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  • Great for a couple years at the start of your career. But, unless you have a PhD or MD (or just a grade 12), your career will not flourish at McMaster. Benefits are good if you have a family to support, and pay is OK for Hamilton, but that's like being the tallest person in a town full of short people. Jobs start out well enough, but after a couple of years you just start wearing so many hats you can't do one single part of your job well. Advancement and internal movement is non-existent. Employee engagement or feedback between employees and employer verges dangerously on ignorance. Management is often deadwood, comprised of people who simply never left. Culturally, McMaster is about 15-20 years behind as a workplace, held back by poor management, low vision, a weak relationship between union and employer, and minimal investment in it's own people.

    OK, details. Yeah, Mac. You're young, you got a job at the UNIVERSITY! If you're lucky, like I was, you work in a good unit with great people: lots of imagination, lots of initiative, lots of leeway, strong ethical spine, and lots of encouragement. If you're unlucky, like my partner, you work in a cubicled, windowless grey office, over-worked, underappreciated, burnt out, and bullied right out of the job by a toxic manager. After a couple of years, however, you're wearing so many hats that you feel like you can't do any thing except go to meetings about doing things. If you're bright and keen, cool, you still won't advance (there's no place to go), but your job description will grow and morph into something impossible to actually do. Solution: since McMaster won't advance you, take all the free McMaster courses you can and advance yourself.
    Why is there no advancement? Good question, ask that in your interview and again when dealing with HR (or the union). Here's a theory: there's already too many managers at Mac and they can't afford more(?), but what they really need is worker bees. You could do a PhD at Mac in organizational change or management, but Mac won't spend one whiff on grooming folks or training and bringing them up from within (or even listening to it's own PhD's). When good people (and Mac is actually full of them) realize they're not going anywhere, or get stymied by the deadwood above them, or become so frustrated with projects that are under-resourced and go no where with few repercussions, they simply up and leave. The people who advance do so because they just couldn't be bothered leaving or were maybe uncompetitive elsewhere. As a result, most of Mac's managers are older than the furniture, have little grasp of new technology or change, and have little energy to push it. There are some good managers, don't get me wrong, but they are rare. Worse yet, you can get managers that are "kiss-up / kick-down", which is simply untenable in any organization that prizes human capital, creativity and initiative, and whose mission is actually supposed to be making GOOD people.
    Oddly, if you have a grade 12 and only a grade 12 you may go far. Yeah, you might start as an admin assistant, but eventually you'll be an admin. Mac is actually for you and it's a good deal, take it. But if you're wicked smart, qualified, multiple-degreed, interdisciplinary, hardworking (all the things employers say they're looking for these days), Mac is not so much for you. You'll be, underappreciated, ridden into the ground and burnt out with little show for the amount of energy and time you gave. If you leave, you'll just be replaced by another recent keen grad.
    So: take the job, but advance yourself. Take courses, volunteer. If you get some toxic management or culture in your unit, transfer immediately. Take all the courses you can because you won't get on-the-job training. After two years, always be looking for a new job. Stay five years max. Good luck.

    Posted on 26 February 2021 by Rater #11 | Flag as inappropriate

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