I worked at No Starch Press (More than a year)
The books are high quality and the people working at No Starch really do care about the work they're doing.
If you can tough it out, it's a good way to gain experience from an entry-level position that you can go use elsewhere.
The office is pretty inside (although it's in a bad neighborhood).
The benefits are fine.
The founder has a famous whiskey collection and sometimes shares.
The turnover in 2015 was insane... something like a dozen people left during one year. I wish I were kidding. And this company has less than 20 employees.
The basic pattern is:
Leadership hires inexperienced people for entry level roles (sometimes just out of school) and pays them as little as possible. These people are trained only haphazardly and have a lot of responsibility loaded onto them very quickly. Each one is lauded as the one who will save their department/finally do things the right way/be so much better than the last person. They're left alone to do their job for a while once they mostly get the hang of it.
Then, the founder comes over to examine what they're doing. He is horrified at the quality of the work and plunges them into a period of intense micromanagement and constant criticism with very little positivity. This could last any time from one to several months; it might stop for a couple of months and move onto some other victim for a while before coming back.
Everything they do will be picked apart and examined to the point of exhaustion. They may be asked to list everything they do each day, or asked to show every email to the founder before sending. They may find themselves being yelled at by people who aren't even in their department... They may lose respect because they're trying to speak up and stand up for themselves. They may be threatened with termination, perhaps multiple times. The instruction they receive from the founder will be aggressive, insulting, and will leave no room for discussion even when it's misguided or ignorant. In short, they will be considered a real disappointment.
They probably won't actually be fired, but after a few months of going home and crying every night from the stress and abuse, they'll leave.
I'm talking from my own experience, from treatment I saw while I was there, and from the detailed accounts of other people I talked to after they left. We all experienced the same pattern with not much variation. Again, I really do wish I was kidding.
Advice to Management
Hire people with real experience, pay them what they're worth, and then trust them and delegate work to them properly.
I know trust and delegation are almost impossible for you, but as the company grows, your continued attempts to control every detail are only more crippling to the already inexperienced, untrained people that you insist on hiring.
If you can't manage it, the pattern will continue to cost you time and money as you hire and re-hire people, and they'll usually be a disappointment to you in the end anyway.
I worked at No Starch Press full-time
Very good books and nice coworkers.
Very stressful work environment and high turnover so low morale.
They are willing to hire entry-level applicants and let them get their foot in the door.
The office space is nice.
They make good books and have a lovely fan base.
Their mission is solid and they really care about making quality books.
Every day is negative. No one speaks to one another. Communication is terrible and always gets muddled between the founder, management, and departments. The founder is impossible to please and will micromanage your work incessantly. The company culture is negative if not altogether non-existent. Negative feedback and harsh criticism are the only things to expect when communicating with management/CEO. There is no HR department to speak with. This place will crush your spirit and make you question your sanity.
Advice to Management
Care more about your company culture and the people you employ.
Learn how to say thank you and recognize hard work from those around you.
Fear and isolation are not the ways to retain hardworking employees.
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