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.

 

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