pay is equitable to comparable positions in the IT market for california. So if you work in TX, that means your pay is going to be decent for Texas but if you work in california, sucks to be you.
Relaxed and laid back most of the time. No strict dress code so you can wear comfortable clothes.
Generally the workers in the group are friendly and get along well, but interaction with mgmt can be strained at times.
lots of opportunities to learn new skills and technologies
Management - that word describes the beginning and end of this company's problems. When I say management, I mean everyone from CEO down to departmental and group supervisory staff. The CEO and family seem disconnected from everyone in corporate that is not directly supporting a store. The founder, Dave Gold has even stated that the most important job in the company is a stocker. I have to call BS on that one. The IT leadership from the recently promoted CIO to the architecture VP, Development Sr Director and their underlings are clueless as to how to do things the "right way" as opposed to the 99 way. Cheaper is not always better. Upper and middle management aside though, quite possibly THE WORSE part of working at 99 is the environment of fear and persecution that is pervasive throughout the organization but specifically in the IT group. Guys (and women) who come to the company with lofty ideals and great attitudes and superior skills are beaten down overtime with complicated change control processes, accusatory management that is only concerned with who caused an issue rather than let's fix the issue and learn from it. Additionally you can work on a project or an issue without a problem for years and then have a happenstance mistake occur and lose your job or be written up without any prior discussion from your manager, their boss or the officers, etc... That is total BS! No respect of your history is given to your current status. You are only as valued as your last good deed. Oh and if you do not work on the current hot button issue or project, your work is undervalued to say the least. Finally 99 has a list of what they call their core values. As an employee of 99, in the IT department for 5+ years I can attest to the fact that several of their core values are complete junk meant to be nothing more than feel good lip service for the officers and owners. For example, there is one that states BEST IDEA WINS - that is never true. It should state THE 99 WAY WINS and the 99 way is most often the most complicated way to achieve a result. Another one is EVERY PENNY COUNTS - again not true. For example how can a company spend 1 million dollars on an enterprise POS/ERP solution (SAP) - outsource is dev and install to a chinese company for several million more in cost and overages and delays when they have a room full of talented developers in house who could have written a solution tailored to the company's unique business model and warehouse infrastructure for practically nothing or why do the architecture and operations teams not have adequate money for monitoring and management tools that would make their jobs easier but at the same time they can purchase bloated tools like SCCM and VMWare Configuration Manager that over complicate their jobs at twice the price. It is this culture that makes working at 99 boil down to a daily gripe session by everyone that works there. I am glad I am no longer there.
Oh and finally in regards to compensation - The company has a plan to grow to 700 stores over the next 3-5 years. In CA each store averages approximately 5 million dollars in sales per year. In TX that average is 3 million. AZ and NV stores are comparable to california. At 240 stores currently the company makes approximately 1.5 billion dollars a year. So essentially in 3-5 years they plan to be somewhere in the 4-6 billion dollar a year range. Each store increases their bottom line almost 4 million bucks. How much do the employess see from that exponential growth?
In 2006 - 3% salary increase
2007 - 2% salary increase
2008 (during the so-called recession where 99 saw huge leaps in business and stock price) - 1.5% salary increase
2009 - 2% increase
2010 - 2% increase
2011 - 0% increase for most groups 1% for select IT groups
2012 - all signs point to 0 across the board.
Rich get richer and the worker gets shafted. I guess.
Advice to Management
no sense in giving advice to people who neither want it, or would act on it. Management at 99 is completely top down and there is no room for the ideas and suggestions of those that do the work. One thing that would have helped me though - communicate any issue you may have with an employee better and give that person a chance to correct it. Otherwise, how can you blame someone for something they've done or not done when they don't have knowledge of the problem?
updated network infrastructure
opportunity to learn new technologies
poor communication between team members
management by intimidation
Katy staff and Los Angeles staff are completely out of sync in terms of working hours and deadlines.
Boss wants you to move to LA on Houston wages
Advice to Management
Take a look at why the Katy staff has such high turnover....money & management. Both issues are easily resolved.
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