Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

If Christmas is the time of miracles, then surely, early January is the time of lists. This one landed in my mail box this morning:

It's basically a back-of-the-envelope accounting of where the 50 "Best Places in America" to work are. Now, obviously this sample based on self-reported "satisfaction," carries with it all of the psychometric freight of that word as well as the inherent sampling bias. But setting that aside, a quick review of the list renders the following, most interesting top-line.

  1. Eight of the 50 firms are in management consulting (e.g., McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting). That's almost 20 per cent of the field. Now, given that in the industry I work in, consultants are the modern day equivalent of the biblical publicans - not sure if Jesus Christ himself would sit and have a meal with them - this is strange. And if Scott Adams is to be believed, the view goes beyond just my immediate neighbourhood. I guess these 25 year olds are just good enough, smart enough, and dog gone it, people PAY them.
  2. 10 of the 50 (20%) firms are new-styled tech (apps, software, services) companies - companies like Google, salesforce-dot-com, Citrix. I guess that there must be something to be said for loving what you do, since these guys are spending the lion's share of there time at the office working and playing ping-pong with their colleagues rather than at home with their families.
  3. There are several banks (Goldman Sachs is 26th). If this report were adjusted using linearly-weighted moving averages or some other tool for adjusting for the time component and hence implosion of Wall St, what would the outcome be?
  4. General Mills tops the list. No wonder Jerry Seinfeld always has a box or bowl of cereal in view in every episode of his show. After all, maybe they really are magically delicious.

Enjoy 2009!

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