Noggle’s Spurious Law IX

All right, kids, you want to know how you tell the sign of a good company when you’re interviewing? Forget what any of the books tell you about how to judge a company during a job interview. Of course, it’s easy for me to say, since I have never read a book about job interviews, but if I had, this wouldn’t be a spurious law, would it?

To gauge what a company’s employees think of it and the environment there, ask, no demand that one of the interview platoon take you to see the cafeteria or kitchenette or the little alcove where they have the coffeemaker. Of course, if they don’t have a coffeepot, leave right away (unless you’re Heather, of course).

The best places I have ever worked, at least in a white collar fashion, had clean breakrooms. Best job I ever had, the breakroom was spotless, but that’s because my duty was to clean it, werd. But six dollars an hour doesn’t support five four cats.

Coffee stains or dirty dishes on the counter can indicate a number of things, all of which are bad news for you, the new guy (or gal):

  • The saps working here are jacked up all the time and are too busy to wipe up after themselves. That means the company has too few resources for what it does, and you better not have any plans on Saturday.
  • The employees here delegate the cleaning up after themselves to, or worse yet assume it will be done by, underlings, ultimately the poor schmuck with only a community college degree who works afternoons to wipe out the bathrooms. If he’s busy, buddy (or buddiette), guess who’s going to be cleaning up after himself (herself) after he (she) brings the coffee to the important people? So, how long have you been here?

A clean kitchen indicates that the other employees are adults who can handle their own mistakes and spills, and that they’re concerned with giving a good first impression to the venture capitalists, board members, vendors, customers, or other employees who might wander in after them. This is good.

Of course, it could mean they’ve read this entry and are attempting to subvert NogSub Law IX, but the odds are definitely with the former.