Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Maybe working at a big company isn't all bad

I had an eye opening experience through my wife this last week, that had me questioning some of my assumptions.

Background: As you may know, I used to work for a very large company. I used to think that the only value that I saw in it was technical: great labs, great library (online access from my desk to all the ACS, Elsevier, Wiley... polymer and chemistry journals you could imagine) and technically competent scientists. My wife also worked at this same company too. Both of us suffered through the endless training and talks on business stategy, benchmarking, personality profiles...all the stuff that is fodder for Dilbert.

I was layed off from said company, and my wife quit, picked up a real estate license and is ecstatic helping real people with going through a huge transition in their lives. She started talking with another realtor who had been a realtor his whole career (Call it 20 years). He has just had started his own brokerage, and was talking to my wife about some of the challenges and that's when the lights went off. This guy knows nothing about all the stuff that I had just complained about as being a waste. He was having to bring in consultants to help with strategies, personality profiles... and the broker thought this was all great... that he was at the cutting edge!

So maybe there was something at that earlier employer that I only now appreciate. Certainly my wife has a huge advantage over other career realtors, and that is apparent as she is already threatening the stability of the other established realtors, which was part of the motivation for that conversation with the broker - if you can't beat her, join her.


Robin St. John said...

I work at a company that is somewhere in between the big one you worked for and the small one you work for now. We have been lucky and have grown steadily for the past few decades. We are getting to the point where the folksy, "we all know each other" management style is beginning to show strain. I think that judicious use of training is great, but it is scary when you start to have people around who are paid to think of new things to train people to do...

It is really difficult to tell the signal from the noise with respect to management tools. Probably only a few are worth the time, but who knows which? Since your wife has had a chance to separate some wheat from chaff, maybe she can offer her employer a headstart in figuring it all out.

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