It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Consider the Tale of Two Companies: TrustCo and ControlCorp.
ControlCorp is full of dreaded middle managers. Anytime you want to do something, you have to get approval from your manager, and she has to get approval from her manager and so on. Most of your day at ControlCorp is spent in meetings updating everyone on what you’re doing (which is often just sitting in other meetings). The employee handbook is filled with so many rules, procedures, and policies, it’s hard to keep them all straight. And don’t even think about suggesting a new way of doing things. Sure, innovation is part of the corporate motto, but the truth is ControlCorp has been doing it this way for a long time, and why mess with something that’s working?
TrustCo is very different. It maybe has a few managers, but for the most part, the place runs itself. You won’t find many rules, either. Sure, there are lots of processes, but they’re always changing, so taking the time to document them never seemed to make much sense. And there are meetings, too, but they’re for feedback and ideation, not updates and approval. TrustCo is not for everyone, though. It’s a place where everything is in flux. There’s no one person who’s accountable for everything; it really depends on the context. And there’s no one really telling you what to do, so you’d better be good at figuring that out for yourself. If ambiguity is not your thing, then you probably ought to look elsewhere for work.