I worked at Directions Research full-time (More than 5 years)
- Inclusive bonus structure
- Higher pay than average
- Everyone gets an office
- Painfully withholding with software & hardware
- Unwilling to listen to new ideas on how to leverage technology
- NO career path for developers
- Cowardly Directors don't help
- Annual speeches do a lot to suppress morale
- Closed ownership system
- Far behind on technology
- Refusal to send tech staff to trainings/conferences
- Nepotism galore
Advice to Management
Directions claims to exercise 4 tenets: Nurture, Equal, Willing, Supportive...aka NEWS
The company nurtures developers' ideas only after usurping them; they refuse to issue standard development equipment; they refuse to provide basic software.
There was some to-do about a "Shark Tank" process, but even before presenting an idea, I was bombarded with some mumbo jumbo about "the company is risk adverse". This predisposition to saying "No"...is that supposed to be nurturing?
Where's the training? I know everyone is at the top of their game, but technology doesn't stop. Requests for conferences pertinent to our work was denied, because, and I quote, "we typically don't send developers to those".
You work 60-80 hour weeks, your work/life balance is completely off. To top it off, every annual speech is an exercise in demotivation; "only those with X amount in sales can become an owner". Let's explore that further. Some of the largest shareholders PERFORM ZERO SALES. I never realized how lucrative being in HR can be; you'd think they were married to the big boss or something.
Exceptions to the rule seem to exclusively benefit the senior Management Inner Circle. All other employees are LESS EQUAL. It's a plus that they pay above average industry salaries, but the trade-off is employees are less inclined to want to become an owner. Sorry, all those with a spare $20k and a belief in Directions; no stocks for you. Confer with HR to get their tips on having the most sales.
With these types of exceptions, how is there room for Equality?
I suggested incentivizing a find-a-bug program which rewards analysts for bugs they find in deliverables. Imagine the sense of belonging when you know you are directly contributing to a project's success. Imagine how debugged the company's output will be. I recommended this program so that developers can focus on developing, and let those who use their applications willingly take on debugging. If you want to find 100 bugs, ask for help; if you want to find 1,000 bugs, pay for help.
When the founder of the company stands in front of the company and says "just ask for the tools you need", and you do just that, the last thing you'd expect is to be demonized for asking. Again, "we typically don't hand out laptops to developers" was the argument I faced.
Then came the guilt-baiting: "this was approved at great cost" or "this request annoyed the powers-that-be" were the precursors to approval of a simple workstation. Finally, with laptop in sight, I was told the company wouldn't pay the $115/yr cost for an extra Office license. Is that Willing?
Ask for an extra monitor and you have to listen to some speech about "precedence". "What if [name withheld] asked for equipment to work from the top of the Himalayas?" YES, THAT IS AN ACTUAL QUOTE!!!
Innovations directors throw around phrases like "we've never done that before" to cop out of innovating. He also took a recommendation of using a Hackathon as a team building exercise and suggested we (developers) hijack it and use it as a project work session. Easily the most ignorant display of Development Non-Understanding I'd witnessed with no place in business development innovation.
It's obvious those with power lack the wherewithal to work with developers and could use some training on managing them.
A new manager sent a "What Does Success Look Like for Our Team" email, complained that he only got a smattering of responses, then lets me go after I provided a detailed list of problems and suggestions on how to fix them, some of it included in this review. Of course, he cited some trumped-up excuse to let me go instead of being truthful.
Lesson learned: if they ask for feedback, Lie.
If they say "be honest", continue to Lie.
If they say your feedback is anonymous, Lie more.
When I asked a director what the career path is for a developer, he flatly said "Make the AE look good", proving that there is NO place for technical aptitude. Meaning there is NO CAREER PATH for developers.
They ask for repeatable, reusable code, yet complain that work "may be overengineered". NEWS flash: if you want reusable code, it needs to be engineered more than you think.
Does any of this sound like a company that is Equal, Willing, Supportive or Nurturing?
I didn't think so, either. No NEWS is exactly that: no Nurture, no Equal, no Willing, no Support.
I think the people down in the trenches are great, though.
Work from home
Good bonus (though dependent on team worked for)
No training/development of younger staff
Promotion given to laziest employees
Must brown-nose constantly to be recognized
Judged on personality not quality of work
Pretension senior management/owners
Advice to Management
Invest in the future of your company. Train/develop younger employees to take the reigns.
I worked at Directions Research full-time
Opportunity to become partner in a laid back environment
Headquarters in Cincinnati, airport is not a hub
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- Family atmosphere
- Flexible work schedule
- Strong compensation & Benefits packages
- Casual attire
- Nice office spaces
- Limited advancement opportunities
- No formal development/training programs
Advice to Management
Balance focus on sales results with personal development goals for employees
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