Beer fridges. Unlimited PTO. Flexible hours.

Napping pods.

What is this place?!


Company culture took a backseat to job security and stability for decades, until the dawn of the open workspace and the early beginnings of a working millennial class. A coffee machine in the break room and the occasional donut used to be all the perks needed to ensure job satisfaction, but these days it feels like an employee needs to know that their workplace will be like a second home, whatever that means to them.

If company culture is a deal breaker, how are you supposed to evaluate it before accepting a job?

You can take their word for it, but no hiring manager will say their company culture is anything less than stellar. There are ways to find out what the space is like, what the people are like, what the company is like. And you won't have to wait until you work there to find out!

1) Look around

When you go to the office to interview, kick your peripheral vision into gear. Pay attention to what the workspaces look like and if people have personalized their desk areas. Notice if people are chatting or keeping to themselves. Do they smile at you as you pass? Work satisfaction is comprised of lots of little details, all of which become drastically important once an everyday issue.

2) Contact an employee

There are shifty ways to do this, and those should be avoided. Rather than cold contacting a current employee after you've interviewed and potentially making them feel cornered, ask the hiring manager if you could get contact information for a current employee. Even though they'll be on their best behavior, this person will likely be more straightforward than your interviewer about what's expected, as well as the current habits and trends of the office as a whole.

3) Ask

You're meeting with someone who will probably tell you everything's coming up roses at this company, but remember: you're interviewing them too. Ask about what it's like to work there. What's the day-to-day look like, do people leave on time, what do the employees do in their free time, etc. They're looking for someone who will fit in, so even if they talk up the free beer, food, and downstairs gym, they ultimately won't hire someone who isn't comfortable working late.

4) Glassdoor

There is nothing more informative than anonymous feedback. While there might be some truth to the idea that reviews are unreliable, Glassdoor seems to have captured honesty, with quite the range of responses, from current and past employees, and interviewees. Glassdoor doesn't review company culture on it's own, but sift through a few reviews and you're sure to find that you're looking for.

5) Social Media stalk

It sounds creepy... but we all do it. Why save the Instagram stalking for post-first date investigations, when you can bring the beloved habit into your professional life? Sniff around online, see what the company posts on social media. Do some Googling - maybe a blogger has visited the office or perhaps the company did some charity work or volunteering. All of this information gives you a better idea of what the culture is like, and what kind of people you're working with.

If you're really interested in company culture, the interviewers thoughts just might not be good enough. The only way to know what you're getting into is to investigate on your own. Good luck!

Posted: 8/14/2017 3:01:57 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

We talk to so many people who are years into their career and they're antsy. They like their jobs, the work is fine, their coworkers are just the right combination of hardworking and friendly. But something isn't quite enough, and they can't quite put their finger on it. Only about half of American workers say they are "very satisfied" with their current job, leaving the rest to say they're "somewhat satisfied" or worse.

Mind if we take a stab at figuring out why?


They didn't manage their expectations from the get-go.

Consider the fact that unmet expectations are considered to be one of the biggest underlying reasons for divorce, and it makes sense that your relationship with a job could suffer from the same issue.

When you're in conversation mode with a company, whether you're just interviewing with them or are already being offered a position, did you make a point to ask the important questions? If you aren't sure what to say, read on:

1) "I'd like to discuss the salary."

Employers are ready for this discussion, even keeping their initial offers low to accommodate for a requested upgrade from the candidates. But the crazy part? Almost half of nationwide job candidates don't even try to negotiate initial job offers. Forty-nine percent! Researchers have found that those who do negotiate raise their average annual pay by $5,000, meaning that a 25-year old that negotiated a starting salary of $55,000 would earn about $634,000 more than if she had accepted the offer at $50,000, over her 40-year career.

The best way to broach the subject? When you receive the job offer, mention that you're very excited for the offer and know you could bring a lot to the team, but were hoping the salary would be a little higher. Say you'll review the offer and get back to them, leaving them with the expectation that you will be negotiating so that it isn't a surprise when you bring it up on the next phone call. When you speak with them later, express your excitement for the position, refer to your mention of salary earlier, and then explain that the number you had in mind was $xx. You're worth this amount because of X, Y, and Z that you bring to the team.

Don't be afraid of losing the offer – again, companies anticipate a conversation about salary.

2) "How often are salaries evaluated and raises/bonuses given?"

To many, this feels like a pushy question. You've already heard what the position pays, why do you need to know the rest? Here's the thing – a position that pays a lower amount with more frequent and probable pay raises might be worth more in the long run than a position that starts at a high salary, but stays there. It's easier to visualize yourself at this job several years down the road when you have a rough idea of what you'll be making. The Five Year Employee is often disgruntled because they aren't making as much as they think they deserve. Solve that problem by knowing what to expect up front.

3) "What does this company value the most, and how do you think my work for you will further these values?"

Turn the tables during an interview and ask them a question. Being direct is a good way to make the interviewer evaluate the company's priorities  on the spot, so you get a pretty honest and focused answer from them. You will be much happier down the road if you know your values align with your employer's, and that you have a role in the mission of the company.

4) "Are there opportunities for upward mobility in this role or department?"

If you take a new position assuming you will be promoted in a few years, you'd be disappointed to be doing the exact same job you started at in five years, right? Chances are, the hiring manager knows up front whether there's room for growth or if you're in a dead-end position, and they'd like to have a person with same expectations for either situation. While it might not be a main focus of conversation, it's important for an employer to know if a candidate has further aspirations they need to address in the coming years, and the candidate should know if the future they seek can be found at this company.

Expectations are the easiest way to maintain job satisfaction for years down the road. Knowing what you're getting into, or at least having conversations about your future at the company, will keep you and your employer on the same page, and keep you far away from the disgruntled feeling that plagues American workers today.

Posted: 7/27/2017 1:11:40 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

In the last decade or so, the workforce has seen the rise of quirky job perks. The elusive "millennial" is described as a job-hopping, adventure seeking, entitled workaholic who prefers a purpose-driven career as opposed to a 9-5 cubicle job. Millennials cycle through jobs more quickly, with only half of them (as opposed to 60% of non-millennials) expecting to be at their current job a year from now. With their reputation preceding them, what other choice do companies have than to scramble to be better than the next? It has become the norm for office culture to have all the bells and whistles.


But the truth will surprise you.

What 2 things do millennials want the most? 

Advancement in the workplace.

Annual raises.

We know, it's surprising, right? But think about it – with this generation having higher student loan debt (the average millennial owes $30,000), a home ownership rate at a record low, delaying marriages and family-starting, it's not shocking that money and career stability is on the forefront of young people's minds.

What does this mean?

Assume loyalty. Companies need to drop the assumption that millennials already have their foot out the door. Believing your employees aren't loyal and are antsy for the next Big Thing means you won't bother to invest time and money into them. They long for stability but are walking with the weight of financial and social pressures on their shoulders.

Give raises. It's one of the easiest and most effective ways of showing that you appreciate your team. It might feel like extra money isn't much of a gesture, but getting a brand new job gives an employee 8-10% pay increase on average. You don't need to match this for a raise every year, but it's certainly worth keeping in mind. A bonus in a heavy-spending time of year (think wedding season or the holidays) can also be a great motivator.

Give your employees a voice. Letting your team be involved in the future of the company makes them more invested in its success. It's important to make sure they know you trust and value their opinions, so when the time comes for a promotion or a new position, they'll be considered. Giving them respect and responsibilities will go a long way.

Posted: 6/29/2017 2:43:50 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

Step away from the keyboard and into the sunlight! If you've been cooped up all spring, it's time to quit pretending you'd rather be inside working, and start finding your office muse outside of your workspace.


Luckily, the universe is looking out for you and summertime has plenty going on – whether you're looking for a conference or just a casual event, we've got some suggestions here that are sure to get your creative wheels cranking.


For Creatives: Creative Mornings

Brooklyn // June 23rd

Kick off your weekend with an inspiring talk first thing on a Friday. It's hard to keep your motivation amped up on a summer Friday, but getting your brain cranking early is bound to light the spark for your last day of the week. There's breakfast, plenty of creatives ready to chat, and best of all, it's free!


For Employers: Design Museums Mornings

Boston // June 23rd

The Design Museum Foundation organizes monthly Friday morning talks of their own, and this Friday's topic is "choice" among today's workforce. More and more American employees are working from home or remotely, and the framework of the traditional office model is rapidly changing – how can managers incorporate choice and flexibility into their work strategy, policy, and employee training and engagement? Enjoy the coffee and breakfast, and come find out!


Artisan's Asylum

Somerville, MA // Classes all summer long

A "makerspace" in Somerville that offers tons of classes and has all sorts of equipment available for the community to use? Sign us up! From electronics to fiber arts to screen printing to learning the ins and outs of a 3D printer, vinyl cutter, welder, or lathe, Artisan's Asylum has a great selection of classes throughout the year and summer. Stretch your creative legs and step away from that computer this season – you won't regret it!


ArtBeat 2017

Somerville, MA // July 14th - July 15th, 2017

This year marks the tenth occurrence of this Davis Square arts festival! People come from all over the city to enjoy a weekend full of music, dance performances, and over 75 craft vendors.


AIGA Summer Design Trivia

Cambridge, MA // July 25th

Spend time outside of the office with your fellow creatives amid beer and burgers at Firebrand Saints this July! The trivia promises to be non-designer-friendly, and the first 25 attendees get a free drink!


Litmus Live Boston

Boston // August 2-4th

Content is KING, and nobody knows that better than email marketers. One piece of this global email community conference is in Boston, and with hundreds of attendees, they have workshops and talks that will draw a crowd (not to mention a pretty big networking pool). With a content-packed agenda, be prepared to learn more about testing strategies, content creation, email development techniques, and much more!


Free Movie: North by Northwest

New York City // August 14th

Maybe you've seen Saul Bass's iconic opening title, but have you seen the whole movie? Spend a charming evening under the stars surrounded by the bright lights of the big city. Spread out a blanket and enjoy a thrilling movie about a Madison Ave executive who gets mixed up in a case of mistaken identity and is now on the run!

Posted: 6/21/2017 1:10:04 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Posted: 6/19/2017 9:38:05 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments