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Former Yahoos Still Bleed Purple

Aulia Masna - 9 November 2012

Earlier this year we saw a massive worldwide layoff at Yahoo which greatly affected the company in Indonesia. Its entire engineering division in the country was let go and the former members went off to several different companies. If you take a look at many of their online profiles however, you would notice that these former Yahoos wear the purple badge with pride. They tend to declare proudly that they used to work for Yahoo despite the prevailing perception that Yahoo had been a sinking ship. These people loved working at Yahoo and probably would return if an opportunity arise.

It's rare that you see this kind of strong affinity with a former company, especially ones that gave you the pink slip through no fault of your own. As Obi Wan Kenobi would say, the purple pride is strong with these ones. Despite what had been happening to the company in the last five years, Yahoos, at least the ones in Southeast Asia, seem to be generally happy about working there.

A number of them told DailySocial that they're not blind to what had been happening to the company as a whole and they of course read the blogs, but when it comes to their individual duties at Yahoo, they had little to complain about. This seems to be confirmed by Glassdoor which measures employee satisfaction at jobs and companies.

While 66% of Yahoos on Glassdoor would recommend their friends to work at Yahoo, fewer than 20% are actually dissatisfied. The issues that employees and former employees rate highly at the company include compensation & benefits, work/life balance, and culture & values. They're not confident of the senior leadership but what do you expect from a company that had five CEOs in five years and three in the last two?

There's a thread on Quora about working at Yahoo and the sentiment expressed there generally mirrors the reactions given by the former Southeast Asian Yahoos. Most had been happy working there and cited environment, people, and being able to see what it's like from the inside, not just what the bloggers say about their company.

Former community manager at Yahoo Indonesia Della Wijaya, who now works at Viki, said, "Our motto is once purple, always purple, nothing can break our purple bridges, purple is in our blood." She clearly enjoyed her time. According to her, it's all thanks to a "fun working condition, great mentorship, and friendship."

Former Indonesia country editor now CEO of The Jakarta Post Digital Budi Putra, said that Yahoo has "a great working atmosphere." He said it was a "privilege to have worked there. I was not only learning about my particular division (content/editorial) but also learning about other divisions like Products, Advertising, Marketing and Communications. I'm proud to be a part of it."

Even former intern Naning Utoyo who now works for MRM Worldwide in Singapore agreed with the sentiment. "I think the working atmosphere might be the biggest factor," she said. While my friends were bashing how their workplace is hard, unpaid, far from their home, mine was fun, no pressure at all, and everyone felt like a family."

Michael "Smitty" Smith Jr. who was a director at Yahoo Southeast Asia is equally positive about working at the company. "yahoo is more have a good time type of place. Granted maybe this is why they lost but it makes for a great place to work. I also think in Asia it is well respected and having yahoo on your résumé has always opened a lot of doors for me."

Thomas Diong used to work for Smitty at Yahoo. He said that at Yahoo, there was an element of trust. "They trust that I can do a job without micro-managing, even though i'm super green compared to them. I think that makes all the difference."

Diong's next port of call was a secretive company, one that does not allow him to be as open and free-spirited as he used to be at Yahoo, but he said that it's not to the detriment of his work or his opinion of the company because it was a different kind of job with a different kind of environment.

"When it comes to telling other people that I've worked at Yahoo, I'm more excited, more involved. I can tell them that no, they're wrong. Yahoo is not a bad company. Here's why Yahoo is not a bad company. Here's where they might need to improve. In other words, maybe a little more emotionally attached to Yahoo because of all that."

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