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Dr EvilI’ve pretty much always worked for small companies. I enjoy seeing my contributions make highly visible impacts and knowing that, hey, I did that. It also tends to keep me from being pigeonholed into one boring repetitive role. There are substantial risks involved with working for small companies, though, and unfortunately I’ve experienced pretty much all of them by now.

One place a few years ago took me for one hell of a ride. Things started out great — you know how that goes: everyone is all smiley and jolly for the interview(s) and before you know it, you’re making a tremendous life decision based on what you’ve seen of these people for like an hour. Well, the owners of this company turned out to be complete snakes. But like all snakes, they put on a fantastic show in the beginning and it was impossible to see what was really going on until I was several months in. The details aren’t terribly important, but taken altogether, we’re talking about guys who lied to, cheated, and stole from employees, customers, vendors, and the government. Real Boy Scouts.

After I parted ways with them, I expected their rotten company would collapse or get caught or something. But of course, they’re still around, still doing all the same things, and I’ve since grown out of my naïve belief in what amounts to the just-world fallacy. The truth is that bad people get away with a lot of stuff. They tend to be the winners. And they probably feel great about it.

I was perusing Glassdoor the other day and decided to look up that company. What I found gave me a strange sense of satisfaction — even justice. Over the years, a fair number of their employees (considering this was a pretty small company) have taken to the internet to express their displeasure with the owners. The reviews all sound eerily similar to my own assessments and determinations, thus affirming to me that my sense of ethics is, in fact, quite solid. It doesn’t change anything, but it still makes me happy. It validates my reality, and who doesn’t love that feeling?