Finding organizations you want to work for

Bill Wilson spent over 20 years in legal departments at corporations large and small, from high tech to brick and mortar, and is writing about various topics while trying to find that next great career opportunity.

Life is too short to work somewhere you hate.  As noted in the last post, organizations have personalities and so do you.  You will usually be happier if you work somewhere where who you are is consistent with who they are.  There are no guarantees of course, but if you assume it’s correct, how do you find those organizations?

If you’re looking in the same field, you probably already have a good idea of who the major players are, and what kind of people work there.  If you decided that your current organization isn’t a good fit for you, then how will the target need to be different?

If you’re looking to change from one field to another, one of the tools intelligence services use is the local newspaper.  There is a wealth of information in it and when the information was assembled by a skilled investigator, it reveals volumes about how the locale.  You have the Internet.  You can find and do things from your desk that the past spies would envy.  So use it.

There are databases, like Hoover’s, Dow Jones, and numerous others that you can subscribe to or find free at many libraries.  You can find who the people are who hold top jobs.  I think there is much truth to understanding a company by understanding its management.  You may know them.  What are they like?  Are they all the same or are they different personality types?  Are they the kind of people you would want to go to lunch with?

If you don’t know them, you probably indirectly know other people there.  That’s where your network, or LinkedIn or one of the other social or business networking sites comes in.  Talk to your network or search those sites for people at your targets.  Where did those people go to law school?  If they are all Ivy League Coif/Law Review Editors/Federal Clerks, will you fit with your degree from Notharvardoryale? Do they show a lot of outside activities? If so, and you’re not a joiner, will you fit?

Lots of articles listed and you haven’t written a thing?  Look at some of their posts on the discussions for some of the groups they belong to (some are open to anyone).  What do they say and do you agree? If you don’t agree, are they smart and people you could learn from?   What is the snarkiness quotient? If everyone is a self important pomposity, is that you?  Use some random Google searches.  If you are coming up with articles about people who have been sanctioned for discovery abuse, or indicted for commercial bribery, do you want to work there?  Read speeches or other comments that others in the company present?  What are they saying?  Look at the complaint websites – there are usually nuggets of truth there.

In short, go behind the brochures.  Dig.  You will waste less time in your search trying to get a job where you’ll be miserable.


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