Every company is known for something and not always for what they want it to be. What a company “stands” for and what a company is known for are often times two very different things.
When thinking about how a company is known, remember that the office walls are thinner than ever. People talk, they text, they email, tweet, update statuses, share, like. We live in a time when the global population is more communicative than ever. That means news travels fast. Good news AND bad news.
Why does it matter? Because if you’re looking to start a career, build your own personal brand, or even start client relationships, you should first know what’s already been said about the company you are about to associate yourself with.
I once did a job shadow with a company early in my college career at the encouragement of a very well-meaning mentor. The experience turned out to be a total disaster. Sitting in an office for 8 hours listening to the latest office gossip and learning about the newest version of whatever online game was popular at the time felt like a waste of time, and money (since I had taken the day off from my paying job).
Following that experience I asked around and heard similar stories about that company from three different colleagues. With the benefit of hindsight I realize that I should have done my homework. I should have asked questions. In an era where Google has made obtaining information exponentially easier, I should have spent some time online and saved myself a little time and trouble.
This can be a common mistake early on in any professional relationship, whether it be finding that right fit at a company or with a client.
There are always calculated risks when making any professional decision. Just be sure you’re taking the right ones, before you jump into the “mud.”