In my career, there are only two (maybe three) places that I would fight to continue working at. The top is my current job. Some of the perks:
- The company is completely virtual. When we all get together, we do so in the owner's basement.
- We set our own work hours. If I need to take a kid to the doctor, I take the kid to the doctor. If I'm burnt out, I take the afternoon off. This isn't allowed - this is required.
- When I don't have a deadline for work, I am expected to be working on OSS projects, preferably those that we will be able to use in future projects. This includes articles and networking with others.
- Complete trust. I didn't meet my coworkers until I'd been working for the company for over three months.
Now, we keep things great because the only people hired are those that will work well with every other developer. Or, put another way, every developer has right of veto over a prospective hire. This ensures that everyone will be able to work with everyone else, and that everyone will want to work with everyone else.
The second-best place I've worked was at Motorola. I think that it was more the team than the company. I was trusted to do my job. I had veto power over releases. No-one sat around and told me how to dress. In other words, I was treated like an adult. Too many times, companies feel that they have to treat their employees like children. If you look for childish behavior, you will find it.
Now, this means that about 70% of all prospective employees will not work out in your company, and you have to be willing to be extremely selective in hiring. Yes, you could fire people after trying them out, but that gets to be really disruptive over time. Much better to lose a qualified candidate than to fire an unqualified one. If your company is a good place to work, qualified candidates will find you.
My criteria for good software:
- Does it work?
- Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?
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