Friday, July 9, 2010

One Way to Tell Your Workplace Has a Toxic Environment

I consulted at a number of biotech companies in my pre-med-school life and I was fortunate that most of them were great places to work with good people. Two in particular were not. The distasteful reality I noticed at both of them was that it wasn't possible to get anything done without being a member of political alliances. That alone is not uncommon at companies (sadly enough) but the important feature here is that at a truly toxic company, these alliances are based on blood relations or shared ethnic background. Ugly, but unfortunately real - and it unfortunately makes sense. In a company that lacks the corporate equivalent of rule-of-law, life is unpredictable, and the only relationships with any degree of trust are those deeply-imprinted connections of family or culture, because they're not within your power to consciously opt out of.

Needless to say, I didn't spend much time at either company, and neither did very well. One no longer exists, and the other is about to de-list from its exchange.

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