The mySociety way of life
What’s it like working for mySociety? Well…
We’re a little bit different.
We know, it’s a cliché: every company likes to think they’re ‘different’.
But we’re talking about something a little deeper. Here’s what we mean:
What’s your ideal workspace?
A houseboat in rural Shropshire? Or a busy hackspace in the centre of town? Perhaps you’d like to spend mornings in one, and then relocate to the other after lunch.
At mySociety, we believe in recruiting the best people, no matter where in the UK they are. And we can, because we work remotely, using internet technologies to keep in contact.
So, work from your own sofa, or from that trendy coffee shop in town. Whatever makes you happy. Work in your pyjamas, if you want (but do be aware we sometimes chat via video).
Flexitime that really flexes
Ever worked for a place that promised flexitime, only to find out it’s just not that flexible?
mySociety knows that parents need to pick kids up from school. That everyone sometimes needs to get to the post office during opening hours. That life can’t always be expected to be put on standby between the hours of 9:00 and 5:30.
There are core hours during which we expect everyone to be around – but, so long as you make up any missed time, you can choose the working pattern that fits in with your life.
We do good things
Imagine a job where the work you do is actually making a meaningful difference. Not everyone has that luxury, and we feel very lucky that, for us, it’s a day to day reality.
We’re working with organisations all around the world to see how technology can improve their society. We’ve helped people to publish parliamentary data in places where it’s never before been easily accessible to the general public.
We write open source software for anyone to use – so if, for example, they want to run a website that lets people demand information from those in power, it’s easier.
We’ve made a mark in the UK, too, allowing people to contact their politicians, even if they’ve never thought of doing so before.
Your voice counts
We employ smart people – so we’d be foolish if we didn’t listen to their opinions.
Working at mySociety means taking an active part in the development of our sites, and in our plans for the future.
Frequent meetups, online and in person, ensure that everybody’s voice is heard. Whether you care deeply about the hex code of a colour on our websites, or the number of fields we’ve included in a form, we’ll listen.
In fact, if those are the sort of things you do care deeply about, you will fit in rather well.
You’re never going to get a mySociety company car, and actually, we tend to be the sort of people who would prefer a company bike.
But there are benefits to working with us… beyond the warm glow of doing good.
Competitive salaries It matters to us that you’re properly recompensed
Pension Our contributions give yours an extra boost
Prefer to work in an office space? Fine – we’ll help meet the costs
Equipment We’ll buy you the stuff you need to work comfortably and efficiently
We’ll send you to that conference you’ve always wanted to attend
Annual retreat Part work, part minibreak
Write that novel, or stay at home with the kids for a bit We give fair consideration to sabbaticals
Or just take a few extra duvet days Up to a week’s unpaid leave is dandy
Part time? That’s OK with us, most roles can be less than 5 days a week if you prefer
What to expect
Hope you like trains
Yes, we all work remotely, but we find it’s also crucial to see one another face to face now and then.
You’ll be expected to attend team meetings in cities like Oxford, Birmingham or London, and depending on your role, you may also be needed at coding get-togethers, meetings with clients or helping run mySociety’s public events. Sometimes these involve an overnight stay.
If you end up working on our international projects, you may also find yourself travelling to places like Chile, Kenya, Nigeria and the Philippines. Bit of a commute; totally worth it.
Can you work when no-one’s watching?
With so many people working remotely, we find it’s a bit impractical to have a manager looking over everyone’s shoulder. And anyway, we believe in giving you everything you need to do a great job, and then leaving you in peace to get it done.
As a result, the phrase ‘self-starter’ isn’t just a piece of jargon in our job descriptions: it’s an essential part of your personality. We’ll be in frequent touch via online and IRL meetings – it’s an unusual day when you haven’t spoken to anyone – but there’s no hiding it. This isn’t the place for monophobes.
Technology is our friend
On an average day you will log into our IRC channel, and join the team chat, where you’ll normally find a mixture of silly jokes and technical queries.
You’ll log your hours on Freckle, store your expenses receipts on Expensify, chat with your colleagues via Skype or in a Google Hangout. If you’re a developer, you’ll spend a lot of time checking tickets on Github. If you write copy or create documents, you may do so collaboratively in Google Drive.
As an organisation, we embrace the new technologies that make our remote working set-up not just plausible, but distinctly pleasurable. Know about a wonderful new technology that will change the way we work? We want to hear about that, too.
If you’re a mySociety developer
We’re not dogmatic about languages: if you can work in Ruby or PHP or Python or Perl you’ll be at home here – we’ll find an interesting project for you. We love Django and Rails, and we’re having fun experimenting with Node.js, canvas, and more.
We generally work to agile methodologies, and code is peer-reviewed. On a typical day, you might be wrangling with legacy code, or writing shiny new stuff – one way or another, there are oodles of chances to learn and develop. Roles tend to involve a mixture of activities and there are periodic opportunities to swap teams.
As well as your coding abilities, basic sysadmin skills will help, though aren’t essential. Plus you should be able to talk to all sorts of stakeholders, from clients to volunteers and international partners.
What mySociety is
We are a social enterprise, which means that despite our charitable status, we also operate as a business. We fund as much of our charitable work as we can through the delivery of world class web development services, particularly to government and major media companies, from Channel 4 to the World Bank.
The great thing about being a social enterprise is that we get to play in both fields, and have a wider range of impacts. There are a couple dozen of us in total, plus volunteers, and the culture is developer-led.