Oh, this is awesome. Every once in a while the Web explodes the stuffy mores of the offline world and sets up in their place an instrument of social duplicity so darkly genius you wonder why no one thought of it before. You know, like Philip Kaplan's old dot-com deadpool, or the celeb-hunting site the Smoking Gun, or Google Street View. The latest example: sites to anonymously and precisely bash your employers, your co-workers, and the entire corporate firmament in which they exist. TechCrunch has been following several of these recently -- Overhear.us, for employees to "efficiently" follow workplace rumors, and the Funded, which allows entrepreneurs to rate their venture capitalists -- but its latest find, JobVent.com, makes all the others look like good little toddlers.
In the grand tradition of socially unacceptable sites -- Fucked Company, the Drudge Report -- JobVent is no prettier on the outside than it is on the inside. But if it's ugly, it's also functional: After logging in with your e-mail, you select your company and provide ratings (from -5 to +5) on several aspects of your job -- pay, "respect," benefits, job security, work-life balance, career potential, location, "co-worker competence," work environment. You're also given free space to vent about what's been eating at you.
The best part is that thousands of others have already so. More than 800 employees at Progressive Insurance, for instance, have put down their thoughts, and the accumulated score, -6,435, can't be a good sign for the firm. "I wake up every morning dreading what is about to happen," writes one reviewer. "I stare into the ceiling for a good 5 to 10 mins before I get up deciding whether I want to use one of my precious few ETB days and not go to work so I can keep what little sanity I have left, but then think of what I would be in for the following day and decide to go into work." Meanwhile a Comcast worker (cumulative rating -1,359) says, "This is the most unprofessional company that I have ever worked for. Have you ever heard of a sales department that does not get paid for sales???? I hate my job, I really do."
Not every firm gets a bad rap. Fourteen employees at KBR, the war-rebuilding former Halliburton subsidiary, give it a cumulative rating of 332 points. Many there like the good pay, good benefits, job security. Verizon Wireless gets a 473 from 59 reviewers. Farmers Insurance, Walgreens and the medical technology company Meditech also do well.
Are there any practical benefits to all this? One can imagine a couple: a place for potential hires to look into a company before they join, or for managers to see what their workers really think about their jobs. But really, the best part is probably catharsis. After ranting about your taskmaster overlords for a bit, you'll feel completely content spending seven hours staring at accounts in Excel.