Some years ago, back in the country I grew up in, back to an age when I was still watching TV, there was a certain trend: TV stars would move their shows to different stations and find themselves, months later, in a bad position.
Even if they were initially offered better packages and maybe were able to take some of their initial staff with them on the new venture, they ultimately failed to actually move audiences for more than a limited period of time. Some of them ended being thrown out of TV business for good.
Tabloids would sometime chime in and ask questions in the line of “how was that even possible?”, but they would not post answers (not that they had anything meaningful to say). I’m not sure their readers would have had any chance of understanding what was really going on, though.
I wasn’t at that time in any position to understand what was going on either, even if I did have access to smarter opinions in the line of “the shows were actually better before the move” or “some stations have more money to spend on everything and can afford not to cut corners”. That’s actually the visible layer: I had to move jobs myself a couple of times to realize what the success is about. To summarize:
it’s not about you having some special talent;
it’s not about you pulling the company uphill by yourself;
it is about the whole environment that makes you succeed or fail, starting from how clean is the toilet at your work place.
Some intense months later, here I am with fresh ideas and happenings. Secrets follow. Well no, not really, but I’ll put everything in a list to make things easier to digest.
1. Getting in is hard, staying in seems even harder
When the commercials go out, the movie starts: the interview and then the orientation do not prepare you for the environment you’ll be swimming in, once you start your daily work. On my path to illumination I have realized that kitchen personnel, the people that cook that good food for you 3 times a day, are likely to be evaluated on par with the people they are feeding. At the end of the day nobody is getting any free meal.
I’ve also found out that the photos floating around the interwebs with colorful interiors, pool tables, arcades or pinball machines straight from the ’80s are true. What I have also learned is that an unhealthy balance between productivity and time spent having fun in the games room or sleeping in the library will lead to a PIP (performance improvement plan) before your 1st anniversary. Failing that is obviously your ticket out, but some people also choose to leave on their own terms. For the company the outcome is the same, though: a lifetime (maybe) “no rehire” stuck in your file.