This is actually a fairly common interview question: If you could do anything, what would it be? It’s a tough one. I have a hard time with this because I’ve always been a multi-hat wearer, and that’s the way I like it. In other words, it’s not so much what I do, but why and with whom.
That being said, this is what I’m looking for in my next great workplace:
“The smell of a place” – Sumantra Ghoshal
Culture is not a foosball table, or catered lunches on Fridays, or a Halloween costume contest. Culture is the collective attitude behind these things that enable them to happen. I’m looking for a culture that is defined both formally and organically by the people who work for the company and believe that how a place “smells” is instrumental to getting work done in the most productive way possible–that is to say, while enjoying it.
I know that I still have a lot to learn. I’m looking to learn it from people who have been there before, as well as others, who can show me a different perspective. It’s important to me that where I work has a strong leadership team who is accountable to the rest of the team more than they are themselves or the shareholders. I attribute much of what I’ve accomplished to strong leaders with whom I’ve had the privelege to work thus far. I believe that an organization’s drive and attitude toward success–as well as what that looks like–flows down from its leadership, so it’s important to me to know that those at the helm are a strong, trustworthy bunch. But genuine and self-aware as well.
My ideal workplace is driven by values rather than profit. I like to think that if you’re doing the right thing, you will be duly rewarded. I’ve worked for some great companies that navigate by doing right by their customers first and foremost, and I’m aiming to see that again at my next workplace. I’m also at a place in my career that I’d like to contribute to something meaningful, something helpful; I’d like to use my powers for good. I’m not looking to save the world either and I ain’t no Mother Teresa. But it’s important that what I do contributes positively in some way.
I’m an intrapreneur by nature. This means that I enjoy identifying and taking on challenges within the organization to help make things better. I like having the autonomy to take on projects that I feel are worthwhile in an environment where exploration is encouraged. I believe that there are learning opportunities everywhere and unless individual employees are encouraged to branch out and push their boundaries, they will become bored, complacent, or both.