Don’t get me wrong…I wholeheartedly agree with Fortune’s ranking of Monsanto as one of its “100 Best Companies to Work For.”The competitive salary, excellent benefits, career opportunities, flexible work hours, professional development opportunities, work culture, etc. are all an important part of the package. In the five years I’ve been with Monsanto, I’ve gotten married and had my first child. Becoming a working mom is a hard choice, but it was made easier knowing that my boss supported and understood my desire to be able to attend doctor’s appointments, cut back on my travel and work a more structured schedule.
Beyond that though, I feel very lucky to have found myself working in agriculture. I’m a couple of generations removed from the farm, and without my work at Monsanto, I’d be woefully unaware of the immense contributions of the world’s farmers toward the quality of my life. Monsanto has been my link to these farmers, and I’m proud to work at a company whose mission is to make a difference in agriculture.
But Monsanto isn’t all roses. It’s tough to love the place you work, and know that there are so many who despise your company. Monsanto is aware of the challenges to its image. Our employees are aware. My particular role in social media puts me up close and personal with it every day. Yes, I do read what people are saying about us. Much of what is said is based on misinformation, but some of it is just a fundamental difference in opinion. A lot of it is vicious.
Why then do I wake up every morning, drag myself out of bed and drop my precious son off at daycare to deal with this? Wouldn’t it just be easier to work at one of Fortune’s other 99 Best Companies? These are questions that I sometime ask myself.
I was reminded why I love working here yesterday when I walked into an all-day training session and met John Purcell. John has been at Monsanto since the late ’80s and is currently leading the Technology Development organization in our vegetable business.
At the beginning of the session, the trainer asked us to turn to our neighbor and introduce ourselves. What immediately struck me about John is that he smiles the entire time he talks. His passion, energy and enthusiasm for Monsanto, for science and for agriculture is palpable.
In talking with John, I realized what keeps me here and why I can’t imagine leaving—the people. I’ve met hundreds of people in the form of John over my time at Monsanto, but each with their own unique perspective and background. People who are bright, talented, driven, and most importantly, incredibly motivated by their work and passionate about agriculture.
You can’t measure what the value is in working with the caliber and quality of people you find at Monsanto. It’s what Fortune can’t capture in its survey.