June 18th, 2008 by erin
Kevin and Dusty have written some interesting articles about running a small business. Now, it’s my turn to throw my 2 cents in about working for one…..Top 10 Style!
Adios Outlook Calendar!
I adore my freedom from the Outlook Calendar, and Outlook in general. That’s not to say that we don’t schedule anything at BrightMix, because we certainly schedule the important things, like dinner for Cinco de BrightMix or meetings with clients. We simply don’t schedule everything (10:37: Bathroom Break – I think not). If we need to discuss something, we generally do it when the issue comes up, not next week or next month.
No More PowerPoint!
In my experience in Corporate America, Power Point ruled the day. Nearly every meeting of any significance required a set of Power Point slides, with gold stars going to people who printed copies for all attendies. It’s as if they believed that Microsoft has found a way to inject pretty bullet-point lists of information into our memories. The truth of the matter is that most slide decks suck – their only purpose is to provide the presenter with his or her own talking points.
Here at BrightMix, white boards rule. If we need a more permanent record, Kevin takes a picture with his iPhone and we paste it into Campfire. High Five!
One of the interesting things about working for a small business is the array of hats each of us wears. We don’t have people, let alone entire departments, dedicated to Payroll, HR, Benefits, Marketing, PR, or PC Support. Everyone just pitches in. I, for example, am not only a developer. I am also the acting social chair, sous chef, and the BrightMix union rep. I’ve even been known to do the dishes, make the coffee, and occasionally clean the toilets (Yuck!).
I have a lot more flexibility working for BrightMix than I ever did working for XYZ Corp. It’s really refreshing to be able to say “I have a dentist appointment on Tuesday” or “I’m meeting some former co-workers for lunch—I might be gone for an hour and a half” with out being made to feel like a slacker. I occasionally work from home for no other reason than I like it.
I do have a little bit of a trade off for this flexibility, in that I am also more flexible. My hours are far less rigid than they ever were at XYZ Corp. I generally leave for the day between 5:00 and 5:30, but if something needs to be done, it needs to be done.
Our regular readers are well aware of our “organized fun”, in the form of scheduled company outtings (here’s a shameless plug for the upcoming bowling trip). We also enjoy regular foosball games (although we’re on a brief hiatus for the summer), and have been known to gather around monitors for entertainment provided by YouTube. I highly recommend the Peep Wars.
The greatest thing about the BrightMix policy document is its length. There can’t be more than 15 items, at least 4 of which deal with opening and closing the office. We have all of the basic stuff – vacation and sick days, rough hours of operation, etc. That’s about it. What we don’t have includes a policy for answering the phone, dress code (although there is an unwritten rule that you should wear clothing), or a document dictating what can and cannot be left on our desks.
It’s policy document written for adults, which is exactly what we are (well, some of the time anyway). Hooray!
I’ve never been shy about sharing my ideas and opinions, ask anyone who knows me. The great thing about working for BrightMix is that my ideas are actually heard. Well, most of them. No one seems to have heard my idea for company BMWs. Then again, maybe they have, but they want it to be a surprise.
A Shorter Ladder
Until we fired up the BrightMix Summer Internship, I owned the corporate ladder. I could literally go no higher or lower. The great thing about owning the ladder is that you don’t have to coordinate with or cut through layers of management to get things done. Executive decisions occur precisely one floor above me. Elevator going up?
No Office Politics
This is one aspect of corporate life that I don’t think I will ever miss. Enough said.
I understand that I am paid a salary to provide the company with my time and effort, but I still love positive feedback and an occasional high five for going the extra mile. I was lucky enough in my corporate experience to have supervisors that made sure I received proper recognition when going above and beyond. A lot of my colleagues did not – their supervisors took all the credit, or didn’t say anything at all (Boo!).
At BrightMix, Dusty and Kevin are all about Thank Yous and High Fives, even when we’re just doing the job they pay us for.