The Makings of a Great Company
This issue, featuring “The 20 Best Book Publishing Companies to Work For,” is one of the most rewarding issues I’ve produced in my career. It not only was an unbelievably challenging project to undertake, but it’s a chance to recognize those companies, like Random House (story on page 14), that truly appreciate the people who help them succeed, and that provide great workplace environments to attract and retain talented employees. Also, if you’re in the job market, it is also an opportunity to glimpse inside some other publishing companies.
Sabbatical programs, 35-hour work weeks, flex time and other benefits geared toward balancing personal-professional life are obviously important today, perhaps more so than in decades past, especially in publishing. Employees today are pressured to do more and more with less and less, and faster than ever. It’s like pulling a rubber band as far as you can, slowly stretching it to the breaking point. Some of us are like the rubber bands that have snapped and then had the ends tied together to keep us working.
Plus, let’s face it, the majority of us work to pay the bills. We try to find a job we love, or at least like—or, for some, that at the very least won’t kill us. And we try to find a job that we’re good at, or at least somewhat good at—or some of us just think we’re good at—just to make the bill-paying pursuit more pleasant. But most of us also have lives outside of work—whether that means caring for or spending time with family, working out at the gym, taking classes for an advanced degree or personal interests, volunteering at the local animal shelter, watching professional sports games or “American Idol,” playing bingo or fantasy football, taking swing-dancing lessons, napping, curling up with a good book, attending Star Trek conventions, showing your dog in dog shows, flipping houses … whatever it is, there’s a lot that you can do with your time and not a whole lot of time to do it. (Don’t even get me started on house work, doctors appointments, car repairs, banking and all of the “must dos” outside of work.) If you find a company that makes it easier for you to do the things you want or have to do in your personal life, you are likely to be a whole lot happier at that company. Vacation time alone is a novelty item that is coveted by most executives. (When I read that Random House gives four weeks of vacation to employees after just one year of service, I admittedly did covet a bit.)