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Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...

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  • marijane white
    An alumna from my LIS school has worked at Sears for four years, according to her LinkedIn profile. Sears also maintains a UX blog that has a lot of content
    Message 1 of 12 , Feb 10, 2013
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      An alumna from my LIS school has worked at Sears for four years, according to her LinkedIn profile.  Sears also maintains a UX blog that has a lot of content about taxonomy at http://ux.sears.com/, several of their taxonomists have spoken at conferences like SXSW and SLA, and at least one has published articles on taxonomy at sites like boxesandarrows.com.  To me, those seem like signs that Sears is an organization that takes good taxonomy seriously and that it's a likely a good organization to work for.  As such, I would be inclined to believe that their regular job postings are the result of growth, not turnover.

      On Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 7:14 AM, Keipat Patkei <keipat1962@...> wrote:


      All,

      Just.
      Just wondering if anyone has insight into why Sears and Roebuck in Chicagoland seems to have such a high turnover in taxonomists.  Or does the company just need a lot of taxonomists?  I'm asking because I've had some acquaintances ask me if they should apply there, but I really don't know what to say to them, and I don't want to be directing former colleagues and friends to work at a place that either chews up and spits out taxonomists, doesn't see the value of them, or has some other reason for hiring a new taxonomist every 3-6 months, or so it seems.  Thoughts?  Please feel free to respond privately.  I realize this is may be a touchy subject; then, again, may be Sears provides a learning experience.  Not sure at this point.  

      Thanks, best,

      Keith DeWeese





    • Donna M. Fritzsche
      Hi all, As Marijane points out, Sears does indeed take taxonomy seriously and has some excellent people working there. In the future though, I am not sure that
      Message 2 of 12 , Feb 10, 2013
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        Hi all,
        As Marijane points out, Sears does indeed take taxonomy seriously and has some excellent people working there.

        In the future though, I am not sure that discussing specifics about a company is appropriate for a professional list such as this.
        I think it could create an inappropriate dynamic. 

        Thanks,
        - Donna Fritzsche


        -----Original Message-----
        From: marijane white
        Sent: Feb 10, 2013 10:40 AM
        To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...

         

        An alumna from my LIS school has worked at Sears for four years, according to her LinkedIn profile.  Sears also maintains a UX blog that has a lot of content about taxonomy at http://ux.sears.com/, several of their taxonomists have spoken at conferences like SXSW and SLA, and at least one has published articles on taxonomy at sites like boxesandarrows.com.  To me, those seem like signs that Sears is an organization that takes good taxonomy seriously and that it's a likely a good organization to work for.  As such, I would be inclined to believe that their regular job postings are the result of growth, not turnover.

        On Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 7:14 AM, Keipat Patkei <keipat1962@...> wrote:


        All,

        Just.
        Just wondering if anyone has insight into why Sears and Roebuck in Chicagoland seems to have such a high turnover in taxonomists.  Or does the company just need a lot of taxonomists?  I'm asking because I've had some acquaintances ask me if they should apply there, but I really don't know what to say to them, and I don't want to be directing former colleagues and friends to work at a place that either chews up and spits out taxonomists, doesn't see the value of them, or has some other reason for hiring a new taxonomist every 3-6 months, or so it seems.  Thoughts?  Please feel free to respond privately.  I realize this is may be a touchy subject; then, again, may be Sears provides a learning experience.  Not sure at this point.  

        Thanks, best,

        Keith DeWeese





      • Donna M. Fritzsche
        Hi, Respectfully, just the label/subject of the email has connotations which are not necessarily true and could possibly malign the company. The original
        Message 3 of 12 , Feb 10, 2013
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          Hi,
          Respectfully, just the label/subject of the email has connotations which are not necessarily true and could possibly malign the company.
          The original poster did not know the reason for hiring (growth, new projects, turnover, etc) - yet the label implies differently. If someone were to just scan the email subjects - they could have a different take away.

          I would suggest that a non-leading question would be more appropriate - and to just ask for someone who does/has worked at the corporation to please email him offline. (my opinion - others are welcome to have their own!)

          Disclaimer: I have worked as a consultant for the company in question (several years ago), but that is not the reason for my above response.

          Thanks,
          Donna 




          -----Original Message-----
          From: "Makeda M."
          Sent: Feb 10, 2013 11:37 AM
          To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...

           

          If not here, then where else? I don't see any harm in asking, since people can choose to reply off-list. Nobody has maligned the company publicly, and I trust that nobody here would. Plus, the responses to this kind of question are clearly based on a subjective experience, and I think we all have the ability to interpret the information critically, and not just take someone's word or singular experience as fact.

          --
          Makeda Marc-Ali, MISt
          Service-oriented Information Professional
          (647) 223-7770 / makeda.marcali@...


          On Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 11:59 AM, Donna M. Fritzsche <donnamarie@...> wrote:
           

          Hi all,
          As Marijane points out, Sears does indeed take taxonomy seriously and has some excellent people working there.

          In the future though, I am not sure that discussing specifics about a company is appropriate for a professional list such as this.
          I think it could create an inappropriate dynamic. 

          Thanks,
          - Donna Fritzsche







        • Keipat Patkei
          Admittedly, Donna, my subject line was leading, and I have revised it. Still, being a long time Chicago resident and taxonomist in the area, I have been told
          Message 4 of 12 , Feb 10, 2013
          • 0 Attachment
            Admittedly, Donna, my subject line was leading, and I have revised it. Still, being a long time Chicago resident and taxonomist in the area, I have been told that the Sears workplace is, for lack of a nicer way to say it, more problematic than anything else, and, especially, for information management staff.

            As I have never worked at Sears, and I have no particular allegiance to the company, I suppose I was hoping that someone working there might weigh in and say that it is a great place to work; that it's progressive; and, its management not only sees the value of taxonomy but actively supports and encourages the taxonomists in their work.  If I received a positive responsive that is even a fraction of what I was hoping, I might encourage current and former colleagues to apply for the latest open position.  

            Heather, I very much appreciate your response, and you bring up a number of good points regarding why, or why not, someone would work at Sears or any other place.  Being a regular reader of news related to Sears' revenue and future, I am surprised that it may be growing its taxonomy staff; but, perhaps, it does see value in what the taxonomists do.  

            Let's hope that if Sears weathers and thrives beyond the predictions made by analysts, some of its increase in $$$ will be directly tied to taxonomy work and the nay-sayers will be given the old "I told you so."  In the meantime, thanks for all of the thoughtful responses so far...

            KPD



            From: Donna M. Fritzsche <donnamarie@...>
            To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com; TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 12:22 PM
            Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...

             
            Hi,
            Respectfully, just the label/subject of the email has connotations which are not necessarily true and could possibly malign the company.
            The original poster did not know the reason for hiring (growth, new projects, turnover, etc) - yet the label implies differently. If someone were to just scan the email subjects - they could have a different take away.

            I would suggest that a non-leading question would be more appropriate - and to just ask for someone who does/has worked at the corporation to please email him offline. (my opinion - others are welcome to have their own!)

            Disclaimer: I have worked as a consultant for the company in question (several years ago), but that is not the reason for my above response.

            Thanks,
            Donna 




            -----Original Message-----
            From: "Makeda M."
            Sent: Feb 10, 2013 11:37 AM
            To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...

             
            If not here, then where else? I don't see any harm in asking, since people can choose to reply off-list. Nobody has maligned the company publicly, and I trust that nobody here would. Plus, the responses to this kind of question are clearly based on a subjective experience, and I think we all have the ability to interpret the information critically, and not just take someone's word or singular experience as fact.

            --
            Makeda Marc-Ali, MISt
            Service-oriented Information Professional
            (647) 223-7770 / makeda.marcali@...


            On Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 11:59 AM, Donna M. Fritzsche <donnamarie@...> wrote:
             
            Hi all,
            As Marijane points out, Sears does indeed take taxonomy seriously and has some excellent people working there.

            In the future though, I am not sure that discussing specifics about a company is appropriate for a professional list such as this.
            I think it could create an inappropriate dynamic. 

            Thanks,
            - Donna Fritzsche









          • Clint
            I am a Senior Taxonomist with Sears Holdings. I will try and answer everyone s questions and comments as best as I can without violating any rules, ethics or
            Message 5 of 12 , Feb 10, 2013
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              I am a Senior Taxonomist with Sears Holdings. I will try and answer everyone's questions and comments as best as I can without violating any rules, ethics or confidentiality.

              I have been with Sears for just over 4 years now. 5 months as a contractor and 3.5 + years as a full time employee. I am the first dedicated Taxonomist that SHC hired. Since then our team has grown significantly (sorry, can't discuss actual numbers). Most of the ads and recruitment for Taxonomy related positions were because of that growth. We have had some turnover, but it is minimal when compared to corporate averages.

              Sears does take Taxonomy seriously. As a company it is an area of investment. I don't have to take any webinars only how to sell taxonomy's value to leadership. I am very proud to say that I have built relationships with executive leaders and as a team we have their ears on projects, improvements and ideas.

              For those of you on the board that think you will get bored with retail and e-commerce product taxonomy, you might want to think about some of the challenges we face and solve for everyday. We have millions of products online today using a 4,500 term hierarchy and more than 15,000 attributes and an unreal number of attribute values. And that is only ONE site. We control 7 different public ecomm sites. And our ecomm taxonomy is only ONE portion. We also have a DAM, corporate taxonomy, intranet, any other projects that keep our growing team busy.

              If anything, with our growth, challenges, and opportunities, this is anything but a boring job.

              Clint Elmore
              Sr. Taxonomist
              Sears.com; Kmart.com;Shopyourway.com;MyGofer.com;Kenmore.com;Craftsman.com; Sears.PR

              Proudly working for Sears since January 2009

              --- In TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com, Keipat Patkei wrote:
              >
              > Admittedly, Donna, my subject line was leading, and I have revised it. Still, being a long time Chicago resident and taxonomist in the area, I have been told that the Sears workplace is, for lack of a nicer way to say it, more problematic than anything else, and, especially, for information management staff.
              >
              > As I have never worked at Sears, and I have no particular allegiance to the company, I suppose I was hoping that someone working there might weigh in and say that it is a great place to work; that it's progressive; and, its management not only sees the value of taxonomy but actively supports and encourages the taxonomists in their work.  If I received a positive responsive that is even a fraction of what I was hoping, I might encourage current and former colleagues to apply for the latest open position.  
              >
              > Heather, I very much appreciate your response, and you bring up a number of good points regarding why, or why not, someone would work at Sears or any other place.  Being a regular reader of news related to Sears' revenue and future, I am surprised that it may be growing its taxonomy staff; but, perhaps, it does see value in what the taxonomists do.  
              >
              > Let's hope that if Sears weathers and thrives beyond the predictions made by analysts, some of its increase in $$$ will be directly tied to taxonomy work and the nay-sayers will be given the old "I told you so."  In the meantime, thanks for all of the thoughtful responses so far...
              >
              > KPD
              >
              >
              >
              > From: Donna M. Fritzsche
              > To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com; TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 12:22 PM
              > Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...
              >
              >
              >  
              > Hi,
              > Respectfully, just the label/subject of the email has connotations which are not necessarily true and could possibly malign the company.
              > The original poster did not know the reason for hiring (growth, new projects, turnover, etc) - yet the label implies differently. If someone were to just scan the email subjects - they could have a different take away.
              >
              > I would suggest that a non-leading question would be more appropriate - and to just ask for someone who does/has worked at the corporation to please email him offline. (my opinion - others are welcome to have their own!)
              >
              > Disclaimer: I have worked as a consultant for the company in question (several years ago), but that is not the reason for my above response.
              >
              > Thanks,
              > Donna 
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > -----Original Message-----
              > >From: "Makeda M."
              > >Sent: Feb 10, 2013 11:37 AM
              > >To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
              > >Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...
              > >
              > > 
              > >If not here, then where else? I don't see any harm in asking, since people can choose to reply off-list. Nobody has maligned the company publicly, and I trust that nobody here would. Plus, the responses to this kind of question are clearly based on a subjective experience, and I think we all have the ability to interpret the information critically, and not just take someone's word or singular experience as fact.
              > >
              > >
              > >--
              > >Makeda Marc-Ali, MISt
              > >Service-oriented Information Professional
              > >(647) 223-7770 / makeda.marcali@...
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >On Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 11:59 AM, Donna M. Fritzsche wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > >> 
              > >>Hi all,
              > >>As Marijane points out, Sears does indeed take taxonomy seriously and has some excellent people working there.
              > >>
              > >>
              > >>In the future though, I am not sure that discussing specifics about a company is appropriate for a professional list such as this.
              > >>I think it could create an inappropriate dynamic. 
              > >>
              > >>
              > >>Thanks,
              > >>- Donna Fritzsche
              > >>
              > >>
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
            • jennybenevento
              Since someone alluded to me in this thread, and I am the second dedicated taxonomist Sears hired (a week after Clint), and any recent job posting you saw is
              Message 6 of 12 , Feb 10, 2013
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                Since someone alluded to me in this thread, and I am the second dedicated taxonomist Sears hired (a week after Clint), and any recent job posting you saw is probably my position, I thought I might add something.....


                Sears is a great place to work that takes taxonomy very seriously. Like Clint said for obvious reasons I can't give you a ton of specifics, but they've done a lot to support and grow metadata and really consider it to be crucial to profit online. There has been very little turnover in taxonomy in my time there (My four year anniversary was yesterday!) but I can't give you dept. numbers. More job ads don't necessarily mean people are leaving a place--at a previous employer of mine they had to put up ads so that internal candidates could apply to them to get promotions. I can say that everyone on the team is a rockstar, and the top reason to work at Sears is the people they hire--professionally and personally, they're top notch. I would recommend their work in a heartbeat.


                While I am not so specialized as to only work in e-commerce in my career, I agree with Clint that it's a fun area to work in. If you love organizing huge, messy legacy datasets (which I do) and gigantic audiences for your hierarchy (over 10 million unique visitors a month), and categorizing literally every type of thing you could possibly imagine (bouncy castles? parts to a Sears prefab house built in 1920?) then it would be a good fit for you. You haven't lived until you've professionally inquired about people's underpants behind a two way mirror in a user testing lab.


                Generally, if you want real dirt on whether it's a good place to work or not, linkedin msg a person on the team directly. Most people would never be able to discuss specifics in a public forum like this, and what makes a position or employer culture a good fit is different for everyone. Or, you know, an adult beverage at Taxo Boot Camp might go a long way.


                I will tell you it's a unique opportunity to open a listserv and realize your professional community is discussing your position. I was not planning such a public announcement about quitting my job. If you ever wondered how small taxonomy is, I think we just found out.

                Gossip Girl: Taxonomy Edition,
                ~J



                --- In TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com, "Clint" wrote:
                >
                > I am a Senior Taxonomist with Sears Holdings. I will try and answer everyone's questions and comments as best as I can without violating any rules, ethics or confidentiality.
                >
                > I have been with Sears for just over 4 years now. 5 months as a contractor and 3.5 + years as a full time employee. I am the first dedicated Taxonomist that SHC hired. Since then our team has grown significantly (sorry, can't discuss actual numbers). Most of the ads and recruitment for Taxonomy related positions were because of that growth. We have had some turnover, but it is minimal when compared to corporate averages.
                >
                > Sears does take Taxonomy seriously. As a company it is an area of investment. I don't have to take any webinars only how to sell taxonomy's value to leadership. I am very proud to say that I have built relationships with executive leaders and as a team we have their ears on projects, improvements and ideas.
                >
                > For those of you on the board that think you will get bored with retail and e-commerce product taxonomy, you might want to think about some of the challenges we face and solve for everyday. We have millions of products online today using a 4,500 term hierarchy and more than 15,000 attributes and an unreal number of attribute values. And that is only ONE site. We control 7 different public ecomm sites. And our ecomm taxonomy is only ONE portion. We also have a DAM, corporate taxonomy, intranet, any other projects that keep our growing team busy.
                >
                > If anything, with our growth, challenges, and opportunities, this is anything but a boring job.
                >
                > Clint Elmore
                > Sr. Taxonomist
                > Sears.com; Kmart.com;Shopyourway.com;MyGofer.com;Kenmore.com;Craftsman.com; Sears.PR
                >
                > Proudly working for Sears since January 2009
                >
                > --- In TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com, Keipat Patkei wrote:
                > >
                > > Admittedly, Donna, my subject line was leading, and I have revised it. Still, being a long time Chicago resident and taxonomist in the area, I have been told that the Sears workplace is, for lack of a nicer way to say it, more problematic than anything else, and, especially, for information management staff.
                > >
                > > As I have never worked at Sears, and I have no particular allegiance to the company, I suppose I was hoping that someone working there might weigh in and say that it is a great place to work; that it's progressive; and, its management not only sees the value of taxonomy but actively supports and encourages the taxonomists in their work.  If I received a positive responsive that is even a fraction of what I was hoping, I might encourage current and former colleagues to apply for the latest open position.  
                > >
                > > Heather, I very much appreciate your response, and you bring up a number of good points regarding why, or why not, someone would work at Sears or any other place.  Being a regular reader of news related to Sears' revenue and future, I am surprised that it may be growing its taxonomy staff; but, perhaps, it does see value in what the taxonomists do.  
                > >
                > > Let's hope that if Sears weathers and thrives beyond the predictions made by analysts, some of its increase in $$$ will be directly tied to taxonomy work and the nay-sayers will be given the old "I told you so."  In the meantime, thanks for all of the thoughtful responses so far...
                > >
                > > KPD
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > From: Donna M. Fritzsche
                > > To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com; TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
                > > Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 12:22 PM
                > > Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...
                > >
                > >
                > >  
                > > Hi,
                > > Respectfully, just the label/subject of the email has connotations which are not necessarily true and could possibly malign the company.
                > > The original poster did not know the reason for hiring (growth, new projects, turnover, etc) - yet the label implies differently. If someone were to just scan the email subjects - they could have a different take away.
                > >
                > > I would suggest that a non-leading question would be more appropriate - and to just ask for someone who does/has worked at the corporation to please email him offline. (my opinion - others are welcome to have their own!)
                > >
                > > Disclaimer: I have worked as a consultant for the company in question (several years ago), but that is not the reason for my above response.
                > >
                > > Thanks,
                > > Donna 
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > -----Original Message-----
                > > >From: "Makeda M."
                > > >Sent: Feb 10, 2013 11:37 AM
                > > >To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
                > > >Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...
                > > >
                > > > 
                > > >If not here, then where else? I don't see any harm in asking, since people can choose to reply off-list. Nobody has maligned the company publicly, and I trust that nobody here would. Plus, the responses to this kind of question are clearly based on a subjective experience, and I think we all have the ability to interpret the information critically, and not just take someone's word or singular experience as fact.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >--
                > > >Makeda Marc-Ali, MISt
                > > >Service-oriented Information Professional
                > > >(647) 223-7770 / makeda.marcali@
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >On Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 11:59 AM, Donna M. Fritzsche wrote:
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >> 
                > > >>Hi all,
                > > >>As Marijane points out, Sears does indeed take taxonomy seriously and has some excellent people working there.
                > > >>
                > > >>
                > > >>In the future though, I am not sure that discussing specifics about a company is appropriate for a professional list such as this.
                > > >>I think it could create an inappropriate dynamic. 
                > > >>
                > > >>
                > > >>Thanks,
                > > >>- Donna Fritzsche
                > > >>
                > > >>
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > >
                >
              • Patricia DCruz
                Heather, thanks for this post; relatively new to the field I am constantly evaluating my career direction and you echo some of my thoughts. Short term
                Message 7 of 12 , Feb 10, 2013
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                  Heather, thanks for this post; relatively new to the field I am constantly evaluating my career direction and you echo some of my thoughts. Short term contracting has its advantages specially for a beginner. It is opportunity to be exposed to different taxonomy environments and prepares for the leadership role that may come up in the future.

                  Patricia 
                   
                  ---
                  Patricia M. D'Cruz
                  Vocabulary Manager, Cisco Systems via Experis
                  Board member - SLA Silicon Valley



                  From: Heather Hedden <heather@...>
                  To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
                  Cc: Keipat Patkei <keipat1962@...>
                  Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 8:24 AM
                  Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...

                   
                  I'm wondering if it might not be particularly Sears, but the field of retail/ecommerce taxonomies. If your career is and has been in retail, then you might stay with it, but if your career is simply being a professional taxonomist, then maybe you wouldn't find retail interesting enough to stick with in the same full-time job beyond a year or two (as opposed to the on-and-off contracting in retail taxonomies), if something else more interesting came along. If I were an unemployed taxonomist, I might go after such a job, but then I might leave it after awhile for something different. It actually might be a good opportunity for a more junior taxonomist. But as for myself, I just cannot imagine working on a particular retail company's product taxonomies (and perhaps even just a specific line of products) for a long period of time (as opposed to being the manager of taxonomies, where you set direction, consider new technology implementations, work with third parties, and contribute to other strategic decisions. In other words, a professional taxonomist should be expected to stay for a long period of time in a senior position, even in retail). I do believe, too, that Sears needs a lot of taxonomists.

                  -- Heather Hedden


                  On 2/10/2013 10:14 AM, Keipat Patkei wrote:
                  All,

                  Just.
                  Just wondering if anyone has insight into why Sears and Roebuck in Chicagoland seems to have such a high turnover in taxonomists.  Or does the company just need a lot of taxonomists?  I'm asking because I've had some acquaintances ask me if they should apply there, but I really don't know what to say to them, and I don't want to be directing former colleagues and friends to work at a place that either chews up and spits out taxonomists, doesn't see the value of them, or has some other reason for hiring a new taxonomist every 3-6 months, or so it seems.  Thoughts?  Please feel free to respond privately.  I realize this is may be a touchy subject; then, again, may be Sears provides a learning experience.  Not sure at this point.  

                  Thanks, best,

                  Keith DeWeese





                • Gary Carlson
                  Thanks Jenny and Clint for the honest and thoughtful replies. In particular I agree with Jenny that a linked in msg may be the best way to ask these types of
                  Message 8 of 12 , Feb 10, 2013
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Thanks Jenny and Clint for the honest and thoughtful replies.

                    In particular I agree with Jenny that a linked in msg may be the best way to ask these types of questions.  I have found this community to be incredibly open, honest, and supportive.  Asking a direct question over linked in can go a long way.  However, asking people to air dirty (or not dirty as in this case) laundry on this listserv seems fraught with peril.  

                    Also, eCommerce taxonomies can be a blast.  What other taxonomists get to wear a pager?

                      

                    On Feb 10, 2013, at 9:14 PM, jennybenevento wrote:

                     

                    Since someone alluded to me in this thread, and I am the second dedicated taxonomist Sears hired (a week after Clint), and any recent job posting you saw is probably my position, I thought I might add something.....

                    Sears is a great place to work that takes taxonomy very seriously. Like Clint said for obvious reasons I can't give you a ton of specifics, but they've done a lot to support and grow metadata and really consider it to be crucial to profit online. There has been very little turnover in taxonomy in my time there (My four year anniversary was yesterday!) but I can't give you dept. numbers. More job ads don't necessarily mean people are leaving a place--at a previous employer of mine they had to put up ads so that internal candidates could apply to them to get promotions. I can say that everyone on the team is a rockstar, and the top reason to work at Sears is the people they hire--professionally and personally, they're top notch. I would recommend their work in a heartbeat.

                    While I am not so specialized as to only work in e-commerce in my career, I agree with Clint that it's a fun area to work in. If you love organizing huge, messy legacy datasets (which I do) and gigantic audiences for your hierarchy (over 10 million unique visitors a month), and categorizing literally every type of thing you could possibly imagine (bouncy castles? parts to a Sears prefab house built in 1920?) then it would be a good fit for you. You haven't lived until you've professionally inquired about people's underpants behind a two way mirror in a user testing lab.

                    Generally, if you want real dirt on whether it's a good place to work or not, linkedin msg a person on the team directly. Most people would never be able to discuss specifics in a public forum like this, and what makes a position or employer culture a good fit is different for everyone. Or, you know, an adult beverage at Taxo Boot Camp might go a long way.

                    I will tell you it's a unique opportunity to open a listserv and realize your professional community is discussing your position. I was not planning such a public announcement about quitting my job. If you ever wondered how small taxonomy is, I think we just found out.

                    Gossip Girl: Taxonomy Edition,
                    ~J

                    --- In TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com, "Clint" wrote:
                    >
                    > I am a Senior Taxonomist with Sears Holdings. I will try and answer everyone's questions and comments as best as I can without violating any rules, ethics or confidentiality.
                    >
                    > I have been with Sears for just over 4 years now. 5 months as a contractor and 3.5 + years as a full time employee. I am the first dedicated Taxonomist that SHC hired. Since then our team has grown significantly (sorry, can't discuss actual numbers). Most of the ads and recruitment for Taxonomy related positions were because of that growth. We have had some turnover, but it is minimal when compared to corporate averages.
                    >
                    > Sears does take Taxonomy seriously. As a company it is an area of investment. I don't have to take any webinars only how to sell taxonomy's value to leadership. I am very proud to say that I have built relationships with executive leaders and as a team we have their ears on projects, improvements and ideas.
                    >
                    > For those of you on the board that think you will get bored with retail and e-commerce product taxonomy, you might want to think about some of the challenges we face and solve for everyday. We have millions of products online today using a 4,500 term hierarchy and more than 15,000 attributes and an unreal number of attribute values. And that is only ONE site. We control 7 different public ecomm sites. And our ecomm taxonomy is only ONE portion. We also have a DAM, corporate taxonomy, intranet, any other projects that keep our growing team busy.
                    >
                    > If anything, with our growth, challenges, and opportunities, this is anything but a boring job.
                    >
                    > Clint Elmore
                    > Sr. Taxonomist
                    > Sears.com; Kmart.com;Shopyourway.com;MyGofer.com;Kenmore.com;Craftsman.com; Sears.PR
                    >
                    > Proudly working for Sears since January 2009
                    >
                    > --- In TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com, Keipat Patkei wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Admittedly, Donna, my subject line was leading, and I have revised it. Still, being a long time Chicago resident and taxonomist in the area, I have been told that the Sears workplace is, for lack of a nicer way to say it, more problematic than anything else, and, especially, for information management staff.
                    > >
                    > > As I have never worked at Sears, and I have no particular allegiance to the company, I suppose I was hoping that someone working there might weigh in and say that it is a great place to work; that it's progressive; and, its management not only sees the value of taxonomy but actively supports and encourages the taxonomists in their work.  If I received a positive responsive that is even a fraction of what I was hoping, I might encourage current and former colleagues to apply for the latest open position.  
                    > >
                    > > Heather, I very much appreciate your response, and you bring up a number of good points regarding why, or why not, someone would work at Sears or any other place.  Being a regular reader of news related to Sears' revenue and future, I am surprised that it may be growing its taxonomy staff; but, perhaps, it does see value in what the taxonomists do.  
                    > >
                    > > Let's hope that if Sears weathers and thrives beyond the predictions made by analysts, some of its increase in $$$ will be directly tied to taxonomy work and the nay-sayers will be given the old "I told you so."  In the meantime, thanks for all of the thoughtful responses so far...
                    > >
                    > > KPD
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > From: Donna M. Fritzsche
                    > > To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com; TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
                    > > Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 12:22 PM
                    > > Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >  
                    > > Hi,
                    > > Respectfully, just the label/subject of the email has connotations which are not necessarily true and could possibly malign the company.
                    > > The original poster did not know the reason for hiring (growth, new projects, turnover, etc) - yet the label implies differently. If someone were to just scan the email subjects - they could have a different take away.
                    > >
                    > > I would suggest that a non-leading question would be more appropriate - and to just ask for someone who does/has worked at the corporation to please email him offline. (my opinion - others are welcome to have their own!)
                    > >
                    > > Disclaimer: I have worked as a consultant for the company in question (several years ago), but that is not the reason for my above response.
                    > >
                    > > Thanks,
                    > > Donna 
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > -----Original Message-----
                    > > >From: "Makeda M."
                    > > >Sent: Feb 10, 2013 11:37 AM
                    > > >To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
                    > > >Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...
                    > > >
                    > > > 
                    > > >If not here, then where else? I don't see any harm in asking, since people can choose to reply off-list. Nobody has maligned the company publicly, and I trust that nobody here would. Plus, the responses to this kind of question are clearly based on a subjective experience, and I think we all have the ability to interpret the information critically, and not just take someone's word or singular experience as fact.
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >--
                    > > >Makeda Marc-Ali, MISt
                    > > >Service-oriented Information Professional
                    > > >(647) 223-7770 / makeda.marcali@
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >On Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 11:59 AM, Donna M. Fritzsche wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >> 
                    > > >>Hi all,
                    > > >>As Marijane points out, Sears does indeed take taxonomy seriously and has some excellent people working there.
                    > > >>
                    > > >>
                    > > >>In the future though, I am not sure that discussing specifics about a company is appropriate for a professional list such as this.
                    > > >>I think it could create an inappropriate dynamic. 
                    > > >>
                    > > >>
                    > > >>Thanks,
                    > > >>- Donna Fritzsche
                    > > >>
                    > > >>
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > >
                    >


                  • Keipat Patkei
                    I m glad, Clint and Jenny, that the Sears experience has been good for both of you.  I ve known a number of people over the years who do not share your
                    Message 9 of 12 , Feb 11, 2013
                    • 0 Attachment
                      I'm glad, Clint and Jenny, that the Sears experience has been good for both of you.  I've known a number of people over the years who do not share your feelings about the company; but, getting the scoop from people inside says a lot, in the good sense.  I am aware, too, that people who leave organizations might be biased against them and not the best sources for gathering information.  

                      As for airing dirty laundry, I made it very clear in my initial email that contacting me privately was certainly an option as I realize this is a delicate subject.  I've been in the field of taxonomy for a very long time, and I've worked for major organizations, so I know that expecting people to come to a forum such as this and grieve is an unreasonable expectation.  I believe my address is clearly seen in my emails, and I have no issue with anyone sending me a private message.  If I did, I wouldn't have said, 'Please feel free to respond privately. I realize this may be a touchy subject...'

                      Jenny, good luck in your next venture, and good to know that you and Clint have fared so well at Sears.  Cheers all around.

                      Keith

                      From: Gary Carlson <garyecarlson@...>
                      To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Monday, February 11, 2013 12:18 AM
                      Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Re: Taxonomy and Sears...

                       
                      Thanks Jenny and Clint for the honest and thoughtful replies.

                      In particular I agree with Jenny that a linked in msg may be the best way to ask these types of questions.  I have found this community to be incredibly open, honest, and supportive.  Asking a direct question over linked in can go a long way.  However, asking people to air dirty (or not dirty as in this case) laundry on this listserv seems fraught with peril.  

                      Also, eCommerce taxonomies can be a blast.  What other taxonomists get to wear a pager?

                        

                      On Feb 10, 2013, at 9:14 PM, jennybenevento wrote:

                       
                      Since someone alluded to me in this thread, and I am the second dedicated taxonomist Sears hired (a week after Clint), and any recent job posting you saw is probably my position, I thought I might add something.....

                      Sears is a great place to work that takes taxonomy very seriously. Like Clint said for obvious reasons I can't give you a ton of specifics, but they've done a lot to support and grow metadata and really consider it to be crucial to profit online. There has been very little turnover in taxonomy in my time there (My four year anniversary was yesterday!) but I can't give you dept. numbers. More job ads don't necessarily mean people are leaving a place--at a previous employer of mine they had to put up ads so that internal candidates could apply to them to get promotions. I can say that everyone on the team is a rockstar, and the top reason to work at Sears is the people they hire--professionally and personally, they're top notch. I would recommend their work in a heartbeat.

                      While I am not so specialized as to only work in e-commerce in my career, I agree with Clint that it's a fun area to work in. If you love organizing huge, messy legacy datasets (which I do) and gigantic audiences for your hierarchy (over 10 million unique visitors a month), and categorizing literally every type of thing you could possibly imagine (bouncy castles? parts to a Sears prefab house built in 1920?) then it would be a good fit for you. You haven't lived until you've professionally inquired about people's underpants behind a two way mirror in a user testing lab.

                      Generally, if you want real dirt on whether it's a good place to work or not, linkedin msg a person on the team directly. Most people would never be able to discuss specifics in a public forum like this, and what makes a position or employer culture a good fit is different for everyone. Or, you know, an adult beverage at Taxo Boot Camp might go a long way.

                      I will tell you it's a unique opportunity to open a listserv and realize your professional community is discussing your position. I was not planning such a public announcement about quitting my job. If you ever wondered how small taxonomy is, I think we just found out.

                      Gossip Girl: Taxonomy Edition,
                      ~J

                      --- In TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com, "Clint" wrote:
                      >
                      > I am a Senior Taxonomist with Sears Holdings. I will try and answer everyone's questions and comments as best as I can without violating any rules, ethics or confidentiality.
                      >
                      > I have been with Sears for just over 4 years now. 5 months as a contractor and 3.5 + years as a full time employee. I am the first dedicated Taxonomist that SHC hired. Since then our team has grown significantly (sorry, can't discuss actual numbers). Most of the ads and recruitment for Taxonomy related positions were because of that growth. We have had some turnover, but it is minimal when compared to corporate averages.
                      >
                      > Sears does take Taxonomy seriously. As a company it is an area of investment. I don't have to take any webinars only how to sell taxonomy's value to leadership. I am very proud to say that I have built relationships with executive leaders and as a team we have their ears on projects, improvements and ideas.
                      >
                      > For those of you on the board that think you will get bored with retail and e-commerce product taxonomy, you might want to think about some of the challenges we face and solve for everyday. We have millions of products online today using a 4,500 term hierarchy and more than 15,000 attributes and an unreal number of attribute values. And that is only ONE site. We control 7 different public ecomm sites. And our ecomm taxonomy is only ONE portion. We also have a DAM, corporate taxonomy, intranet, any other projects that keep our growing team busy.
                      >
                      > If anything, with our growth, challenges, and opportunities, this is anything but a boring job.
                      >
                      > Clint Elmore
                      > Sr. Taxonomist
                      > Sears.com; Kmart.com;Shopyourway.com;MyGofer.com;Kenmore.com;Craftsman.com; Sears.PR
                      >
                      > Proudly working for Sears since January 2009
                      >
                      > --- In TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com, Keipat Patkei wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Admittedly, Donna, my subject line was leading, and I have revised it. Still, being a long time Chicago resident and taxonomist in the area, I have been told that the Sears workplace is, for lack of a nicer way to say it, more problematic than anything else, and, especially, for information management staff.
                      > >
                      > > As I have never worked at Sears, and I have no particular allegiance to the company, I suppose I was hoping that someone working there might weigh in and say that it is a great place to work; that it's progressive; and, its management not only sees the value of taxonomy but actively supports and encourages the taxonomists in their work.  If I received a positive responsive that is even a fraction of what I was hoping, I might encourage current and former colleagues to apply for the latest open position.  
                      > >
                      > > Heather, I very much appreciate your response, and you bring up a number of good points regarding why, or why not, someone would work at Sears or any other place.  Being a regular reader of news related to Sears' revenue and future, I am surprised that it may be growing its taxonomy staff; but, perhaps, it does see value in what the taxonomists do.  
                      > >
                      > > Let's hope that if Sears weathers and thrives beyond the predictions made by analysts, some of its increase in $$$ will be directly tied to taxonomy work and the nay-sayers will be given the old "I told you so."  In the meantime, thanks for all of the thoughtful responses so far...
                      > >
                      > > KPD
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > From: Donna M. Fritzsche
                      > > To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com; TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
                      > > Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 12:22 PM
                      > > Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >  
                      > > Hi,
                      > > Respectfully, just the label/subject of the email has connotations which are not necessarily true and could possibly malign the company.
                      > > The original poster did not know the reason for hiring (growth, new projects, turnover, etc) - yet the label implies differently. If someone were to just scan the email subjects - they could have a different take away.
                      > >
                      > > I would suggest that a non-leading question would be more appropriate - and to just ask for someone who does/has worked at the corporation to please email him offline. (my opinion - others are welcome to have their own!)
                      > >
                      > > Disclaimer: I have worked as a consultant for the company in question (several years ago), but that is not the reason for my above response.
                      > >
                      > > Thanks,
                      > > Donna 
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > -----Original Message-----
                      > > >From: "Makeda M."
                      > > >Sent: Feb 10, 2013 11:37 AM
                      > > >To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
                      > > >Subject: Re: [TaxoCoP] Taxonomy positions at Sears and heavy turnover...
                      > > >
                      > > > 
                      > > >If not here, then where else? I don't see any harm in asking, since people can choose to reply off-list. Nobody has maligned the company publicly, and I trust that nobody here would. Plus, the responses to this kind of question are clearly based on a subjective experience, and I think we all have the ability to interpret the information critically, and not just take someone's word or singular experience as fact.
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >--
                      > > >Makeda Marc-Ali, MISt
                      > > >Service-oriented Information Professional
                      > > >(647) 223-7770 / makeda.marcali@
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >On Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 11:59 AM, Donna M. Fritzsche wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >> 
                      > > >>Hi all,
                      > > >>As Marijane points out, Sears does indeed take taxonomy seriously and has some excellent people working there.
                      > > >>
                      > > >>
                      > > >>In the future though, I am not sure that discussing specifics about a company is appropriate for a professional list such as this.
                      > > >>I think it could create an inappropriate dynamic. 
                      > > >>
                      > > >>
                      > > >>Thanks,
                      > > >>- Donna Fritzsche
                      > > >>
                      > > >>
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > >
                      >




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