So much has been written on the subject of work-life balance that it has become an Internet cliché, an overloaded phrase with nearly as many interpretations as there are Google results (247 million). Nearly every employer’s website claims a great work-life balance, which has become marketing fluff that enjoys very little credibility with many considering a change in employment.
I have enjoyed a 20 year career in software development and have worked in both small and large organizations. Without hesitation, I can say that Ancestry.com is the very best software development company for whom I have worked. I attribute this to three things.
First, the company culture is one of congenial collaboration. Disagreement and spirited discussion occur, but I have witnessed very little strife or confrontation. This has lead to an atmosphere that encourages respect and mutual cooperation.
Second, rather than imposing frantic and unreasonable deadlines, the company maintains a constant and steady pace forward. The agile manifesto is taken seriously here. In over a year at the company, I have never once been asked to stay late or work the weekend. On occasion I have done so, but the choice was entirely my own. When life events or the odd personal errand intrude on my daily work, management and team members have always been flexible and understanding, making accommodations when necessary. Without comment or complaint — a rare commodity.
Third, the company embraces change and improvement. Employees are given opportunities to grow and develop their career within the company. For example, I spent my first year on the Enterprise Media Team. When I indicated an interest in changing things up should the opportunity arise, my manager took the request seriously and a month or so later I was moved to the Search Services Team where I will have the opportunity to focus on another aspect of our technology, learn more and solve different problems. At Ancestry.com, if you become bored, it’s your own fault.
This post summarizes the primary reasons that I believe make Ancestry.com a great place to work. I appreciate a company culture that encourages collaboration, career growth and work-life balance . It’s the best I’ve enjoyed in my career. Of course, I would not say, “no” to a few extra vacation days to enjoy my boat on Utah’s great reservoirs this summer.
(Above: I’m driving. My niece and my wife Lorri are enjoying the ride watching my son and nephew on the tube.)