What’s it like to work in a Top 50 Best Places to Work company (Inc Magazine 2016)? We interviewed Millennials at SimVentions, about 40 miles south of Washington DC.
When Heidi Thompson’s son asks her, “Do you all do any work around here?” she just laughs. Heidi says that to work hard at SimVentions, you have to play hard. To play hard, you have to have food, which is why food is central to SimVention’s culture, where luncheons are the norm. To help fight against sleepiness after a big lunch, there are donuts in the afternoon. During her first month, Heidi would get teased by her coworkers, “Why are you in every picture that involves food?”
Not that SimVentions or Heidi are unhealthy. On the contrary: Heidi is an active participant in the SimVentions Fit Program, taking advantage of the gym membership discounts. But one of Heidi’s favorite hobbies is taking tae-kwon-do classes with her son. “I like breaking stuff with my hands. It’s fun.”
When not breaking stuff, Heidi works to protect the Navy’s network as a cybersecurity engineer. It is a consistently demanding job, and Heidi describes it as, “protecting the US against the bad guys.”
Finally, Heidi needed to relocate and a friend referred her to SimVentions. Now she has a shorter commute, the coveted work/life balance, and feels needed rather than just a number.
Heidi didn’t get to such a cool job just by playing and breaking stuff. As a contractor since 2004, Heidi felt like most companies prior to SimVentions demanded long hours, insisted that you sign your life away, and gave you an identification number for HR. Heidi became a “workaholic zombie.” Commuting 6 hours a day, Heidi learned how to “sleep upright very well.”Despite working for smaller companies that touted their family feeling of camaraderie, Heidi felt suffocated by the tiring culture that relied on business attire for professionalism. Heidi described it as, “coming to work, doing your work, and then going home,” day after day.
Finally, Heidi needed to relocate and a friend referred her to SimVentions. Now she has a shorter commute, the coveted work/life balance, and feels needed rather than just a number. On her first day at SimVentions, multiple people encouraged her to “find some jeans”. Now she also lives by SimVentions’ unstated notion that “you can’t be productive if you’re not comfortable.” There’s a warm and fuzzy feeling that’s even imparted on her son, who, over the summer, is constantly asking go to work with mom. He asks her, “Can I go to the movie theater with you?” referring to the big-screen in the cafeteria. Heidi laughs, taking a break to watch SpongeBob with her son. After all of her hard work, she’s earned it.