Despite the fact Apple is building more retail outlets, filling each of these with new and specially trained staff that provide assistance at the Genius Bar or help you get your iPhone replaced when its broken, you never really hear about what its like to work at one.

Going against Apple’s mantra and lifting the veil of secrecy that is in effect in the boardroom, right down to the retail staff, one employee exposes what it’s really like to work at an Apple store, telling all in an interview with Popular Mechanics.

Some choice quotes..

Regarding product launches:

We are completely in the dark until they do a keynote speech. We have no idea what is coming and are not allowed to openly speculate. You can get into serious trouble if you speculate—especially to a customer. I am asked five times per day about the next iPad or iPhone, and I quite simply don’t know. But I would be in huge trouble if I said something like “The next iPad is going to have a camera.

They also really emphasize how important it is for us to stay hydrated, and we can get big bonuses if we work really long hours on a launch day.

Being part of a cult? Sure.

Sometimes the company can feel like a cult. Like, they give us all this little paper pamphlet, and it says things like—and I’m paraphrasing here—”Apple is our soul, our people are our soul.” Or “We aim to provide technological greatness.” And there was this one training session in which they started telling us how to work on our personality, and separating people into those with an external focus and an internal focus. It was just weird.

Getting fired? Easy:

They have a really lenient attendance policy. You have to be late like 15 times before they’ll fire you. But if you talk to the press or speculate to a customer about the next iPad? That’s the end of you.

Dealing with unlocked phones:

We get tons of people asking us for unlocked iPhones, which, of course, we don’t sell. We usually have to tell them that if they unlock their iPhone, it won’t work. That it’s going to be like a $700 paperweight, and that the antenna will fry itself on T-Mobile. Of course, that’s not true, but that’s what we tell them. And if they have an unlocked iPhone, we won’t touch it at the Genius Bar.

Genius Bar or quits:

When I’m there, I get sucked into the competitive culture. Normally I’m pretty low-key, but when I’m at the store, it’s all sell, sell, sell! I wanna work my way up, get promoted and eventually get to the Genius Bar—which is where you want to be. Who doesn’t want to be a genius?

It’s a really interesting interview, one we urge you to read in full. To read the full interview, click here to head over to Popular Mechanics.

Do you work at an Apple Store? Want to clear the air on some points or let us know some additional pieces of information not listed here? Drop us a line in the comments.