further down the ladder and that fire burns less bright and the potential rewards drop off sharply.

You have a level of senior management who are often highly unqualified if they joined working as an intern in a tiny startup and now they are in charge of hundreds of staff.

If the company is doubling in size every six months then managers are getting out of their depths within months and the startup has the problem of needing to bring in much more experienced and qualified managers who are often out of their reach if they are on £500k in a top company and this risky startup can only pay £50k plus illiquid share options.

The startups are likely to attract only the mavericks and rejects from those bigger companies, not the highly experienced, successful and stable recruits they need, so they often keep these early managers who are out of their depths.

So this layer of management is getting deeper out of its depth with every new customer. How do they respond? By looking to the founders and leaders, who have dollar signs in their eyes and are prodding the managers to get better, faster, stronger and slamming huge stretch targets on them and sacking them if they can’t reach these targets.

These managers then feed all this blind ambition from the top through to the bottom and it results in the culture turning nasty.

Where the founders are looking at the next billion dollars the regular staff at the bottom also want the company to succeed but they especially want to enjoy their work and go home to see their kids at a normal time.

Rather than a few startups having terrible cultures I think Monzo appears to be a shining exception to the rule because their founders have laid down rules and examples early on that all staff should be empathetic and should want to improve people’s lives, rather than just demanding everyone “get shit done” like many other startup founders will do. I’ve heard Tom say he wakes up late most days and believes in shorter productive days rather than just presenteeism and looking busy, so I really do think a good culture comes from the founders.

Sorry for the essay :blush:


No apologies necessary :slight_smile:

This is 100% true.

There are values and ideals and practices that I personally remember Tom, Jonas and others talking about back in 2016 when we were still less than 50 people in one office, that are still in place today as we approach 1000 staff. It’s incredible that we’ve managed to maintain that company culture as we grow.

It’s why I personally don’t worry about the incumbents (or other fintechs, for that matter) building this or that feature that compares to something we are doing. Ultimately, our progress, our journey, the amazing amount of goodwill and support that people give us all comes from our culture. There’s a real drive within this company to make things that help people, and to do that fairly and transparently. We aren’t just creating utilitarian services that look good on paper - we believe in financial mindfulness through delight and things you actually want to use :blush:



Wasn’t everyone on this forum clambering to sign up to Bulb a while ago? Didn’t Monzo promote Bulb in–app? Didn’t Monzo also make a big deal out of the Marketplace being populated with companies that shared Monzo’s ethics?

1 Like

I may have also had a look at Monzo’s glass door just out of interest and it’s not bad at all :smile:


This was the main reason why I even bothered to post was Monzo talking up bulb and then it’s doing this

ehh I just recently switched to Bulb. Having left my previous job due to many reasons, one being the treatment of the staff that built the company etc. and now coming back to corporate world ethics are everything to me…

If you decide to switch again and need a referral code for Octopus, here’s one:

I worked here. The CEO shouted at people until they cried. From the glassdoor reviews it sounds like he is still very immature and mean.