What is the best/worst corporate job?

My corporate, I mean the major functional areas of a business - accounting, marketing, IT, sales, operations, purchasing, etc, etc.

By best/worst, I mean the total package of work/life balance, prestige, stress, salary, etc.

My vote:

IT or any kind of technology support - Any job where you have to carry a beeper around to answer 3:00 calls is bullshit. No matter how smart and talented, IT folks are largely regarded as an untouchable class that must be endured to get your printer to work. Even in technology consulting it’s better to be a charming idiot than a “techie”. Also, unlike sales, marketing or many other areas of the company, you can’t BS your way through. If something doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

Runner up worst:
Sales - Largly dependent on what type, but it can be very lucrative. You have a lot of autonomy and generally are treated better by the company.

Runner up best:
HR / Recruiting

That would be a positive point. I don’t like BShiting and I don’t like working with people who BS especially if they can get away with it.

This one is my “worst”. I generally can’t bear anything that’s associated with sales. In particular the BS part, since we were talking about this. It being lucrative isn’t my main concern. I’m only going to concede the “autonomy” part as a good point. Still, I wouldn’t touch this job with a ten foot pole.

I’m not sure, but I’m fairly sture this job ranks as one of the worst corporate jobs one can have. Good grief. (Warning: swearing, ranting, raving does happen, so you may not want to play it at work.)

Best? Hm. This really depends on what skills you have, and what you like doing. I’d think that a ‘best’ would be something behind the scenes where you have a degree of autonomy, are needed by the company (so they have an incentive to keep you around and happy) but yet not so indepensible that you can’t take a vacation or sick day. I’d think that some of the mid- to upper-mid level jobs would qualify, be they clerical, IT, sales, etc.

<< We’ve upped our standards, so up yours! >>

Best: Gotta be CEO. The pay is topnotch. You set your own hours. Some people find it stressful, but really, it shouldn’t be. If you TOTALLY fuck up, the parachutes are golden. Not those anvils they give the rest of us.

Try facilities manager (that’s what I do). Completely thankless and everyone bitches about the tiniest inconvenience like all the lights going out or the toilets backing up.

I spent a lot of time with salesfolk in my last job. It seemed like an awful way of life – lots of competition, backstabbing, constant stress, and high turnover. There seemed to be two types of salesfolk – the nice, normal ones who earned less than I did, and the ruthless, inhuman, psychotic workaholics who pulled in quarter of a million a year.

Some of the middle management positions seemed nice, depending on department. A few managers seemed overworked and stressed, but most obviously couldn’t find enough work to keep them busy, unless you consider chatting with another manager about the mileage on your SUV for 30 minutes to be “work”. It was common opinion that the company was management-heavy though, so YMMV.

My father was in sales. Quotas. The company wanted him to keep the margins up, while the customers wanted him to cut the price. The constant threat of a customer taking business to a competitor. And yes, he was on call 24/7.

You may be able to BS some stuff in sales, but you can’t BS your numbers. And in the end, that’s what you’re judged on.

My vote for best: corporate attorney. Unless you’re actually in court or dealing with a strike (or a federal indictment) it’s pretty routine, and pays well.

The worst: administrative assistant. Any administrative assistant.

Corporate attorney is not all that sweet. Remember those bastards are trying to get the deals closed. If they change something, that means new contracts that have to be negotiated. Remember also with multinationals, they may be up in the middle of the night trying to close a deal with Hong Kong. If the SEC starts breathing down the company’s neck, they have to deal with it. It is a lot more work than you would think.


The only people who can make claims like the above are people whom have absolutely no experience whatsoever in running a company. The amount of ignorance exposed in the above is quite telling.

Worst: President/CEO of a failing company.

I’ve been there and it sucks - it sucks hard. It was a small company, 9 employees, and I eventually had to sell it to a man who literally destroyed it in two weeks, and it was, by far, the hardest, most devastating thing to have happened to me. Losing CRG was akin to a sudden death (though it was anything but sudden and was, in fact, in great trouble when I took it over) emotionally, not to mention the preceeding weeks of 80+ hour/week overload, dealing with clients, operational issues, financial issues, selling the company (and that’s a fun one: Trying to act all positive while talking to potential investors while still unsure how you’re going to meet Thursday nights payroll deposit*.)

So, anyway, sorry for jumping you Evil, but I’ve been there and I can tell you that running a company is not at all as you described it, even for successful ones. The demands upon your time, the responsibility placed upon your shoulders, the constant spotlight of exposure (both within your industry and, if inclined, the local, regional, or national media), all of it makes for a very difficult position, one that you just don’t leave when you walk out the door at 10:00pm on your way home.

You’re putting IT at the bottom of the list and sales at the top?!? Sales? And then you list HR as second? What kind of an alternative universe do you live in?

Every job I’ve ever had, the sales people are the butt of every joke, and the HR people are percieved as idiots who don’t have any real skills.

You don’t know any CEO’s do you?

I know a few CEO’s. It is like the Olympics. You can work at it every day for years on end with nothing but a goal in sight, get the right opportunity, and then wipe out in spectacular fashion.

Granted, some of them get paid way too much but that has little to do with how cushy the job is as a day-to-day thing. There is no possibility of 9-to-5. It is more like 7am to 11pm 6-7 days a week. The pay may be nice but they rarely get to take that much advantage of the niceties it affords in the way a normal person would.

These people are married to work and that is how they define themselves. They aren’t some poor slob that magically found himself in the head office. The skills required are akin to a major league athlete (and failure can be just as quick as a once promising star).

Ummm, are you saying golden parachutes don’t exist?

The question wasn’t what job is best suited to what type of person – it was what kind of job was best/worst by objective standards. People who give a shit about their company would probably find running a failing company stressful. But let’s face it, not everybody’s like that. If you just don’t care, that golden parachute means being a CEO is extremely relaxing. Don’t tell me there aren’t people out there who are capable of happily hitting the golf course for “important meetings” with other like-minded CEOs while their companies go under. Those folks have got it made.

Once again, you are not addressing the question in the OP. The question was not, “what sort of person would you like to be, based on job description?” It was which job was the best, and one of the definitions of “best” is “cushiest.”

Those people don’t make the ranks of CEO, at least not at publicly traded companies. They might make it pretty high, but there comes a point where their faults are too glaring to ignore.

No, that is not the point at all. Whether or not they got $1 or $100,000,000 dollars a year has no relevance to how difficult the job is while they are doing it.

No one can deny that some corporate deals for CEO’s and ex-CEO’s are excessive any more than they can argue that sport star salaries can get seriously inflated under some circumstances.

What we are countering is that the CEO is a cutthroat profession that is as stressful as you will find and people sacrifice what most people consider “lives” to that type of that lifestyle. These people are generally not just regular people that get promoted through the ranks. They are seriously driven and dedicated people that were given a shot. There are many people under those circumstances that do not make it and many that are given a shot and fail.

It is exactly like the professional sports and entertainment industries in that way.

I know CEO’s and they are by no means “normal” people. They live work and do not segregate life into “life” and “work” components and they all have enough energy to make a meth addict blush.

I don’t think there are objective standards.

I’m in IT, and I’ve never found it bad - even carrying a beeper. It rarely went off, systems were often redudant,(I no longer do operations, no more call!) and I’ve never felt like I was being “endured.” I’m going to school for accounting - early in my career I did tax and financial systems and enjoyed it. To each their own.

My sister and father both do sales. I find it to be highly stressful and I don’t think they get treated well at all. Commissions get cut. The quotas are frequently unreasonable. My sister is an independant rep and gets lines pulled just because the company feels they “need a change” - even when she has had better than expected sales in her territory. Both work a lot, and it can be difficult to seperate home and work when you work from home. And both have travelled a lot, I find business travel to be a real pain.

I didn’t enjoy managaing. When you get a great group of people, it isn’t bad, but you often “inherit” or “are assigned” or even make mistakes and hire someone yourself who isn’t great. Dealing with people who really don’t get that you were budgeted a 3% raise and their 3.5% is huge (because they have some friend in a different industry who got an 8% raise) is a source of frustration to me. And I don’t really want to try and control things like someone who shows up late and leaves early. Performance plans, etc. are a pain in the back end.

The few who let companies go under, while playing golf, not caring, and still get golden parachutes are really a rare exception in large companies - and probably rarer for enterprenurial companies. You don’t usually get to be a CEO with that attitude, high corporate executive positions are very competative, these people are driven, and I’ve never met one (and I’ve met many) who tolerates failure in himself or relaxes easily - those are characteristics that are chosen for in the competition to the top. I’d agree that if you are so lucky to have nepotism or something come into play where you get to “be” CEO without working for it or caring, it would be a sweet gig. But I’d like some real life examples of this happening. (Ford and Disney come to mind as cases of nepotism gone bad during the 1970s, but I don’t think either of those cases the CEO didn’t care or had a stress free life).

Well, then, let’s look at what you think the “job description” of a CEO is and see if it matches up to reality:

“Pay is topnotch.” True, but then the pay is probably top-notch for many people in the firm. Also, this is not a job description but a benefit description.

“You set your own hours.” The “ignorant” statement I referred to earlier: You don’t “set” your hours because you are always on the job.

“Some people find it stressful, but really, it shouldn’t be.” :rolleyes:

“If you TOTALLY fuck up, the parachutes are golden.”

Depends upon the situation. If your company goes bankrupt, you lose all your options and stock. Also, many failing CEO’s are left with very little, at least compared to before when they had the position. Otoh, if you don’t fuck up too badly they might buy you off - just ask Fiorina at HP.

One thing you might not understand is that a lot of CEO’s and executives work under employee contracts and agreements, where terms of separation are clearly spelled out. If a CEO is not performing up to the standards of the Board, the contract between the CEO and the company might specify buyout terms based upon a number of factors, including cause, length of contract, length of employment, etc. Many clauses will be specific to the position - if I were to be offered the CEO position at Ford Motor, for example, I would definitely have something in there that gives me extra $$$$ if they decide to kick me out in favor of a family member.