What type of company are you in?

What makes a great company? What seperates a great company from a lousy one?

Having so far the experience at working already at a few companies (thanks to internships), I’ve begun to already notice trends in the workplace. These trends/ideas that I have been noticing are what set companies apart from each other and are what I believe the reason that cause some companies to rise to the top. Perhaps maybe known to someone already, I have only begun to understand and see this sort of connection and fascinated by it.

Really has made me want to post on this, is that I’ve begun reading Coders at Work and a lot of what these programmers discuss is what they’ve noticed from company to company with respect to employee treatment and just general ingenuity and talent.

Which company are you in?

The Burning Ship
The Titanic
Little group but appreciated
Whole company is kick ass

The Burning Ship

This type of company is pretty much a burning ship, hence the name. Really if you are at this type of company you might as well put your head in between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye. There is no real reason for this company to exist as they have no true talent (at any level within the company) and anyone working there is silently counting the days before termination. These are the types of companies I dread working for one of my internships as it promises no chance for learning or meaningful work. Essentially an important point, is also there is no way to save a burning ship.

The Titanic

This type of company is doomed for failure. The type of companies that represent the “Titanics” are one’s that have a core group of bright individuals who are keeping the company alive but are sorely unappreciated. They are keeping the “ship” afloat and on course; but it is only a matter of time before they realize they can be better treated else-where and leave. Once that occurs, expect this company to hit an iceberg and begin sinking (Better than burning?). The only salvage about perhaps working at this type of company is the thought of what if the Titanic was steered clear from the iceberg? The opportunity to perhaps be a member of a team that salvages a company or if management learns to treat their core group better is enticing. There is a small propensity to learn on an internship at these types of companies if working with one of these “skilled workers”

Little group but appreciated

I would say the majority of companies that have lasted 5+ years fall into this category. These are the types of companies where there is a core group of engineers/developers who are excellently skilled at their craft and creating the groundwork for the products to be delivered by the company. Everyone else in the company is pretty much filler and would seem to simply piggy back off the work done by this core group. If you’re at an A-star company but are simply pushing paper and doing menial work, that would be a good indicator that this is the type of company your in. The reason why these types of companies do well as apposed to the Titanic types are simply that management/HR realize that the majority/important aspects of the products are being developed/engineered by only a handful of people and they generously reward them to keep them at the company.

Whole company is kickass

These companies are the Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google of the world. Essentially the bar is so high getting in, that it almost guarantees that everyone in the company will most likely be contributing meaningful work to a product and the company. There are a lot of maybes and ifs in the previous sentence solely because I know of certain individuals who “luck in” some of these companies and coast by for the remainder of their internship. However the % of amazing employees is so high that these coasters are the exception and not the rule.

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