Today’s article continues a review of jobs at Nerdwallet, as reported by current and former employees. I continue with the Nerdwallet job review with a report from Tracy, a former employee.
“About three months in, I get a weird phone call from editor Steve Symanovich. He says they’ve run plagiarism software on some recent content of mine and found 20% of it had been copied. Moreover, it had been copied from Nerdwallet content. I was shocked. The content he referred to was my own content. Because Nerdwallet had assigned me content that repeated many of the points made in earlier articles I had written, I repurposed that content. Steve had no objection to this and even encouraged it.”
What Tracy found appalling was that a serious charge of plagiarism was leveled against him without Steve Symanovich, or anyone else, doing “their due diligence. They didn’t bother to check that it was my own content I was using! One wonders if they had posted my own content under my own byline, instead of another byline, if they would have avoided this blunder. I cut Steve Symanovich a break by not coming down on him as hard as he deserved.”
“And I received no apology”.
But that wasn’t the only insult that Tracy had to endure. A few weeks later, the same thing happened. “This time, I get a note from a copy editor telling me the same thing! In this case, however, it was even worse. First, I again accused of plagiarizing my own material without due diligence being performed. This demonstrated that Steve Symanovich is so poor at his job that he didn’t tell the copy editors that repurposing material was acceptable and to be on the lookout for it.”
“But then this copy editor linked to another website where she thought I had lifted material. I had to point out to her that that other website was RIPPING US OFF! It was a mirror website of Nerdwallet. “
“Get this – not only did this copy editor not apologize either, but nobody even thanked me for uncovering the other website. That’s incredibly poor employee relations”.
That is an understatement. Added to these egregious managerial fumbles, Tracy reports that a payment snafu resulted in his paycheck being held up for weeks, for which nobody apologized. Symanovich also criticized Tracy for a single bad link in an article, the first bad link in over 600 good ones, and allegedly threatened to terminate Tracy if it happened again.
The final insult came when Tracy delivered a “jovial, if firm, assessment” of his time with Nerdwallet, calling attention to these deficiencies.
For which, he asserts, he was fired.
“I called Symanovich and read him the Riot Act. He refused to admit that my demand for a modicum of respect was met with termination. In more than twenty years of journalism, in both employee and managerial positions, I have never experienced this level of disrespect.”
Tracy’s conclusion: “In my opinion, you have to be crazy or desperate to work at Nerdwallet”.
Based on Tracy’s experience, I would strongly caution anyone from taking a job at Nerdwallet – at least in the content division. However, based on Glassdoor.com reviews, that caution may be necessary for any job. I’ll discuss that next time.