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Former Microsoft Exec Trashes Company's Bureaucratic Dysfunction

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When it comes to the best places in the world to work for, few companies come close to the bocce ball shores and ping pong encampments of Google's (GOOG) Mountain View headquarters. Topping Fortune's list for the last three years, Google certainly knows how to make its staffers feel welcome and productive.

In fact, numerous names from big tech often make the cut in similar lists: Apple (AAPL), Intel (INTC), Adobe (ADBE), Facebook, and Microsoft (MSFT) have all benefited from employees' high marks. But judging from a recent open letter posted on TechCrunch by a disgruntled former employee, Microsoft seems to harbor a RIM (RIMM)-level of resentment within in its walls.

Reminiscent of last year's scathing open letter by a member of RIM's team, recently axed exec Max Zachariades -- who blogs under the name Max Zografos -- detailed the hopeful optimism that permeated his early years at Microsoft and the crushing blow of bureaucracy that bogged down the end of his tenure.

Zachariades began as a summer intern and routinely professed his love for the company to the point of him earning the nickname "Microsoft Man." But it wasn't long before Zachariades -- weighed down by "corporate-branded gizmos, laser pointers, memory keys, plastic crystals and other toys" -- noticed that the company was far more concerned with useless meetings and swag rather than ideas.

"In time, my eyes opened," he wrote. "We were box tickers and pen pushers. Any original thinking was sacrificed at the altar of time-proven, common sense process. Efforts to break the mould were all but punished."

According to Zachariades, Microsoft is obsessed with an overloaded calendar -- as if to signify over-activity. "Dig a bit deeper and you'll realise that Microsoft meetings are a way to diffuse and evade responsibility for decisions. Yes -– let's spend weeks on weeks 'reviewing with stakeholders.' It’s so much safer that taking swift decisions ourselves."

Adding, "The company places no trust on the individual to make the right decision on their own."

But what about the hierarchy of Microsoft's staff? Taking a page out of Office Space, Zachariades noted just how many useless positions the company seems to champion.

"Large companies have overheads, a necessary evil, you say. Overheads need to be managed. And managed they are: Group Managers, Program managers, General managers, together with 'Senior' flavours of those and a whole new breed of directors, stakeholders, business owners, relationship leads coupled with their own countless derivatives."

And in perhaps the most devastating slam, Zachariades declared that Microsoft is now becoming the "McDonald's (MCD) of computing."

The browbeaten employee also spoke of his email correspondence with a Corporate Vice President in which he voiced his concerns on where Microsoft was headed. "Entire days spent on meetings about meetings, drafting and re-drafting 'team stories' and participating in endless informational conference calls. I am confident that could achieve the same actual results with just 10 percent of its current funding. Given the opportunity, I can provide more clarity on this topic."

He was summarily fired, a few days shy of his fifth anniversary with the company.

Which goes to show you: If you're unhappy with your job, best keep your head down and don't say a word.

(See also: Microsoft Destroys Beloved Franchise's Last Shred of Dignity and AT&T Falsely 'Upgrades' iPhone 4S to 4G)

Twitter: @mcs212

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