One Month at Atomic Object: Musings of a Corporate Defector

My on-boarding process at Atomic Object was almost a year in the making. While I was on assignment for GE Aviation to their joint venture company in Shanghai, China, I learned that my contract was not to be renewed for another year. It was part of a cost cutting measure to trim out a large number of corporate expats. This was not totally unexpected as our costs were extremely high.

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More Than a Policy – What Dealing with Workplace Harassment Looks Like

Atomic does a great job of cultivating a healthy work environment within our own building. We’ve got strong core values, great people, and high expectations for kindness, respect, and community. We don’t often need to exercise our policies around harassment, workplace sexism, or other forms of mistreatment.

However, despite our best efforts to find collaborators who fit our culture well, we don’t always have full knowledge or control over the people we’ll be working with.

So, what do we do when something does go wrong?
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Parallels Between Design and Leadership

When Carl messaged me a couple months ago, I knew something was up. He said he wanted to get together and chat about some important, but good things. I thought he might want to have a face-to-face conversation about me transitioning to a Delivery Lead role. I wasn’t sure what Carl would want to talk about, but becoming a managing partner in Ann Arbor wasn’t what I expected.
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Handling Bad Feelings at Work

Atomic Object employs a group of smart, high-performing, passionate, diverse, and flawed human beings. It’s inevitable that each of us will occasionally experience “bad feelings” at work. As a company, we’ve put a lot thought into how to handle the bad feelings that occasionally arise during our time at work. One of the steps we’ve taken is extending the acronym FUD to “FUDA” as a shorthand for bad feelings and a prescription for how to handle them. Read more on Handling Bad Feelings at Work…

Mary O’Neill on Treating Employees Like Customers, Saying ‘No’ to the CEO, and Doing the Work that Needs to Be Done

Meet Mary O’Neill, workplace designer, artisanal bread baker, and Business Manager at Atomic Object. I recently sat down with Mary to hear her story. Read more on Mary O’Neill on Treating Employees Like Customers, Saying ‘No’ to the CEO, and Doing the Work that Needs to Be Done…

Respecting the Value of Face Time

The way we interact and work with others has changed drastically over the past few decades. Email, chat, and teleconferencing have bridged huge gaps of geography and facilitated us to work across boundaries.

This flexibility has allowed individuals to work from home so they can tend a sick child or deal with other real-life complications. Work/life balance is tough, but these advances in technology have helped bridge the gap. While all of today’s communication options come in handy, there’s still real value in face-to-face communication. In this post, I’ll suggest when in-person meetings are helpful and offer some tips about how to conduct them.
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“Owning It” Every Step of the Way

Building custom software is costly, complicated, and sometimes emotional. A well-executed project must hew to a fine line to navigate many constraints successfully, threading the needle between cost, timing, purpose, user needs, technical constraints, maintainability, extensibility, and operational considerations.

An idea for a product is just the beginning. To find success, you need a broad view of what’s important, the willingness to proactively go above and beyond, and careful planning. We call this collection of attributes “owning it”—personally investing ourselves in the success of our projects and seeing them through to success. Read more on “Owning It” Every Step of the Way…

Introducing a 6th Atomic Value: “Think Long Term”

We’re expanding our company values to include “Think Long Term.”

Articulating our values is a team effort. Read Carl’s post “Company culture maintenance: Adding a 6th Atomic value” to learn how we got here.

Following through on our values is also a team effort. I wanted to know how Atoms defined “Think Long Term,” so I asked them. Below are some of their answers. Read more on Introducing a 6th Atomic Value: “Think Long Term”…

How Pair Lunches Encourage Diversity & Bring Atoms Together

Atomic Object offers some great benefits to its employees, but my favorite is pair lunch. The rules of pair lunch are simple: Any two Atoms can go out for lunch, and AO will cover the bill. Pair as often as you’d like, as long as you don’t lunch with the same person twice in one month. Read more on How Pair Lunches Encourage Diversity & Bring Atoms Together…