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I have been working at Global Sources
Pros – I belong to the editorial and creative side of things, and at least we get to go home on time. The salespeople aren't half as lucky. If anyone would enjoy working here, it's the stability and predictability of things. What attracted me here was a good raise and promotion from my previous job, but what I didn't count on was a drastic downside in its corporate culture.
Cons – If you are an editorial or creative professional, and want to be with a firm that respects you as an individual, stay far away. This company is comprised of salesmen and programmers who think they know better than you, and will meddle in every scrap of work you do.
They have no respect of all creative people, simply because they think by being in a 'support role', creative must be subordinate to the opinions of everyone else. I lost count of the number of times some senior manager alters my idea with his stupid, uninformed judgment, and I waste so much time explaining the fundamentals of design to these people. In the end I still lose the argument. ie: their way or the highway. And it shows in all the material they produce.
Even more biting is how if there is a dispute, management will side with the businesspeople, even if they're 20-year-old fresh college grads. Your 20 years' industry experience cannot trump their zero years' working and creative experience.
This leads me to comment on the rampant nepotism and ball-polishing you need to do to get ahead here. The founder the CEO, Merl Hinrichs, is also chairman of the BOD. Classic conflict of interest case. You know how that will lead to. Mr Hinrichs also runs a certain Thunderbird Business School, and places graduates from this private school straight into top management.
Even in the formal performance appraisal process, you're going to lose out even if you're an accomplished creative professional. No one knows how to judge your design/editorial ability, so they use factors like punctuality, obedience to company rules, and conforming to corporate design standards to judge you. Only those who think like Merl, and worship his ways of doing things, can get ahead.
Above all that, this company still adheres to a corporate culture of the old industrial era. Your online surfing is monitored. Your timings for arrival and departure from office is scrutinised. Everyone is de-motivated. The office is quiet as a tomb. You are not allowed to say anything against company policy. I was brutally berated once for saying a certain company slogan isn't the best term we can think of, in a closed staff meeting. Welcome to North Korea! I've never been in a place so de-humanising, petty, and devoid of basic business sense.
I hear it's far worse in their mainland China branches. Staff are required to bow to senior management every morning, Japanese ritual style. If you're not in office at 8.30am SHARP, your boss' pay get deducted. During the Chinese New Year, staff are made to return to work in the weekend, to make up for the holiday weekdays off.
Advice to Senior Management – It's time for long time founder and CEO Merl to step down, and let new blood take over for a much-needed revamp of how things are done. As a media company, it cannot work by a restrictive culture that stifles expression and respect. Even after that, I have no idea how this can be a company that attracts anyone of talent.
No, I would not recommend this company to a friend
2008-12-11 17:56 PST
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