There's no shortage of complaints on workplaces over at Glassdoor. And I remember freaking out when I managed Marriott's employer brand and an employee at a branded hotel did this. We all have the things we love and hate about work, workplaces, bosses, co-workers etc. So I'm never surprised when a company's lackluster performance unearths tons of complaints about what it's like to work there. The latest victim? Bloomberg's piece on Fab. Fab is an online retailer with a modern, hip, usable edge. CEO Jason Goldberg is the former founder of Jobster and the Bloomberg article posits his current startup culture as rough, to say the least. I won't repeat some of Sarah Lacy's excellent points on the topic, but I will say to anyone who has or wants a job:
You are responsible for understanding a company's culture and its implications.
And, you can leave any time you want.
Successful companies should have a defined culture. Startups should work to define one. Both should hold employees accountable. And employees can decide whether to stay or go.
This is the concept of being at at-will employee.
Some of the stuff Fab does might bother you. Some not. Me, I'm a rule follower so I appreciate a tight run ship like Fab has. I hate jerks, so I would have loved GE's "no as***le" rule. And the only hokeyness I want in my life is my alma mater, so Zappos' antics probably wouldn't be for me. The point is, I know what matters to me, and I took the time to figure it out. That's why I left my last job to start this business.
Do companies have to do a better job of being clear about their culture? Yes. But in the meantime, you can find out by doing some digging on your own:
- look for social cues in employees and company-sponsored social media channels
- ask employees how things are celebrated (if at all)
- ask employees what's the best and worst thing they've seen at work
- pay close attention to the office when you go to interview
- look for themes in the answers you get
Be a cultural anthropologist.
Then exercise your right to search for jobs in companies that are a fit for you. In the meantime, we'll work on getting the companies to do a better job with their culture.