What Keeps Me at Mozilla

Note (added 30 December 2016): I quit Mozilla in August 2015. You can read why here and here. Most of what’s written below is still reasonably accurate, as far as I know. Except I think Mozilla being mission-driven is mostly horseshit, more about marketing than reality. Working for Mozilla might still be a good resume builder, but be weary of their ever-declining relevance. If you’re not a straight, white cishet man, be prepared to put up with a lot of bullshit, including lack of diversity across the board, co-workers potentially proselytizing to you without your consent, and other harassment that goes unchecked.

Doing good is part of our code.

A friend of mine is considering an offer to work at Mozilla and asked the question “what keeps me at Mozilla?” Below is my response to them.

(Note: As a couple of colleagues have indicated in the comments, this list is very-US centric. Benefits and even ability to work for Mozilla varies by your country of citizenship/residency.)

  • Near total flexibility in working environment. I can work at home, or from our Portland space, or any of the many Mozilla offices.
  • Ability to travel and go to conferences. Different teams have different policies about this, but over the last year I have been able to go to the conferences I’ve wanted to. Plus I can book travel to the MTV/SF offices whenever I feel like I need actual face-time.
  • Good salary and benefits. I don’t know exactly how Mozilla salaries compare to other Bay Area companies, but compared to Portland they are awesome. Last year I was able to pay off my student loan debt, save 10% of my salary AND buy a house. The health insurance is pretty good (not perfect; e.g. we don’t have complete coverage for trans folks yet). Paid time-off is plentiful as well (by US standards, anyway). And, having a flexible work environment means you can use for PTO for actual vacation as opposed to running errands or going to medical appointments.
  • Relative freedom in selecting your tools. You pick your hardware and operating system. You have root on your own machine. You can request a new laptop at least every two years (some people seem to get them sooner). There are gadgets like tablets, Android and now Firefox OS phones. If you need something to get your job done, you will get it.
  • Significant choice regarding what projects you work on. That’s not to say you can work on whatever you want according to whim alone. There is oversight, and your projects need to fit within Mozilla’s high-level goals. But within your functional team, you often have a great amount of say in what you spend your day-t0-day time doing. And, if you get in a position where you’re not doing what you really want to be, there are avenues for changing that.
  • Ability to work for mission-driven, open source oriented organization. Jobs at such organizations are rare because such organizations are few in number. At Mozilla, you have the honor of working for a project that has a ton of world-wide visibility and impact. We are working on initiatives that really matter, such as keeping the web open and bringing that open web to as much as the globe as possible (with Firefox OS).
  • You will work with brilliant, driven folks. These folks far outnumber the assholes. And it’s not just employees you’ll be working with. You will become part of a global army of awesome volunteer contributors.

If that’s piqued your interest, head on over to our Careers website and see if any of the open listings interest you. Got questions? I’m happy to answer them.

Oh, and to any co-workers who are reading, free free to add your own responses to ‘what keeps you at Mozilla’ by leaving a comment.

(Photo of Firefox billboard courtesy of Fligtar.)


  1. Jeff Walden says:

    Regarding “not perfect; e.g. we don’t have complete coverage for trans folks yet”, is that a function of the terms of the coverage, of laws that cause the coverage to work that way, or what? It seems kind of bizarre to me that we wouldn’t make an effort to be accommodating on the point, or that there wouldn’t be providers or whatever that could enable that.

    • Most insurance companies explicitly exclude procedures that trans people need (even though these procedures are widely agreed to be medically necessary). A company has to take specific action (and sometimes, pay extra) to get a rider that includes these procedures. A group of us (including me and Christie) tried to get this changed this year, but we were told that this year, HR is focusing on improving benefits for Mozilla employees who work in Europe. We’ll be keeping an eye on what happens next year.

  2. geeknik says:

    Mozilla won’t hire me. Regardless of my current job, years of experience or whatever position I apply for. Been using Firefox since the Phoenix days. Contributed countless hours of debugging, testing, writing documentation and even a little bit of code. I’d sure love to know what Mozilla’s recruiters have against me.

  3. groovecoder says:

    I love your list, though I’d put working for mission-driven, open-source organization at the top, followed closely by ability and flexibility to work from home. Everything else is lumped together way further down. :)